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German Advising


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 the study of German culture with a focus on how to analyse a variety of cultural forms and topics of German studies.Courses numbered in the 300s cover additional aspects of German culture, literature, history, art, and film with a more concentrated focus and allow students to implement cultural studies frameworks from their 200-level coursework. 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 both at Dickinson and at the University of Bremen.

Note: It is entirely possible to start German at Dickinson and complete enough credits to develop a major and reach a sufficient language proficiency to spend the junior year abroad. There are a number of opportunties to take German-language courses over the summer or winter break as well. For more information, contact the chair of the German Department.

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. 201 can count toward the courses required for the German minor, but it will 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 a minor credit, but not a major credit. If this is impossible or inappropriate, consult with the chair of the department.

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 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 the chair of the German Department 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, the chair of the German Department 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.

Transfer Credits
Students who wish to get credit for German courses taken at other colleges or universities should see the department chair. 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

Language requirement: 
Completion at the intermediate level, GRMN 201

Humanities (Division I A):
GRMN 211: Introduction to German Intellectual History
GRMN 214: Formations of German Identities: Class, Race, and Gender

Humanities (Division I B):
GRMN 215: German Environments
GRMN 300: Examining Major Cultural Movements
GRMN 301: German Cultures in Transition
GRMN 304: Minority Cultures in the German Context
GRMN 370: Third Reich Cinema

Arts (Division I C):
GRMN 213: Modern German Film
GRMN 370: Third Reich Cinema

Social Sciences (Division II):
GRMN 340: Comparative Cultures: USA-Germany

Writing in the Discipline (WID):
GRMN 202

Sustainability Connections (SCON):
GRMN 400: Mountains in the German Imagination
GRMN 210: Exploring German Cultures
GRMN 303: The Two Germanies: Cultures of East and West Germany

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
First Year
GRMN 101
GRMN 102

Sophomore Year
GRMN 201
GRMN 202
GRMN 210 or a course in English

Junior Year
Study abroad in Bremen (a full year is strongly recommended)

Senior Year
GRMN 300-level
GRMN 400

Placement into GRMN 202
First Year
GRMN 202
GRMN 200-level (211 or above)

Sophomore Year
GRMN 200-level (211 or above)
GRMN 200- or 300-level

Junior Year
Study abroad in Bremen (a full year is strongly recommended)

Senior Year
GRMN 300-level
GRMN 400


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) their original research receives the grade of "A" from the supervising instructor and b) the student successfully defends their 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 independent study students will have a weekly meeting with their advisors.

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.

Co-curricular activities/programs

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 also on campus.

The German Club sponsors several events every year together with the German department.

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 films are shown regularly throughout the academic year. They are most often screened on Tuesdays at 7 pm, after German Table.

German writers, scholars, filmmakers, and actors also visit the campus every year and are often possiible due to the generous funding of the Max Kade Foundation.

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.

Additional Remarks

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, as 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.

Flowchart for Placement Information

Flowchart for Those Retaking Placement Exam