German Major

The major consists of eight courses.

Required Courses
GER 2204Intermediate German II: German History through Visual Culture (or the equivalent)1
Select seven additional courses. Of those:7
One course taught in English may be taken from German 1000–1049 or German 1151–1159 or German 2251–2551; or a course taught by German faculty in other programs may be substituted for this requirement upon prior approval.
The other courses (or all of the seven courses) must be taken from German 2205–4052.

All majors are required to do coursework 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 the senior year, which for some students means before they depart for study away. Normally, senior work includes two courses at the 33xx level. Prospective majors, including those who begin with first- or second-year German at Bowdoin, may arrange an accelerated program, usually including study away. Majors are encouraged to consider a number of study-away programs with different calendars and formats.

German Minor

Required Courses
GER 1102Elementary German II1
Select any four courses.4
two courses in the language (German 2203–2289 and German 3300–3999)
up to two may be taught in English (German 1000–1049, German 1151–1159, or German 2251–2551)

With advance departmental approval of the transfer credit, any number of courses from another college or university may count toward the major or minor.

Additional Information and Department Policies

  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail) and earn a course grade of C- or better.
  • First-year writing seminars taught by German department faculty count toward the major and minor.
  • Students may engage in independent study at the intermediate (2970–2979) or advanced (4000–4051) level. Independent studies, including honors projects, may count toward the major.
  • If taught by a German faculty member and pre-approved, majors and minors may double-count one course with another department or program. 
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB): Students who received a minimum score of four on the German Advanced Placement exam receive a general credit toward their degree, normally no credit to the major or minor, after completion of a 3000-level German course with a minimum grade of B-. Students who took the German IB exam should consult the department regarding credit. Regardless of earned scores, all students are expected to take the placement exam. In order to receive credit for AP/IB work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.

Information for Incoming Students

No matter whether you are new to German or want to continue your study of German language, literature, history, and culture, Bowdoin’s German department is excited to welcome you! We offer a seamless curriculum that engages students in the rich cultural traditions of the German-speaking countries from day one. All our courses – even the very beginning German classes – emphasize interdisciplinary connections that relate texts, films, cultural objects in their rich contexts and links to the arts, natural sciences, history, sociology, and politics. Our curriculum integrates study abroad, allowing students to enroll in different programs, universities, and summer study in Germany and Austria. Pathways into our program are flexible and individualized – we meet you where you are and lead you to success! Our students and alumni have found unparalleled success and satisfaction through their study of German. Please learn about them and the details of our academic and co-curricular program, which was designated a National Center of Excellence by the American Association of Teachers of German, on our website.

  • First-year students considering either beginning or continuing the study of German are strongly encouraged to take a course during their first semester.
  • Students with no prior exposure to German are encouraged to begin their study in the first semester because doing so will allow them to take full advantage of options open to them, including study in a German-speaking country. GER 1101 Elementary German I is open to those with no previous study in the German language. No placement necessary.
  • Being a first-year student does not mean that GER 1101 Elementary German I is the only course for you. Your placement exam suggests any course from our full slate of GER 1102 Elementary German II (only offered spring semesters) to GER 2203 Intermediate German I: Germany within Europe or GER 2205 Advanced German Texts and Contexts (offered fall semesters) or a 33xx-level seminar. (The latter may very well occur, if you have AP or have studied extensively in a German-speaking environment.) Please take this advice and placement at face value – we rely on many years of experience and have an excellent track record in appropriately placing students where they will best succeed. Do not hesitate to ask your advisor to consult with Professor Jill Smith.
  • GER 1150-level and 2250-level courses are taught in English and are open to all students with no previous language study required. Please see our website or the first-year orientation schedule for placement consultations as you prepare your course registration for fall 2022, and do attend! If you miss the consultation and open house during orientation, however, don’t worry – simply contact Professor Jill Smith.

This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue