Major Program In Germanic Studies

Brigitte Riesebrodt, "Sog" (2010). Courtesy of the artist.
Brigitte Riesebrodt, "Sog" (2010). Courtesy of the artist.

Major Program in Germanic Studies

Students majoring in Germanic Studies typically register for:

  • Six German language courses at the second-year level and above. (Or students may have satisfactory working knowledge of German, in which case they satisfy the required language courses through placement or accreditation examinations and may petition for back credits.) With approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, one third-year course can be replaced by the independent project in Vienna.
  • Three courses in German literature and culture.
  • Three courses in German literature and culture conducted in German, of which one may be a departmental course with a Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC) session and one may be an additional third-year course.
  • GRMN 29900 BA Paper

Visit the College Catalog for list of courses and course requirements.

With prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), students may count up to two relevant German-oriented courses from other departments in the humanities or social sciences toward the requirements of the major in Germanic Studies. 

Students majoring in Germanic Studies must receive a quality grade in all courses taken to meet requirements in the major. More than half of the requirements for the major must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss a plan of study as soon as they declare their major and no later than the end of Spring Quarter of their third year. Students must have their programs approved by the DUS before the end of their third year.

Examples of Past and Current Double Majors

Students have double-majored in German alongside other programs such as: Pre-Med; Global Studies; Computational and Applied Mathematics; Economics; Mathematics; Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities; Law, Letters, and Society; Philosophy; Chemistry; Sociology; Human Rights, Comparative Human Development, as well as other fields.

B.A. Paper

The BA paper typically is a research paper of twenty-five pages. While the paper may be written in either English or German, it must include a bibliography that makes ample use of German-language sources. Students must submit a proposal for their BA paper to their faculty adviser by the beginning of the eighth week of Autumn Quarter in their senior year. A first draft of the paper is due on the first day of Spring Quarter, and the completed paper must be submitted by the beginning of the sixth week of Spring Quarter. Each student needs at least one adviser from within the department of Germanic Studies.

Germanic Studies will accept a paper or project used to meet the BA requirement in another major, under the condition that original German sources are used. Students should consult with both chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of their third year, when neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

Honors are reserved for students who achieve overall excellence in grades for courses in the College and within the major, as well as complete a BA paper that shows proof of original research or criticism. Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.0 for College work and a GPA of at least 3.5 in classes within the major, and whose BA Paper is judged superior by two readers, will be recommended to the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division for honors.

Outstanding BA Papers are eligible for the department’s McKenzie prize.

Past B.A. Paper Titles

Metaphors of Communication in Luther’s Postils (2020)

Good Germans and Bad Nazis: The Holocaust and German Responsibility in Postwar West German History Textbooks (2020)

Representation of Syrian Refugees in Austrian Newspapers: New(s) Frames since 2015 (2020)

Dionysus with Dithyramb and Hammer: Revaluation in Birth of Tragedy (2020)

Inherited Orientalisms: American and German Scholars in Dialogue in the Archived Director’s Correspondence from the Oriental Institute, 1933 – 1945 (2020)

Aesthetic Politics and the Past, Present, and Future of Wiener Kaffeehauskultur (2019)

Sieben Rosen: Locating the Canary Islands in the Germanic Cultural Imaginary (2019)

The Problem of Perspective: Magnetic Influence in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Works (2019)

Play, Truth, and Beauty: A Study of the “Dionysian Worldview” (2019)

Poetic Arcades: A Place of Modern Awakening (2018)

The Return of ‘A Certain Way of Thinking and Feeling’: Holocaust Memory and the Rise of the Far-Right in Postwar Germany and Austria (2018)

Modernity’s Apocalypse: Alfred Kubin’s Die andere Seite as an Expressionist Vision of Modernity in Crisis (2018)

Trakl’s Föhn: A Complication of the Romantic Wind Metaphor (2018)

Between Republicanism and Fascism: Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Politics of Neo-Aristocracy, 1920-1938 (2017)

Trials of Recollection: An Analysis of Memory in Selected Poems of Paul Celan’s Mohn und Gedächtnis (2017)

The Rights of Man and the Powers of State: A Realist Analysis of Nationalism (2017) 

The Historical Semantics of Heimat before 1920 and the Ecological Philosophy of R.H. Francé (2017)

Echte Kanax (Real Kanax): Shifting the Ethnicity and Criminality of the Ambivalently Performed Kanak Identity in Current German Gangsta Rap