The German program at Dickinson offers students a variety of courses in German language and cultures. Classes are small and challenging. Our courses focus on intensive language learning and cultural study. German language courses are taught as preparatory to the upper-level courses in German culture, which include literature, history, film, and art. After completing four semesters of language/cultural courses (GRMN 101, 102, 201, and 202) or their equivalent in sequence, we offer a number of options for continued study.
200-level courses above German 202 introduce students to German culture with a focus on cultural forms as well as broader topics of German studies. An overview of the study of German cultures (GRMN 210) has no prerequisites and is taught in English for those who have no previous knowledge of the German language and are curious about German-language cultures and their history. Courses numbered in the 300s cover additional aspects of German culture, literature, history, art, and film. Special topics courses are offered on a regular basis and are taught in either German or English.
The German major is conceived in such a way that we encourage students to explore other interests in the liberal arts in conjunction with study in our program and at the University of Bremen.
Note: It is entirely possible to start German at Dickinson and still complete enough credits to develop a major and reach a sufficient language proficiency to spend the junior year abroad.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
Introductory courses appropriate for prospective majors
GRMN 101 and 102, German in Everyday Life
GRMN 201, Contemporary German Cultures
Note: The successful completion of GRMN 101, 102, and 201 fulfills the college language requirement. However, they do not count toward the courses required for a German major.
It is entirely possible to start German at Dickinson and still complete enough credits to develop a major and reach a sufficient language proficiency to spend the junior year abroad.
Intermediate courses for prospective majors
After GRMN 201, prospective majors should take GRMN 202 (Mediated German Cultures), which constitutes the first of ten major credits. If this is impossible or not appropriate, consult with the Chair of the department, Professor Sarah McGaughey.
After the completion of GRMN 202 students may take any course offered in German at the 200-level. A 300-level course is typically taken upon return to the Carlisle campus after the Junior Year in Bremen and has a prerequisite of the successful completion of a 200-level course in German above GRMN 202.
The German department strongly recommends enrolling in GRMN 210 and an additional 200-level course before going to Germany for a year or for the spring semester.
Students who studied German in high school and wish to continue with German at Dickinson must take the online German placement exam, unless they receive a 3 or above on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam. The department, upon having received the placement test score, will place each student in the appropriate German class and will let each student know by email where he/she has been placed. In a few instances it may be necessary to make further adjustments in the placement of a particular student after classes have started in the fall. Such final adjustments will be made during the first four weeks of classes. Students who cannot take the online exam before July 1 should contact Professor Kamaal Haque before August 25.
Test scores and credits that may affect course selection
Advanced Placement scores: course credit and/or placement
A student who has achieved a grade of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test will be granted credit for college work (GRMN 201) and will receive placement in the appropriate, more advanced German course. For most students, this is GRMN 202. In the case that GRMN 202 is deemed inappropriate or does not fit a student’s schedule, Professor Kamaal Haque should be consulted. Students with an AP score of 3 will not receive college credit for their AP score, but will be automatically placed into GRMN 201. Students with grades of 1 or 2 on the Advanced Placement test will not receive college credit and need to take the online German placement exam in order to be placed in the appropriate German course like all other students who wish to continue with German.
Students who wish to get credit for German courses taken at other colleges or universities should see the department chairperson, Professor Sarah McGaughey. Transfer students who decide to major in German at Dickinson must take at least five of their ten courses required for the major at Dickinson. Minors must take at least three of the six courses at Dickinson.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: German.
Courses that fulfill distribution requirements
Completion at the intermediate level, GRMN 201
Humanities (Division I A):
Humanities (Division I B):
Social Sciences (Division II):
GRMN 340, Comparative Cultures: USA-Germany
Writing in the Discipline (WID):
Sustainability Connections (SCON):
GRMN 400, Mountains in the German Imagination
Sustainability Investigations (SINV):
GRMN 215, German Environments
Suggested curricular flow through the major
The following two curricular flows are based on a student starting in either GRMN 101 or 202. If you begin German at Dickinson at a different level, please speak with a faculty member to determine the best sequence of courses for you.
Placement into GRMN 101 or no previous knowledge of German
GRMN 210 or a course in English
Study abroad in Bremen (a full year is strongly recommended)
Placement into GRMN 202
GRMN 200-level (210 with FLIC or 211 or above)
GRMN 200-level (211 or above)
GRMN 200- or 300-level
Study abroad in Bremen (a full year is strongly recommended)
Senior German majors who successfully complete a year-long independent study project worth two course credits will be eligible to be voted honors in German on the completion of the project. A student will graduate with honors in German if a) his/her original research receives the grade of "A" from the supervising instructor and b) the student successfully defends his/her project before a panel of the entire German faculty so that the project is designated as "worthy of honors."
Independent study and independent research
Independent study projects are an option open to self-motivated students who desire to study a topic not offered in a regular College course. Most projects are taken for either half or full course credit. Usually each independent study student will have a weekly meeting with her or his advisor.
Occasionally, students may elect an independent study project in the German language. This option is open only when it is clear that the student's needs cannot be met in the traditional language courses. Possibilities for independent language work include: advanced oral and written language practice; technical translation.
Each year two German language assistants (OSAs) from the University of Bremen are actively involved with all aspects of the German program at Dickinson. In addition to the language assistants, at least one additional exchange student from Bremen is on-campus. The German Club sponsors several events every year together with the German department. German films are shown regularly throughout the academic year, and a German Language Table is held each Tuesday from 5:30-7 pm in a HUB sideroom for students who wish to speak—or merely listen to—German while they eat. German writers, scholars, filmmakers, and actors also visit the campus every year.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Junior Year: Students are encouraged to spend one or two semesters abroad during the junior year. For qualified students, the Junior Year in Bremen is a Dickinson-affiliated program with a wide range of course and program options, including laboratory courses in the sciences.
Summer Immersion Program: The German Department offers a four-week student immersion at the University of Bremen, West Germany. See the course description for GRMN 220, Bremen Practicum.
Possible Careers and Double Majors: Recent German majors have pursued a wide variety of careers. Some have gone on to graduate schools such as Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Jacobs University in Bremen, or the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Others have entered law or medical school. Still others have become teachers, business executives, research scientists, librarians, etc. Recently, several of our students have successfully secured positions with American subsidiaries of German companies.
Many students choose to pursue a position as an English Teaching Assistant or a research project through Fulbright. Other funding opportunities exist through the German Academic Foreign Exchange Service (DAAD) for Research Internships in Science and Engineering or experience in labs in Germany.
Many students interested in German have become double majors since they have found that a German major in combination with another field (e.g. biology, international studies, physics, economics, another language, political science) may enhance their career opportunities.