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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.

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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

German at Otago

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.

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.


German as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, 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 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


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


GERM papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
GERM131 2024 Introductory German 1 18 Not offered in 2024
GERM132 2024 Introductory German 2 18 Not offered in 2024
GERM230 2024 German Language 3 18 Semester 1
GERM231 2024 Intermediate German 1 18 Semester 2
GERM331 2024 Intermediate German 2 18 Semester 1
GERM334 2024 Advanced German 1 18 Not offered in 2024
GERM335 2024 Advanced German 2 18 Semester 2
GERM341 2024 Topics in German 18 Not offered in 2024
GERM441 2024 Advanced Topics in German 20 Not offered in 2024
GERM451 2024 Studies in German 20 Not offered in 2024
GERM452 2024 Studies in German 2 20 Not offered in 2024
GERM490 2024 Dissertation 60 Not offered in 2024
GERM590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 Not offered in 2024

More information

Contact us

Languages and Cultures programme
School of Arts

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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