Undergraduate

The German Studies department offers a major and a minor in German language, an interdisciplinary minor in German Studies, and a German business track within these majors and minors. These programs give students an opportunity to learn the language, literature, culture, and history of Germany.

Students who have performed well in German (minimum 3.3 GPA) may apply for the Honors program.

The major in German is designed to give the student an active command of the German language, an insight into German literature and culture, and provide the background for graduate study in the field.

Major requirements

30 credits or 10 courses

  • GERM 2201-2202 - Composition and Conversation (six credits)
  • GERM 2210-2211 - History of German Literature (six credits)
  • Six semester courses in German literature and culture (18 credits)


Note for majors with transfer credits

Of the 30 credits or 10 semester courses, a minimum of 12 credits or four courses beyond Composition and Conversation (i.e., at least four upper-level literature or culture courses) must be taken within the German Studies department at Boston College. Courses taken abroad must be conducted in German to be counted toward the German Studies major.

Information for all first-year majors

A prospective German major should select an initial language course (e.g., GERM 1001, GERM 1050, or GERM 2201) according to their high school language preparation. Prior to the start of fall semester, contact the Department for the exact date and location of the placement/proficiency exam. If you have earned a 600 on the SAT II or 4 on the AP test, you can sign up for GERM 2201 and do not have to take the proficiency exam.

Students can supplement this choice with an elective—German literature, culture, philosophy, history, art history, music, or a German course offered in English translation.

In all, 30 credits or 10 one-semester courses in German, numbered 1000 and above, are required to complete the major. Courses taken abroad, to be counted toward the German major, must be conducted in German. Students must have at least 27 credits in the major program that are not used to fulfill requirements for another major or minor. Interested students are asked to contact the faculty adviser for the German major, Professor Michael Resler, Lyons 201C, 617-552-3744, resler@bc.edu.

The minor in German is for students seriously interested in learning German and in creating ties with the German-speaking world. The program allows students to combine an interest in German with other academic and professional goals, without the burden of a double major. The foremost goal of the program is to encourage more students to adopt an international focus, whatever their major may be, and to motivate more students to study abroad.

Students wishing to minor in German are required to complete 18 credits or six one-semester courses, including an introductory sequence,

  • GERM 1051 Intermediate German II and
  • GERM 2201-2202 German Conversation and Composition I and II

The remaining required courses are

  • GERM 2290 Advanced Reading in German.
  • Two additional upper-level courses may include Business German GERM 1175, and one course may be conducted in English translation.

Planning and fulfilling the minor in German requires the final approval of the Director of the minor. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director concerning opportunities for study abroad during their junior year at a German or Austrian university. Students must have at least 15 credits in the minor program that are not used to fulfill requirements for another major or minor. Interested students are asked to contact the Director of the minor, Asst. Professor Daniel Bowles, Lyons Hall 201F, 617-552-3740, bowlesd@bc.edu.

The Interdisciplinary Minor in German Studies ensures that students are proficient in German and that they have an understanding of the history of the German-speaking world and its place in today’s world.

Requirements: Six Upper-Division Courses

  1. GERM224201 Germany Divided and Reunited (offered biennially in the spring)
  2. Two upper-level courses from the German Studies Department, one of which must be conducted in German.
  3. Three courses from at least two other departments. (See suggestions below for Spring 2019.)

This list is not exhaustive; there may be other courses suited to the Interdisciplinary Minor in German Studies, including those taken abroad, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or another German-language environment. To register and plan your course of study, contact the Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in German Studies: Prof. Daniel Bowles at bowlesd@bc.edu.

Spring 2019

Course Title Course Number Professor
Northern Renaissance Art ARTH2232 Kenneth Craig
Modern Architecture ARTH2251 Timothy Orwig
Psychoanalysis and Literature ENGL4513 Frances Restuccia
Holocaust and the Arts FILM2220 John Michalcyk
King Arthur in German Literature GERM2240 | ENGL3304 Michael Resler
Germany Divided and Reunited GERM2242 | HIST2270 Daniel Bowles
World War I HIST2840 Jesse Tumblin
Bloodlands of the Eastern Front HIST3280 Nicole Eaton
Music of the Baroque MUSA2203 Peter Watchorn
Music of the Romantic Era MUSA2207 Jeremiah McGrann
Beethoven MUSA3270 Jeremiah McGrann
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Philosophy PHIL4408 Stephen Hudson
Freud and Philosophy PHIL4429 Vanessa Rumble
The Holocaust: A Moral History PHIL4456 | HIST4846 | THEO4456 James Bernauer
Immigration in Contemporary Europe POLI2440 Elitsa Molles
Holocaust Literature: History, Memory, Legacy SLAV6061 | ENGL3307 | HIST4294 Maxim Shrayer

The Business Track concentration allows German majors or minors to combine a dual interest in business and German in a program of study that prepares the student for an international career. The thriving German economy makes Central and Eastern Europe a strong market for American products and has enabled German companies to open branches in the United States. The Business Track has been developed in conjunction with the Boston College Carroll School of Management.

