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German and Scandinavian Studies

German and Scandinavian Studies | Courses | Faculty

513 Herter Hall

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Robert G. Sullivan
Office: 509 Herter
Phone: (413) 545-2350/6672
Website: www.umass.edu/german/about.html

Director of Program: Professor Sara Lennox. Professors Byg, Cocalis; Associate Professor Sullivan; Assistant Professors Donson, Skolnik; Adjunct Faculty Arndt-Briggs, Einhorn, Engebretson, Harris, Kelly, Olsen, Young; Lecturers Frackman, Harbison.

The Field

The field of German and Scandinavian Studies concerns itself primarily with the languages, literatures, histories, and cultures of more than 100 million people living in Central and Northern Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. In a time of political transformation in Europe and increasing cooperation between these nations and the United States in trade and commerce, technology and science, the environment, the arts, and leisure and sports, a mastery of their languages and a deeper understanding of their societies and cultures can open diverse opportunities for personal development and preparation for a professional career.

The program is structured to set the study of languages and their literatures within the contexts of their respective cultures, including their historical, economic, political, philosophical, and popular cultural aspects. Strong interdisciplinary ties with other departments (music, drama, the visual arts, history, philosophy, political science, business) are encouraged.

Members of different American and European faculties appear as speakers before the department or teach as visiting professors. Close cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Boston enriches the extracurricular program and acquaints students with many aspects of contemporary Germany. German film series are regularly offered, often in conjunction with the DEFA Film Library and surrounding colleges. Lectures and performances which are sponsored by the German departments of Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges are open to all students and greatly diversify the cultural offerings in this field.

The Major

The flexibility of the major encourages students to explore their own interests in the context of a well-rounded, interdiscipinary program of study. In addition to the traditional courses in literature and language, the department offers a series of courses with readings and discussion in English, on aspects of cultural, political, and intellectual life in central and northern Europe.

Students who wish to do so may combine study in the program with work in a different field (e.g., Hospitality and Tourism Management, Management, Comparative Literature, Linguistics or History). Double majors are encouraged. All students, particularly those who intend to become secondary school teachers, should consider including one other modern foreign language in their curricula in order to enhance their career opportunities.

The Max Kade German Studies Center in Thatcher Residence Hall provides language practice and cultural activities in the context of campus living. Interested students should inquire when applying for campus housing.

Advanced undergraduates in German Studies are urged to spend a year at the University of Freiburg or at one of the other universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg (Germany), in connection with the Freiburg/Baden-Württemberg Exchange of the University of Massachusetts, one of the oldest in the U.S. and now in its fourth decade. Exceptional undergraduates may be permitted to take graduate courses in the program. Programs at Linkjöping and Uppsala universities are also available for students in Scandinavian Studies wishing to study in Sweden.

The department offers two concentrations: German Studies and Scandinavian Studies. Prerequisites for the concentration in German Studies are GERMAN 110, 120, 230, 240 or the equivalent. Prerequisites for the concentration in Scandinavian Studies are SWEDISH 110, 120, 230, 240 or the equivalent.

Students interested in applying for the major should meet with the chief undergraduate adviser, who will help them determine their language proficiency. In general, four years of high school German or Swedish should guarantee proficiency through the 240 level.

Students should declare their major as soon as possible, in order to accommodate the required sequences of language courses.

Requirements for the Major

A total of 13 courses (39 credits) is required from the following distribution:

A. Six required courses:
German Concentration
310 Advanced German I
311 Reading German Culture
320 Advanced German II
341 Early German Culture
391G German Studies Junior Seminar
(Junior Year Writing requirement)
425 Advanced Composition

Scandinavian Concentration
SWEDISH 310 Advanced Swedish I
SWEDISH 320 Advanced Swedish II
SCANDIN 276 Vikings and their Stories
SCANDIN 391 Voices from the Top of the World
SCANDIN 391G Junior Seminar (Junior Year Writing requirement)
SCANDIN 397V Viking Revival and Creation of a Nordic Ideal
SCANDIN 491 Capstone Project

B. Six Elective German or Scandinavian Studies courses, one in each of the following areas:
1. History
2. German or Scandinavian Society
3. Comparative requirement
4. Literature
5. Film
6. One additional Cultural Studies course
Lists of approved comparative and cultural studies courses are available from the department. Majors, with permission of the program’s undergraduate adviser, may also use as an elective a course focused on Germany in another department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst or in a German- or Scandinavian-speaking country.

C. GERMAN 491 or SCANDIN 491 Capstone Project
In the second semester of their junior year, majors choose an individual adviser from among the program’s faculty to guide them through their self-designed Capstone Project. Carried out during their senior year, the project is developed with the approval of the individual adviser and committee. It may take one of many forms, including a thesis, portfolio, internship, video, web page or computer program, creative writing program, a curriculum designed for learning German or a Scandinavian language at any level, student-taught colloquium, student-organized conference, theatrical performance or artistic artifact. This requirement may be satisfied by Commonwealth College’s Capstone Experience as long as it meets the department’s general requirements.

Note: To receive major credit for a required course, a student must earn a grade of C or better.

Career Opportunities

The German major prepares students for graduate school as well as employment in business, government, and education. The ability to read, write, and speak in a major world language other than English can greatly enhance an individual’s career options. In the expanding global economy, most of the nations of eastern Europe and western Asia are using German as their common (second) language, and multinational corporations are seeking highly skilled translators and interpreters on an unprecedented scale. Graduates of the department are employed in many different fields, including law, international management, medicine, comparative literature, film studies, history, political science, book publishing, and organizations concerned with trade and commerce, technology and science, leisure and sports, the environment, and the arts.

The Minor

Students considering a minor in German are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Sullivan for advising on courses best suited to their interests.

Requirements

A total of five departmental courses (15 credits) is required.
German Concentration
310 Advanced German I
311 Reading German Culture
320 Advanced German II
341 Early German Culture
One related upper-level course

Scandinavian Concentration
SWEDISH 310 Advanced Swedish I
SWEDISH 320 Advanced Swedish II
SCANDIN 276 Vikings and their Stories
SCANDIN 397V Viking Revival and Creation of a Nordic Ideal
One related upper-level course

With the permission of the program’s undergraduate adviser, a course focused on Germany or Scandinavia taken in another department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst or in a German- or Scandinavian-speaking country may be used as an elective.

German and Scandinavian Studies | Courses | Faculty