BA in German Language & Literature

The major in German Language & Literature allows students to gain a high level of proficiency (ACTFL intermediate-mid) in the German language and develop an in-depth critical understanding of German-language cultural life, past and present. Graduates are prepared to communicate effectively in German and English, to function well in cross-cultural contexts, and to contribute meaningfully to addressing today’s global challenges. This flexible 11-course program works well as a second major alongside a major such as History, IR, European Studies, the sciences, or Engineering.

Like all World Languages & Literatures (WLL) majors, German Language & Literature majors generally begin with CAS XL 100 Leaving Home: Explorations in World Literature, a team-taught course in which students meet the WLL faculty through guest lectures and become oriented in the rich diversity of the world’s literary traditions. They start German language study as early as possible and complete at least three language courses above the fourth semester.

Five additional courses in German language, literature, film, linguistics, and/or culture provide greater depth in areas of interest to the student. A WLL elective focused on a language, literature, or culture other than German helps regional, global, and/or historical comparison.

Finally, German majors reconvene with all WLL majors in the senior capstone seminar XL 479, where they share the expertise they have gained and work with a faculty mentor on a final project using German language materials. Student presentations build oral communication skills and the ability to describe one’s work to others. Possible final projects could include a research paper on literature, film, or popular culture; an annotated translation or work of subtitling; a video essay; or a digital humanities project. Students producing excellent capstone projects will be encouraged to develop them into senior honors work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Advanced knowledge of major themes and genres in German literature and culture in their historical contexts, including links to other European and world literary traditions.
  • Critical thinking, communication, and writing skills within areas of content and cultural knowledge.
  • Proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension in German at or above a level (ACTFL intermediate-mid) where these skills can be used for communication in everyday and academic situations.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major (or minor) as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in German Language & Literature will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in many Hub areas and will select from a wide range of available courses outside the major for the rest.

A total of 11 four-credit courses is required, all completed with a grade of C or higher.

  • CAS XL 100 Leaving Home: Explorations in World Literature
  • CAS XL 479 WLL Senior Seminar. A capstone course with a paper or translation project that makes use of German-language sources.
  • Three advanced courses taught in German, numbered LG 302 or higher
  • Five LG courses in German language, linguistics, literature, film, or culture numbered LG 220 or higher, taught in German or in English. With advisor approval, up to two of the five may be German studies courses taken outside the WLL department; for example, in history, art history, the Pardee School, or political science. Courses or internships on study abroad programs may also be proposed for consideration here.
  • One elective course in WLL, chosen with approval of the advisor. (May also be satisfied by taking both CAS CC 101 and CAS CC 102, by CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or a higher-level linguistics course, or by a literature course in Romance Studies, English, or Classics. Students wishing to do more comparative work may count an additional WLL elective in place of one of the five courses in German language, literature, linguistics, and/or culture.)

Honors in the Major

To graduate with honors in the major, students will maintain a GPA in the major of at least 3.4 and will take one additional course above the 11 required for the major. This can be any CAS XL or TL course numbered 500 or above, or XL 401 or 402 (continuation of the thesis begun in the capstone seminar).