Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures Major, B.A.–Central European Studies Concentration

Multiple tracks for undergraduate study are available for students interested in German programs (two concentrations), Slavic programs (two concentrations), and Central European studies (one concentration). A major in Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures provides preparatory training that will be useful in government employment; internationally oriented business, journalism, law, and teaching; as well as graduate study in a range of humanistic and social science disciplines.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will acquire linguistic proficiency, cultural competence, and critical and analytical skills through the study of Germanic and Slavic languages and cultures in visual, textual, and oral forms. The curricula in Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures are broadly interdisciplinary and place the comparative study of languages, literatures, and cultures in dialogue with other germane fields of knowledge, such as philosophy, film and media studies, history, and music. Particular attention is paid to the development of student research interests that can bridge their acquired linguistic and cultural knowledge with their aspirations in other disciplines. Upon completion of the Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures program, students are able to:   

  • Speak effectively in the target language in a variety of social, academic, and professional settings, as well as use their native language for effective cross-cultural communication
  • Write accurately in both the target language and English on a variety of topics relevant to the discipline
  • Understand another culture's practices as meaningful sites for the articulation of identities and the negotiation of values
  • Connect the critical interpretation of aesthetic texts to broader fields of intellectual inquiry
  • Gain knowledge of the cultural history of Germanic and Slavic lands and link its relevance to both American and global histories
  • Utilize disciplinary methods and theories in order to produce original, innovative research


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
GSLL 260From Berlin to Budapest: Literature, Film, and Culture of Central Europe3
HIST 260IDEAs in Action General Education logo From Kings to Communists: East-Central Europe in the Modern Era3
Two departmental courses (six credit hours) in CZCH, GERM, GSLL, HUNG, or PLSH numbered above 200 (not including introductory or intermediate foreign language courses, and not including GSLL 252 or GSLL 278 or GSLL 280) 16
Four additional courses (12 credit hours), which may include departmental courses in CZCH, GERM, GSLL, HUNG, or PLSH numbered above 200 (not including introductory or intermediate foreign language courses, and not including GSLL 252 or 278 or 280), or approved Central European studies electives (see list below) 112
Additional Requirements
Students must establish credit for level 4 of one Central European language: 2, 33
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate German II (or GERM 206) H
Intermediate Czech II
Intermediate Hungarian Language
Intermediate Polish II
Students must establish credit for level 2 of an additional Central European language: 36
Elementary German II (or GERM 105) H
Elementary Czech II
Elementary Hungarian
Elementary Polish II
Total Hours33

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.


GSLL 278 may be included as a major elective (for either category above) with permission of the director of undergraduate studies.


The first three levels of the foreign language can count toward the General Education Foundations requirement and have not been included as additional hours for the major.


 By exam credit (BE) and placement credit (PL) may be used.

