Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures Major, B.A.–Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures Concentration

Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures

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426 Dey Hall, CB# 3160

(919) 966-1642

Eric Downing, Chair

Hana Pichova, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Valerie Bernhardt, Administrative Manager

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.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs

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

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

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

Core Requirements
One course demonstrating level 5 proficiency in a single target language:3
Advanced Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian Language I
Advanced Czech I
Advanced Hungarian
Advanced Polish I
Intermediate-to-Advanced Russian Communication, Conversation, and Composition in Context I
Two courses (six credit hours) of any other single Slavic/East European language6
SLAV 250Introduction to Non-Russian Slavic/East European Culture (or RUSS 415 for students with Russian as their first target language)3
Four additional courses selected in consultation with the Slavic advisor from the Slavic/East European and Russian language and literature/culture courses (BCS, CZCH, HUNG, MACD, PLSH, RUSS, or SLAV) 112
Additional Requirements
Students must establish credit for level 4 of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS 404), Czech (CZCH 404), Hungarian (HUNG 404), Polish (PLSH 404), or Russian (RUSS 204) as a prerequisite for a major concentration in Slavic and East European languages and cultures.
Other than the introductory and intermediate language courses mentioned above, at least four 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.
Total Hours24

Topics courses may be repeated for credit toward the major or minor.

Students interested in this concentration should have a grade of B or better in the intermediate-level course (203/204 or 403/404) in their first target language.

Students who receive placement credit (PL) or By-Examination credit (BE) for the courses in the first two core requirements above (the fifth-semester first-target-language requirement, as well as the two-course second-target-language requirement) must substitute this credit with coursework (three credit hours each to replace each course with PL or BE credit) to complete the requirements for the concentration. Students may not re-enroll in a course for which they have received PL or BE credit.

Only one of the following courses may count toward the major:

GSLL 691HHonors Course3
GSLL 692HHonors Course3
GSLL 693HHonors Seminar3

Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures course descriptions include:

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