German (BA)

Department Website

Program Description

The department’s undergraduate program offers a broad range of courses in the language, cultures, and literatures of German-speaking countries. The department offers a major in German, a joint major in German and linguistics, a joint major in German and global liberal studies, and a minor in German language.

Along with its German language program, the department offers interdisciplinary courses taught in English that address issues of German culture, history, philosophy, art, and literature for students not yet proficient in the German language.

The department sponsors a monthly lunch series, tutoring, and the activities of the German club “Goethes Tisch,” as well as a series of annual awards in recognition of outstanding achievement by undergraduate students in the study of German language and literature. Deutsches Haus, the German cultural center at NYU, provides a varied program of films, concerts, lectures, and exhibitions.

The Department of German places high priority on fostering personal contact between faculty and students, maintains small class sizes (15 or fewer students, on average), and offers comfortable spaces for socializing, studying, and holding informal meetings. Advanced courses and some basic language courses are taught by full-time faculty members, all of whom are also involved in student advising.

General Information

The prerequisite for entering all majors in the department is completion of German language training through the full intermediate level (GERM-UA 4 or GERM-UA 20). Students who have equivalent language training or proficiency may satisfy the prerequisite with the CAS placement examination. Students who wish to major or minor in German must register with the department and have their programs approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Majors and minors will be assigned a departmental adviser, usually the director of undergraduate studies, with whom they should consult before registering each semester.

Study Away

Students pursuing the major in German are strongly encouraged to complete some of the requirements by spending a semester or year away.

NYU Berlin

This semester- or year-long study away program is affiliated with the prestigious Humboldt University, located in the heart of the city. Course offerings focus on the society, politics, history, and culture of Germany, as well as contemporary Western Europe. The program features NYU courses, taught by NYU faculty, members of the Humboldt faculty, and Berlin's wider academic community. The program is designed for students of German, as well as history and the social sciences. All content courses, taught in English, will count either for credit in the department in which they are listed or toward the three courses in English allowed as part of the German major. Several advanced content courses taught in German are offered each year and are applicable toward the major. At least one course must be taken in German.

NYU Prague

This semester- or year-long study away program is located in the heart of central Europe. Course offerings focus on the society, politics, history, and culture of this region. The program features NYU courses, taught by NYU faculty, and Prague’s wider academic community. The program is designed for students of German, as well as history, the social sciences, and business. German language courses from elementary to intermediate are offered at NYU Prague, as well as one post-intermediate course.

Exchange Programs

NYU students can participate in exchanges with universities in Berlin (Freie or Humboldt University), Bonn, or Vienna. NYU financial aid can be applied to the costs of living and studying at any of these exchange institutions, and NYU academic credit is awarded directly for courses taken. Students may study away for one semester or a full year, usually in the junior year, with the approval of the major department(s). The minimum requirement for any of the exchange programs is successful completion of 64 credits of undergraduate course work and a 3.0 GPA. Both programs in Berlin require proficiency in German; the programs in Bonn and Vienna offer some courses in English.

NYU Summer in Berlin

The program consists of language courses and culture courses (in English), which may be applied to the major or minor.

Honors Program in German

Majors in German can be admitted to the program on the basis of superior work after at least two semesters of study in German at the advanced level. The minimum eligibility requirements are cumulative and major GPAs of 3.65. Both the director of undergraduate studies and the director of the honors program review all applications, which are due no later than spring of junior year and must include an unmarked copy of a paper submitted for a German major course.

In the senior year, students accepted to the honors program complete a two-course, 8-credit sequence, consisting of GERM-UA 999 Senior Honors Seminar in the fall semester and GERM-UA 500 Honors Thesis in the spring semester.

The Senior Honors Seminar is a small workshop with a primary focus on research, methodology, and academic writing. Students also learn strategies for grant writing and presentation. Honors majors define a thesis topic, develop a bibliography, read broadly in their area, and begin their research and writing. A substantial portion of the research, usually including a rough draft of one-third to one-half of the thesis, should be completed by semester’s end.

During the spring semester of the senior year, students enroll in GERM-UA 500 Honors Thesis. In close consultation with the thesis advisor, students work on completing research, a final draft, and revisions of the thesis. Students also choose a second reader, typically another faculty member from the department. In cases of an interdisciplinary thesis, the second reader may be from another department.

The finished thesis must be a work of scholarship and/or criticism in the field of German studies and should be between 40 and 60 double-spaced pages in length. If it is written in English, the student must also write an abstract of five to seven pages in German. There will also be an oral presentation of the senior thesis with the student’s two readers. In consultation with the second reader, the student’s advisor determines whether or not to recommend him or her for honors. A grade of at least A-minus is required for the award of honors in German. Students receiving a lower grade will simply be awarded 8 credits of coursework towards the major.

Combined BA/MA Program in German

The accelerated BA/MA program in German is designed to prepare students for career choices requiring advanced knowledge of German language, literature, and culture or a sophisticated understanding of the German intellectual and critical traditions. The four-year undergraduate component of the program includes one semester of study away.

Students majoring in German may apply after completion of 48 credits of undergraduate work, with at least 16 of these credits completed at NYU, but not more than 96 credits. They must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies for application to the combined degree program. Students must meet the following minimum requirements for admission: a GPA of at least 3.5 overall and at least 3.6 in German; satisfactory completion at NYU (by the start of the first semester in the program) of at least two 4-credit courses in German at the advanced level; and evidence of overall language competency in German, sufficient for successful advanced undergraduate and graduate study.

Undergraduates accepted into the BA/MA program are required to spend at least one semester studying away in one of the NYU exchange programs in a German-speaking country. The study away requirement may be waived by the department in consideration of special circumstances. Summer study in an approved program may be used to satisfy the study away requirement. Students are required at the end of the fifth year of the program to submit a master's thesis, which should represent the culmination of a longer-term research effort.


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