How to Major or Minor

The major in German Studies requires a minimum of 36 credits, including four credits in senior thesis, four credits in a course taught in German at Whitman at the 400 level and another 12 credits (three courses) in German at the 300 level or above. The additional 16 credits of coursework may be in German at the 200 level or above, or may be a combination of German at the 200 level or above and up to (but not more than) 12 credits in the approved German studies courses.Regularly approved courses in German studies are available in history, music, philosophy, religion, art history and visual culture studies, and world literature (see below). Other courses, including those taken abroad, may be accepted as German studies with consent of the faculty in German studies.

Typically, the student entering Whitman with little or no German would include in his or her major: second-year German, third-year German, two German literature courses, two additional courses, either in German literature or in German studies, and a senior thesis.

The student who was able to take third-year German as a first-year student would have more flexibility and would typically take third-year German, three additional German literature courses, three additional courses either in German literature or in German studies, plus a thesis.

The thesis is written in English, but students must work with texts in the original German. Because these theses are so interdisciplinary in nature, we require an outside reader whose area of academic specialization can enhance the development and assessment of the thesis. The outside reader is not necessarily from the affiliated faculty, but rather the person on the Whitman faculty who has the most expertise in the student's subject matter and is willing to serve.

The Final Comprehensive Exercise consists of the oral defense of the thesis. Prior to the defense of the thesis, students will be asked to prepare presentations on a significant text in German literature and an important scholarly analysis of German culture, chosen by the faculty. During this oral examination, students also will be asked to discuss these texts as well as their own thesis. In the course of the examination, students will need to demonstrate a broad knowledge of German literature, history, and culture.

The minor in German Studies requires a minimum of 20 credits: 12 credits in German at the 300 level or above; at least four of which must be from a course taught in German at Whitman at the 400 level; eight additional credits in German at the 200 level or above or in an approved course in German studies at the 200 level or above; no independent studies count toward the minor. Courses that count for other majors may be used for the minor.

Note: Courses taken P-D-F prior to the declaration of a language major or minor will satisfy course and credit requirements for the major or minor. Courses taken P-D-F may not be used to satisfy course and credit requirements for the major or minor after the major or minor has been declared.