What is a German studies degree?
A degree in German studies is an exploration into the most widely spoken language in the European Union, after English. With about 95 million native speakers, German is the language of record for Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, and the co-official language for Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Germany boasts Europe’s largest economy (No. 4 worldwide) and ranks as the world’s second-largest exporter.
A bachelor’s degree in German studies not only encompasses the linguistics, reading, writing and translation of the language, it exposes learners to the rich heritage, literature, economy, cultures and people of the vast, German-speaking world. German is centrally important for gaining a firsthand, fundamental knowledge of the aesthetic, philosophical and scientific foundations of modern thought. The interdisciplinary focus and strong ties to many other academic fields encourage students to pursue and connect different areas of research, making German studies a perfect complement to STEM majors and to the humanities.
Why pursue German studies at Furman?
Our language courses focus systematically on the development of all four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and our courses encourage you to explore other world-views and learn to think critically about culture.
German studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures emphasizes context and meaning at all levels and in all spheres of the language acquisition process. It equips you with the tools to set you apart as a cross-cultural, confident and powerful communicator. Regardless of the career you pursue, we will help you develop skills to address the sophisticated challenges of our increasingly interconnected world.
Through our teaching and mentoring, we not only immerse you in conversation, literature and culture, but also impart practical skills such as writing a curriculum vitae, and applying for internships in Germany and Austria. The German major exposes you to compelling experiences at home and abroad and promises to differentiate you from other candidates when applying to job opportunities after graduation.
Through German studies, develop transferable skills that are applicable to whatever career path you may take. Learn to read with a purpose and develop perception of nuance in language. Build competencies in not only advocating a point of view, but formulating and defending it – key to problem-solving, conflict resolution and negotiation. Learning a second language like German obliges you to become intentional about vocabulary and grammatical structure, which hones your capacity to get your point across effectively. Learn to think on your feet, and cultivate an ability to work collaboratively among the tight, collegial German community you’ll lean on throughout your four years at Furman. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.
How will you learn?
You’ll acquire excellence in listening, speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary through enriching classroom and out-of-class experiences. Study away opportunities amplify the ways in which you’ll explore German civilizations, history and customs, engaging you in everything from arts to current issues.
Our spring Berlin program offers a core curriculum in German language, culture and politics while catering to double majors in fields such as political science, history and business. In addition to classes at the prestigious Freie Universität Berlin, the program features faculty-led excursions throughout Germany and Europe. Participants experience full immersion through their stays with host families. Many students remain in Germany during the summer to complete an internship that aligns with their other academic interests. Others return to campus and pursue research interests with their professors.
If a shorter study away option is more your style, participate in the “The Rhine: Life on the Line,” a three-week May Experience (MayX) program that explores the border area of France, Germany and Switzerland and focuses on cultural coexistence and tolerance.
Whether connecting with peers in our newly remodeled Modern Language Center, attending one of our conversation hours (“Kaffeestunde”), celebrating Oktoberfest at our Language House, or enjoying “Stammtisch” at your professor’s home, you’ll get to know with other German speakers around campus, make fast friends and embark on life-changing adventures abroad.
Careers for German studies majors
Virtually all of our German studies majors pair the language with another area of study. Frequent combinations involve political science, philosophy or business. A degree in German studies prepares you to engage with German speakers and employers around the world. Many of our students choose to remain in Furman’s hometown of Greenville, or the South more broadly, where German companies and investments account for 1 in 5 jobs. In South Carolina, German companies employ more than 19,000 people, and the total trade volume currently exceeds $10 billion. Germany is also the largest investor in neighboring Georgia, employing about 22,000 Georgians in 420 companies.
As a German studies major, you’ll be primed for the workforce with finely tuned critical thinking, analysis, translation and communication skills, which set you up for virtually limitless career options.
Some of our graduates go on to seek advanced degrees, while others have landed positions such as:
- Broker associate
- Grants and data manager
- Technology systems contractor
- Treasury sales analyst
- Clinical research assistant
- Financial and investment analyst, financial risk specialist, or financial specialist
- Higher education professor
- Public relations and fundraising manager
- Natural sciences manager
- Human resources specialist
- Market research analyst or marketing specialist
- Project management specialist or business operations specialist
- Accountant or auditor
- Computer user support specialist
- Software developer or software quality assurance analyst
- Digital content web developer
- Investment banking analyst
- Social media manager
- Scientific research and laboratory manager
- General and operations manager
- Product and marketing specialist
- Interpreter or translator
- Political news correspondent
Featured German studies courses
89%German studies majors who study away
91%German majors who also complete a second major over the last seven years. In more recent years, 100% choose a second major.
34%German studies majors who complete an internship
Geraldine Poppke Suter
An array of skills such as communication, critical thinking, analysis and translation position you for a wide range of career options. Some of our graduates have gone on to occupations like broker associate, teacher, grants and data manager, technology systems contractor, treasury sales analyst, clinical research assistant, financial and investment analyst, financial risk specialist, higher education professor, public relations and fundraising manager, natural sciences manager, human resources specialist, market research analyst or marketing specialist, project management specialist, business operations specialist and accountant or auditor. Others have become a computer user support specialist, software developer or software quality assurance analyst, attorney, digital content web developer and investment banking analyst – while still more have worked as a social media manager, scientific research and laboratory manager, general and operations manager, product and marketing specialist, interpreter and political news correspondent.
The average base salary for German studies majors is $64,000 per year, according to payscale.com.
The German studies B.A. at Furman is a four-year program.