Starting a major

The first German course in the language sequence that counts toward the German major is German 231 (3rd-semester level). If you have no prior German experience or place into a course below 231, you must first complete those courses in sequence before starting into the major coursework in German.

Are there courses students MUST, SHOULD, or CAN take their First Year?

  • Must: In order to determine where to begin, incoming students with previous German learning experience must take the online placement exam ( and/or report their AP or IB test score to Admissions, if applicable. Students with no prior experience in German begin in German 111.
  • Should: If you are considering a German major, you should begin taking German courses immediately in your first year, starting with the course into which you are placed. Note that not every German course level is offered every semester.

Credit for previous coursework

Students who have taken the German AP test may receive course placement based on their score (5=251 or 252, 4=232, 3=231). An AP score of 4 or 5 does not satisfy the FOL requirement nor can it count toward the major or the concentration. However, after successfully completing German 232 or 251, you will receive one retroactive elective course credit for your AP course.

Courses in German taken at another college or university

If you wish to transfer credit from German courses taken at another college or university to St. Olaf, you should speak with the German Department chair. If you want to take summer school German courses at another college or university and transfer them to St. Olaf, you must obtain permission from the Registrar’s Office before registering for such courses. Failure to obtain pre-approval can result in your not obtaining credit for these courses.


  • All incoming students with prior German study or knowledge must take the online placement exam and/or report their German AP test score to the Admissions Office to be placed in the course at which they should begin their German study.
  • You will be informed of your course placement shortly before Week One; this information can also be found on the Student Information System (SIS). Contact Professor Amanda Randall ( for questions about the placement exam or your course placement.

Informational Events

  • Week One Information Session
  • Sign up at the Week One German Information Session or email Prof. Amanda Randall ( to be added to the “germanspeakers” email list to receive department announcements about activities, classes, excursions, etc.