Major in German Studies

The German major provides students linguistic proficiency and a broad knowledge of the literatures and cultures of German-speaking countries. The major can be completed by combining study of the literatures and cultures of German-speaking countries with other fields (such as history, political science, European studies, music, art history, philosophy, religion, and Jewish studies), exploring the rich and often vexed history of things German from diverse perspectives.

The degree comprises 36 credits arranged in the following manner: a set of core courses in German language (at any level), culture, and history; a coherent set of at least 15 credits to be selected from the German Studies Course List with the written approval of the Undergraduate Director. This list offers only a representative sample. Courses not included in the German Studies Course List may be considered toward the major at the discretion of the Undergraduate Director and the participating department. Majors are also encouraged to include 6 credits in history courses with a strong focus on German culture.

Note: 12 of the credits comprising the major must be completed in courses taught by faculty in the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. Students do not normally receive credit toward the major for taking German-language courses below a level at which they have already received a grade of C or higher. Courses with a grade of D are not counted toward the major.

Up to 18 credits (9 credits per semester maximum) may be credited toward the major from courses taken during study abroad. Such credits are assigned at the discretion of the Undergraduate Director of German on the basis of materials (transcripts, Scheine, syllabi, graded tests and quizzes, and graded papers) provided by the student after return to the U.S. Students studying in Germany are advised to remain in close contact with the Undergraduate Director of German during their studies in Germany. The German studies senior honors thesis option must be taken in New Brunswick.

  • 36 credits total in German language and culture.
  • All German majors must complete the equivalent of 01:470:232 (Advanced German II).
  • 6 credits, taught in German, in course numbers 470:299 and higher.
  • At least 15 additional credits in which students are engaged in a thematically coherent examination of a period, topic, or set of questions from an interdisciplinary perspective. To ensure that such an examination is properly focused and productively interdisciplinary, these courses should be chosen in consultation with the Undergraduate Director.

Honors in German Studies

German Majors generally become eligible for honors by taking six credits of graduate courses (taken sequentially) with approval of the Undergraduate Director. Students may also receive honors either by completing a senior honors thesis through their respective undergraduate college honors program (this thesis should be submitted to a German studies faculty member to be read and approved for credit); or by enrolling in 01:470:495, 496 (in any of the following credit sequences: 6-0, 3-3,0-6). Under the supervision of a faculty adviser, honor students will in either case pursue an independent research project that requires the use of German-language source material pertinent to the area of concentration.

Students who wish to be considered for Honors should first consult with the Undergraduate Director and are encouraged to apply toward the end of their junior year or during the first week of classes in their senior year. Conferral of honors is never automatic. Whether a candidate graduates with departmental honors depends on his or her total performance in German as measured by the recommendations of the faculty.


  • GPA of 3.4 or higher in all German courses.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Click here to learn about minoring in German!