We offer undergraduate majors and minors as well as the M.A. degree in German. Undergraduate courses offered include elementary and intermediate German, advanced grammar and composition, conversation, civilization, introduction to literature, current events courses, as well as special topics such as Literary Responses to the Holocaust, German Film, or Multicultural Germany. Many undergraduates choose to double major in German and European Studies, International Relations, or History, which also enjoy strong programs at the U of A.

Graduate students take advanced literature courses and can take courses in educational technology and literary theory and gain first-hand experience as teaching assistants at the elementary and intermediate levels. Incoming freshman should inquire about the premiere Sturgis and Bodenhammer fellowships for students with superior academic records, as well as the 75 new honors college scholarships, all valued at $50,000 each. This scholarship money can be used at the student’s discretion for funding study abroad, buying new computer equipment, etc.

Why learn German?

  • German is the most widely spoken language in Europe.
  • Germany has a long history as a high tech center that continues today; the MP3 player was created in Germany. 
  • Germany is now a leader in biotechnology, alternative energy, and software and microchip development.
  • German is an important language for business. Germany has the largest economy in Europe, the 3rd strongest economy overall, and is the #1 export nation in the world.
  • German gives you access to the rich, world-renowned cultural achievements of the German-speaking countries—contributions by names such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Klimt, Goethe, Kafka, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are among those you might recognize.
  • German is the second-most commonly used research language and can greatly enhance your study of almost any field—many graduate programs even require it for reading knowledge.
  • German Americans are the largest heritage group in the US. Kindergarten, Christmas trees, and Levi jeans were all introduced by German-Americans.
  • German is an important language for media and telecommunications, with its domain, .de, second only to the extension .com.
  • Germany is a world leader in politics. Chancellor Angela Merkel was featured on the cover of Forbes as the world’s most powerful woman.

Plus, German is easy!  You are currently reading a Germanic language, English; although it has many loan words from Romance languages, many basic structures and vocab are shared with English.  Try matching German and English in this quiz:

A.  I know your uncle.
B.  Anna is learning English.
C.  My sister has blond hair.
D.  The book is long.
E.  That is an apple.

1. Das Buch ist lang.
2. Meine Schwester hat blondes Haar.
3. Das ist ein Apfel.
4.  Ich kenne deinen Onkel. 
5.  Anna lernt Englisch.

Answers: A=4, B=5, C=2, D=1, E=3.

Opportunities with German

Students are encouraged to work, study, or research abroad for a year, semester, or summer. The U of A has a direct affiliation with programs in Graz, Regensburg, Holzkirchen, Eutin, and Lüneburg, and students have also studied in Vienna, Munich, Freiburg, and Berlin in cooperation with the undergraduate advisor. Each year, students of German receive thousands of dollars in scholarships for study abroad. 

Students of all majors work in Germany or Switzerland on paid summer (or longer) internships through either the ICE or CDS programs; our students have held internships at BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler-Chrysler, Kärcher, and a leading chemical engineering firm.  Students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering are encouraged to apply for the competitive RISE fellowships of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program), in which fellows work in paid summer positions in German doctoral laboratories.

The program has many extracurricular opportunities including a weekly Stammtisch where faculty, students, and local native speakers gather to converse in German, a Christmas Cooking Club which teaches students to make baked goods from the German-speaking countries, and cultural programs such as film screenings and lectures. The U of A is also a testing site for the international German certification exams of the Goethe Institute.  Students from other universities are also welcome to take these exams at the U of A, which are conducted every spring. The U of A also has its own chapter of Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honors society.

German and beyond

 While at the U of A, German students regularly receive state, national, and international competitive grants and awards. Nineteen U of A German students have received Fulbrights or their Austrian equivalents to teach or research abroad in the arts and humanities over the last seven years, and our students in the sciences are also regularly awarded DAAD grants to work in German doctoral laboratories, including those conducting alternative energy research.

Our graduates have gone on to graduate study or careers in numerous fields such as German studies, teaching, economics, science, mathematics, and political science. Graduate alumni are employed as high school teachers and university professors of German, are working in the business community in the United States and abroad, and have gone on to study in doctorate programs at the University of Chicago, George Washington University, Indiana University, the University of Illinois, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas, the University of Washington, and Washington University.

Interested in German?

For more information, look at Minor Requirements, Major RequirementsCourse Listings, and Study Abroad.