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German Major

Why study German?

German is spoken in several countries: The Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Northern Italy (South Tyrol), Namibia, and in ethnic enclaves throughout Eastern Europe. More Europeans are native speakers of German (about 93 million) than of English, French, Italian (about 60 million each) or Spanish (36 million). In Western Europe, it is second only to English as the language of diplomacy, business, and tourism, and is the most important language in the East. Germany ranks in the top three in the world in GNP, publishing, and exports. The German speaking world has made many contributions to culture in the fields of literature, philosophy, the arts, science and medicine. Study of the German language opens access to these achievements.

Graduates of our program have gone on to varied careers in international business, international law, government service, medicine, law, education, journalism, agribusiness, computer language development, and the sciences. Students choosing some of these options have combined their German major with other undergraduate majors or degrees.

The Major

Students wishing to major in German should enroll for the Bachelor of Arts degree. A faculty member will serve as academic advisor to each German major, helping him or her select courses that satisfy degree requirements and address personal interests.

In addition to meeting the general requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree, the German major must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours above German II (GRMN 122). These thirty-two credit hours must include GRMN 521 (Introduction to German Literature I) and GRMN 522 (Introduction to German Literature II), courses dealing with representative authors of major authors from the various movements in German literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. Students must also choose at least three literature courses at the 700-level. GRMN 503 (German Literature in Translation) and GRMN 524 and 525 (German for Reading Knowledge I and II) do not count toward the major. Two non-transfer courses are required at the 700-level. The dual major or dual degree plan is an attractive option for many students. In essence, the student must complete at least one hundred twenty credit hours, including all the requirements for each major or degree. With careful planning, a student can complete two or even three fields without extending the time required for an undergraduate degree. Seniors may, under certain circumstances, begin graduate study.

Major option "with distinction": The department also offers a major option "with distinction". Students seeking this option must maintain a 3.5 GPA in all courses taken toward the major while they fulfill the requirements: 38 hours: two courses in addition to the regular major, one of which must be at the 700-level.

Department Activities

Students have many opportunities to use their German outside the classroom. The German Club offers informal contacts with other students in German as well as German exchange students on campus through activities such as movies, forums, and social gatherings. Faculty and students have the opportunity to meet at a local coffee shop frequently during the semester to speak German in an informal setting. For information on how you can get involved in the German Club contact Dr. Derek Hillard (


The department has, through the generosity of alumni and friends, several endowed scholarships for students majoring in the Department of Modern Languages. Scholarships are available at all undergraduate levels beginning with incoming students. Modern Language majors may also apply for financial aid from the Department for study abroad.

There are also several other scholarships to study abroad, available outside the Department of Modern Languages, such as DAAD, and the Congress-Bundestag youth programs.

German Online News

Note: The Department of Modern Languages strives to provide the best possible learning environment for its students, and for this reason we take very seriously the placement of students in courses that match their abilities. Each class in the sequence of our courses is designed so that students advance in reading, listening, writing, speaking, and cultural proficiency. In order to best serve each individual, the Department reserves the right to remove students from the rosters of classes that do not correspond to their proficiency levels. Students who have acquired advanced language skills abroad or at home must consult with Modern Languages staff in order to determine their appropriate entry point in our language sequence. Students who begin their coursework at advanced levels may qualify for retroactive credit in as many as four courses.