The German major attracts students who begin their study of German at Bowdoin as well as those with prior preparation in the language. The program is adaptable to individual student backgrounds, styles and pace of learning, and can be pursued as a single major or in combination with any other major or minor program at Bowdoin. Prospective majors work closely with the professors in the department who are well acquainted with students and assist them in designing a unique program tailored to their individual interests.

The major consists of eight courses taken for credit, one of which is Ger 204 or the equivalent. The other courses are taken in German (205-402). The major requirement can be partially fulfilled through courses from study abroad programs, and one of the courses may be chosen from the German literature and culture courses in English translation. Majors are encouraged to consider one of a number of study-abroad programs with different calendars and formats, and senior students may pursue honors. Senior work with the department is required for all majors during their final year. Majors will design the configuration of senior work in individual consultation with the department.

Beginning in 2014-215, we will innovate our curriculum in ways that will both provide students with multiple gateways into the German major and will open up opportunities for our faculty to contribute a variety of courses across the college curriculum.

Study Abroad

The German department has long-standing connections and affiliations with year-long and semester programs in Germany and Austria, particularly in Berlin, Tübingen, Freiburg, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna. Students may also opt for summer programs at either the renowned  Goethe-Institut or in cooperation with universities in Germany (Berlin) and Austria (Vienna).
Read more on the Study Away page »

Program deadlines for study away in Germany:
Please note: In addition to the program deadline, you must apply internally - by application to Bowdoin's Off-campus study office - to study abroad. Please talk to any of the German professors.

Antioch Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
The application deadline is March 15 for the full-year or fall semester programs; October 15 for the spring semester program. Late applicants will be considered on a space-available basis.

Brown in Berlin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) - note: You must have the equivalent of three years of college German.
1 March, 2010 (for fall 2010 or full year), 1 Oct 10 (for spring 2011)

Columbia Consortium in Berlin (Berlin Consortium for German Studies (BCGS):
The Freie Universität Berlin offers a wide range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students majoring in a variety of disciplines may choose from an array of appropriate courses. Those with special interests may also enroll in courses at other local institutions such as the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Universität Potsdam, the Hochschule der Künste Berlin, the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee, and Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler."
1 March, 2010 (for fall 2010 or full year), 15 Oct 10 (for spring 2011)

IES BerlinFreiburgVienna:
Deadline: Fall/full year: 30 April Spring: 1 November

Tufts Tübingen:
Completed applications for the full year, fall, and spring semesters should be submitted no later than February 1, 2010.

Wayne State München
Full-year and first semester only program option application deadline: March 15, 2010
Second semester only option application deadline: October 1, 2010

Teaching Assistant Program

Students play a crucial role in the Department's teaching. Seniors returning from study-away are selected as Teaching Assistants for the first four semesters of German-language instruction and assist as tutors and graders. They work closely with faculty to develop teaching skills and contribute their ideas and experience to the program. Usually, at least one of our TAs began the study of German at Bowdoin.

Honors Program and Independent Study

Independent Study provides advanced students with the opportunity to explore in depth an area of German literature or culture with a faculty advisor. Advanced German majors are encouraged to engage in year-long honors work in their senior year. Students are encouraged to use approaches that integrate their other academic interests with German literature and culture. The department offers one-and two-semester independent study projects which differ in length and scope. Honors projects are reviewed by all the members of the department's faculty. For more detailed information, including past Honors project titles and summaries, please see Honors, Grants and Prizes.

Post-Graduate International Grants and Departmental Prizes

Bowdoin German majors continue to be extremely successful candidates for teaching and research grants to Germany and Austria. An average of three to four seniors and recent graduates have won Fulbrights every year, more than 50 in the last 15 years. The department also confers yearly Old Broad Bay Prizes in Reading German and the German Consular Prize in literary interpretation to deserving students.

Co-Curricular Options

Student enjoy a wide variety of co-curricular lectures, film-screenings and other events; attend the mid-year honors colloquium of senior students; and organize German Club sponsored activities and events.