Interdivisional Programs

German Studies

The German Studies Program encompasses the language, literature, culture, history, philosophy, art, and music of the German-speaking countries. The cultural and historical expressions of German can best be understood by interdisciplinary study and by situating German, Austrian, and Swiss cultures within the larger European and global context. In pursuing work in German Studies, students are expected to take a range of courses in the program, focusing on literature, history, philosophy, and politics but also taking advantage of related courses in art history, music, theater, and film. German Studies can be pursued as a stand-alone major; designing a joint major with another discipline is encouraged and fully supported.

A student moderates into German Studies with a focus in German literature. Joint majors moderate separately into German Studies and the related discipline (philosophy, music, economics, etc.) or they may integrate German Studies and another field of inquiry into one Moderation. Before Moderation, potential majors are required to participate in the annual German intensive program, a semester of intensive language study at Bard in the spring followed by a month’s study in August at Bard College Berlin; a survey course in German literature; and at least one semester of German or European history. After Moderation, the student is required to take at least one German literature course in German per semester until graduation and write a Senior Project in the senior year. The program highly recommends that moderated students study abroad for a semester, ideally in the spring of the junior year. Bard offers an exchange program with Humboldt University in Berlin and several study abroad options with Bard College Berlin (see Bard Abroad).

Recent Senior Projects in German Studies

  • “The Devil Figure in Goethe, Boito, and Gounod”
  • “Echoes of the Written World: On the Difficulties of Memory and Belonging in W. G. Sebald’s Die Ringe des Saturn
  • “(In)Hospitable: Refugees as ‘Guests’ in Germany Today”

Program Website:

Program Director: Franz Kempf
Phone: 845-758-7213