German Honors Program


The departmental Honors Program in German is open to students majoring in German. Students are admitted to the program on the basis of superior work after at least two semesters of study in German at the advanced level. The minimum eligibility requirements for the honors program are a cumulative GPA of 3.65 and a GPA of 3.65 in the major. Both the Director of Undergraduate Studies in German and the Director of the Honors Program must approve your application.


In the senior year, students complete a two-course, 8-credit sequence, consisting of Senior Honors Seminar(GERM-UA 999) in  the fall semester and Honors Thesis (GERM-UA 500) in the spring semester.

Students select and work on an individual basis with an honors advisor from among the undergraduate teaching faculty of the department. In addition, students chose a second reader, typically another faculty member from the department. In cases of an interdisciplinary thesis, the second reader may be from another department.

The Senior Honors Seminar, a small, workshop-format course, is normally taken during the fall semester of the senior year. This is a cross-departmental seminar, co-conducted with the Departments of Italian, Slavic, Romance Languages, Hellenic Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Classics. The seminar’s primary focus is on research, methodology, and academic writing, but students also learn strategies for grant writing and presentation. Students define a thesis topic of their choice, identify advisor(s), develop a bibliography, read broadly in their area, and begin their research and writing. A substantial portion of the research, usually including a rough draft of one-third to one-half of the thesis, should be completed by semester’s end.

During the spring semester of the senior year, students should enroll in their advisor’s section of Honors Independent Study (GERM-UA 500). In close consultation with the thesis advisor, students work on completing research, a final draft, and revisions of the thesis.

The finished thesis should be a work of scholarship and/or criticism in the field of German Studies and should be from 40 to 60 double-spaced pages in length.The thesis can be written in German or English. If it is written in English, the student must also write an abstract of approximately five pages in German. There will also be a presentation and oral defense of the senior thesis with a minimum of the student’s two readers.

In consultation with the second reader, the student’s advisor determines whether or not to recommend him or her for Honors. A grade of at least A- is required for the award of Honors in German. Students receiving a lower grade will simply be awarded 8 credits of coursework towards the major.

How to Apply

Applications for admission to the honors program are made to both the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department and the Director of the Honors Program at latest in spring semester of the junior year.

The application form is available in the Department of German. Interested students should attach to the application an unmarked copy of a paper that they have submitted in a German major course. The paper should demonstrate the student’s analytic abilities and application of critical methodology.