Department ofGermanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures



Founded in 1901, Penn State German is one of the oldest programs in German in the United States. Its diverse faculty hail from some of the best institutions in the country and its graduates hold prominent positions in industry and education.

Penn State German offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. In each program, students become intimately familiar with German, while also learning more generally how to think, read, and write critically.

Why Study German?

Spoken by over 76 million people in over 28 countries, in 8 of which it is the official or co-official language, German is a powerful language in a changing world. Fluency in German opens the door to a variety of careers. Policymakers, businessmen, journalists, scientists, scholars, language specialists, and artists all benefit from a mastery of this global language.

Monument at night

Why Study German at Penn State?

You might like this program if:

  • you are passionate about the language, literature, and arts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other German-speaking regions;
  • you understand the critical role Germany plays in the EU and the world today;
  • your other major is in one of the numerous other fields in which knowledge of the German language and culture is advantageous, such as Comparative Literature, Philosophy, History, or Political Science; and/or
  • you are considering an academic or professional career requiring knowledge of a foreign language and critical thinking skills.

Potential Careers

German is one of the three official working languages of the European Union, and it is the most widely spoken native language in Europe. A degree in German opens up doors to a variety of careers in:

  • US government and military
  • International business
  • International relations
  • International law
  • Human rights
  • Information technology
  • Professional translation
  • Publishing Education
  • The travel industry

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A number of our graduates have been awarded Fulbright and DAAD grants, and some have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in German Studies or related fields, including Comparative Literature and Linguistics.