Approved Central European Studies Electives

ANTH 449IDEAs in Action General Education logo Anthropology and Marxism3
ARTH 455City, Architecture, Art: Nuremberg as a European Artistic Center,1300-16003
CMPL/GERM 279IDEAs in Action General Education logo Once Upon A Fairy Tale: Fairy Tales and Childhood, Then and Now3
CMPL/GSLL 270/JWST 239/RELI 239German Culture and the Jewish Question3
CMPL/GSLL 281Holocaust Cinema in Eastern Europe3
EURO 252IDEAs in Action General Education logo Politics, Society, and Culture in Modern Germany (1871-1945)3
GEOG 464Europe Today: Transnationalism, Globalisms, and the Geographies of Pan-Europe3
GERM/CMPL/WGST 271Women in German Cinema3
HIST 140IDEAs in Action General Education logo The World since 19453
HIST/EURO 159IDEAs in Action General Education logo From War to Prosperity: 20th-Century Europe3
HIST 306IDEAs in Action General Education logo Princes and Reformations in Germany, 1400-16003
HIST 307IDEAs in Action General Education logo War and Enlightenment in Germany, 1600-18153
HIST 458Europe and the World Wars, 1914-19453
HIST 462Germany, 1806-1918: Politics, Society, and Culture H3
HIST 463Germany since 1918: Politics, Society, and Culture H3
HIST 466Modern European Intellectual History H3
HIST 481From Communists to Capitalists: Eastern Europe since 19453
HIST/JWST 476Religion and Ethnicity 3
HIST/JWST 485From Fiddler on the Roof to the Holocaust: East European and Soviet Jewish History3
HIST/JWST/PWAD 262IDEAs in Action General Education logo History of the Holocaust: The Destruction of the European Jews3
HIST/POLI/EURO 257IDEAs in Action General Education logo Politics, Society, and Culture in Postwar Germany3
JWST/GSLL/PWAD 465Literature of Atrocity: The Gulag and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe3
JWST/RELI 420IDEAs in Action General Education logo Post-Holocaust Ethics and Theology H3
JWST/SLAV 464Imagined Jews: Jewish Themes in Polish and Russian Literature3
PHIL 224IDEAs in Action General Education logo Existential Philosophy and the Meaning(lessness) of Life H3
PHIL 423IDEAs in Action General Education logo Kant's Theoretical Philosophy3
PHIL 427Hegel3
PHIL 471Topics in 19th Century Philosophy3
POLI/PWAD/SOCI 260IDEAs in Action General Education logo Crisis and Change in Russia and Eastern Europe3

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

  • Students may petition the director of undergraduate studies to include other courses with significant Central European content.
  • Only one of the following courses may count toward the major: GSLL 691H, GSLL 692H, or GSLL 693H.
  • At least four of the above courses (12 credit hours) must be taken at UNC–Chapel Hill to fulfill the requirements of the major. Majors who study abroad or wish to transfer credit from another institution may apply to transfer a maximum of four courses counting toward the major. Before their departure for a study abroad program, students should consult with the relevant director of undergraduate studies about appropriate courses taken abroad for the major.
  • Students may not re-enroll in a language course for which they have received PL or BE credit.

Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures course descriptions include:

  • Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures (GSLL)
  • Dutch (DTCH)
  • German (GERM)
  • Czech (CZCH)
  • Hungarian (HUNG)
  • Macedonian (MACD)
  • Polish (PLSH)
  • Russian (RUSS)
  • Serbian and Croatian (SECR)
  • Slavic (SLAV)

Special Opportunities in Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures 

Honors in Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures

Students majoring in Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures who are qualified for honors work are strongly encouraged to consider taking honors thesis during their senior year. Undertaking an honors project gives students the opportunity to explore a topic in depth under the direction of a faculty member. Students who wish to do honors work should confer with the director of undergraduate studies and choose an honors thesis advisor during the first or second semester of their junior year, and complete an honors thesis contract.  Second-semester juniors or first-semester seniors will be enrolled in GSLL 691H (honors reading and special studies) for their first semester of honors thesis work, once the honors thesis contract is fully approved.  For the second semester, once an updated contract is completed, students will be enrolled in GSLL 692H (writing the honors thesis). When GSLL 693H is offered, the course replaces GSLL 692H and provides an opportunity for students majoring in any of our concentrations to complete their thesis in the context of a small seminar with other honors students. One of these honors courses may count toward the major.

Student Involvement and Cultural Enrichment beyond the Classroom

Numerous social and educational events hosted by the department, as well as by student clubs such as the German Club, provide an atmosphere for effective learning and for enjoying German and Slavic culture. There are weekly opportunities in German, Russian, and other languages for informal conversation suitable for both beginning and advanced students. The department periodically sponsors lectures, roundtables, small conferences, and film series for the various languages. Those considering an undergraduate major or minor should request to be added to the appropriate e-mail listserv, in order to ensure they receive information regarding special events and opportunities.

