The German Studies major offers an interdisciplinary approach to German language, literature, and culture, including such areas as film, art, music, history, philosophy, and critical theory. Many students successfully combine their German major with a second major or concentration in another field. All majors participate in Macalester’s 6-month study abroad program in Berlin and Vienna, usually in their junior year, where they take courses at the Goethe Institute and the University of Vienna and frequently complete an internship.

Majors are required to complete eight German courses beyond fourth-semester German (German 204). At least three and usually four of these are completed during the study abroad semester. It is possible to complete a German major even if a student begins German at Macalester. Students who take German 305 in the fall of their Junior year and participate in study abroad during the spring, can complete their major by taking three or four courses in their Senior year, to include two of the literature and culture survey courses (German 363-366) and the Senior Seminar (German 488). In addition to the eight German courses, majors must also take two courses taught in English: one with substantial German content offered by another department; and one in critical theory offered either by the German Studies department or another department.

German Studies Major | German Studies Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the German Studies department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities, except for elementary and intermediate language courses.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Policy on German Language Grades

In order to be accepted into the next higher German language course in the sequence, a student must have received a grade of C- or higher in the previous course. For additional information regarding the language requirement, see the college requirements.

Honors Program

The German Studies department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

GERM 194, GERM 294, GERM 394, GERM 494 

Recent courses: Existentialism; Modernism/Postmodernism; Exile Literature; Literary Case Studies from Goethe to Kafka, Movies of the Third Reich, Film Theory: From Goebbels to Hollywood, and Critical Theory. Many of these courses fulfill the critical theory requirement. May be taught in English or in German. Offered every year. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.


German Studies Major

Major Requirements

A departmental major in German Studies consists of:

  1. 32 semester credits in German Studies above Intermediate German II, to include: GERM 305, GERM 308, or GERM 309 ; at least two of the following:
    GERM 363, GERM 364, GERM 365, and GERM 366; approved Study Abroad courses; and GERM 488 as the senior capstone experience.
  2. 8 semester credits in or outside the German Studies department, which must include:
    1. One course providing an introduction to critical theory and approved by the department: GERM 277 - Metaphysics in Secular Thought or GERM 279 - Value: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Cheap or GERM 314 - Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud or GERM 337 - Dead White Men and most GERM 394 (topics courses) fulfill this requirement. Courses outside the department include all core courses counting toward the Critical Theory concentration, and possibly elective courses subject to approval of department. Other courses may also count, subject to department approval.
    2. One other course with significant German content. Possible courses include: ART 263, ECON 227, ECON 325, GEOG 261, HIST 258, MUSI 342, MUSI 343, POLI 260, or RELI 212 , RELI 346.
  3. Participation in the Macalester German Study Abroad program, or another approved study abroad program (mentioned under "a").

German Studies Minor

Minor Requirements

A minor in German Studies consists of five college-level courses beyond Intermediate German II (GERM 204), to include GERM 305; GERM 308 and/or GERM 309 ;and at least one more course taught in German numbered GERM 360 or above. Alternatively, the Macalester German Study Abroad Program and at least one more course taught in German beyond GERM 204.