German Studies

GERM – German Studies course descriptions


Mary Stark (chair), Amy Young

Departmental statement of philosophy

The German Studies program faculty believes that the ability to communicate (listen, speak, read and write) in another language is fundamental for attaining an understanding of the many cultures that make up the world. For significant intercultural understanding, students must also learn what members of other cultures consider worth talking about: their historical, artistic and literary heritage; their contemporary political, social and economic problems; and their basic customs and values.

Modern language course offerings are intended to build basic communication skills and insight into important topics in literature and culture. All courses aim to increase language proficiency and cultural awareness as well as to prepare students for an extended, off-campus immersion in a culture where the target language is spoken.


Study abroad opportunities

All majors in the department of modern languages (especially those seeking secondary teaching licensure) are expected to spend one year – or at least one semester – abroad in a German-speaking country. Before departure, students should review with their advisor those courses offered abroad that can be used to meet major requirements, and file a preliminary plan of study with the advisor. Students must make effective use of their time and experience abroad in order to reach the proficiency levels required of the major. Students seeking a minor in the department are encouraged to study abroad as well.


Teaching licensure

Students seeking teaching licensure must secure information from the department of modern languages and the department of education concerning departmental and state requirements. Requirements for students seeking teaching licensure are not necessarily identical to those of the general major/minor.


Foreign language credit by proficiency

For information on earning credit by proficiency in a foreign language, please see the Credit by Proficiency section of this catalog.


German major statement of philosophy

Students completing the German Studies major may choose from three emphasis areas: literature, language or cultural history. At the heart of each student’s major program is study in a German-speaking country, majors are expected to demonstrate skills in German comparable to those of persons qualified to do advanced work at a German or American university. The ultimate aim of the program goes beyond the acquisition of linguistic competence, however, to laying the foundations for active and responsible world citizenship. German majors are encouraged to plan early for study abroad.


Major Communication Skills

All German majors will successfully complete significant written and oral work in one (or more) 300-400 level course.


Admission to the German Studies Program

Students enrolling at Central beginning in Fall 2021 may no longer apply for admission or transfer into the German Studies major.


German Studies Major Requirements (33 credits minimum):

Note: All majors are expected to study in Germany/Austria or a German-speaking country, and to have skills in German comparable to those of persons qualified to do advanced work and receive admission to a German university. Students are advised to confer with the department regarding the best sequence of course work to fulfill major requirements. Whenever possible, the civilization requirement should be met before going abroad.

  1. Complete all of the following:
  •  A minimum of 30 credits in courses at the GERM 222- level and above, which must include GERM-489 Senior Capstone in German (1 credit).
  • A minimum of 3 credits in another language (Spanish, French, Chinese, or approved language) at the appropriate level
  • 1 semester of study abroad in a German-speaking country.


Non-major support courses

During the year abroad, majors may take support courses in Austrian culture and the civilization. The department can help students to choose the civilization and literature courses before going abroad that can count toward major requirements. On campus, majors are encouraged to start a second major or to get strong minors in areas of interest (e.g., business, communications, linguistics, various pre-professional curricula, etc.); students are particularly encouraged to pursue work in another language, literature or area of cultural studies.


Additional information

  1. A second foreign language is required for the major and recommended for the minor.
  2. Each incoming student must take a placement test before enrolling at her/his appropriate level of competence. Final placement decision is made by the department on the basis of previous language study and/or performance on a placement test. Usually the advisor can get a good preliminary recommendation from the department chair. During the initial three weeks of the first semester of study, the student may move to a higher or lower level according to the recommendation of the language instructor.
  3. Students with prior foreign language knowledge will be granted advanced placement credit according to college policy. Students should consult with the department chair regarding the policy on which credits count toward graduation, the major and teacher certification.
  4.  Specific information on the requirements for the minor and/or the teaching major/minor in German can be secured from the department. Requirements for students seeking teaching certification are not necessarily identical with those of the general major/minor. The department is especially stringent in its expectation that candidates for teacher certification study abroad.
  5. The department wishes to work closely with majors studying abroad; all students are asked to obtain statements on file with the department concerning specific offerings in Vienna that may count toward the major.


German Studies Minor Requirements (20 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following (8 credits)
    GERM 121 Beginning German I (or equivalent) (4)
    GERM 122 Beginning German II (or equivalent) (4)
  2. Complete at least two of the following (6 credits)
    GERM 240 The German Imagination (3)
    HIST 210 History of Modern Europe (4)
    HIST 212 World War I and II (4)
    HIST 216 German and Central Europe (4)
    HIST 217 Contemporary Europe (4)
  3. Complete at least 6 credits from the following courses or other courses as approved by German Studies faculty (6 credits)
    Any 300/400 level GERM course
    Any 300/400 level HIST course with a focus on one of more German- Speaking countries

Note: at least a10 total credits must be taken in GERM courses.