German Studies Senior Portfolio

German Studies Department Portfolio Program and Senior Paper Requirements

Portfolio Program
In addition to satisfying the course requirements, all majors are required to compile a portfolio of their work and to submit it to the department during the last semester of their senior year.  Seniors away from campus during their last semester should make prior arrangements with the department while on campus.  The creation of a portfolio allows a senior to show how s/he has completed the major and how s/he has grown intellectually and practically as a major.  The portfolio should be carefully designed to synthesize the student's total experience as a major.

When students declare a major, they should seek a faculty advisor in the department who will advise them on the compilation of their portfolio.  It is the students' ultimate responsibility to ensure the completion of the portfolio.  The portfolio is due by April 1 for May graduates or November 1 for December graduates. Each departmental faculty advisor will certify that the portfolio fulfills the department's standards for graduation.  If a departmental faculty advisor is unavailable, another faculty member in the same language may certify. Please submit portfolio materials in a folder, binder or report cover. Copies of students' personal statements will be kept in the Department.  The original materials will be returned to the students. To ensure proper notification of the registrar for your graduation clearance, please submit portfolio to the department administrative specialist.

The requirements for the Senior Portfolio are as follows:

  1. A personal statement (minimum 2 to 3 pages typed) written in English which documents the student's history as a major and discusses the contents of the portfolio.  This statement should include a self-assessment of language strengths and weaknesses, insights into literary texts and the target culture, and reflections upon various learning experiences such as study abroad, language house participation or internship.
  2. A minimum of three papers at different levels demonstrating progress during the student's coursework at Puget Sound or elsewhere.  These papers should be "clean" copies, i.e., without professor's written remarks on the paper.
  3. Other optional materials may also include:
  • A curriculum vitae which includes a list of courses in the discipline and other related educational experience.  Syllabi may be included; this is especially recommended for courses taken at institutions other than Puget Sound.
  • Audio and video recordings (videotapes, CDs, DVDs, MP3 files, etc.) of the student’s current oral skills in the target language;
  • Indication of ability to apply the target language in modern media.  Evidence of such ability may include the use of computer-mediated technology, such as software programs in the target language, personal web sites or course-related web pages, logs or records of correspondence and participation in the target language via e-mail, chat room online forum or conferencing tools (e.g. BlackBoard, Moodle), etc.;
  • Anything else students deem essential that may have enhanced their undergraduate experience and will distinguish their portfolio.

Senior Paper Requirements
In addition to satisfying the course requirements and completing a senior portfolio, all literature majors are required to write a senior paper as per the requirements below.[1] 

The Senior Paper in German Studies

The senior paper for the German Studies Program is completed as part of the 400-level seminar during the spring semester and is required of all German majors outside of German International Studies.

Topic: Determined in consultation with the professor teaching the seminar, with copies of the thesis statement and final draft going to the student’s advisor.

Method: The senior paper should demonstrate the ability to do literary analysis appropriate to the undergraduate level, as well as facility with and awareness of critical method.

Length: 2,500 to 5,000 words

Language: The senior paper will be written in German. Quotations may be cited in the original language, with English translations as needed for languages other than German.

Format: Consistent with guidelines set by the MLA Bibliography, Chicago Manual of Style, or German formats such as that used by the Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literatur und Geistesgeschichte.

Bibliography: The senior paper should present evidence of sustained interaction with a minimum of eight secondary sources, at least four of which are written in German.

Evaluation: The professor teaching the senior seminar has sole responsibility for grading the senior paper.

Non-Majors: The professor teaching the seminar has the right to adapt the final seminar assignment to meet the needs of GIS majors, minors and non-majors. In cases where the final assignment differs significantly from the senior paper, this should be indicated in the syllabus or in a description of the topic.

Due date:  Determined in consultation with the faculty member teaching the senior seminar.


[1] The senior paper is not required of FLIA, HISP or GISP majors.