Graduate School for German Majors

A Bachelor of Arts degree in German prepares students for graduate study in a number of fields. Even if you don’t intend to continue studying German in graduate school, your language background will make you a stronger applicant. It may also put you further ahead in your degree program since many graduate programs require at minimum a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English. German is often recommended for M.A. and/or Ph.D. programs.


Students interested in teaching in public schools can opt to pursue a credential following graduation. Candidates who wish to teach in settings that do not require a credential can apply for Chico State’s M.A. in Teaching International Languages(opens in new window). Or students can optionally pursue the M.A. in TIL concurrently with the credential. The starting salary of teachers with Master’s degrees is approximately 10% more than those starting with just a Bachelor’s degree.

German Studies / Germanistik

Graduates seeking to deepen and broaden their knowledge of the German language and culture can pursue a Master's degree or Ph.D. in German. Google or Peterson's Guide to Graduate Studies is both good starting points for discovering North American programs with graduate programs in German and gathering basic information. Since graduate candidates will begin to specialize in a subfield, they can start narrowing choices by looking at which options or courses are offered and what the specializations of program faculty are. Some U.S. schools also offer teaching assistantships and corollary teacher training, allowing graduate students to earn a tuition waiver while also gaining first-hand experience in the classroom.

Graduate degrees in German are traditionally oriented toward the study of literature and/or linguistics and this still forms the core of many degrees. But some schools now offer a range of tracks that extend beyond language and literature, especially those in North America. Master's degree programs in Germanistik at German universities tend to be more traditional. 

Other disciplines

Sometimes the German major combined with study in another field qualifies an applicant for graduate study. Several double majors in German and International Studies have been admitted to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Our alumni have earned Master’s degrees in fields related to international education, diplomacy, and public administration, but the school also offers graduate programs in teaching, translation, and business administration. Students can also pursue certificates in Conflict Resolution, Nonproliferation, Terrorism Studies, Financial Crime, and Intercultural Competence, among others.

Chico State double majors in German have gone on to complete Master’s degrees in Linguistics, International Education, Computer Science, Business, and Neuroscience, and a few have gone on to Ph.D. programs in English, History, Religious Studies, and Chemistry.

German universities

Our German alumni have been successful in applying to M.A. and Ph.D. programs at German universities. While German universities are beginning to impose tuition fees on non-EU citizens, this is true only in some German states. Even where tuition is obligatory, the costs are far lower than the fees for graduate study in the United States. Our former students have earned Master’s degrees in Business Administration (M.B.A.) and History at German universities.

More than 1000 Master’s programs in Germany are advertised as international graduate programs. The Humboldt University (PDF) in Berlin has tuition-free M.A. and M.S. degrees in dozens of subjects with programs in English, German, or mixed language. The Freie Universität in Berlin offers a one-year M.A. in European Studies geared toward developing EU-related expertise for subsequent employment in public administration, non-governmental organizations, or business. On-the-job experience and networking are integral elements of the program. These are just two programs among the more than 9000 Master’s degree programs that German institutions offer.

More Master programs(opens in new window)

If you think you might be interested in graduate study, talk to your advisor for guidance.

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