The German department offers courses in the language, literature and culture of the German-speaking countries of Europe.  The program is designed for students who wish to become literate in the language and culture, comprehend the relationship between the language and culture and gain a better understanding of their own culture in a global context.  The major is a valuable asset in a wide variety of postgraduate endeavors including business, science and international careers; and in law and graduate school.

The major consists of eight courses, one of which is German 2204 or the equivalent. One course may be chosen from 1151-1156 or German 2251, and the others from 2205-4001.  A course taught by German faculty in other programs may be substituted for one from 1151-1156 upon prior approval.  All majors are required to do course work with the department in their senior year; the configuration of this senior work must be determined in direct consultation with the department.  This consultation takes place prior to registering for the fall semester of senior year, which for some students means before they depart fo study away.  Prospective majors, including those who begin with first- or second-year German at Bowdoin, may arrange an accelerated program, usually including study abroad.  Majors are encouraged to consider a number of study-abroad programs with different calendars and formats.

Students may also consider a minor in German.  The minor consists of German 1102 or the equivalent, plus any four courses, of which two must be in the language (2203-2289 and 3300-3999).

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.
15 March, 2016 (for fall 2016 or full year), 1 Oct 15 (for spring 2016)

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."
Mid-March, 2016 (for fall 2016 or full year), Early October 2015 (for spring 2016)

IES BerlinFreiburgVienna:
Deadline: Fall/full year: 13 May Spring: 1 November

Tufts Tübingen:
Completed applications for the academic year, fall 2016, and spring 2017 should be submitted in HARD COPY no later than February 1, 2016.

Wayne State München
Full-year and first semester only program option application deadline: March 15, 2016
Second semester only option application deadline: October 1, 2015

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.