The Bryn Mawr Department of German and German Studies is the Bryn Mawr section of the Bi-College German Department and offers a fully coordinated program of courses with the Haverford College Department of German. By drawing upon the expertise of the German faculty at both colleges, the Department has established a broadly conceived German Studies program, incorporating a variety of courses that lay the foundation for a critical understanding of German-speaking cultures in their contemporary global context and their larger political, social, and intellectual history.
The program aims, by means of various methodological approaches to the study of foreign languages and cultures, to foster critical thinking, expository and analytical writing skills, understanding of the diversity of cultures, and the ability to respond creatively to the challenges posed by cultural difference in an increasingly global world.
A thorough knowledge of German is required for our majors and minors. Our language instruction challenges students from the elementary level to become critical consumers of authentic media and skilled in all modes of communication. Cross-disciplinary course offerings reflect both the breadth and depth of our curriculum and support the academic and professional goals of our students. German majors can and are encouraged to take courses and cultivate interests in interdisciplinary areas, such as comparative literature, film, gender and sexuality studies, growth and structure of cities, health studies, history, history of art, music, philosophy, and political science that engage with German thought.
Department Learning Goals
The Bi-College German Department aims, through the study of German language, culture, and literature, to foster:
- a thorough knowledge of German language
- critical thinking
- expository writing skills
- the mastery of critical theories and methodologies, crucial for the analysis of cultural artifacts and media
- the ability to respond intellectually and creatively to the challenges posed by cultural difference in an increasingly multicultural and global world
- interdisciplinary connections that reflect breadth and depth of the study of German
Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.
A thorough knowledge of German is a goal for both major concentrations. The objective of our language instruction is to teach students communicative skills that enable them to function effectively in authentic conditions of language use and to speak and write in idiomatic German. A major component of all German courses is the examination of issues that underline the cosmopolitanism as well as the specificity and complexity of contemporary German culture. German majors can and are encouraged to take courses in interdisciplinary areas, such as comparative literature, film, gender and sexuality studies, growth and structure of cities, history, history of art, music, philosophy, and political science, where they read works of criticism in these areas in the original German. Courses relating to any aspect of German culture, history, and politics given in other departments can count toward requirements for the major or minor.
The Department of German and German Studies offers a major and a minor. A German major consists of 10 credits. After completing GERM H002 (or its equivalent), the German major normally requires:
two intermediate German courses (GERM H101 and GERM H102);
seven courses at the 200 and 300 level
either one semester of Senior Conference (GERM H399) for majors opting to write a German senior thesis or an additional 300 level seminar in German for double majors writing a senior essay instead of a senior thesis.
Students who place out of 101 and 102 and begin their studies at the 200 level are still required to take 10 credits to fulfill the major requirements. Two of the seven courses at the 200 or 300 level could be non-German credit in the broader area of German Studies with the approval of the department.
The Department of German and German Studies offers writing attentive and writing intensive courses. Majors are required to take two writing attentive courses to help them develop critical writing skills and the ability to analyze literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts.
All German majors must take at least one 200 and one 300 level course in the Bi-Co German Department. For students studying abroad for one semester, up to four courses may count toward the major. For students studying abroad for an entire academic year, up to six courses may count toward the major. Approval from the department is required for awarding credits from abroad.
Senior Thesis Project
A senior thesis project is required for all German majors. There are four options available to German majors and double majors to serve as meaningful capstones to their studies:
A senior thesis (around 40 pages) in German.
A combined thesis (40 + pages) written in English for double majors in a related discipline with a strong German Studies component. A combined thesis has to be approved by the department.
A senior essay (20 pages) for double majors, which grows out of a research paper produced in a 300 level seminar. Students pursing this option will not take the Senior Conference and instead will take an additional 300 level seminar.
A project, which may be either a 15-20-minute film or an exhibition with a portfolio and summary in German. The content of the project and portfolio should be equivalent to a 40-page research paper in German.
Senior Thesis Presentation
At the conclusion of their senior year, all majors are expected to participate in a public presentation of their thesis projects. Minors are invited and encouraged to present on a project they have done in their upper-level German coursework.
Senior Project Learning Goals
In writing the senior thesis, the student should:
conceive a theoretically informed and well-designed research project
apply the language skills to research and evaluate primary and secondary materials
utilize the analytical and methodological skills to produce an innovative and critically astute thesis
hone analytical and expository writing skills through all stages of composing the thesis project
Assessment of Senior Thesis
The quality of the thesis is evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
originality of topic
mastery of analysis (ability to perform a critical analysis of texts or cultural phenomena)
familiarity with primary and secondary literature
creative application of relevant theoretical discourses
clarity of writing
Any student whose grade point average in the major at the end of their senior year is 3.8 or higher qualifies for departmental honors. Students who have completed a thesis and whose major grade point average at the end of the senior year is 3.6 or higher, but not 3.8, are eligible to be discussed as candidates for departmental honors. A student in this range of eligibility must be sponsored by at least one faculty member with whom she has done coursework, and at least one other faculty member must read some of the student's advanced work and agree on the excellence of the work in order for departmental honors to be awarded. If there is a sharp difference of opinion, additional readers will serve as needed.
A minor in German and German Studies consists of six credits. To minor, students are normally required to take:
two Intermediate German courses (GERM H101 and GERM H102)
four German courses at the 200 and 300 level
If students are placed at the 200 level, they must take additional German courses at and above 200 level to fulfill the 6-credit requirement.
Concentrations and Interdisciplinary Minors
The German department with its cross-disciplinary curriculum is a regular contributor to the Comparative Literature program, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Cities program, as well as African and Africana Studies.
College Foreign Language Requirement
The College's foreign language requirement may be satisfied by the completion of two courses in German with an average grade of at least 2.0.
Students majoring in German are encouraged to spend some time in German-speaking countries over the course of their undergraduate studies. Various possibilities include:
summer intensive German language programs
summer courses at German universities funded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange) scholarships and the Thomas Raeburn White Scholarship
select semester and year-long study abroad programs including the Junior Year Abroad in Munich or IES Programs in Berlin and Freiburg.