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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Major in German

Undergraduate Advisors: Kurt Goblirsch and Michael House

An undergraduate major or minor in German will give you a head start on the future. In the twenty-first century, unified Germany has become the economic and political leader of the European Union. It is also one of the main partners of the United States in an increasingly internationalized world. This is in evidence right here in South Carolina, where over 120 German companies have already established themselves.

There are 100 million German speakers in Europe and around the world. Their language is the key to understanding poets like Goethe and Walther von der Vogelweide, thinkers like Kant and Nietzsche, composers like Bach and Beethoven, political leaders like Barbarossa and Bismarck, scientists like Leibniz and Grimm, and theologians like Meister Eckhart and Martin Luther. There is much more to German history than World War II, for example, the Great Migration of the Germanic tribes, the Holy Roman Empire, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism.

Aside from preparing you for a career as teacher, translator, or college professor, a BA in German can help prepare you for careers in international business, international law, the Foreign Service, and hospitality and tourism. Study abroad programs are offered at the Sprachinstitut Wittenberg and the University of Bamberg. Students also have the opportunity to gain experience teaching German in a local elemenatry school or as English teaching assistants in public schools in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Don’t wait, become a German major today!

Major in German

The following requirements reflect revisions to the major in German approved in fall 2014. Students who began the program under the old requirements may still follow those.

During their first two years, German majors typically take general education (Carolina Core) courses and, if they are novices in German language, enroll in beginning German courses. Students with language experience take a placement test and may place into intermediate or advanced German courses. A major in German requires 27 hours of course work at the level of GERM 220 and above. (Only one course may be taken at the 200-level, however; all others must be at the 300-level and above.)

The following courses are required:

•GERM 410: Advanced German Grammar

•GERM 411: Advanced Language Practice

•At least two literature courses, chosen from the following: GERM 420, 430, 440, 450, 460

•At least one course at the 500-level


Up to two courses taught in English may count toward the German major.

GERM 401P may only be taken once for credit towards the major.

GERM 615: Intensive Readings in German is designed primarily for graduate students and does not count toward the German major.

Business majors are encouraged to enroll in GERM 316, and GERM 416.

A maximum of six hours of GERM 333, Summer Study Abroad, applies to the German major.

Transfer credit from study in the exchange programs with Bamberg and Wittenberg may be included in the German major.

Minors, Cognates, and Second Majors

German can be taken in conjunction with a number of minors or cognates, among them other languages, Linguistics, Comparative Literature, English, Film, Education, History, Political Science, International Studies, Library Science, Business Administration, Women Studies, etc. You can also double major in one of the above areas or get a dual degree if the second field is outside the College of Arts and Sciences. Likewise, German makes an excellent minor or cognate in conjunction with other majors.

Study Abroad

All students pursuing a major in German are strongly encouraged to participate in a study abroad experience. At USC, we offer an intensive summer program in Wittenberg, a one-year or one-semester exchange program with the University of Bamberg, as well as other study and work opportunities that allow students to sample life in German speaking countries and learn the language.

South Carolina Honors College

Students who qualify for the South Carolina Honors College often choose to pursue a major in German. Our curriculum allows students to take full advantage of all the academic opportunities provided in both colleges. German faculty members teach honors courses and serve as academic advisors for honors students. Our courses on Viking mythology, Wagner, Hitler, and Goethe are popular with Honors College students, whatever they major in.

Minor in German

A minor in German requires 18 hours of course work on the 200-, 300-, 400- and 500-level. Students may only take a maximum of two courses at the 200-level.


Germ 401P may only be taken once for credit towards the minor.

All six courses can be taken above the 300-level.

Only one German course taught in English counts toward the minor.

Business majors are encouraged to enroll in GERM 316 and GERM 416, along with their other language courses on the 300- and 400-level.

A maximum of six hours of GERM 333, Summer Study Abroad, applies to the German minor.

Transfer credit from study in the exchange programs with Bamberg and Wittenberg can be included in the German minor.

The student who wants to become proficient in communication skills should take the sequence 310, 311, 410, 411.

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