The German program affords students the opportunity to begin or 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. More Americans claim German ethnicity than any other, and German-speaking immigrants and their descendants have had an enduring impact on the history and culture of the United States. 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 Suriname 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.

Study Abroad

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 non-majors 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.

Other Opportunities for German Students

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 residence halls. 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.

Offerings in Dutch Studies

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.

How to Get in

Declaring the Major

Students who have completed the prerequisite coursework may declare the German major at any time by consulting with the German program’s undergraduate advisor.

Students declared in the German certificate may not be declared in the German major at the same time. Students who do wish to declare this major must first cancel their declaration in the certificate.

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. Third-year German language courses (GERMAN 249, GERMAN 258, GERMAN 262, GERMAN 285) are not sequenced; they may be taken in any order and/or simultaneously.

Complete one of the following two groups of prerequisite courses:

Group 1:
Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening
and Intermediate German-Reading
and Intermediate German-Writing
Group 2:
Intermediate German - Speaking and Listening
and Intermediate Intensive (Honors) German: Language, Culture, Texts

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 Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (BS)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science 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 the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Language Complete the third unit of a language other than English.
LS Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience Complete both:
• 30 credits in residence, overall, and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level 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. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

27 credits in the major, as follows:

Required Courses6
Advanced Composition & Conversation
Advanced Seminar in German Studies 1
Seminar in German Culture Studies
Electives 121
Literatur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts
Introduction to German Linguistics
Topics in German Linguistics
Topics in German Literature
Study Abroad in German Literature
Study Abroad in German Culture
Study Abroad in German Linguistics
Topics in German Culture
Honors Seminar in German Literature
Kultur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts
German Literary Movements Since 1750
Letterkunde der Lage Landen
A Theme in German Literature
Theory and Practice of German Drama
Cultuurkunde der Lage Landen
History of the German Language
Introduction to Middle High German
German Film
Seminar in German Culture Studies
Senior Honors Thesis-First Semester
Senior Honors Thesis-Second Semester
Senior Honors Seminar in German Literature
Directed Study
Directed Study
Total Credits27

Cognate Courses as Electives

Up to 9 cognate course credits may count as electives within the German major. These are courses with German-related subject matter that are taught in English, either in the German program or in other departments. Cognate courses taken in the German program may be at the Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced levels; those taken in other departments must be at the Advanced level only. Any questions about which courses may be counted as cognate courses may be directed to the undergraduate advisor. Currently the cognate list includes:

Bascom Course
Topics in Dutch Life and Culture
Culture in 20th Century Berlin
Topics in German and/or Yiddish Culture
Yiddish Song and the Jewish Experience
Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe
Nazi Culture
Kafka and the Kafkaesque
Special Topics in German and World Literature/s
Topics in German Culture
Yiddish Literature and Culture in America
From Grimm to Gryffindor: German Fairytales (Re)imagined
Topics in Dutch Literature
Topics in Dutch Culture
German-Jewish Culture Since the 18th Century
Topics in German Studies
Letterkunde der Lage Landen
Cultuurkunde der Lage Landen
Introduction to Middle High German
German Women Writers in Translation
Philosophy, Theory, Criticism
The Holocaust
Environmental History of Europe
History of Europe Since 1945
History of Germany, 1871 to the Present
Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust
Jewish Literatures in Diaspora
The Amish

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all GERMAN courses and all major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence 2
  • 15 credits in GERMAN, taken on campus

Honors in the Major

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

Honors in the Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.300 in all Advanced-level GERMAN courses
  • Complete 29 total 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



At least 3 of these credits must be taken on the UW–Madison campus (not through Study Abroad).


GERMAN courses numbered 300-699 are upper-level in the major, except: GERMAN 311, GERMAN 312, GERMAN 313, GERMAN 314, GERMAN 325, GERMAN 335, GERMAN 377, GERMAN 378, GERMAN 379, GERMAN 391, GERMAN 392, GERMAN 401, GERMAN 402, GERMAN 403, GERMAN 404GERMAN 445, and any Dutch topic course.

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.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate communication skills in German and integrate these skills to effectively exchange and evaluate ideas in written and spoken German. Recognize, interpret, and apply structural, pragmatic, sociolinguistic, and stylistic features of written and spoken German and how they the influence meaning, in order to share information and persuade, inform, or narrate for different audiences.
  2. Interpret and comprehend written, visual, and auditory texts in German representing a broad spectrum of genres, topics, time periods, and geographical regions. Recognize social, cultural, and linguistic diversity in spoken and written language. Identify key idea, features, or themes of texts in a variety of genres and forms.
  3. Recognize and explain products, practices, and perspectives of the German-speaking world and the cultural, historical, social, and political context in which they were created. Demonstrate awareness of similarities, differences, and diversity by contrasting culturally situated beliefs and behaviors of the German-speaking world with those found in their own culture. Develop breadth and depth of cross-cultural knowledge and competence.
  4. Formulate ideas, plan, and conduct research on themes related to course topics and students’ particular interests. Collect and select relevant and credible sources in German (critical thinking and research). Formulate argumentative claims and support those claims using appropriate examples. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas.
  5. Apply principles of ethical and professional conduct in each course and at all levels of instruction, thereby upholding the core values of academic integrity (personal responsibility and accountability).
  6. Engage with the German language and its users in and beyond the classroom, e.g. in their own community, virtual communities, or through immersion experiences at home or abroad in order to participate in local and global multilingual communities (engagement in the community).

Four-Year Plan

This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.

Students considering a major in German should consult with the undergraduate advisor for German early to discuss how to complete their degree in four academic years. 

Communication A3GERMAN/​JEWISH/​LITTRANS  279 (meets Ethnic Studies Requirement)3
Quantitative Reasoning A3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth4Social Science Breadth4
 14 14
Quantitative Reasoning B3-4GERMAN 267 (enroll in Communication B Section)4
INTER-LS 2101Social Science Breadth4
 15 15
GERMAN 2493GERMAN 3373-4
GERMAN 2583300+ Level GERMAN Elective3
GERMAN 2623Science Breadth3
Physical Science Breadth3Electives7
 16 16
300+ Level GERMAN Elective3GERMAN 6763
300+ Level GERMAN Elective3300+ Level GERMAN Elective3
Science Breadth3Electives9
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Advising and Careers

For advising questions related to the German major, contact the GNS+ Undergraduate Advisor: 

Joanna Schuth, Undergraduate Advisor
836 Van Hise Hall
Make an appointment through Starfish

Language placement tests are advised for any student with previous knowledge or experience with German or Dutch. The German test is proctored through the University Placement Test program; more information is available here: https://exams.wisc.edu/placement/ 

The placement test for Dutch is a one-on-one appointment with a professor, with written, oral, and reading comprehension components. The Placement Advisor for Dutch is Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor. Please contact the undergraduate advisor to request placement.

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

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

Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor, Undergraduate Dutch Placement Advisor
832 Van Hise Hall

For advising on careers related to German, Dutch, and other languages, refer to:
Lydia Odegard
Language Directions Specialist
Language Institute

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.



Hannah V. Eldridge
Sonja Klocke
Mark Louden*
B. Venkat Mani
Pamela Potter
Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor

Associate Professors

Salvatore Calomino
Sabine Moedersheim
Sunny Yudkoff

Assistant Professors

Zach Ramon Fitzpatrick
Julia Goetze
Mary Hennessy
Katerina Somers
Adam Stern

Teaching Professor

Jeanne Schueller

Teaching Faculty

Julie Larson-Guenette


Melissa Sheedy

*Unit Head