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German

The Breakdown

Perhaps it is the country’s complex and controversial history. Maybe it’s the superb automotive engineering or the fact that you enjoy getting down with an Oompah band. Or perhaps you just enjoy the sound of the word “gesundheit.” Whatever the reason, you are drawn to the study of German and are certain it’s the major for you!

As a German major, you’ll certainly have your fair share of classes focusing on conversation, composition and grammar. Fortunately, studying a language at the collegiate level goes far beyond those brick and mortar lessons. Indeed, you will be exposed to the culture, art and history of a number of German-speaking countries. You’ll be able to study everything from the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven to the writings of Immanuel Kant (in the original German of course). Perhaps most exciting, you will likely have the opportunity to study abroad. And there’s no better way to learn a language than total immersion!

Should you decide to study German, you’ll need the patience and the fortitude required to achieve proficiency (not to mention fluency) in a foreign language. It also helps to have a good ear for accents and an appreciation for the nuances of grammar. Moreover, when studying another culture, it’s best to maintain an open mind. Finally, you should be comfortable donning the occasional pair of lederhosen.

Nuts and Bolts

Don’t fret; German majors don’t spend all of their time conjugating verbs. While grammar is certainly a part and parcel for the department, you’ll enroll in a variety classes designed to address all aspects of German culture and history. Courses might include: Elementary German, German Cultural History to 1800, German Fairy Tales, Intermediate German, Goethe and the Natural World, German Romanticism, Bauhaus, German Through the Media, German Composition and Conversation, From Decadence to Dada, Living with the Nazi Legacy, Representing Austrian Fascism and Literature and Film of the German Democratic Republic.

Decisions, Decisions

German majors love to learn about different countries and cultures, from languages to literature and all topics in between. Therefore, they might also think about studying French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, English, Hebrew, Portuguese, art history, international business, political science, East Asian studies, international relations, Slavic studies, Latin American studies, African studies and anthropology.

What's Next

You might not believe it but as a German major you’ll be uniquely positioned. Indeed, the writing and critical thinking skills you’ll hone coupled with the international savvy acquired through studying another culture make you quite marketable. And while teaching and translation are common, noble and attainable positions, you will discover that you are not limited to those two professions. Certainly, many graduates find positions with German (and Austrian and Swiss) owned companies involved in a variety of different industries. Others might seek employment in international education or with study abroad companies. A handful of German majors also land jobs with NGOs, doing aid work within a number of countries in the third world. The foreign service is another attractive route as is international business. Lastly, the tourism and hotel industries are popular, as they allow for a high degree of interaction with international clients.


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