Students Majoring or Minoring in German Studies
If you are planning to major in German studies, you should note that German courses taken abroad for which you wish to receive credit towards the German studies major or minor must be approved by the Department of German Studies upon your return to the College.
- You will not be able to count courses towards the minimum major (32 credits) or minor (16 credits) unless these courses are approved by the department.
- It is important to save all course descriptions, syllabi, reading lists, exams and papers written for your courses so that each course can be evaluated by the department to determine whether or not a course (e.g., in history, politics, film, etc.) can be counted towards the German studies major or minor, and at what level (200 or 300) you think the courses will count.
- To ensure the optimum amount of credit transfer allowed by MHC it is essential to keep in touch with the German Studies Department and your advisor in any other major while abroad.
As mentioned above, courses taken in disciplines other than German will likely count towards the German studies major or minor, if they are taught in German. However, please contact the German Studies Department before you enroll in the course to make sure it will count for German studies credit. For example, a physics course taught in German could not be counted toward the German studies major or minor.
300-Level credit: To receive 300-level credit in German studies for courses taken abroad, students should be prepared to present the following to the German Studies Department upon their return to MHC in the fall: a syllabus or reading list for the course and copies of any paper(s) written. Only courses which included a substantial discussion element, normally with a Referat, and for which a student has written a longer seminar paper (10-12 pages in German), or several shorter papers (5-7 pages in German) will be considered for 300-level credit.
Credit Transfer: No credit will be granted for a course in which you have only taken an oral exam. Also, you must receive a grade in each course you want to transfer. You should also know that MHC only lists course titles and the number of “credits” you earned abroad on your MHC transcript. Certain graduate programs, e.g., some law schools and medical schools, may request an official German transcript with the grades you received. If you are studying at the University of Leipzig on the exchange, the Akademisches Auslandsamt will issue your transcript. Ask your contact there to provide you with a couple of extra official transcripts for your records, since universities in Germany do not save transcripts. If you are studying under the auspices of an American-based program (e.g., any UMass programs, IES in Berlin, etc.), you don’t have to worry. These programs do save transcripts.
German Studies Majors: Remember that you are required to take at least one German studies course in each semester (fall and spring) of your senior year--even if you have earned enough credits for the German studies major. These courses are normally 300-level seminars. Of course, you must elect the Senior Seminar (German 325) in the fall of your senior year.
Double Majors or Students not Majoring or Minoring in German Studies
You should discuss your plans to study abroad with the chair of your major department/program. You should get his/her assurance (in writing, if possible) to indicate that it should be possible for you to complete the major or minor upon your return to Mount Holyoke.
Note that approval of your plan of study does not in itself constitute approval of specific courses to count towards college or major/minor requirements. You must seek such approval from the appropriate department or program chair. Therefore, it is essential that you keep in close touch with your advisor(s) as you finalize your class schedule abroad, especially if you wish courses taken abroad to fulfill specific major, minor, or general requirements at Mount Holyoke. Again, get approval in writing, if possible. Upon your return to Mount Holyoke, you will need to have the chair(s) of the department/s or program/s sign a form (available on the Registrar’s web site) which officially confirms that a particular course taken abroad fulfills a major, minor, or general requirement.
To receive full credit for your semester (16 credits) or year (32 credits) abroad, you must take a full-time standard course load each semester. If you are studying under the auspices of a program administered by a U.S. college or university, it is highly recommended that you obtain a letter from the program director stating that you have taken a full-time standard course load each semester! The number of courses and types of courses you will be expected to take will differ from program to program.
No credit is awarded for the pre-session or pre-orientation course, or any course(s) taken prior to the official beginning of the semester (either Wintersemester or Sommersemester). Please note that you will receive a maximum of 16 credits (for a semester of study) and 32 credits (for a year of study) regardless of the number of courses you take.
Additional Information for Students studying at the University of Leipzig
Since most of the courses you will take are regular university courses, you should know a bit more about courses offered at German universities. Please read the following information to get a general overview of the types of courses offered at German universities. Of course, you may also choose to take a few courses specially designed for “foreign students.” Most of these courses are offered at the Studienkolleg Sachsen in Leipzig. However, before you finalize your schedule, please email the German Studies Department to make sure that the courses you plan to take are at the appropriate level for you. This will ensure that you will be able to transfer the credits when you return to Mount Holyoke College.
Have a wonderful living and learning experience in Germany!