University of Wisconsin–Madison

German Major

Requirements for the Major

To declare a German major, consult with the department’s undergraduate advisor.

In addition to the major, the department offers a certificate in German and a major in secondary education (see the School of Education section in this catalog).

Prerequisites for admission to the German major are 9 credits of language coursework at the third-year (post-204, “2xx”) level: either 249, 258, and 262; or 249 and 274/284.

The undergraduate major in German requires a minimum of 27 credits in advanced-level German courses. The courses presented for the major must include German 337 (Advanced Composition and Conversation) and German 676 or 677 (Advanced Seminar in German Studies). Working closely with an advisor, students create their own program of study, selecting from the wide range of departmental and crosslisted courses. With the approval of the major advisor, up to 9 credits of work may be taken outside the Department of German, generally selected from a list of cognate courses.

These cognate courses are classes with German-related subject matter in departments such as Anthropology, Art History, Business, Communication Arts, Folklore, Geography, History, Jewish Studies, Medieval Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre and Drama, and Urban and Regional Planning. German 676 or 677 and at least 3 additional credits of the required 27 credits must be taken on the Madison campus.

Also required are a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA on all work in the major and a grade of C or higher in all advanced-level German courses counted in fulfillment of major requirements.

Advanced-level German courses taken on a UW–Madison study abroad program for which there is no direct UW–Madison course equivalent will appear on a student’s transcript as 367 (Study Abroad in German Literature), 368 (Study Abroad in German Culture), or 369 (Study Abroad in German Linguistics). These courses may be used toward the major.

All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major taken in residence. Any course in the Department of German numbered 300 or above (with the exception of the Dutch courses 311, 312, 313, 314, 325, 335, and the graduate-level German language courses 391, 392, 401, 402, 403, 404) will count toward this requirement. Credits earned as part of a UW–Madison academic program abroad may be counted toward this 15-credit requirement. Two additional guidelines apply to German majors studying abroad: (1) German majors participating in a UW–Madison academic program abroad must complete at least 15 credits of German at any level on the UW–Madison campus; (2) for German majors, these 15 credits must include the seminar German 676 or 677 and at least 3 additional credits of advanced-level work.

Summary of Requirements

1. a minimum of 27 advanced-level credits in German, to include:

a. German 337 (Advanced Composition and Conversation);
b. German 676 or 677 (Advanced Seminar in German Studies) taken on the Madison campus;
c. 3 additional advanced-level credits in the major taken on the Madison campus.

2. fulfillment of the following minimum standards:

a. 2.0 cumulative GPA in all advanced-level courses in the major;
b. a grade of C or better in each advanced-level course counted toward the major;
c. 15 credits of upper-level work in the major in residence, including UW–Madison study abroad;
d. 15 credits of German on the Madison campus at any level.

Level and classification of German courses with regard to L&S degree requirements. German courses at the 100 level are regarded by the department as elementary, courses at the 200 level as intermediate, and courses at the 300 level or above as advanced. Exceptions are German 236 (Bascom Course), German 245 (Topics in Dutch Life and Culture), German 266 (Topics in German and/or Yiddish Culture), German 269 (Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe), German 270 (Language and Immigration in Wisconsin), German 272 (Nazi Culture), and German 278 (Topics in German Culture), which are elementary (E), and German 235 (Dutch Conversation and Composition), German 267 (Yiddish Song and the Jewish Experience), German 271 (The German Immigration Experience), German 276 (Special Topics in German and World Literature/s), German 279 (Yiddish Literature and Culture in America), German 325 (Topics in Dutch Literature), and German 335 (Dutch Conversation and Composition), which are intermediate/advanced (D). All courses in German literature numbered 258 or above may be applied toward the L&S humanities/literature requirement. German 676, the German linguistics courses numbered 351 or above and the German or Dutch culture courses numbered 245 or above may be applied toward the L&S humanities requirement. German 391, 392, 401, 402, 403, 404 are for graduate students and not applicable to the German major or L&S degree requirements. German 311, 312, 313, 314 are Dutch-language courses for graduate students and not applicable to the German major or L&S degree requirements.

Sequence of elementary and intermediate courses. The regular German sequence consists of German 101, 102, 203, and 204. After 204, students may continue in any of the intermediate courses, 249 (Speaking), 258 (Reading), 262 (Writing), or 274/284 (Introduction to German Literature).  Intermediate courses may be taken in any sequence and simultaneously; however, 274/284 counts as the equivalent of 258 and 262, so students may receive credit for either (a) 258 and 262 or (b) 274/284.  The prerequisites for most advanced-level courses in German are (a) 249, 258, and 262; or (b) 249 and 274/284.

Advanced courses. The 300-level and 400-level courses, with the exception of the language-acquisition sequences for graduate students (German 311, 312, 313, 314, 391, 392, 401, 402, 403, 404), are open to undergraduate students who have completed appropriate prerequisites on the intermediate level. The 600-level courses are open to seniors as well as other students who have completed the listed prerequisites. The 700-level courses are open only to seniors with a 3.5 GPA, permission of the instructor, and permission of the L&S dean.

Senior Thesis. Any student who wishes to write a senior thesis may do so under the direction of a professor. Planning with the student’s major advisor or the directing professor should begin in the student’s junior year.

Students wishing to enroll in independent study or honors courses who find they are not authorized to do so should contact the department for assistance.

Honors in the Major

To graduate with Honors in the Major, German majors must complete the junior-senior honors curriculum in the department. Students should ordinarily declare to the department their intention to graduate with Honors in the Major at the end of their sophomore year or the start of their junior year and must receive permission from the department undergraduate advisor before being admitted to the department honors track.

Junior–Senior Honors Curriculum

Candidates for Honors in the Major in German must complete the requirements for a German major (above), with the following additions/stipulations:

1. A total of 29 advanced-level credits in German (an additional 2 credits)

2. A minimum of 20 honors credits in advanced-level courses in the major, to include:

German 337 (Advanced Composition and Conversation) for honors credit
German 676 (Advanced Seminar in German Studies) for honors credit
German 681–682 (Senior Honors Thesis)

3. A cumulative GPA of 3.3 in advanced-level courses counted in fulfillment of major requirements

4. Completion of a Senior Honors Thesis written under the supervision of an honors thesis advisor

It is recommended that students intending to graduate with Honors in the Major take intermediate-level coursework for honors; however honors work at the intermediate level is not required.

Alternatives to German 681–682 may be discussed with the department undergraduate advisor.