Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

German Studies, Cornell University

Cornell University Department of German Studies Cornell Univeristy


Undergraduate Studies

German Studies Major

The department offers two options for the major:

  • German Literature/Culture: Although the emphasis of this track is on literature, majors can also pursue individual interests in courses on film and visual culture, theater and performing arts, music, intellectual and political history, and women's studies that have a substantial German component. Please consult with the director of undergraduate studies.
  • German Area Studies: This track involves a more broadly defined sequence that includes work in related disciplines. Students select courses from the Department of German Studies as well as courses with a substantial German component from other departments.

To complete the major, a student must take 8 courses to fulfill both categories below:

Demonstrate competence in the German Language by successful completion of two 3000-level courses with intensive language work (GERST 3000-3200) or the equivalent.

Complete six courses in German Studies at the 3000-level or above.  One of these must be the Senior Seminar (GERST 4100). No more than one course per semester taken as part of a study-abroad program may be counted toward the major.

The course of study in either major is designed to give students proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing in German, to acquaint them with German culture, and to help them develop skills in reading, analyzing, and discussing German texts in relevant disciplines. For both majors, there is a wide variety of courses co-sponsored with other departments including Comparative Literature; Government; History; Music; Theatre, Film, and Dance; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

The department encourages double majors and makes every effort to accommodate prospective majors with a late start in German. Students interested in a major should consult the director of undergraduate studies, Gunhild Lischke, G75 Goldwin Smith Hall.

ADmissions to the Major

By the end of their sophomore year, prospective majors should have successfully completed GERST 2020, GERST 2040, or GERST 2060.
  • Select a faculty advisor to help formulate a coherent program of study from the Department of German Studies, usually this is the Director of Undergraduate Studies.