German Studies Undergraduate Program

The German Studies major provides a broad overview of the cultures of the German-speaking peoples. It prepares majors to think widely about the role of German material in the modern world as well as its impact on history and culture. Courses include expansive overviews such as Germany in 5 Words as well as focused courses on German language authors such as Nietzsche, Kafka, and Celan. All students are required to choose from a list of courses taught in German such as Fairy Tales and What is German Literature? as well as from some higher-level courses taught in both German and English such as Speaking Medieval and Technology and Culture.


The major requires students to enroll in core literature and culture courses taught in German, to follow a series of three (or two accelerated) intermediate-level German language courses, and to complete electives in the department. In their senior year, students will complete a Capstone project under the supervision of a faculty member. At the end of the major, students tend to reach an Advanced Low/C1 proficiency in their spoken German. To support this goal, all language courses count toward the major. Also in the senior year, students participate in an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) through the language center to assess their speaking ability in German. To support this goal, all language courses count toward the major. The Proficiency Notation appears on the official Stanford transcript and provides evidence of both oral and written advanced-level language proficiency. In addition, successful students will also receive an official certificate from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). More information can be found here.

In addition, courses taken at the Bing Overseas Studies Program Center in Berlin count toward the 60-unit major.


German and Philosophy Subplan

Students may also enroll in the Philosophy and Literature subplan (65 units) and complete, under the supervision of a faculty member from the Department of German, one of the following (a) take one of the officially-designated Philosophy and Literature capstone seminars listed above; (b) write an honors thesis (see “Honors Program” for instructions); or (c) write a 5,000-word paper on a topic of their choosing, serving as the culmination of their work in the field. To make time to write the paper, students must enroll in a 3-unit, letter-grade independent study with a faculty member (or affiliate) in the Philosophy and Literature Focal Group. The paper must involve both philosophy and literature, and the topic must be approved by the faculty member by the add/drop deadline.

Honors Program

The department’s honors option offers motivated German majors the opportunity to write a senior honors thesis. For more information, please read a description of the program.


The minor represents an abbreviated version of the major. It is designed for students who are unable to pursue the major but seek an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of German literature and culture. Courses taken through Stanford in Berlin, in the Digital Humanities, as part of Stanford’s Education as Self-Fashioning or Structured Liberal Education programs, or in other departments may be counted toward the minor pending approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

While the department’s core courses are taught in German, students may choose from an array of literature, culture, and intellectual history courses in English for their electives. Courses taught in English offer those in the process of acquiring the language the opportunity to study German masterworks and historical and cultural moments in translation. They frequently also provide the possibility for students who wish to read and discuss texts in German to meet in separate sections to do so.


Declaring involves a few steps. First, complete the declaration worksheet for your major or minor. Remember that this form is simply a way to begin the conversation with your advisor and that you will not be bound to any electives that you initially choose. Next, meet with your advisor, discuss, and agree on a potential plan. When the declaration worksheet is complete, you can then declare on Axess. Finally, you must submit the approved declaration worksheet to the Undergraduate Student Services Officer for the DLCL.


Collections in the Green Research Library have a central emphasis on language, literature, and history. The collections focus primarily on the culture, society, and politics of Germany, Austria, and the German-speaking Switzerland. The geographic scope of the collections also included the Netherlands, the Flemish-speaking areas of Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland.

The Bing Overseas Studies Program in Berlin affords undergraduates with at least three quarters of German language experience the opportunity to take advantage of the unique intellectual and visual resources of the city. Students are housed in the Haus Cramer which is the first Stanford-owned property outside of the continental United States. Fittingly, it is made of sandstone and has a red tile roof.

One distinctive feature of the BOSP campus in Germany is the Krupp internship program, which helps students find full-time internships after completing their studies in Berlin. In the past four decades, nearly 1,300 students have taken on paid placements in more than 500 German institutions, including organizations that specialize in medical research, education, new technologies, finance, the arts and community service, as well as the automotive and aerospace industries.

The program is structured to help integrate students into German culture through homestays, Berlin University courses, the Language Partners Program, research, internship, and public service opportunities, and by conducting some of the program's classes in German. Many courses offered in Berlin may count toward the fulfillment of requirements for the German major or minor. Students are encouraged to consult with the German undergraduate adviser before and after a sojourn in Berlin to ensure that their course selections meet German Department requirements. Detailed information, including program requirements and curricular offerings, may be obtained from the Bing Stanford Program in Berlin website, or at the Overseas Studies office in Sweet Hall.

Lea Pao

Lea Pao
Director of Undergraduate Studies, German Studies
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 203
(650) 721-6733
lpao [at] (lpao[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Profile Photo - Judy Nugent

Judy Nugent
Undergraduate Student Services Officer
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 128
(650) 723-1967
dlclstudentservices [at] (dlclstudentservices[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Undergraduate Peer Advisor

Profile Photo - Jordan Rothkowitz

Jordan Rothkowitz
jrothkow [at]