Major Requirements

In the Department of German and Scandinavian, students communicate in languages spoken by over 100 million people and engage with one of the world’s richest traditions of culture and thought. These linguistic skills give students a competitive edge in careers of their choice.

We encourage double majors and major-minor combinations of all sorts. Popular options include global studies, history, journalism, business, political science, English, other languages, and more. The German and Scandinavian studies major is particularly well-suited for double majors.


By studying German, you will learn about one of the most creative, influential, sociopolitically thoughtful, and economically powerful cultures of contemporary Europe. Knowing German is useful in many fields of international endeavor, from business to journalism to political or cultural work. But beyond language, we explore the cultural and social history that brought us mind-bending fiction such as that of Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann, emotionally and intellectually exhilarating music from Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven to Arnold Schönberg, beautiful and challenging poetry from Karoline von Günderode to Ingeborg Bachmann, avant-garde film from Fritz Lang to Valie Export and beyond, some of the most influential philosophers in the modern world from Immanuel Kant to Martin Heidegger to Hannah Arendt, and left social theory from Karl Marx to Jürgen Habermas. We also examine the difficult sides of recent cultural history, e.g., how this same culture brought forth the racist horrors of Nazi ideology and the Holocaust, and how the country was divided into communist and capitalist East and West Germany from WWII to 1989. We learn about how German culture was crucial to the Protestant Reformation, to the rise of modern science, and to modern forms of fantasy, especially in film. Widely applicable skills you will build include those in critical interpretive thinking and writing, as well as oral expression. We strongly encourage also study abroad in our exchange program with the universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

This major focus provides an excellent background for careers in international affairs, law, publishing, teaching, journalism, international business, and tourism, as well as for artistic fields and graduate study. Majors and minors choosing this focus are encouraged to spend time studying abroad on our exchange program with universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Course Requirements

To earn the major, students must complete seven Core Language courses and five Literature and Culture courses. Since all courses are not offered every year, plans should be made well in advance so that students can take prerequisites for 400-level courses.

Students must complete the following seven Core Language Courses:

  • GER 201 Second-Year German I
  • GER 202 Second-Year German II
  • GER 203 Second-Year German III
  • GER 301 Intermediate Language Training I
  • GER 302 Intermediate Language Training II
  • GER 303 Intermediate Language Training III
  • GER 411 Advanced Language Training

Students must complete five German Literature and Culture Courses, excluding the language classes listed above:

  • Three of these five German literature and culture courses must be upper division courses with the GER subject code, taught in German, and taken at the University of Oregon.
  • For the remaining two, both may be taught in English and may be at the 200 level (GER 200-level courses, GER 345, GER 350-359)

Students may not use the following classes to satisfy major requirements: GER 199, GER 405 Reading and Conference, GER 406 Special Problems, GER 408 Workshop, GER 409 Practicum (however, the practicum with the teaching internship does count for the major).

For questions, contact a program advisor.

Program Requirements

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Situated on the periphery of the European continent, the Scandinavian countries have long provided examples of alternative social systems. From the stateless commonwealth in medieval Iceland to the “third-way” model of the modern welfare state, the countries of the north offer us examples that both speak to and elaborate upon what we commonly regard as the norm. As a result of this positioning, Scandinavians being both European and on the border of Europe, the study of the culture and literature of this region allows the student an opportunity to explore a unique set of perspectives. This uniqueness is abundantly expressed in the rich literary traditions of the region. As a faculty, we strive to place these traditions and their transgressions in conversation with the rest of the world.

We offer courses in the language, culture, and literature. Currently our language instruction is in Swedish. Our culture courses cover the developments from the medieval period to recent demographic and cultural changes in the region. Our literature offerings provide the student with a richly conceptualized course of study ranging widely in perspective, subject matter, and chronological breath. Examples of this range include literature courses addressing gender, children’s literature, philosophy, autobiography, migration, the welfare state, the Sami, race, masks, madness, medieval sagas, myths, monsters, and drama. We offer regular film courses as well that address similar concerns. All literature and culture courses are conducted in English.

Students in Scandinavian are strongly encouraged to spend a year studying abroad. We currently offer the opportunity for study abroad in Denmark at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), or at the Copenhagen Business School; in Finland at the University of Tampere; in Iceland at the SIT program in Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics; in Norway at the University of Bergen or the University of Oslo; and in Sweden at Uppsala University. Students who want to study abroad should plan their coursework carefully in consultation with the undergraduate departmental Scandinavian Advisor. Learn about studying abroad.

Course Requirements

To major in Scandinavian, students must complete:

  • Second-Year Swedish classes (SWED 201-203), or the equivalent (12 credits)
  • Eight Scandinavian literature or culture courses (32 credits)
  • One topical upper-division course from a related field, advisor approved (4 credits)

The department does not accept a grade of C- or lower in any course used to fulfill requirements for a major in Scandinavian, though one literature and culture course might be taken pass/no pass. Three of the required courses below must be taken at the UO.

Majors in Scandinavian must be proficient in Swedish at the third-year level, demonstrated either by evaluation by the Scandinavian advisor or by successful completion of work beyond Second-Year Swedish (SWED 203). Typically, this will occur through independent study in Reading and Conference: [Topic] (SWED 405), work with supplementary texts in advanced Swedish as extra requirements in the department’s Scandinavian courses, and/or through study abroad in Scandinavia.

Students should plan their course work carefully in consultation with a departmental undergraduate advisor. They may also satisfy this requirement in Danish or Norwegian.

For questions, contact a program advisor.

