German Department:

ChairAssociate Professor Alicia E. Ellis 
Associate Professors Alicia E. Ellis and Arne Koch
; Language Assistant Karlotta Loening


Chair, Associate Professor Alicia E. Ellis (German)

Assistant Professors Elena Monastireva-Ansdell and Melissa Miller; Visiting Assistant Professor Peter Orte; Language Assistant Sofia Levina

German Department:

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 encouraged to spend at least one semester abroad. Study-abroad options include approved programs in Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Tübingen, and Salzburg. 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.


The major emphasizes Russian language, literature, history, and film in order that students develop a broad understanding of Russian culture in the past and the present. Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities on campus, including guest lectures, film screenings, weekly Russian Table or Russian teas, the Russian Poetry Evening, the annual Colby-Bowdoin-Bates Russian Student Research Symposium, and a program of cultural events.

Students majoring in Russian language and culture are expected to study in Russia for at least one semester. Instructors advise beginning students carefully about January, summer, and semester programs.


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 chosen 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.

Requirements for the German Minor

The minor in German requires six courses in the German program beginning with German 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.

Requirements for the Major in Russian Language and Culture

  1. A minimum of seven courses (three or four credits) numbered above Russian 127 in the Department of German and Russian, including Russian 426 or 428, and at least one course each in 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature or film in English translation (usually chosen from 231, 232, 237, 242).
  2. One course in pre-20th-century Russian history and one course in 20th-century Russian history (usually History 227 and 228).
  3. A seminar in Russian literature, conducted entirely in Russian (Russian 426, 428).

The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses offered toward the major. No requirements for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Requirements for the Minor in Russian Language and Literature

  1. Four introductory Russian language courses: Russian 125, 126, 127, 128.
  2. Two courses in Russian culture in English translation: one course in 19th-century literature and one course in 20th-century literature or film (usually chosen from Russian 231, 232, 237, 242).
  3. One course studying Russian cultural texts in the original (chosen from Russian 325, 326, 425, 426, 428).

Note: In special circumstances, course substitutions for major and minor requirements may be made after documented consultation with Russian program staff.

Russian majors and minors who are unable to study in Russia for a semester are strongly encouraged to attend a summer language program or spend a Jan Plan in Russia.

Russian majors and minors should broaden their study through courses related to Russian in other departments, particularly courses in history and government.

Approved Courses+

Courses Approved for the Major in German Studies


  • 252 Language in Culture and Society


  • 278 19th-Century European Art

Cinema Studies

  • 142 Introduction to Cinema Studies

East Asian Studies

  • 221 Second Language Pedagogy


  • 200 Foundations of Literary Studies
  • 271 Critical Theory


  • 245 Memory and Politics
  • 259 Introduction to European Politics
  • 266 German Politics
  • 344 Post-Communist Transformations
  • 457 Seminar: Germany and Europe


  • 111 Europe from the Classical World to the Religious Wars
  • 112 Revolutions of Modern Europe
  • 120 Spotlight on History: The Holocaust and Genocide in Europe
  • 141 Genocide and Globalization: 20th-Century World History
  • 224 Germany and Europe, 1871-1945
  • 322 Europe and the Second World War
  • 421 Research Seminar: Debating the Nazi Past


  • 241 Music History I: Middle Ages to the Early Baroque Period
  • 242 Music History II: High Baroque to the Dawn of Romanticism
  • 341 Music History III: Music of the 19th and 20th Centuries


  • 240 Ethics on the Continent: From Kant to Levinas
  • 337 Philosophy of Humor
  • 389 Philosophers in Focus: Ludwig Wittgenstein

Religious Studies

  • 182 Jews, Judaism, and the Modern World
  • 298 Jews of Germany, Past and Present


  • 215 Classical Sociological Theory