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Overview The study of Germanic languages and literatures is a human or cultural science that attempts to apply the concept of "criticism," in the broadest sense of the term, to language, literature, culture, film, intellectual history, philosophy, and theory of the German speaking countries. As this wide range indicates, the field is interdisciplinary in nature. German majors are encouraged, therefore, to take courses in such humanistic disciplines as history, philosophy, other foreign languages, criticism, theory, film studies, feminist theory and criticism, comparative literature, and religious studies.
Although the undergraduate program stresses literary and cultural studies, the department is also actively concerned with assisting students whose interests are non-literary: students who are primarily interested in, for example, the structure and history of the language of film.
Faculty According to national rankings, the department is one of the nation's most prestigious. This is in part due to the diverse nature of the interests and expertise of the twelve faculty members who comprise the department. From medieval courtly romance to postmodern literature and literary theory, the department attempts to provide a range of course work that is both challenging and far reaching. Some of the more nationally prominent faculty have published several influential books. Their scholarship explores a wide expanse: 18th- and 19th-century German literature and literary theory, 20th-century German writers and thinkers, Freud, existentialism, German expressionism, the theory and history of drama, postwar German literature, feminist literary theory, narrative theory, lyric poetry, and film studies. Faculty members have also concentrated their work on the lives, philosophies, and literature of several prominent German writers and thinkers: Kafka, Musil, Rilke, Hofmannsthal, and Brecht.
Students The department has approximately thirty-five majors and twenty minors. Of the thirty-five majors, approximately one-half are double majors. German and English, German and mathematics, German and history, German and foreign affairs, German and French, and German and economics are most popular double majors. Outstanding undergraduates have gone on to graduate study at other leading German departments. Others have gone on to a law school and medical school, or have pursued careers in business, economics, and foreign affairs.
Class size typically ranges from ten to sixty students; the larger courses are German in translation courses, popular because of the nationally ranked faculty who teach them. With the exception of introductory and intermediate level language courses, all classes are taught by faculty.
Study Abroad The department encourages its students to spend a summer, semester, or a full academic year abroad. The University has a program available to undergraduates at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universitšt Jena and at the Universität Dortmund.
The German House The department currently maintains a German House in which twelve students can reside with a native speaker. The house is located near the University Grounds and is a meeting place for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. It also serves as a site for colloquia and discussion groups.
Requirements for Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree with German as the major subject: ten courses or 30 credits in German at the 300 level or above, including GERM 300, GERM 301, GERM 311 or 312, one 400-level German literature course, and one additional German literature course. Enrollment in any 500-level course requires the instructor's permission. No more than two GETR courses are accepted.
Distinguished Majors Program Available to German majors presenting an overall GPA of 3.4 and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the department, the DMP consists of GERM 460 (Senior Seminar), a graduate course (500-level or above), GERM 490 (Thesis) or GERM 491 (Honors Research and Thesis) in addition to the requirements for the German major. Students may elect to do a full-year program (GERM 491) or semester program (GERM 490) their senior year. In either case, an honors thesis of approximately 25 pages (one semester program) or 40 pages (full-year program) is to be handed in by April 25.
Requirements for Minor Six courses or 18 credits in German at the 300-level, including GERM 300 and GERM 301. Only one GETR course may be counted toward the minor.
High School Teaching in German For students interested in pursuing a high school teaching career, there are two options in conjunction with the Curry School of Education: a five-year program, in which the student may earn two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching, and a 15-month program, the post-baccalaureate Master of Teaching. For more information, contact Alicia Belozerco, Curry School of Education, Ruffner Hall or Janette Hudson, German Department, Cocke Hall.
GERM 101 and 101R These two courses are for beginners. All students with any previous background in German who have not taken SAT II Subject Test or the Advanced Placement test must take the German Placement test if they plan to take German at any time in their college career. This test is administered during fall orientation only. The sequence of courses is GERM 101, 102, 201, 202. Once a student has placed in the required course sequence, a student must complete each successive course with a passing grade. A student may not skip, for example, GERM 102 to GERM 202. A student may not take more than one course in the sequence at a time. Students who place higher than course 202 in a language and who have successfully taken an advanced placement examination in that language are relieved of the foreign language requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Additional Information For more information, contact Thomas Best, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, 108 Cocke Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924-3530.
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