What is German?

German is the national language of two European countries and one of the official languages of five others. German is spoken by over 100 million people throughout the world. German is one of the great languages of literature, research, and scholarship. Study of German gives students command of the language used by one of our leading trade partners in Western Europe, a country that is very important to our political and economic life. At UCSB, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in German is for students who wish to pursue international business or politics, gain admission to a master’s degree program with a teaching emphasis, earn a secondary-level teaching credential, and beyond. Department advisors assist students with program planning and course selection. The courses are designed for students with a wide range of interests, including careers in business, government, law, medicine, media, and translation.

Study of German prepares students for a wealth of careers ranging from international business to politics to education. Students who major in German are able to pursue other disciplines within the fine arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, which require or are enhanced by knowledge of German.  Also, because the structural features and much of the vocabulary of English are derived from Germanic roots, study of German enhances students’ written and verbal communication skills in English—skills that will serve them well in their future academic, personal, and professional lives.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like German?

Students who enjoyed foreign languages in high school are natural candidates for this major. The knowledge of multiple foreign languages is helpful when students seek careers in the Foreign Service, in international companies, and in teaching. To understand a foreign language, the student must have excellent knowledge of English, as well. The study of other languages and cultures offers students communicative skills and understanding that are increasingly valuable in many fields: business, education, government, law enforcement, media, social services and the service industry, among others. Many students choose a double or secondary major and combine a foreign language with a complementary field like English, history, international studies, journalism, political science, business, international marketing or education.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

  • Slavic languages and literatures
  • Linguistics
  • History
  • Historical Development of Language
  • Semitic Studies
  • Art History
  • Political Science
  • Comparative Literature
  • Contemporary Germany

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.

General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be.  The following list provides only a handful of possibilities.  German majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields.  Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Diplomatic Translator
Foreign Service
Human Resources
International Business
Medical Translator
Software and Software Documentation Translator
Teacher of Foreign Language
Teaching English as a Second Language
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn


Graduate and Professional Schools
The most comprehensive source of graduate school information.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

German Careers and Jobs
A Guide to Finding a Job in German Europe or with a German firm anywhere.

The Germany-USA Career Center
The leading recruiting source for U.S.-German and German-American markets, provides employment, career and search services for companies in the US and in Germany.

iWORK - Jobs & Internships in Germany
Locate entry-level jobs opportunties in Germany.

Stepstone - Find a job or start recruiting
Browse different job categories to work in Germany.

Features 1000s of graduate job opportunities across Europe.

Listing of jobs in Eastern Europe and Russia for international careers.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers By Majors and Diversity.

UCSB Career Services "International Opportunities" section
Learn about different ways to work and intern abroad.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

German Studies Association
The German Studies Association is the multi- and interdisciplinary association of scholars in all fields of German Studies.  Their website offers information on conferences, research and networking forums.

American Association of Teachers of German
The mission of the AATG is based on the belief that bringing the language, literatures and cultures of the German-speaking world to all Americans is a vital humanistic endeavor which serves essential national interests.

German American Business Association
A member-driven non-profit organization that fosters transatlantic knowledge-sharing and networking among German-American and Californian business and tech communities

German History Society

Society for German American Studies


UCSB Resources