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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages Literature and Cultures

Major in German


The German major is designed to provide students with the language skills necessary for work or study in German speaking countries: Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Students also learn about German culture and literature. The German major combines practice in reading, speaking, and writing about themes of general interest and about topics related to business and other professions. In addition, students read and discuss important literary works and explore German cultural history. At USC, fellowship and ample opportunities to speak German are provided by the German Club.

The German major, unlike the English or history major, for instance, has the advantage of providing an additional valuable skill: mastery of a foreign language! 

The Course Requirements
During their first two years, German majors typically take general education courses and, if they are novices in German, enroll in beginning and intermediate German courses. Students with language experience take a placement test and may place into higher-level German courses. A major in German requires 27 hours of course work at the level of GERM 280 and above. (Only one course may be taken at the 200-level, however; all others must be at the 300-level and above.) You can put together your German major from the following courses:
  • GERM 280 Survey of German Culture (taught in English)
  • GERM 290 Germanic Mythology (taught in English)
  • GERM 295 German Green Technologies (taught in English)
  • GERM 310 German Conversation
  • GERM 311 German Conversation and Composition
  • GERM 316 German for Business and Other Professions
  • GERM 320 German Kabarett
  • GERM 333 Study of German Abroad (USC Summer Program Only)
  • GERM 340 Readings in German Literature
  • GERM 398 Special Topics in German Literature and Culture (topics vary; taught in English)
  • GERM 401P Practicum in Teaching German to Young Children
  • GERM 410 Advanced German Grammar
  • GERM 411 Advanced Language Practice in German
  • GERM 416 Advanced German for Business and Other Professions
  • GERM 420 German Literature and Culture of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period
  • GERM 430 The Age of Goethe
  • GERM 440 German Literature and Culture of the 19th Century
  • GERM 450 German Literature from 1890-1945
  • GERM 460 Post-War and Contemporary German Literature
  • GERM 500 Survey of German Culture
  • GERM 515 Introduction to German Linguistics
  • GERM 516 History of the German Language
  • GERM 517 Introduction to the Germanic Languages
  • GERM 518 German Sociolinguistics
  • GERM 580 Topics in German Film (topics vary; taught in English)
  • GERM 598 Special Topics in German (topics vary)
Your selection should include the following REQUIRED courses:
  • GERM 411 Advanced Language Practice in German
  • At least one course from the literature sequence: GERM 420, 430, 440, 450, 460
  • At least one course at the 500-level

Up to three courses taught in English can count toward the German major.

You may take our Special Topics courses (398, 580, 598) multiple times, as long as the course theme (and suffix) is different.

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 Erfurt can be included in the German major.

Students who begin their German major with knowledge in German and who are placed into the 300-level or higher may petition for credit-by-examination (for a maximum of 6 credits) for GERM 210 and GERM 211.

Minors, Cognates, and Second Majors
German can be taken in conjunction with a number of minors or cognates, among them other languages, History, English, Comparative Literature, Film, International Studies, Library Science, Business Administration, Education, Women Studies, Linguistics, etc. You can also double major in one of the above areas or get a double degree if the 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-study-abroad for four weeks 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.
The faculty at USC has an international reputation specializing in language teaching, business German, German linguistics, studies in film, literature and culture through the middle ages to the present, teaching methodology, and more.
Career Opportunities
Students with a German major are preparing for a variety of careers ranging from business, international law, the hospitality and tourism industry to teaching and translating. They go to work for international airlines or one of the one-hundred-twenty German companies in South Carolina; they become teachers, translators, foreign operations secretaries, hotel managers, overseas shipping managers, communication specialists, travel guides, and more. The German major also provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in German literature, comparative literature, linguistics, English as a foreign language, international business, law, and other fields.
The German Program is committed to personal and conscientious advising. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who makes certain that academic requirements can be completed in a timely manner. The advisor will help the student complement a career choice with the appropriate minor, cognate, or second major. Study-abroad can be planned into the student's undergraduate itinerary well ahead of time and credit transferred. Make an appointment with an advisor any time!
Dr. Kurt Goblirsch 
Dr. Yvonne Ivory
South Carolina Honors College
Students who qualify for participation in the South Carolina Honors College program 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 German literary masterworks, on Germanic mythology, Wagner, Hitler or Goethe are popular with all Honors College students. 
Graduate Studies
The German major can continue his or her German studies in graduate school:

1. Our department offers an M.A. and an M.A.T in German. 
2. An M.A. or a Ph.D. can be earned in Comparative Literature and in Linguistics. Language proficiency is essential in both fields. 
3. The International Master in Business Administration (IMBA) offers an outstanding opportunity to combine language skills with business studies. The program requires mastery of the language for the purpose of interning for half a year with a company in Germany--an integral IMBA degree component.
4. The M.A.T. is necessary for a teaching career. Elementary and high school teachers are trained in our department.

Additional Information

Browse through our website for a complete schedule of courses . You can also obtain information on our exchange programs with the University of Bamberg, our Summer-Study-Abroad Program in the Lutherstadt-Wittenberg , scholarships, German Club , Stammtisch, and other activities sponsored by the department.