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Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures – German Major Guide for 2016-2017

What is German?

Understanding the complexities of today’s world and the value of international relationships requires knowledge of both current realities and timeless cultural traditions. A major in German therefore combines thorough language training and the study of all aspects of German life and culture. The Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures is dedicated to producing well-trained, liberally educated German graduates who are prepared either to go on to graduate training to become language professionals or to use their language skills and understanding of the cultures and literatures of the German-speaking countries in such other fields as business, engineering, architecture, law, and just about any area in the social sciences or humanities.

You should consider a German Major if you

  • Are fascinated by other cultures;
  • Would like a career with an international component;
  • Enjoy learning and speaking foreign languages;
  • Like to travel; and
  • Are open to viewing yourself and your culture from different perspectives.

Career Opportunities in German

Germany is a world leader in science, and there are strong commercial ties between the German-speaking countries and the United States. In Tennessee alone, major German corporations such as Volkswagen AG, Wacker Chemie AG and Mahle GmbH have invested billions of dollars in establishing and expanding their facilities. Because there are many opportunities for professional exchange and work abroad, combining the study of German with another field can lead to fascinating international career prospects. The ability to speak, read, and write with precision in a second language is an increasingly desirable skill in the United States. Having a major in German helps open doors in many different professions. Some of these opportunities are obvious—teaching, translation, and interpreting—but there are many others in areas like journalism, international business, engineering or law, as well as in the Foreign Service and in the travel industry.

In addition, a job applicant with study-abroad experience on his or her resume attracts an employer’s attention because studying abroad demonstrates adaptability and resourcefulness.

Salary Trends in German

A degree in arts and sciences prepares students for many types of careers. Your college major is not necessarily the deciding factor in your career choice. As with any degree, pre-professional experience (for example, volunteering, work experience, and internships) increases your chances of obtaining the job you want and affects your potential salary. A documented command of German, provided by MFLL 495, can be an important plus on an application to a German firm.

High School Preparation

Students with good high school German preparation can begin taking German major courses as freshmen, but a sizeable proportion of our majors begin their study of German at UT. Beyond classes in literature and language, study and internship experience abroad markedly strengthen a graduate’s employment potential and provide an excellent background for dealing with other cultures. The UT German program offers several opportunities and some scholarship support for study and work abroad.

How to Major in German

German 211–212 or the equivalent is a prerequisite to the major in German.
A student majoring in German may choose among the following four concentrations:

  • Language and Literature
  • German Studies
  • Honors
  • Language and World Business (L&WB)

A number of students combine a major in German with a major in another field. While working on a major in German, many students choose to spend a semester or two in a German-speaking country to increase their fluency. During such extended study abroad periods, students usually earn credits toward their degree program at UT while they increase their understanding of their own culture’s role in a rapidly evolving global culture and economy. Students interested in a German major should contact an undergraduate advisor in German as soon as possible to plan a program of study tailored to their individual needs and interests and to discuss study abroad opportunities.

Requirements for German

Please note that the following applies to all concentrations of the German Major: German 331 and 332 do not count toward the major in German, and in order to graduate, majors are required to take a proficiency test in German (MFLL 495)

The Four Concentrations of the German Major:

Language and Literature Concentration

The language and literature concentration consists of at least 30 hours of German in courses numbered above 300, including 321-322 and 3 hours chosen from German 323, 350, 363 or 415. In addition, students take MFLL 495.

German Studies Concentration

The German studies concentration is designed for students who would like to focus on German-speaking countries from a comprehensive cultural perspective. The four components of the German studies concentration are

  • Command of the German language;
  • Knowledge of cultural achievements (art, music, philosophy, poetry, fiction, religion, theatre) of
  • German-speaking peoples;
  • Knowledge of the political, social, and cultural history of German-speaking countries; and
  • Knowledge and understanding of contemporary institutions in German-speaking countries.

