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Study German at Otago

Study Languages: make the world your place.

In our world of global communication and travel, language specialists find themselves constantly in demand. German involves the study of a language that is closely related to English.

German culture and creativity form much of the Western heritage in music, visual art, architecture, philosophy and the sciences. It’s easy to see that the study of German can enhance the study of many other disciplines.

German is one of the world’s major European languages and one of the two principal languages of Europe. Germany is one of the world’s largest contributors to research and development, and its well-funded universities are an important destination for scientists and students.

Knowledge of German language and culture has long been an asset in Europe but it is also a major advantage within New Zealand.

Why study German?

Today, there are more reasons to study German than ever before. German is the most commonly spoken language in the European Union. Germany is Europe’s largest economy, the world’s third largest exporting nation, an influential member of the European Union, and a key player at the United Nations.

German speakers have left a trace on every aspect of Western culture: music, literature, art, theatre and film, architecture and philosophy.

Top reasons to study German


Communicating with German business partners in their own language creates better, more effective relationships – and a greater chance of success.


Knowledge of German makes you a more attractive choice for German companies – active in virtually every corner of the global market.


Since German tourists travel widely and spend more money than any other national group, there is always a demand for language skills in this important sector.


German is the second most important language in scientific research and Germany’s overall contribution to research and development ranks number three in the world. Germany is an important source of research scholarships for foreign academics and students.


Developments in media and technology have made multi-lingual communications skills more crucial than ever before.

Intercultural understanding

Learning German will give you an insight into the lives of people in some of Europe’s most diverse and multicultural societies.


By broadening your knowledge of German you will open up opportunities for travel not just in Germany, Austria and Switzerland but also in other parts of Europe, especially Eastern Europe.


German is the language of some of the greatest artists, writers, poets, musicians and philosophers who have ever lived. Studying German gives you a chance to experience their work directly in the original language.

Study and work in Germany

Every year German organisations award a large number of scholarships for study in Germany. You will also improve your chances of obtaining a work visa for Germany if you can demonstrate good language skills.

Career opportunities

A degree with a major in German will open job opportunities in both the private and public sectors – in business, trade, consultancy, tourism, education, as well as in foreign affairs and other government agencies.

Recent Otago graduates who have included German in their degree now work as consultants, marketing managers, journalists, teachers and librarians, all around the world.

German studies graduates are generalists and have many transferable skills. Your ability to analyse and communicate effectively as well as the international perspectives that you will have gained by studying German at Otago will certainly give you an edge.

Combining another degree with German as a minor or as a Diploma also increases students’ options in the job market. Increasingly, studies in law, commerce, international business and communications are enhanced when you can offer cultural experience or language skills alongside your major area of study

Background required

You can study German at any level. If you have studied German at school or elsewhere, you will be able to build on your knowledge and skills, and we will determine which paper will best suit your level of German.

Otherwise, a popular programme of intensive language training is available for complete beginners.

Teaching style

German is taught through a communicative approach, enabling students to use the language actively from day one. You will have many opportunities to improve your language skills at all levels – in class, online and in more informal learning environments.

Our classes are small and this helps us to get to know our students. We also offer a variety of extra-curricular activities, such as the German play, which has been a very popular tradition in our programme for over 60 years.

Apart from studying the German language, you can also choose papers that will give you a perspective on the social values and cultural life of Germany.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Diploma in Language (DipLang) endorsed in German

Seven of:

 Students admitted directly to papers at 200- or 300-level must replace their prerequisites with other papers in the subject concerned

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in German

Level Papers Points

GERM 131  Introductory German 1

GERM 132  Introductory German 2

GLBL 101  Introduction to Intercultural Communication





GERM 230  German Language 3

GERM 231  Intermediate German 1

One of EURO 202, GLBL 201, GLBL 202





GERM 331  Intermediate German 2

GERM 334 Advanced German 1

Two of GERM 335, EURO 302, GLBL 301, GLBL 302, MFCO 316

Note: Students with previous knowledge of German will be placed in GERM language papers appropriate to their level. Students placed in 200- or 300-level language papers will still have to pass approved papers worth 180 points in order to major in German.





162 further points; must include 36 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

Total   360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in German


Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in German

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in German is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in German

  • GERM 590 Research Dissertation
  • Two of:
    HUMS 501 Writing and Revision for Graduate Research
    HUMS 502 Research Methods in the Humanities
    HUMS 503 Key Debates in the Humanities

  • either
    GERM 441 Advanced Topics in German
    GERM 451 Studies in German
    GERM 452 Studies in German 2
  • Or
    GERM 441 Advanced Topics in German and
    two other approved 400-level papers

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in German

  • Thesis: GERM 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in German or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in German must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in German prior to undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

German as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc,  BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Papers Points

Five GERM papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one at 300-level.



Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
GERM131 2023 Introductory German 1 18 points Semester 1
GERM132 2023 Introductory German 2 18 points Semester 2
GERM230 2023 German Language 3 18 points Semester 1
GERM231 2023 Intermediate German 1 18 points Semester 2
GERM331 2023 Intermediate German 2 18 points Semester 1
GERM334 2023 Advanced German 1 18 points Semester 2
GERM335 2023 Advanced German 2 18 points Not offered in 2023
GERM341 2023 Topics in German 18 points Not offered in 2023
GERM441 2023 Advanced Topics in German 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2
GERM451 2023 Studies in German 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2
GERM452 2023 Studies in German 2 20 points Semester 1, Semester 2
GERM490 2023 Dissertation 60 points Semester 1, Semester 2
GERM590 2023 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

Languages and Cultures programme
School of Arts