Courses of Study

See course descriptions for this program 

In the Department of German and Russian

*Unless otherwise specified, all courses are conducted in German.

Chair, Professor Julie de Sherbinin (Russian)
Assistant Professors Arne Koch and Cyrus Shahan; Language Assistant Maria Donata von Hoff

Achievement Test: An entering student seeking credit for a foreign language must either have taken the College Board SAT Subject test in the language or take the Colby language placement test during orientation before the beginning of classes in the fall.

The German program emphasizes the acquisition of superior skills in the German language as the basis for the study of the literatures and cultures of the German-speaking world. Unless otherwise noted, all courses are taught in German as students continue to hone their skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Upper-level courses provide training in close reading and analysis of literary and cultural texts in order to further students’ understanding of a culture different from their own. Students at all levels explore literature and film alongside culture and politics as well as history and contemporary affairs.

Majors in German studies are encouraged to study their entire junior year in a German-speaking country; majors and minors are expected to spend at least one semester abroad. Study-abroad options include approved programs in Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Regensburg, Tübingen, and Vienna. The German faculty welcomes inquiries from students regarding the different programs and the one-semester and full-year options.

The major in German studies and the German minor provide excellent preparation for students who wish to pursue German-related grant opportunities, employment in international companies and organizations, or careers in government or academics.

Requirements for the Major in German Studies
The major in German studies requires 10 semester courses: six courses taught in German numbered above 127 including a 200-, a 300-, and a 400-level course and  four additional courses chosen from the German curriculum, taken abroad, or from courses with a substantial German component in departments such as Art, Government, History, Music and Philosophy. Once declared, all majors must take at least one course in the German program each semester they are on campus until graduation.

Courses approved for major in German studies:

  • Art
    • 331 Art of the Renaissance in Northern Europe
    • 353 Contemporary Art, 1914-Present
  • English 
    • 187 Cinema, Identity, and Exile
    • 271 Critical Theory
    • 493 Seminar: Franz Kafka
  • Government 
    • 259 European Politics
    • 266 German Politics
    • 272 Modern Political Theory
    • 354 The European Union
    • 359 Political Ideologies and Revolutionary Movements in Europe
  • History 
    • 111 Europe from late Antiquity to 1618
    • 112 Survey of Modern Europe
    • 186 The Holocaust
    • 224 Germany and Europe, 1871-1945
    • 321 The First World War
    • 322 Europe and the Second World War
    • 421 Debating the Nazi Past
  • Music 
    • 242 Music History II
    • 352 Beethoven and the Myth of Beethoven
    • 494 Seminar: The Theories of Heinrich Schenker
  • Philosophy
    • 240 Ethics on the Continent: From Kant to Levinas
    • 314 Karl Marx and Marxist Philosophical Thought
    • 355 Kant and German Idealism
    • 359 19th-Century Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
    • 182 Jews and Judaism in the Modern World
    • 186 God After Auschwitz: Post-Holocaust Theory
    • 187 Jewish Identity after Auschwitz
  • Sociology
    • 215 Classical Sociological Theory
Requirements for the German Minor
The minor in German requires five courses in the German program numbered above 126 including a 200- and a 300-level course. Students who enter the program at the intermediate or advanced level should consult with their advisor in German regarding course selection.

The following statements also apply:
  • The point scale for retention of the major and the minor is based on all required and approved courses numbered above German 127 for the major, and German 126 for the minor.
  • No major requirement may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
  • Transfer of credits for courses from other institutions, including study abroad, will be evaluated by the advisor in German on an individual basis.
  • Teacher Certification: Students desiring certification for teaching German should consult the faculty in German and in the Education Program.