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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts in German Studies

Majors must demonstrate basic language skills, either by completing GERLANG 1,2,3, First-Year German, or the equivalent such as an appropriate course of study at the Stanford in Berlin Center. Students then enroll in intermediate and advanced courses on literature, culture, thought, and language. Requirements for the B.A. include at least three courses at the 120-139 level (introductory surveys on topics in German literature, thought, linguistics, and culture). Every major is expected to complete at least one Writing in the Major (WIM) course. Including GERLANG 1,2,3, the total requirement for the B.A. is a minimum of 60 units of work; the German and Philosophy option requires 65 units. At the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, appropriate courses offered by other departments or relevant transfer units can be accepted toward this total, up to a maximum of 25 units. All GERLANG courses count as department electives. Courses counted toward degree requirements must be taken for a letter grade unless that grading option is not available.

Requests for exceptions to any of these requirements must be referred to the Director of Undergraduate Studies who, in consultation with the Chair, makes a final decision.

Internships—Internships in Germany are arranged through the Overseas Studies Program. In addition, students may consult with the department to arrange local internships involving German language use or issues pertaining to Germany or Central Europe. Interns who prepare papers based on their experience enroll in GERLIT 298.

Extended Major in English and German Literatures—Students may enter this program with the consent of the chairs of both departments. See the "English" section of this bulletin.

Multiple Majors—Students can combine a major in German Studies with a major in any other field. By choosing courses in such disciplines as history, international relations, or economics, students can prepare themselves in the area of Central Europe. Multiple majors are especially recommended for students spending one or more quarters at the Stanford in Berlin Center.

Degree Requirements—

Three 120-139 courses:

GERGEN 122Q. The Culture of Pessimism

GERGEN 125. Varieties of Freedom in Modern German Culture

GERLIT 120Q. Is God Dead?

GERLIT 121. The Viennese Coffeehouse

GERLIT 129. The German Novella

GERLIT 130. Brecht and Modern Aesthetics

GERLIT 131B. German Lyric and the Oriental Tradition

One Writing in the Major course (WIM):

GERLIT 127A. The German Ballad

GERLIT 135. Outsiders and Outcasts: Introduction to German Prose Fiction

GERLIT 123N. Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

Elective courses:

GERGEN 104N. Resistance Writings

GERGEN 161. Wagnerian Echos

GERGEN 177. Culture and Politics in Modern Germany

GERGEN 201. Conservative Revolution

GERGEN 211. Theodor W. Adorno

GERGEN 212. The Invention of Experience

GERGEN 221. Memory and Modernism

GERGEN 221A. Modernism and the Jewish Voice

GERGEN 246. Kant's Third Critique and Its Repercussions

GERGEN 268A. Freud and Psychoanalysis

GERGEN 291A. Foundations of Psychoanalysis/ Oedipus, Hamlet, Moses: Archetypes of the Hero

GERLIT 177. Movies from GDR

GERLIT 217. Holderlin's Poetry

GERLIT 159. Reading Dutch

GERLIT 219. German Utopias and Dystopias

GERLIT 242. Narrative and Ethics

GERLIT 250C. Postwar German Culture and Thought: 1945-to the Present

GERLIT 258. German Dialect

GERLIT 369. Introduction to Graduate Studies


Credits earned for completion of the following cognate courses may be applied to unit requirements for the departmental major.

Autumn Quarter:

RELIGST 278/378. Heidegger: Hermeneutics of the Self

Winter Quarter:

CLASSGEN 6N. Antigone: From Ancient Democracy to Contemporary Dissent (Same as DRAMA 12N)

ENGLISH 140A. Creative Resistance

MUSIC 17N. Operas of Mozart

MUSIC 312A. Aesthetics and Criticism of Music, Ancients and Moderns: Plato to Nietzsche

Spring Quarter:

MUSIC 16N. Music, Myth, and Modernity: Wagner's Ring Cycle and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (Same as GERLIT 16N.)

MUSIC 312B. Aesthetics and Criticism of Music, Contemporaries: Heidegger to Today

PHIL 125/225. Kant's First Critique


The German and Philosophy major option offers students the opportunity to combine studies in literature and philosophy. Students take most of their courses from departments specializing in the intersection of literature and philosophy. This option is not declared in Axess; it does not appear on the transcript or diploma.

The German and Philosophy major option requires a minimum of 16 courses, for a minimum total of 65 units, distributed as follows:

  1. 35 units in German Studies, including:
    1. three courses at the 120-139 level
    2. a WIM course
  2. GERGEN 181/PHIL 81, the gateway course in philosophy and literature, preferably in the sophomore year.
  3. Requirements in Philosophy:
    1. PHIL 80. Prerequisite: introductory philosophy class
    2. a course in the PHIL 180 series
    3. a course in the PHIL 170 series
    4. two courses in the history of philosophy numbered above 100
  4. Two additional elective courses of special relevance to the study of philosophy and literature as identified by the committee in charge of the program. In German, these courses include the GERGEN 120Q, Is God Dead?; GERGEN 122Q, The Culture of Pessimism; GERGEN 125, Varieties of Freedom in Modern German Culture; GERGEN 211, Theodor W. Adorno; GERGEN 212, The Invention of Experience; GERGEN 246, Kant's Third Critique; GERGEN 268A, Freud and the Enterprise of Psychoanalysis; and other advanced seminars in German thought and literature. Students must consult with their advisers, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the undergraduate adviser of the program in philosophical and literary thought.
  5. Capstone: One of the courses must be taken in the student's senior year. When choosing courses, students must consult with their advisers, the director of Undergraduate Studies, and the undergraduate adviser of the program in philosophical and literary thought.
  6. Units devoted to meeting the department's language requirement are not counted toward the 65-unit requirement.

The capstone seminar and the two related courses must be approved by both the German Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies and the undergraduate adviser of the program in philosophical and literary thought administered through the DLCL. Substitutions, including transfer credit, are not normally permitted for items 3b, 3c, and 3d, and are not permitted under any circumstances for items 2, 3a, and 5. Up to 10 units taken in the Philosophy Department may be taken CR/NC or S/NC; the remainder must be taken for a letter grade.


Majors with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 in German courses are eligible for departmental honors. Students interested in the honors program should consult the undergraduate adviser early in their junior year. The essay topic is chosen in consultation with a faculty member of the department, and opportunities to start research projects are offered at the Stanford in Berlin Center. In addition to the requirements listed above, the student must submit a proposal for the honors essay to the German faculty by the end of Spring Quarter of the junior year. During this quarter, students may enroll for 2 units of credit in GERLIT 189B for the drafting or revision of the thesis proposal. In Autumn Quarter of the senior year, the student must enroll in DLCL 189, a 5-unit seminar that focuses on researching and writing the honors thesis. Students then enroll for 5 units of credit in GERLIT 189A while composing the thesis during Winter Quarter. Students who did not enroll in 189B in the junior year may enroll in GERLIT 189B in Spring Quarter of the senior year while revising the thesis, if approved by the thesis supervisor. A total of 10-12 units are awarded for completion of honors course work, independent study, and the finished thesis.

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