The department also hosts receptions and informational meetings for students interested in pursuing a major or minor, or for those seeking opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate study, and employment in Germany, Russia, and Eastern or Central Europe. Every spring the department presents a Slavic and East European talent night, or Spektakl’, featuring skits, songs, puppet shows, plays, and poetry readings in the Slavic and East European languages students are learning. The department also presents full-length plays and dramatic readings in German performed by undergraduate students.

Study Abroad

The department encourages students to study and/or engage in internships abroad. These opportunities maximize students’ linguistic and cultural proficiency, particularly once they have acquired sufficient language skills to benefit most from this immersion experience. Students may participate for a whole year, a single term, or a summer.

The Study Abroad Office offers German programs at all universities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as a dedicated exchange program with the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen; the Freie University (FUBEX) in Berlin, and the University of Freiburg;  at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business Administration; at the IES European Union and Environmental Programs in Freiburg (Germany); and at the IES Program (3 tracks) in Vienna. Most German programs require that participating students have passed GERM 204 (or its equivalent); however, students with no prior knowledge of German may attend the FUBiS or FU-BEST programs in Berlin or the IES program in Freiburg, or also the Baden-Württemburg exchange university of Mannheim which offers a number of courses in English. These programs generally include intensive language instruction in addition to content courses taught in English, and most programs offer an orientation course prior to the start of the semester. The yearlong term typically begins in late August and ends in late July, with a two-month vacation between semesters that many students use for travel. Students going abroad for only one term generally do so in the spring semester, which typically begins in late February and ends in late July.

The DAAD in conjunction with German universities usually offers some summer internships. Please see an undergraduate advisor in the department office about these opportunities.

Students who choose to study Dutch may study abroad in Amsterdam through the IES, or attend SIT Netherlands’ Program “International Perspective on Sexuality and Gender.” Exchange programs also are offered in Nijmegen and Groningen and the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Most courses are offered in English but students can study Dutch and even German. Students in economics and/or communication studies may take courses in English at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Students can study in semester or yearlong programs in Russia, including in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vladimir, while earning credit towards their Carolina degree. Students also may participate in the ACTR Moscow summer program in Russia. UNC–Chapel Hill offers semester-long programs in Prague, Czech Republic, Dobrovnik, Croatia, Budapest, Hungary, and Krakow, Poland (summer also offered). For more information about these and other programs in eastern and central Europe, go to Majors and minors should consult with the director of undergraduate studies or the appropriate undergraduate advisor in advance of going abroad about courses they plan to take for the major or minor.

Languages across the Curriculum

The Languages across the Curriculum (LAC) Program encourages majors and minors to enroll in one-credit-hour recitation or discussion sections that are conducted in German or another of our languages, but associated with a variety of courses offered in English on a related subject. Each of these discussion and recitation sections counts as one German language credit (in addition to the credit granted for the course).

Undergraduate Awards

Membership in the Beta Rho chapter of Delta Phi Alpha, the German honors society, is available to majors and minors who have completed at least six credit hours of German language coursework at the 300 level and who have maintained high cumulative grade point averages and high grade point averages in the major.

The department selects annually one outstanding graduating senior majoring in German to receive the Undergraduate Ria Stambaugh Award for Excellence in German, a monetary award that is presented at the Chancellor’s Awards Ceremony each spring. Ria Stambaugh was a popular professor of German; after her death in 1984 her sister, friends, and colleagues contributed to a memorial fund to establish the Ria Stambaugh Awards. The undergraduate award was first presented in 1987.

Established in 1999, the Paul Debreczeny Prize is awarded each spring to a graduating senior whose work in Slavic languages and literatures has been judged outstanding. This monetary prize honors one of the founding faculty members of the program in Slavic languages and literatures.

Undergraduate Research

In addition to honors thesis work, students are encouraged to work on course-complementary or independent research projects with department faculty. Funding may be available through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures

Visit Program Website

426 Dey Hall, CB# 3160

(919) 966-1642


Richard Langston


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Hana Pichova

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies

Aleksandra Prica

Administrative Manager

Valerie Bernhardt