SAP, Trader Joe’s, BioNtech, BMW/DAIMLER/VW, Lufthansa, Siemens, T-Mobile, Allianz, Adidas are just some of the more than 3,000 German majority-owned companies in the U.S., making Germany one of America’s largest foreign employers, with more than 674,000 U.S. workers and the largest foreign investment into R&D. Germany is an economic powerhouse, with the largest population in the EU and the fourth-largest economy in the world. German is also an official language of Switzerland, Austria and Be/Lux/Lie, and a regional ethnic minority language in 42 countries around the world.

If you are pursuing a career in the sciences (where German is the second most used language), engineering, business, tourism, music, history and more, knowledge of German language and culture will give you the edge you need.

Not only will the ability to speak German make you more competitive in the global job market, it is an asset in academia, essential for many majors. It will allow you to take advantage of free tuition for international students in Germany, position you well for the many scholarships Germany offers and help you explore your “roots.” (More than 45 million Americans claim German heritage.) Learn to speak the language of innovators, major thinkers, writers and creative minds.

The Minor

Study Abroad


The Berlin program is designed for students who have already acquired an advanced knowledge of German. Students have the option of taking German-taught courses alongside Americans at the IES center or regular university courses with German students at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as well as several other Berlin universities. Humbolt is Berlin’s oldest university and has been home to many of Germany’s greatest thinkers of the past two centuries, including G.W.F. Hegel and Albert Einstein; alumni include Heinrich Heine, Friedrich Engels, and Karl Marx.

The IES center and Humboldt University are located in Mitte, a central district of Berlin famous for its numerous restaurants and stylish boutiques, and a five-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate and German Parliament.


For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes. Course availability is subject to change, and non-language courses are not included.

  • GERM 101: German I (4.0 units)

    Introduction to modern German. Oral practice, listening and reading comprehension. Basic structures necessary for simple spoken and written expression.

    GERM 102: German II (4.0 units)

    Continuation of German I. Introduction to German culture.

    Prerequisite: GERM 101.

    GERM 201: German III, Conversation and Composition (4.0 units)

    Intermediate German. Increasing emphasis on listening and speaking skills and a review of basic structuresof German. Discussion of cultural aspects.

    Prerequisite: GERM 102.

    GERM 221: Conversational German IV (4.0 units)

    Conversational German in a variety of topical settings and vocabulary domains.

    Prerequisite:GERM 201.

  • GERM 310: Business German I (4.0 units)

    Introduction to German business language structure including correspondence and oral communication. In German.

    Prerequisite:GERM 201.

    GERM 311: Business German II (4.0 units)

    Continuation of GERM 310. Terminology and style of commercial and legal texts, analyzed and applied in oral and written work. In German.

    Prerequisite: GERM 201.

  • GERM 320: Composition and Conversation on Contemporary Affairs (4.0 units)

    Practice in oral and written German, emphasizing contemporary cultural and social developments in the German-speaking countries of Europe. In German.

    Prerequisite: GERM 221.

    GERM 325: Composition and Conversation in Cultural History (4.0 units)

    Practice in oral and written German, emphasizing the cultural history of the German-speaking countries of Europe. In German.

    Prerequisite: GERM 221.

    GERM 352: Colloquium on Poetry (4.0 units)

    Definition and analysis of lyric genre through a study of major poets, such as Goethe, Schiller, Heine, Rilke, and Hofmannsthal; poetic traditions from the 17th century to the present. In German.

    GERM 353: Colloquium on Prose (4.0 units)

    Study of German prose from the 18th century to the present; emphasis on narrative and thematic perspectives in relation to social change and on modernism since Kafka. In German.

    GERM 390 Special Problems (1-4)

    Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.

    GERM 410: Profile of German Literature I (4.0 units) 

    Survey of major trends in German literature within their historical and cultural contexts from the beginnings to the Baroque period. In German.

    GERM 420: Profile of German Literature II (4.0 units)

    Survey of major trends, figures, and authors in German literature and culture of the 18th and 19th centuries within the European context. In German.

    GERM 470: Advanced Composition and Stylistics (4.0 units)

    Development of competence in written expression; fundamentals of style in expository writing. In German.

    GERM 499: Special Topics (2-4 units, max 8 units)

    Intensive study of selected topics or regions.

Learning Languages at USC: Interview with William Russel

Anna Boswell interviews William Russel (BS Human Security & Geospatial Intelligence) about his language learning journey.

German Studies Program

Stay connected with the German Studies Program through their website and social media accounts.

Scholarships, Grants, and Awards

German language students at USC are eligible for a range of internal external scholarships, grants and awards.

German Club

Join German Club and gain access to a supportive community of first time language-learners and native speakers through engagements in community events, educational opportunities, and cultural enrichment.

Contact Information

Office Location

Taper Hall 316

3501 Trousdale Parkway #255

Los Angeles, CA 90089-4353

Basic Language Program Director

Britta Bothe

Undergraduate Advisor

Lisa Perkins