The German program affords students the opportunity to begin or to continue their study of German and/or Dutch.

Knowledge of German provides access to a culture that for more than a millennium has been central to the history, economy, arts, and sciences not just of Europe but of Western civilization as a whole. In the contemporary world, German-speaking countries have Europe's strongest economies and are playing an increasingly important role in world affairs. Because the percentage of Wisconsinites of German ethnic background surpasses that of every other state in the union, many of our students are motivated to study German by their desire to explore their own family's heritage. The UW–Madison has been a leader in the field of German studies for more than a century. The university's libraries are remarkable for the depth and breadth of their German-language holdings. 

Knowledge of Dutch provides access to a culture that has been an important force in world history since the Middle Ages. The language of more than 20 million inhabitants of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch-speaking Belgium), Dutch is also spoken in Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. It is also an important second language in Indonesia. As major economic powers, Belgium and the Netherlands play a leading role in shaping the European Union. World-class research in the sciences and humanities is conducted at Dutch and Belgian universities, and both countries can boast of a cultural life in which art, music, and theater are all flourishing.


The German program works closely with International Academic Programs to provide a range of opportunities for study in Germany and the Netherlands, for majors and nonmajors alike. The program also cooperates with the School of Business, which maintains study abroad programs in Germany and Austria open to all qualified undergraduates, not just business majors. Finally, the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offer study abroad programs in Germany for qualified students in these colleges.


UW–Madison students interested in international internships should visit the website of the International Internship Program.

The German-language immersion dormitory, Stockwerk Deutsch, is located in Richardson House in Adams Hall, one of the Lakeshore dorms. Undergraduate students live and speak German together with a resident native speaker of German. Contact the German program for applications and details.

Other regular student activities include film screenings and lectures as well as informal, conversation-oriented Kaffeestunde, Stammtisch, Dutch Table, and the German Club. For additional information, contact the German program.


Course offerings in Dutch include five semesters of language instruction as well as courses in the literature and culture of the Low Countries. Courses in Dutch language satisfy the L&S foreign language requirement, while courses in Dutch literature and culture carry literature and humanities credits, respectively. Dutch literature is also offered under Literature in Translation.

A major in Dutch studies is not yet established at UW–Madison, but interested students are encouraged to pursue an individual major in the field. In addition to the study of language, literature, and culture, this could entail coursework in art history, geography, history, sociology, and so on. Courses taken in the study abroad program in Utrecht can also be applied to an individual major in Dutch studies.

Declaring the Major in German

A student may declare the major in German at any time by consulting with the German program’s undergraduate advisor.

Prerequisites for the Major in German

A total of 9 credits of language coursework at the third-year (post-204, “2xx”) level is required for the German major. 

Select one of the following options:

Option 1:
GERMAN 249 Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening3
GERMAN 258 Intermediate German-Reading 13
GERMAN 262 Intermediate German-Writing 13
Option 2:
GERMAN 249 Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening3
Total Credits9

Students may not receive credit for both GERMAN 258 or GERMAN 262

Third-year German language courses (GERMAN 249, GERMAN 258, GERMAN 262) are not sequenced; they may be taken in any order and/or simultaneously. Note that and , which are 6-credit courses, count as the equivalent of GERMAN 258 Intermediate German-Reading and GERMAN 262. If a student takes or , only GERMAN 249 may be taken for the remaining 3 credits of prerequisite coursework. 

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.

Requirements for the Major in German

Summary of Requirements

Select a minimum of 27 advanced-level credits in German or cognate courses (maximum of 9), to include the following:
GERMAN 337 Advanced Composition & Conversation3
GERMAN 676 Advanced Seminar in German Studies (GERMAN 676 and GERMAN 677 must be taken on the Madison campus.)3
or GERMAN 677 Seminar in German Culture Studies
Twenty-one (21) additional advanced-level German credits are required, including a maximum of 9 credits from cognate courses. A minimum of 6 advanced-level German credits, to include the capstone seminar (GERMAN 676 or GERMAN 677), must be taken on the Madison campus.21
Total Credits27

Residence and Quality of Work

2.000 GPA in all GERMAN courses and courses counting toward the major

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence1

15 credits in GERMAN, taken on campus


Any GERMAN course numbered 300 or higher will count toward this requirement with the exception of these Dutch and graduate-level courses: GERMAN 311, GERMAN 312, GERMAN 313, GERMAN 314, GERMAN 325, GERMAN 335, GERMAN 391, GERMAN 392, GERMAN 401, GERMAN 402, GERMAN 403, and GERMAN 404.

