Why Study German?

In an increasingly globalized world, a German degree gives students access to the language, culture, and marketplace of three leading European nations: Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.  Together, the inhabitants of these three countries, combined with native speakers in other regions of the globe, make German the most spoken language in the European Union and the tenth most spoken language in the world.

On a professional level, speaking and understanding another language opens many career opportunities.  German is one of the main languages used in business and international diplomacy.  After the fall of the Soviet Union, German became the lingua franca of central Europe, bridging the gap between former Cold War adversaries.  Many international conferences and trade shows also use German as their working language.

At the undergraduate level, taking German classes will help to expand your understanding of another culture through a wide range of course offerings.  In business and social settings, being able to interact in a culturally appropriate manner is essential in order to seal a deal or make a transaction.  Understanding a bit of history and culture helps to make travel more enriching. 

If you are looking to study German at the graduate level, our department offers programs in linguistics, literature or a combination of the two.  The size of the department lends itself to personal attention for each student's academic and professional development.  Graduate students have ample opportunity to interact with professors, present their research, and study and/or research abroad.

Learning German will also enrich your personal life.  Maybe you have always wanted to explore your German heritage or are a German heritage language learner.  Perhaps you take an interest in German-American issues or have always wanted to study abroad.  The University of Iowa is the place to start.

Here are some things to think about:

Business

  • Germany is the world’s largest exporter of goods (vehicles, parts, machines, chemical products, metals, etc.).
  • Germany is the largest European trading partner with the US.
  • Over 2000 American companies conduct business in the German-speaking countries, and Germany is the sixth largest export market for American products.
  • Germany is the third largest foreign employer in Iowa behind England and Sweden, and Germany is the third largest export market for goods manufactured in Iowa (based on 2003 data).

Academics

  • German is indispensable for study in music, religion, philosophy, physics, and many other subjects.
  • German is the language that is most often required or recommended in academic programs.
  • German is an important scientific language and is the second most common on the Internet.
  • English shares close relations with German, so that learning German will help you understand the history and structures of English.

Travel

  • Speaking German will allow you to communicate with over 100 million individuals worldwide.
  • Americans are the second largest group to visit Germany.
  • The 2006 FIFA World Cup Soccer Championships were hosted by Germany.
  • German is the most widely spoken language in Europe.

See what the Goethe-Institut says about learning German: Why German is 4U.

The list could go on, but one fact remains: knowledge of German opens the door to a wide variety of careers and pursuits. To learn more, sign up for German today.