The German business track requires 6 credits or two courses, counting simultaneously toward the German major or minor:

  • GERM1175 Business German
  • GERM3320 German Business and Trends in Europe

Students can also apply for the 1-credit summer German Studies Internship (GERM5501) at the beginning of the previous fall semester. Contact Ursula Mangoubi in Lyons 201G, mangoubi@bc.edu.

Students are encouraged to spend a year or a semester at the Ingolstadt School of Management affiliated with our partner university, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, or at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna University of Economics & Business).

Director of the business track, Prof. Daniel Bowles, Lyons Hall 201F, bowlesd@bc.edu.

Subject to departmental approval, the Honors program in German Studies is offered to interested students who maintain a cumulative average of at least 3.3 in German. Under the direction of a member of the department these students are advised to begin in the second semester of their junior year, a research project that will lead to an honors thesis.

For information please contact Martha Kraft, Administrative Assistant, German Studies, Lyons Hall - E-mail martha.kraft@bc.edu or 617-552-3740. 

For questions during the summer (June–August) please contact Professor Michael Resler, German Studies, Lyons Hall 201C - E-mail michael.resler@bc.edu or 617-552-3744.

  • If you scored four or five on the German Language AP exam or over 600 on the SAT subject test, you have fulfilled the MCAS foreign language proficiency requirement and should consult with Professor Daniel Bowles.
  • If you scored three or less on the German Language AP exam or less than 600 on the SAT subject test, or if you have not taken either exam, you must take the German Placement Test.
  • You must take the German Placement test prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. 
  • If you place into Intermediate I, you should register for GERM 1050. Please write down your score if you would like to discuss your placement with an adviser.
  • If you have never studied German, take GERM 1001: Elementary German I.
  • If you have never studied German but learned it from family members (heritage speakers), you must take the German Placement Test. Sign up for the course suggested upon finishing the exam.
  • Please note: The Department of German Studies welcomes native speakers of German into our English-language courses on German literature and culture, but restricts their enrollment in higher-level literature and culture courses conducted in German. In such cases, the express permission of the instructor is required for enrollment. Students with this level of German-language ability may not enroll in German language classes designed for students still learning the language.

Majors in German Studies will have acquired the following set of skills and knowledge by the time they graduate from Boston College:

  • Advanced proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • Capacity to articulate discussions, arguments, and analyses with clear, structured, and in-depth critical-thinking processes and communicate them effectively to others
  • Familiarity with the principal works, authors, genres, and movements in German-language literature and culture from 800 C.E. to the present
  • Ability to employ disciplinary terminology appropriately and to perform critical disciplinary practices like close reading; historical research; formal, expository and creative writing; and the analysis of grammar, form, and film sequences
  • Ability to analyze and interpret texts and other cultural media from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland within their social, historical, and political contexts
  • Capacity to adopt an international perspective and to relate the knowledge and practices of German Studies appropriately to other cultures, disciplines, fields, and interests

Minors in German or in German Studies will have acquired the following set of skills and knowledge by the time they graduate from Boston College:

  • Strong proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • Familiarity with major cultural highpoints of the German-language world
  • Broad, in-depth understanding of the contributions German-speaking civilizations have made to the development of the Western world
  • Capacity to adopt an international perspective and to relate the knowledge and practices of German Studies appropriately to other cultures, disciplines, fields, and interests, especially the student’s primary major

Students who have taken German-department courses that satisfy the Core Curriculum Literature Requirement will have:

  • Gained deeper insight into the ways in which Western cultures, especially German-speaking ones, have framed and challenged different mechanisms of self-understanding, be it through the concept of justice, modernity, madness, or other
  • Engaged in critical inquiry and reflected meaningfully on alternative ways of looking at the world through literature, together with their peers and course instructor
  • Been introduced to (or further developed) the disciplinary practices of literary study, including close reading, textual analysis, critical thought, and the practice of writing
  • Been afforded the opportunity to identify the linguistic and formal satisfactions of literary art, especially of German-language literature since 1800