Cognate Courses

Up to 9 of the 27 advanced-level credits required for the German major may come from cognate courses. These are courses with German-related subject matter that are taught in English either in the German program or in other departments, such as Anthropology, Art History, Business, Communication Arts, Folklore, Geography, History, Jewish Studies, Medieval Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre and Drama, and Urban and Regional Planning. Cognate courses taken in the German program may be at the elementary, advanced, or intermediate levels; those taken in other departments must be at the advanced level (numbered 300 or higher) only. Any questions about which courses may be counted as cognate courses may be directed to the undergraduate advisor.

Study Abroad Coursework

Courses taken on a UW–Madison sponsored study abroad program count as “in residence.” Advanced-level courses for which there is no direct UW–Madison equivalent will appear on a student’s transcript as GERMAN 367 Study Abroad in German LiteratureGERMAN 368 Study Abroad in German Culture, or GERMAN 369 Study Abroad in German Linguistics.

On Campus Requirements

A minimum of 6 credits of advanced-level German coursework must be taken on the Madison campus (i.e., not on a study abroad program). The capstone seminar, GERMAN 676 Advanced Seminar in German Studies or GERMAN 677 Seminar in German Culture Studies, must be taken on the Madison campus.

Senior Thesis

Any student who wishes to write a senior thesis may do so under the direction of a professor. Planning with the student's major advisor or the directing professor should begin in the student's junior year.

Level and Classification of German Courses with Regard to L&S Degree Requirements

German courses at the 100 level are regarded by the department as elementary, courses at the 200 level as intermediate, and courses at the 300 level or above as advanced.

Exceptions are:

All courses in German literature numbered 258 or higher may be applied toward the L&S humanities/literature requirement. GERMAN 676 Advanced Seminar in German Studies, German linguistics courses numbered 351 or above, and the German or Dutch culture courses numbered 245 or above may be applied toward the L&S humanities breadth requirement. GERMAN 391, GERMAN 392, GERMAN 401, GERMAN 402, GERMAN 403, and GERMAN 404 are for graduate students and not applicable to the German major or L&S degree requirements. GERMAN 311, GERMAN 312, GERMAN 313, GERMAN 314, and GERMAN 325are Dutch-language courses for graduate students and not applicable to the German major or L&S degree requirements.


GERMAN 101 First Semester German and GERMAN 111 First Semester Dutch are beginning courses and require no previous training.

The following are open to freshmen with sufficient preparation in German or Dutch:

GERMAN 102 Second Semester German4
GERMAN 112 Second Semester Dutch4
GERMAN 203 Third Semester German4
GERMAN 204 Fourth Semester German4
GERMAN 213 Third Semester Dutch4
GERMAN 214 Fourth Semester Dutch4
GERMAN 249 Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening3
GERMAN 258 Intermediate German-Reading3
GERMAN 262 Intermediate German-Writing3

Placement testing is advised for students entering from high school. Placement in more advanced courses is arranged on the basis of records and tests. Consult the German programs's placement advisor with any questions.

Retroactive credits

Retroactive credits (aka “retro credits”) are credits granted in recognition of previous language study in high school. Retro credits earned at UW–Madison do correspond to particular courses, but the credits are not graded and do not factor into a student’s grade point average. The course taken to earn retro credits for German language coursework must be the student’s first college course in German or Dutch; it must be taken before earning 30 degree credits (not including advanced-placement credits); and the student must earn at least a B in the course. The following courses may be taken to earn retro credits.

