German/Engineering FSP

About this Program:


Green City is a joint foreign study program between the Department of German Studies and the Thayer School of Engineering that was successfully piloted in spring 2022. The next offering is scheduled for spring 2024. This program invites students to combine engineering coursework that focuses on "green" and sustainable engineering with a fast-track German course (GERM 2.03) that combines GERM 2 and GERM 3 into one intensive course and and satisfies Dartmouth's foreign language requirement. It is also open to students who already have German language skills beyond the beginner's level. The program takes place in Berlin, Germany's self-proclaimed "capital of sustainability." It takes students to a full-immersion setting and cultural environment in which sustainability is a lived practice. The program structure is flexible, giving students options to customize their course choices in accordance with their D-plans.

Green and sustainable engineering is one of the most innovative and most pressing topics of our time. But how do you truly embrace sustainability? What does it mean to live sustainably on an everyday level? How might concepts of sustainability in action, and shared by many, alter the urban landscape of a city? Studying such questions from textbooks in a traditional classroom is one thing. Experiencing them in practice is another thing entirely and the most important learning objective of Green City

Living with host families in Berlin, students develop a critical awareness of different sustainable lifestyles and come to reflect upon the ways in which they themselves interact with the environment. The program thus has three main goals: Green City not only seeks to impart concretely applicable skills in sustainable and environmental engineering as well as in the German language and culture to students; it also requires students to think about how their day-to-day experiences with sustainable living and their engineering knowledge are mediated by a foreign language and different cultural context. In this way, students will gain an expansive, historically rich, and culturally reflected understanding of sustainability that goes far beyond what can be learned in a traditional classroom. 

In the engineering courses, students acquire theoretical knowledge and applicable technological skills pertaining to sustainable design, environmental engineering, pollution prevention and remediation, alternative energy, greener engineering, and sustainable cities. As an example, among the objectives in ENGS 37 is for students to be able to design a filtration device that removes fine particles from a gas, while ENGS 45 includes the objective to teach students to document and quantify the several ways by which a large city depends upon and alters surrounding natural ecosystems. 

In the German courses, students acquire linguistic skills and intercultural competencies to communicate effectively in German, to analyze a wide range of literary and historical source materials, and to understand the historical and contemporary significance of Berlin as Germany's capital and cultural center. For instance, in GERM 2.03, students learn how to give reasons for their opinions and actions and how to describe events in the past, present, and future orally and in writing, whereas in GERM 44.07, students learn how to interpret different representations of Berlin in literature, architecture, and art as reflections of historical change. 

Green City brings engineering knowledge and German language and cultural skills into an ongoing dialogue. Engaging in this dialog, students will gain an increasingly complex understanding of sustainable living, sustainable urban design, and their own roles in—and impact on—the urban landscape through the contrastive foil of a different linguistic and cultural context.

Academic Program:


Faculty Directors: Petra McGillen and Petra Bonfert-Taylor
Curriculum: Students choose any three from the following four courses:

ENGS 37: Introduction to Environmental Engineering
ENGS 45: Sustainable Urban Systems
GERM 2.03: Fast-Track German in Berlin
GERM 44.07: Metropolis Berlin: Cultural and Political History in the Urban Landscape. Taught in English with optional German major/minor credit.


GERM 1 (Introductory German) or equivalent German language skills; MATH 3 (Intro to Calculus). Additional prerequisites vary depending on the choice of courses. 
For ENGS 37: CHEM 5 (General Chemistry); 
For ENGS 45: ENGS 37 (Introduction to Environmental Engineering) or equivalent; 
ENGS 37 is taught sequentially with ENGS 45 on the program. 
For GERM 2.03: a strong performance in German 1 (final grade of A- or better) is highly recommended.
For GERM 44.07 with German major/minor credit: one intermediate-level German class (GERM 5, 6, or 10). Without the German major/minor credit option, GERM 44.07 has no prerequisites. 

Student Life and Cultural Program

Students live with trusted homestay families, many of which have longstanding ties with Dartmouth. The cultural program will include numerous excursions, such as trips to Sanssouci Palace and the Filmpark Babelsberg in Potsdam, the memorial site Sachsenhausen, the Mauerpark and Checkpoint Charlie, and a historical tour of the Berlin subway. It will also include visits to the opera, concerts, museums, and cinemas from Berlin's vibrant cultural offerings. In addition, the program will feature day trips (e.g. to the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Wolfsburg) and one extended overnight trip to Zurich, Switzerland. Overnight stops in the Rhine Valley, the Ruhrgebiet, and Munich will provide opportunities to study how culturally and historically diverse regions are dealing with the challenges of sustainable living, mobility, and industrial production.

Application Process and Faculty Contacts:

Apply through The Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education.    

For questions about this program, please contact the Faculty Program Directors:

Petra McGillen, Associate Professor, Department of German Studies,;
Petra Bonfert-Taylor, Professor of Engineering, Thayer School of Engineering,