Program Requirements

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German and Scandinavian Studies

The German and Scandinavian studies major is essentially an interdisciplinary German or Scandinavian studies major. (While it is possible to mix German and Scandinavian studies for this major, and we’re happy to guide you through this option, most students have historically chosen either German or Scandinavian plus another field. The general idea rather is to enable students to mix German language and culture studies or Swedish language and Scandinavian culture studies with study of another discipline or interest area—such as history, philosophy, political science, global studies, music, art, etc. —that overlaps with German or Swedish/Scandinavian studies. Each student designs their own, intellectually coherent program in regular and direct consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of German and Scandinavian Matthias Vogel 

To clarify your options: the difference between this Major and the regular German or Scandinavian Major is that, of the twelve courses that make up the major, in this case six are taken in the secondary discipline (History, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, etc.), whereas in the regular German or Scandinavian Major, all twelve courses are taken within our Department.   

Compared to the regular German major, the German and Scandinavian studies major starts one year higher in the language sequence (with third-year German), but it involves three fewer upper level courses (on literature and culture) taught in the German language. Thus, for those who want to maximize their fluency in German and their knowledge of German culture, the regular German major is the preferred choice. For those who want to do half of a German major and half of another major, and mix these together, the German and Scandinavian studies major is the preferred choice. 

The primary difference between the regular Scandinavian major and the German and Scandinavian studies major is that, with the latter, the student can take six courses in another discipline, selecting from within that discipline courses that resonate with Scandinavian cultural history. 

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5-year BA/MA Program

If you arrive at the UO with fairly advanced knowledge of German, you may be able to join our 5-year BA/MA Program. Since the Master’s of Arts (MA) Program takes two years to complete, you’d do the first year of graduate school during your last year of undergraduate study, then finish the master’s degree in just one more year of study. During that year, you’d teach an undergraduate language course and receive your education for free, while earning a good graduate employee salary and benefits. Sound good? Read further!

Program Requirements

Course of Study

The BA/MA program requires careful planning with an advisor so that all requirements can be finished in time. The program requires:

A minimum of 12 courses (48 credits) at the 500 or 600 level

  • Six of these must be the following core courses taken for a grade (Note: these have changed from the Program Requirements document)
    • “Paradigms of Interpretation” Sequence
      • GER 691 Gender, Race, Class, Nation
      • GER 692 Subject Consciousness, Mind
      •  GER 690 Form and Structur
    • “Mediations” Sequence
      • GER 693 Photography, Film, Video, Electronic Media
      • GER 694 Environment and Text
      • GER 695 Translations/Transformations
  • At least 10 of these (40 credits) must be in German (GER). Up to 2 (8 credits) of these 12 courses can be from other programs, pending advisor approval
  • Nine of these courses must be graded and the total graduate GPA must remain 3.3 or higher

In addition to these 48 credits, students must also complete the following 20 credits of coursework:

  • GER 610 Wrk: Teaching Methods
  • GER 609 pedagogy
  • GER 609 Pedagogy
  • GER 401/601 Advising
  • GER 503 or 605 M.A. Thesis Tutorials

This information is a short summary of the program requirements. For all the details to help you plan, see the program requirements.

Program Timeline

The fall term of their junior year or earlier, applicants should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies about potential coursework to complete. Students who will be studying abroad during their junior year are encouraged to start planning prior to going abroad.

Undergraduate majors in German at the University of Oregon need to apply their junior year by January 15 for admission into the program the following fall.  

The fall term of their senior year, successful applicants will already be informally admitted to the program by the Department of German and Scandinavian effective. 

The summer immediately following their graduation with a BA, applicants should apply on the GradWeb system. If accepted, they can then be officially admitted as MA students.  

Applying to the Program

A minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in German are required at the time of application. All candidates applying for admission need to register on the electronic GradWeb system and submit the following:

  • Statement of Purpose: Submit a statement of 1-2 pages presenting your academic background, intellectual and literary interests, and reasons for pursuing graduate study in German at the University of Oregon.
  • Writing Sample: Submit a writing sample of 10-12 pages of your best scholarly writing, preferably in the field of German Studies (written in English or German).
  • Language Proficiency: Submit an audio file of your spoken German of about 3-5 minutes. Recommendations: Have three confidential letters of recommendation submitted by faculty members familiar with your work.
  • C1 Exam Score: All applicants whose native language is not German must supply the result of the C1 Exam administered by the Goethe-Institut. The department requires a C1 score of Befriedigend (3) or better. If not included by the application deadline, this score must be supplied by August 15 prior to enrollment for the Fall term of Senior year.

Graduate Status

Upon completion of all BA requirements, students will have full graduate student status for the summer term following graduation and their subsequent second year in the program. During this summer they work closely with a faculty member towards a topic for their M.A. thesis and their reading list, which prepares them optimally for their remaining coursework, thesis writing, and exams during their second year.


For their second year in the program students are eligible for a Graduate Employee (GE) position, teaching one section of first-year German per term while continuing their own course of study. We offer plentiful mentoring and support for these teaching responsibilities. The financial compensation of the GE position, along with a tuition waiver and health insurance available at minimal cost, enables students to support themselves while working towards the MA degree. They also gain valuable teaching experience that will be an asset in any future career, particularly in the field of education.

For questions, contact a program advisor.

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Exceptions for Advanced German Students

Recognizing that students who come to UO with advanced German are among the ones we most want to attract to our degree programs, the department will invite any incoming student who places out of the BA language requirement in German (or is otherwise known to us to have advanced proficiency) for a placement interview with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for German. The interview will assess oral skills, writing skills, and grammatical knowledge. The DUS should also use the chance to familiarize students with our degree programs with an aim toward recruiting them as majors or minors.

Based on the interview and other relevant information, such as AP or STAMP test scores, the DUS may waive up to 8 of the 16 language credits required for the major. Typically, an AP score of 4 will exempt a student from 8 credits of GER 311-312. A score of 5 will, additionally, place a student out of GER 313, but such a student must still take two 400-level language courses.

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