German Studies

2017-18 General Catalog

Department of History
201 Humanities
(831) 459-2982


Program Description

German studies is a transnational and transdisciplinary major that deals with the various German-speaking regions of central Europe. Whether one thinks of philosophy, music, art, education, religion, or political and social history, German culture has exercised a profound and often decisive influence on Europe. Some of the most important ideological debates in Western culture have arisen in the German-speaking area, and changes in German culture and society have had significant, sometimes devastating, effects on world history. Events and political developments of recent decades, such as the rise of the European Union, the unification of East and West Germany and the emergence of the German-speaking region of Europe as a major player in world affairs, have had important impacts.

A German studies major provides students with an intellectually diverse program covering history, history of art and visual culture, literature, and philosophy, in which students and faculty come together in exciting and demanding pursuits.

The German studies major is administered by the Department of History. For additional information on curriculum and advising, visit

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the German studies major should graduate with the following knowledge and skills:


Students will demonstrate advanced written communication skills in German and English.

Students will demonstrate advanced oral communication skills in German.

History and Literature

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history, literature, and culture of the German-speaking countries.

Transdisciplinarity and Cross-Cultural Analysis

Students will be able to interpret and analyze critically issues and problems pertaining to the history, literature, and cultures of the German-speaking countries within the broader contexts of Europe and the world.

Critical Reading and Research

Students will demonstrate research skills, including the ability to read primary and secondary sources critically pertaining to the history, literature, and cultures of the German-speaking countries.

Requirements for the Major

German language level 5 or the equivalent is a prerequisite for the German studies major and all upper-division courses taught in German. Students are encouraged to take German 1 through German 5 as early as possible in their academic program. The major requires a total of 11 courses, including the comprehensive requirement. No more than two of the 11 required courses may be lower-division. A minimum of 45 upper-division units must be completed within the German studies course requirements. In consultation with a faculty adviser, students will plan a program of study to fulfill the following distribution of courses: 

I. Five courses in German literature and history:

  • two core courses in German literature

  • one core course in German history

  • one core course in either German literature or German history depending upon the student’s chosen area of emphasis

  • one comprehensive exit requirement (see below).

II. Three additional core courses, including EAP courses.

III. Three additional core courses or courses from the Germany in a European or World Context list.

Distribution requirements. A minimum of five of the 11 required courses must be taught in German or principally through German-language texts. No more than three courses may come from the Germany in a European or World Context list.

Comprehensive requirement. All German studies majors must satisfy the comprehensive exit requirement by completing an approved exit seminar in either German literature or German history: History 196G, History 196P, History 196X, or Literature 190Z. The senior seminar is one of the 11 courses required for the major. Please consult the German studies web site for a more detailed description of these courses at

Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in German studies is fulfilled by completing History 196G, History 196P, History 196X, or Literature 190Z. Please refer to updated information at Disciplinary Communication Chart.

UC Education Abroad Program. It is strongly recommended that students spend time in residence in Germany through the University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP) or one of its affiliate programs to further enrich their program of study and ensure a command of the language. Students are allowed to transfer up to five courses taken at German universities toward the requirements for the major. However, the four required core courses in German literature and history and the comprehensive requirement must be taken at UCSC.

Honors in the German Studies major. All students who announce candidacy during the academic year are reviewed for honors or highest honors in the major. The German studies faculty advisers determine honors based upon courses applied towards the German studies major. Performance in courses taken elsewhere and being transferred toward the major will be considered when applicable. The minimum standard applied is excellence in most courses for honors, and excellence in all courses for highest honors. Summer, fall, and winter graduates will be reviewed at the end of each of their respective quarters. Spring graduates will be reviewed as of the spring announcement of candidacy deadline.

[Return to top]

Revised: 09/01/17