German, B.A.

Program Code: GERBA_BA

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in German, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 17
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 34

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
GER 301Intermediate Speaking and Listening3
GER 302WIntermediate Composition and Grammar3
GER 310Introduction to the Study of German Literature3
GER 344Intermediate German Culture3
GER 401YAdvanced Composition3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
GER 201Conversation and Composition4
or GER 208Y Business German
Select 3 credits of the following:3
GER 200
German at the 100-level
Select 6 credits in German literature and culture from the following:6
History of German Literature and Culture I
History of German Literature and Culture II
Seminar in German Culture
Introduction to German Film History and Theory in Context
Select 3 credits in German linguistics and applied linguistics from the following:3
The Teaching of German
Contrastive Analysis of Modern German and English
History of the German Language
Select 3 additional credits of German at the 300- or 400-level3

Integrated B.A. in German and M.I.A. in International Affairs

Requirements for the Integrated B.A. in German and M.I.A. in International Affairs can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Students will have developed oral skills in German that allow them to communicate efficiently in a range of settings from informal to professional.
  2. Students will have developed literacy skills that allow them to both read and write in German. Majors should be able to read and interpret a variety of media ranging from newspapers to literary texts to formal academic prose.
  3. Students will have developed an understanding of the structure of the German language.
  4. Students will have developed an understanding of the significance of the major cultural and historical events, personages and developments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
  5. Students will be familiar with major authors and literary works in German.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

German, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
GER 14GER 24
ENGL 15, 30H, 137H, CAS 137H, or ESL 153CAS 100A, 100B, 100C, 138T, or ENGL 138T3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
First Year Seminar (FYS)3General Education Course (GQ)3
 16 16
Second Year
GER 34GER 201 or 208Y (IL)*4
GER 200 (GH;IL) or 100-level GER*3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GQ)3General Education Course3
General Education Course3BA Other Cultures Course3
General Education Course3US Cultures Course3
 16 16
Third Year
GER 301 (IL)*3GER 401Y (IL)*3
GER 302W*3Select 3 credits of 300- or 400-level courses in GER, in consultation with major adviser*3
BA Requirements3GER 344 (IL)*3
General Education Course3BA Requirements3
 15 15
Fourth Year
GER 411, 412, or 430*3German Literature or Culture (from list)*3
German Literature or Culture (from list)*3Select 3 credits of 300- or 400-level courses in GER, in consultation with major adviser*3
GER 310*3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
ENGL 202B3Elective3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5Elective2
 13.5 12.5
Total Credits 120

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Advising Note:

All incoming freshmen must take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) during Fall or Spring of their first year.  Academic advisers can provide a list of FYS being offered and help the student enroll.  Most FYS in the College of the Liberal Arts are worth 3 cr. and count as a General Humanities (GH) or General Social Sciences (GS) course.  For this reason, the FYS is not listed separately on this eight-semester plan; most students will be able to fulfill the FYS requirement while also fulfilling a GH or GS requirement.

Career Paths

German is one of the three official working languages of the European Union, and it is the most widely spoken native language in Europe. A degree in German opens up doors to a variety of careers in the US government and military, international business, international relations, international law, human rights, information technology, professional translation, publishing, education, the travel industry, and more. A number of our graduates have been awarded Fulbright and DAAD grants, and some have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in German Studies or related fields (Comparative Literature, Linguistics).


University Park

442 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802