4 credits earned for prerequisite work:4
Second Semester German
and Second Semester Dutch
8 credits earned for prerequisite work:8
Third Semester German
Third Semester Dutch
12 credits earned for prerequisite work:12
Fourth Semester German
and Fourth Semester Dutch
16 credits earned for prerequisite work:16
Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening
Intermediate German-Reading
Intermediate German-Writing
Advanced Composition & Conversation

Consult the German program’s placement advisor or see Retroactive Credits for more information on retro credits.

Sequence of Elementary and Intermediate Courses

The regular German sequence consists of:

GERMAN 101 First Semester German4
GERMAN 102 Second Semester German4
GERMAN 203 Third Semester German4
GERMAN 204 Fourth Semester German4

After GERMAN 204, students may continue in any of the intermediate courses:

GERMAN 249 Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening3
GERMAN 258 Intermediate German-Reading3
GERMAN 262 Intermediate German-Writing3

Intermediate courses may be taken in any sequence and simultaneously; however, GERMAN 274/GERMAN 284 counts as the equivalent of GERMAN 258 and GERMAN 262, so students may receive credit for either of the following:

Intermediate German-Reading
and Intermediate German-Writing

The prerequisites for most advanced-level courses in German are:

Select one of the following options:9
Option 1:
Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening
Intermediate German-Reading
Intermediate German-Writing
Option 2:
Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening

Advanced Courses

All 300-level and 400-level courses, with the exception of language courses for graduate students1, are open to undergraduate students who have completed appropriate prerequisites on the intermediate level. The 600-level courses are open to seniors as well as other students who have completed the listed prerequisites. The 700-level courses are open only to seniors with a 3.500 GPA, permission of the instructor, and permission of the L&S dean.

300-400 level exceptions

These courses are not open to undergraduate students.

GERMAN 311 First Semester Dutch for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 312 Second Semester Dutch for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 313 Third Semester Dutch for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 314 Fourth Semester Dutch for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 391 German for Graduate Reading Knowledge I3
GERMAN 392 German for Graduate Reading Knowledge II3
GERMAN 401 First-Semester German for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 402 Second-Semester German for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 403 Third-Semester German for Graduate Students3
GERMAN 404 Fourth-Semester German for Graduate Students3

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the German Major in consultation with the German undergraduate advisor.

Honors in the German Major Requirements

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in German students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.300 in all advanced-level GERMAN courses
  • Complete 29 advanced-level credits in German, 20 of which must be taken for Honors, to include:
GERMAN 337 Advanced Composition & Conversation (for honors credit)3
GERMAN 676 Advanced Seminar in German Studies (for honors credit)3
GERMAN 677 Seminar in German Culture Studies3
Senior Honors Thesis-First Semester
and Senior Honors Thesis-Second Semester

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Any questions regarding advising or placement in German or Dutch may be directed to the undergraduate advisors for these programs:

Mark L. Louden, Undergraduate German Advisor
802 Van Hise Hall

Jeanne M. Schueller, German Language Program Coordinator and Placement Advisor
806 Van Hise Hall

Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor, Undergraduate Dutch Advisor
808 Van Hise Hall

For other undergraduate concerns, please contact the undergraduate coordinator:

Bridget Sutton, Undergraduate Coordinator
1306 Van Hise Hall

For advising on careers related to German, Dutch, and other languages, contact:

Michael Kruse
International Directions Advisor
Language Institute

For additional career advising, contact:

Letters & Science Career Initiative & Career Services
1305 Linden Drive, Suite 205
Madison, WI 53706


Professors Hans Adler, Monika Chavez, Sabine Gross, Rob Howell, Mark Louden, B. Venkat Mani, Pamela Potter, Joe Salmons, Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor

Associate Professors Salvatore Calomino, Sonja Klocke, Sabine Moedersheim

Assistant Professors Hannah V. Eldridge, Philip Hollander, Weijia Li, Sunny Yudkoff

Faculty Associate Jeanne Schueller