Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Monday, May 27, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2017-2018 Course Catalog


This catalog was created on Monday, May 27, 2019.


German has long been a key language of culture, the arts, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences. For better and for worse, Germany has played a significant role in European and world history, while united Germany is one of the driving forces behind European integration and economic development. As a result, German is an important language—not just in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland—but also as a second language throughout the continent. Germany itself is changing in ways that shatter old prejudices and make German an exciting culture to explore. Not only has Döner Kebab become Germans' favorite fast food, but with at least 20 percent of Germans having migrant backgrounds, it is no wonder that some of the most interesting literature and film has been produced by people who do not fit the stereotypical image of Germans.

The German department at Lawrence University assists students not just in learning the German language, but also becoming familiar with Germany’s literature, history, and culture, including popular culture—film, television and popular literature. German courses also encourage students to develop analytical and interpretive skills. This mix of information, analysis and interpretation helps them understand an increasingly dynamic, diverse and interdependent international community, a global community in which Germany is an ever more important player. The knowledge and abilities that German students acquire can help them in a wide variety of careers and give them a lifetime of cultural pleasure.

The study of German begins with the language, but the Lawrence German program insists that language is always part of a cultural nexus. Lawrence’s German program is designed to help students develop proficiency in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Since it only makes sense to learn German in courses with significant cultural content, beginning and intermediate instruction always integrates pertinent cultural material and provides an opportunity for comparisons between German and American experiences. Most classes, even at the elementary level, are conducted in German, and the program insists that every course, at all levels, is both a language and cultural course. Knowledge of a second language in its cultural context makes students aware of their own language and culture; they are less likely to take things for granted. Of course, the best way to experience difference is to live in another culture, and the German department strongly encourages students to take advantage of opportunities for study in the German-speaking world through our affiliated programs in Berlin, Freiburg, and Vienna. We also offer a short-term trip to Berlin in conjunction with a course called Berlin: Experiencing a Great City. On campus they can maintain a connection to things German through the department’s lunch and dinner tables, which are all facilitated by our language assistants.

Once the cultural and linguistic foundations have been laid, students embark on a deeper exploration of German culture, history, and society. The German department at Lawrence embraces the notion of German studies. Although works of great literature offer unparalleled access to German culture, students will also be exposed to a wider variety of cultural artifacts—film, television, nonfiction texts, popular narratives, etc.—than might be the case in more traditional German programs.

Required for the German major

  1. Sixty units beyond GER 202, including GER 285 and 312. At least 36 of these units must be taken at Lawrence. Only 12 units taught in English may count toward the major, but tutorials taken in conjunction with English courses may count as German credit.
  2. Students usually complete a capstone project in the senior seminar or in conjunction with a departmental course taken during the senior year.
  3. Students who expect to graduate present a portfolio by the second week of their final term. The student's advisor will review a portfolio consisting of the following materials submitted electronically:
    1. a brief statement in which students evaluate their development as German majors
    2. a list of courses taken for the major
    3. sample pages of Lesejournale from all German courses numbered 300 and above taken at Lawrence
    4. four papers from upper-level courses, two of which may be from courses taken abroad
    5. a copy of the capstone paper

Required for the German minor

  1. Thirty-six units beyond GER 202, including GER 285 and 312. At least 24 of these units must be taken at Lawrence. Only six units taught in English may count toward the minor, but tutorials taken in conjunction with English courses may count as German credits.
  2. A C average in the minor is also required.

Teacher certification in German (K-12)

German majors can seek certification to teach German at the elementary and secondary levels. To be certified, students must spend a term in a German-speaking country studying the language and culture and must pass an oral and writing proficiency test. Students can add an endorsement in a second area (such as another language or English as a second language) by completing the appropriate minor. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.

Senior Experience in German

The German department's revised Senior Experience consists of a longer, research paper to be completed either through an independent study or the senior seminar. Students should develop individual paper topics by the end of Fall Term. The capstone project may be completed during Winter Term, or it may spill over into an independent study during Spring Term.

In either case, the senior seminar allows students to help each other develop their ideas and arguments; they will also present their findings to the entire senior cohort.
Students who are pursuing a double major or teacher certification should work with all concerned departments to assess the feasibility of an interdisciplinary capstone.