College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
    Apr 23, 2019  
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Modern Languages and Literatures: German Studies

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Core Faculty

SUNKA SIMON, Professor1
HANSJAKOB WERLEN, Professor and Section Head
MADALINA MEIROSU, Visiting Assistant Professor

1 Absent on leave, fall 2019.

Affiliated Faculty

Peter Baumann, Professor (Philosophy)
Richard Eldridge, Professor (Philosophy)
Tamsin Lorraine, Professor (Philosophy)
Braulio Muñoz, Professor (Sociology And Anthropology)
Robert Weinberg, Professor (History)
Thomas Whitman, Associate Professor (Music)

The German Studies Program offers students a wide variety of courses in language, literature, film, and culture taught in German, as well as classes in anthropology and sociology, history, music, philosophy, and political science. Stressing the interrelatedness of linguistic competency and broad cultural literacy, German studies classes cover a wide range of literary periods, intellectual history, and film and visual culture. The diverse approaches to German culture(s) prepare students for graduate work in several academic disciplines, as well as for a variety of international careers. German studies can be pursued as course major or minor or as a major and minor in the Honors Program.
Majors are expected to be sufficiently proficient in German when they graduate. To this end, we strongly advise students to spend an academic semester-preferably spring semester-in a German-speaking country before their senior year.

The Academic Program

Not all advanced courses or seminars are offered every year. Students wishing to major or minor in German studies should plan their program in consultation with the program coordinator. All German courses numbered 50 and above are open to students after GMST 008 or 020. Seminars in German are taught in fall semesters only and are open to students with advanced skills in reading and writing German. For seminar enrollment in our affiliated departments, please consult the guidelines and German studies adviser of those departments (art, history, music, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology and anthropology).

Course Major: Options, Requirements, and Acceptance Criteria

  • Completion of a minimum of 8 credits in courses numbered 003 and above.
  • Majors in course are required to take GMST 091 : Special Topics, and enroll in at least one seminar taught in German in their junior or senior year. (See the note on enrolling in seminars )
  • Three of the 8 credits may be taken in English from among the courses relevant to German studies listed in the catalog under literatures in translation  (e.g., LITR 054G  or LITR 066G) or from courses listed as eligible for German studies  (see list below).
  • Comprehensive requirement: By April 15, seniors in course are required to submit a bibliography of 20 works to form the basis of a discussion and an extended, integrative paper (approximately 15 double-spaced pages in length) on a topic agreed to by the program coordinator. This paper, due before the date for the comprehensive examination, is complemented by a discussion of the paper with members of the program, in German.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to spend a semester in Germany or at least participate in a summer program in a German-speaking country. Of the classes taken abroad, a maximum of 2 credits will normally count toward the major. In cases of double majors, this number might be increased in consultation with the German studies chair. After studying abroad, majors must take two additional German studies classes.

Typical Course of Study:

Minimum of 5 credits in German above GMST 001 and 002:

  • GMST 003
  • GMST 008
  • GMST 020
  • GMST 091
  • GMST Seminar (104 and above, 2 credits)

Maximum of 3 credits taught in English from LITR, such as:

  • LITR 020: Expressions of Infinite Longing, German Romanticism and its Discontents
  • LITR 051G: European Cinema
  • LITR 054G: German Cinema
  • LITR 066G: History of German Drama

Or the equivalent, taught in English, and from List of Courses eligible for German Studies (taught in English in other departments, e.g. HIST 035 and PHL 049 or SOAN 101)

Course Minor: Options, Requirements, and Acceptance Criteria

  • Students must complete a minimum of 5 credits in courses and seminars, at least 3 of which are taught in German and numbered 003 or above. Of these courses, GMST 008, 020 and GMST 091: Special Topics are required.
  • Up to two credits can come from courses eligible for German studies numbered 008 or above.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to spend a semester in Germany or at least participate in a summer program in a German-speaking country. Of the classes taken abroad, a maximum of 2 credits will normally count toward the minor. In case of double majors, this number can be increased in consultation with the German Studies coordinator.

Typical Course of Study:

  • GMST 003
  • GMST 008
  • GMST 020
  • GMST 091
  • 1-2 advanced courses or 1 seminar taught in German or in English from the list of courses eligible for German studies (from LITR or from an affiliated department, e.g. HIST 036 and MUSI 035 or PHL 137)

Honors Major and Minor in German Studies

Majors and minors in the Honors Program are expected to fulfill the minimum requirements for course majors above and be sufficiently proficient in spoken and written German to complete all their work in the language. All majors and minors in honors are strongly advised to spend at least one semester of study in a German-speaking country. Candidates are expected to have a B average in coursework both in the department and at the College.


Honors Major: The honors major requirements are identical to the course major requirements. All honors majors must include GMST 020 and GMST 091 in their course of study. In addition:

  1. Honors majors in German studies take three seminars, two taught in German and one taught in English from an affiliated program. In consultation with the German studies chair, two advanced courses in German studies (such as GMST 054 and a second special topics course, GMST 091) may be taken in lieu of one seminar.
  2. Honors majors participate in the external examination process required of all Swarthmore honors students and the Senior Honors Study process explained below. (Total: Minimum of 8 credits, 6 credits for seminars + 1 credit for GMST 091 + 1 credit for GMST 020)

Honors Minor: The honors minor prepares for the examination in German studies by following the minimum course minor requirements. All honors minors must take one seminar taught in German for their honors preparation and complete Senior Honors Study (described below). (Total: 5 credits)

Senior Honors Study (SHS) and Mode of Examination

For SHS, students are required to present an annotated bibliography of criticism-articles or books-concerning at least five of the texts in each seminar offered for external examination. Students are required to meet with the respective instructor(s) of the seminars being examined by Feb. 15 to discuss their planned bibliography and to meet with the instructors for a second time when the approved bibliography is handed in by May 1. The annotated bibliography, which carries no credit, will be added to course syllabi in the honors portfolio. The honors examination will take the form of a 3-hour written examination based on each seminar and its SHS preparation as well as a 1-hour oral panel examination based on the three written examinations for majors or a 30- to 45-minute oral examination for minors.

Special Major in Linguistics and Languages

1. Complete three credits numbered 008 or above

2. Complete GMST 008, 020, 091

3. In place of GMST 091, a seminar may be taken

Off-Campus Study

Students of German are strongly encouraged to spend at least a semester in a German-speaking country. There are several excellent opportunities to participate in an approved program, such as the Columbia Consortium Program in Berlin, Duke University in Berlin, the Macalester College German Study Program in Berlin/Vienna, or the Dickinson College Program in Bremen. Students should consider going abroad in the spring semester. This will enable them to participate fully in the semester schedule of German and Austrian Universities.

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