Why study German Studies?

Knowledge of the language and culture of German-speaking Europe provides students with linguistic and transcultural competence that will enable them to participate productively in a rapidly changing world. German is an official language in six central European countries and the most widely spoken language in the European Union. The United States maintains important economic, political, security, and cultural ties with the German-speaking countries. About 50 million people in the United States claim German ancestry.

Our students complete a diverse and challenging program that encompasses not only the German language but also courses that explore literature, the arts, history, business, and politics. Our program is characterized by interdisciplinary flexibility, a variety of co-curricular activities, and personalized academic advising and mentoring. German Studies majors acquire research skills they need to study issues relevant to our field. Many German Studies majors and minors study abroad for a summer, semester, or year, often supported by departmental scholarships, and some complete internships in Germany. All German Studies students have opportunities to make use of the rich resources available at KU, including the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Libraries, Max Kade Center for German-American Studies, Office of Study Abroad, and Center for Undergraduate Research. Our students tend to have a second major or a minor in fields such as Global & International Studies, History, Business, Environmental Studies, Music, Microbiology, and Linguistics.

Our graduates have pursued their passion for language and culture in many ways: working for a non-profit organization affiliated with the U.S. Department of State; translating for a medical software company; serving on the human resources team of a global German sporting goods company; working as copy editor of a newspaper; and pursuing graduate work in Germanic languages & literatures, social welfare, law, and speech pathology.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the International Support Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

The following should be completed as early as possible:

GERM 104Elementary German I5
GERM 108Elementary German II5
GERM 201Intermediate German I3
GERM 202Intermediate German II3

Requirements for the B.A. Major

Required Courses

After completion of GERM 202 Intermediate German II, students must complete 15 credits as follows:

GERM 301High Intermediate German I3
GERM 302High Intermediate German II3
GERM 315German Literature and the Modern Era3
GERM 401Advanced German I3
GERM 580Senior Capstone Course: German-Speaking Europe Today3

GERM 315 must be completed before students can take a course beyond GERM 402 (except GERM 462).

Admission to 400- and 500-level courses after GERM 402 (except  GERM 462) without completion of GERM 315 is only with permission of the Undergraduate Advisor.

Elective Courses

A minimum of 15 credit hours at the 300, 400, and 500 levels must be completed beyond the required courses. 12 of these credit hours must be at the 400 or 500 level. In exceptional cases, undergraduates may take courses at the 600 level with permission of the Undergraduate Advisor and the instructor.

With permission of the Undergraduate Advisor, 6 credit hours at the 300, 400, or 500 levels may be counted toward the major by completing two approved courses offered by other departments with significant content related to German-speaking Europe; permission of the Undergraduate Advisor is required. A 600-level course may be counted with approval of the Undergraduate Advisor.

German studies majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad and should discuss this opportunity with the Undergraduate Advisor early in their undergraduate career.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and GPA minimum standards:

Major Hours

Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence

At least 15 hours of coursework at the 300, 400, and 500 levels, including the senior capstone course, GERM 580, must be completed in residence at KU.

Major Junior/Senior Hours

Satisfied by a minimum of 30 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA

Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Below is a sample 4-year plan for students pursuing the BA in German Studies. To view the list of courses approved to fulfill KU Core Goals, please visit the KU Core website.

ENGL 101 (Goal 2.1 (2 crs req), BA Writing I)13ENGL 102 (Goal 2.1 (2 crs req), BA Writing II)3
MATH 101 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Reasoning)3Quantitative Reasoning (Goal 1.2, BA Quantitative Reasoning)33
First Year Seminar (Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking)3COMS 130 (Goal 2.2 Communication)3
GERM 104 (Major Pre-Requisite)25Goal 3 Social Science3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)1GERM 108 (Major Pre-Requisite)5
 15 17
GERM 201 (Major Pre-Requisite)3GERM 202 (Major Pre-Requisite, BA Second Language)3
Goal 3 Humanities3Goal 3 Natural Science3
Goal 4.1 US Diversity3Lab Science (BA Lab Requirement)1-2
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
 15 13-14
GERM 301 (Major Requirement)3Goal 5 Social Responsibility & Ethics 3
GERM 315 (Major Requirement)3GERM 302 (Major Requirement)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3GERM Elective 300-500+ (Major Requirement)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3GERM Elective 300-500+ (Major Requirement)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 15
GERM 401 (Major Requirement)3GERM 580 (Goal 6 Integration & Creativity, Major Requirement)3
GERM Elective 300-500+ (Major Requirement)3GERM 300-500+ Elective (Major Requirement)3
GERM Elective 300-500+ (Major Requirement)3LA&S 490 (Recommended, or elective)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 15
Total Hours 120-121

Please note:

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to complete 120 total hours of which 45 hours must be at the Jr/Sr (300+) level.

The same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one KU Core Goal. However, overlap of a KU Core course with a major or degree-specific requirement is allowed. Overlapping is recommended to allow more opportunities to explore other majors and/or minors.

Departmental Honors in German Studies

To qualify for the B.A. in German Studies with departmental honors, the student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in German Studies at graduation. Students must complete an honors research project during their final year at KU. Topics are selected in consultation with the faculty thesis director from Germanic Languages & Literatures. Applications for departmental honors must be submitted by the end of the first week of classes, normally during the fall of senior year. Upon acceptance of an application, the student registers for the GERM 598 - GERM 599 sequence. The student presents the completed research project to the thesis director and two other members of the Departmental Honors Committee about one month before concluding his or her final semester at KU. A grade of B or higher in GERM 598 and GERM 599 is required for departmental honors. GERM 598 and GERM 599 may not be used to satisfy other course requirements.

Study Abroad

The department conducts two Summer Language Institutes in Germany for students in second-, third-, and fourth-year German. Students normally enroll for 6-9 credit hours and live with German families.

Juniors and seniors are encouraged to spend a semester or a full academic year at a university in Germany. Consult with the Office of Study Abroad and the Undergraduate Advisor early in your undergraduate career.

Graduating seniors may apply for Direct Exchange Program fellowships at universities in Germany. For information, consult the department or the Office of International Programs.