Course Policies and Requirements
Intermediate GermanUN1201

  • German language students are expected to attend and complete class work from day one of class. Students MUST BE ATTENDANCE and have completed all course work for weeks one and two at very latest Thurs. Sept. 15 for 2-day classes or Fri. Sept. 16 for 3-day classes. There will be NO NEW ADMITS to German language classes in Week 3 of the Semester!
  • Three essays (@300 words)
  • One oral interview
  • One oral presentation
  • One presentation of a group project
  • Portfolio of materials demonstrating mastery of topics, vocabulary, communication skills, AND documenting learning process
  • Daily preparation, homework assignments, quizzes, and in-class participation represent 20% and/or 30% of the course grade. Individual instructors may include web projects such as wikis or blogs representing 10% of the course grade

In the course of the semester students will be expected to compile a Portfolio which will consist of essays, poems, skits, and other forms of creative writing, taped poems/songs written by the individual student, and a final project. In addition the complete portfolio will contain reflections on the student's learning processes and on overall goals and achievements for the semester.

Class attendance is a formal component of the grade. Frequent or extended absences impede development of oral/aural skills and directly influence in-class performance. Any student who misses class (for any reason) should inform the instructor in advance, make up, and hand in all work. No grade will be awarded for late work, but work will be corrected as part of the student's overall record. Regular attendance is absolutely necessary in language classes. Missed deadlines count as zero. More than one week of absence automatically lowers the grade for classwork. Excused absences require a note from the student's class dean. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what material was covered during your absence and to keep up with the current assignments and classroom materials. DO NOT MISS CLASS!

Columbia policy on academic integrity forbids students to hand in work (homework, vocabulary lists, essays, etc.) that has been edited by a tutor or in any way authored or rewritten by someone other than the student. All work must be completed by the student him/herself and reflect the student's personal language level. No credit will be awarded for work that you did not complete yourself! If you feel you need tutoring, speak to your instructor or contact Jutta Schmiers-Heller for permissible tutoring guidelines.

This course is conducted in German. The rapid pace of the course requires all students to attend class and be prepared  to participate actively in German every day. Homework, individual and partner activities, quizzes, writing assignments will be routine from day one; be prepared to work about two hours out of class for every hour in class.

Any student who misses class (for any reason) should inform the instructor in advance. It is the student's responsibility to find out what was covered it class, make up and hand in all class work and home work. No grade will be awarded for late work, but work will be corrected as part of the student's overall record. Regular attendance is absolutely necessary in language classes. Missed deadlines count as zero.

PORTFOLIO:  The central feature of Portfolios is that samples of evidence demonstrate the progress you make toward self-defined objectives whose attainment requires creativity, self-discipline and inter-disciplinarity.
At the end of the semester your Portfolio should contain:

  • 2 essays (plus reflections);
  • 1 poem or song  text (with reflection);
  • 1 outline of your oral presentation or final project (with reflection),
  • your individual vocabulary lists of 20-30 entries per unit (with an overall reflection on learning vocabulary), and
  • a cumulative self evaluation of the learning process. 

Each entry must be accompanied by a brief reflection on how and why you chose these documents to be in your Portfolio, how they were created and in what capacity they document your learning experience.

ESSAYS: Students are required to write a coherent essay (approx. 250-300 words) on three assigned topics using vocabulary and structures already learned and practiced in class. The exercise is to learn to communicate using what you know. Under no circumstances are your essays to be edited and/or written by anyone but yourself. Essays are graded on 1. comprehensibility, 2. quality of the content/ information, 3. use of vocabulary, and 4. grammatical accuracy (including correct typing of German characters).
Each essay is written twice. After receiving comments about the content and  an indication of grammatical errors, your rewrite should incorporate the instructor's suggestions. The final grade is the average of both drafts. If the deadline for the first essay version is missed, the student loses his/her chance to rewrite the essay and the first version will be graded.

Attendance, preparartion and participation and quizzes = 20% and/or 30% of final grade (individual instructors may include web-based projects as 10% of this total).*


Class preparation and participation


Homework and quizzes (Late submissions = 0)


Vocabulary lists


Three essays and reflections


Oral presentation / final project


*Wiki / Media / Creative project 10%

Final oral interview


Portfolio incuding representative work (essays, vocabulary lists, outlines of oral presentation / projects + reflections on each of these + self-evaluation of learning process in course


Missing more than one week of classes automatically lowers the overall course grade.

German Studies

Direct questions about language courses German at Columbia to Jutta Schmiers-Heller, 403 Hamilton Hall, x44824 ([email protected]); Barnard students contact Irene Motyl, 320c Millbank Hall, x44287 ([email protected]). To major or concentrate in German, contact Prof. Stefan Andriopoulos, 418 Hamilton Hall, x45344 ([email protected]).
For further information on the department, go to:

Columbia German Undergraduates

Deutsches Haus

Deutsches Haus (420 W. 116 St.) is a center for academic, cultural, and social exchange. Programs and events include lectures, films, conferences, recitals, art exhibits, and gatherings like the weekly Kaffeestunde All levels of German students are encouraged to attend events which provide students with a great opportunity to practice speaking German. Visit Deutsches Haus online.