The Department of German offers a comprehensive undergraduate program of study in German. It facilitates the development of proficiency and confidence in the German language beginning with elementary and intermediate language courses and extending through advanced courses in linguistics, literature, and culture.

Europe has 94 million native speakers of German, so the study of this language is crucial for students interested in European business, government, philosophy, and literature. German-speaking Europe includes Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. German also is the second language of several other countries.

Why Iowa?

Iowa’s Department of German offers excellent programs in traditional areas such as literature, culture, and linguistics as well as the German language itself. The department’s faculty members are involved in all periods of German language and literature. They also do interdisciplinary work involving film, music, religious studies, and contemporary theory.

As a German major, you’ll find outstanding technological aids in your German classrooms, and the University of Iowa Libraries provides access to an extensive collection of works and periodicals in all major areas of German literature and linguistics.

At the university’s Language Media Center, you’ll elevate your comprehension and command of German by working independently with recorded materials and using online multimedia activities such as German TV shows.

German is an ideal major to combine with a second major or a minor, or with an interdisciplinary certificate. At Iowa, you’ll have almost unlimited choices for combined areas of study, which will broaden your options for careers and graduate or professional school.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


  Teaching Licensure
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

German majors frequently enter the teaching profession. Many combine other skills and studies with the major in German to prepare for careers in business, travel, communications, government, foreign service, commercial enterprises, and other fields where the knowledge of language is essential.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad programs and multiple undergraduate research opportunities

Every week, students have an opportunity to converse in German with faculty members and students at “Kaffeestunde,” the department’s informal coffee hour. You also may decide to join the undergraduate German Society, which organizes events such as movie nights, field trips to German restaurants and heritage sites, German breakfasts, game nights, a soccer tournament, and an end-of-semester party.

Study and Internships Abroad

The German department offers an academic-year study abroad program at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany. It includes a four-week intensive language program followed by special classes and regular German university courses. Organized field trips provide perspective on German culture and vacation periods provide time to travel throughout Europe.

The university also offers exchange programs with the Universität Dortmund and business-oriented programs in Frankfurt and Vienna. It is also possible to participate in an internship abroad course, earning academic credit for work experience that involves significant use of the German language in a German-speaking country.

These types of experiences require advance planning. Talk with your adviser as soon as possible if you’re interested in participating.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


Courses focus on the cultures of Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland, including migration to and from there, to provide an understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of these countries in a globalized world.

Required course work for the BA includes:

  • Introduction to German Literature
  • Composition and Conversation I–II
  • Senior Seminar
  • One course in German linguistics
  • One course in German culture
  • Four advanced elective courses

Students may take two Department of German courses taught in English if enrolled in the 4 semester hour section of the course(s), but the rest of the student's courses will be taught in German.

In addition to course work for the major, students must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

See German in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major or minor and graduating with honors.

Teaching Licensure

If you are interested in teaching, you will need to complete the College of Education’s world language Teacher Education Program, which includes education courses and one semester of student teaching.