Why major (or minor) in German?

Submitted by Ellwood Wiggins on


1.    It’s easier than you think!


  • We have revised the requirements for the degree to make it easier to double major: 51 credits for the major or 35 for the minor.
  • German has open enrollment: just come by any time and sign up!
  • German is also super flexible in terms of course requirements and sequence.
  • This makes it easy to double major in German and other disciplines: very impressive for future employers and grad schools!


 2.     It’s fun!


  • Fill in the blank: Germans are the best at ___________ (beer, sausage, cars, chocolate, gummi bears, baked goods, Sprockets, soccer, philosophy, music, art).
  • German is a small department: you will get to know your cohort well and develop life-long friendships.
  • The department sponsors many activities outside of class (movie nights, weekly Kaffeestunde, mentorship lunches with alumni, German club, etc.).
  • Study Abroad opportunities that will change your life forever


 3.      It’s good for you!


  • Learning a foreign language well helps your brain: studies have shown that being bilingual can make you a better thinker and stave off dementia in old age.
  • Learning a foreign language (especially German) is profitable! See this study showing that German learners earn 3.8% more than others: this translates into average extra earnings of $128,000 over your career.
  • Beyond language, the skills of critical thinking and analysis you learn in Germanics content courses are precisely what employers in good firms are looking for in the modern world. See this business article advising students to major in humanities.
  • A German major opens up employment opportunities in a huge variety of fields (see link), not just the traditional ones you may think of. Employers like German majors because they are versatile generalists and critical thinkers.
  • German is a perfect double-major complement for many cutting-edge and traditional disciplines across the curriculum: engineering; environmental sciences; international studies; business; political science; philosophy; music— the list goes on.
  • You will have more direct, personal contact with professors in German than in most other departments. Germanics faculty care deeply about the success and education of their undergraduate students as individuals, not just as scores on a test.


These are just a few of the many reasons that a Germanics Major or Minor could be the right choice for you. Come discuss your own prospects and options with the Undergraduate Adviser, Ellwood Wiggins, wiggins1@uw.edu (Fall 2017 Office Hours: Denny 338, tba).



Department of Germanics · University of Washington · Denny Hall 360, Box 353130 · Seattle, WA 98195-3130