This concentration consists of 36 hours, distributed as follows:

  • Language – Any four courses from German 311, 312, 411, 412, 435, 485 and MFLL 495
  • Literature, Culture, Arts – Any four courses from Art History 441; German 321, 322, 323, 325, 350, 363, 415, 416, 419, 420, 431, 432, 433, 434; Musicology 400, 420, 430; Philosophy 324, 326, 353, 370, 395; Religious Studies 385, 411.
  • History – At least one course from German 436; History 315, 323, 334, 335, 471, 472, 484.
  • Contemporary Institutions – At least one course from Geography 340; German 363.
  • Additional Courses – Two additional courses from the above history and contemporary institutions lists.

Honors Concentration

The honors concentration consists of at least 32 hours of German in courses numbered above 300. Students must have at least 12 hours of honors courses, including German 477 with a grade of B+ or better, and a senior honors project (honors-by-contract) directed by a faculty member. Students may sign up for honorsby-contract courses in German in order to fulfill the 12 hours of honors courses required for the honors concentration of the German major.

The senior honors project, to be approved by the German honors committee, will encompass both, a written essay or portfolio and an oral presentation to the German faculty, and it must be completed with a grade of B+ or higher during the last 30 hours of coursework. German honors students will also complete a study abroad experience in a German-speaking country.

To be admitted to the honors program, students must present a cumulative grade point average in German major courses of at least 3.50 and have an overall GPA of not less than 3.25. Students should apply for admission to the honors program at the end of their junior year. Application forms are available in the department office. Since courses taken abroad are not calculated in the overall average, the department reserves the right to make a judgment on the appropriateness of a study abroad curriculum for acceptance as honors work and to require other 400-level courses as a condition for the degree.

Language & World Business Concentration

Students who wish to prepare for careers in international business may complete a special major in German a professional with an emphasis in international business, international retail merchandising, or international agricultural economics, and some form of practical experience related to the concentration. Admission is by permission of the program director.

Due to the extensive and multidisciplinary coursework required by the language and world business concentration major, students are permitted to use three courses from the concentration major to fulfill College of Arts and Sciences Basic Skills and Distribution requirements. These courses include Statistics 201 (toward fulfilling the Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning requirement), Economics 201 (toward fulfilling the Social Science requirement), and one course toward fulfilling the Humanities List A-Literature requirement or the Upper Level Distribution List B-Foreign Studies requirement.

Students interested in the language and world business program should contact the director for advising as early as possible in their college careers. The academic record presented will be assessed by the Director of Language and World Business. Minimum requirements for entrance and progression to the major are a 2.75 cumulative average in all courses, and a 3.00 average in language courses. Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures 199 is a prerequisite for the program. Program standards are adjusted periodically, and current requirements are available from the Director of the Language and World Business Program.

  • Language Requirement [German Major] (27 hours) German 321, 322, 311, 312, 485, MFLL 495; 323 or 463; and 3 courses numbered 320 or above.
  • Professional Emphasis (pick one of the following 3 options):

International Business (26 hours) – Accounting 200, Economics 201, Business Administration 201, Statistics 201, Finance 301, Marketing 300, Economics 322, and Management 472. All upper-division (300 level or above) coursework must be taken at the University of Tennessee unless otherwise approved by College of Business Administration and the Director of the Language and World Business program. Students are responsible for meeting all prerequisites for business courses. (For instance, Mathematics 125 or 141 is a prerequisite to Statistics 201.) Students should consult their catalogs and advisors to ensure that all prerequisites are met.

International Retail Merchandising (26 hours) – Accounting 200; Business Administration 201; Marketing 300, Retail and Consumer Sciences 210, 310, 421; and 6 additional credit hours from Retail and Consumer Sciences 410, 411, 412, 415, 493. Students are responsible for meeting all prerequisites for business courses. Students should consult their catalogs and advisors to ensure that all prerequisites are met.

International Agricultural Economics (25 hours) – Accounting 200; Business Administration 201; Agricultural Economics 320, 342, 350, 420, 430; and 3 credit hours from the following Marketing 300; Management 300, 472; Finance 301. Students are responsible for meeting all prerequisites for business courses. Students should consult their catalogs and advisors to ensure that all prerequisites are met.

  • Practical Experience – Each language and world business student must undertake an internship (490),study abroad (491), or a relevant research project (493) for a minimum of 3 hours (included in major requirements). Additionally, language and world business students must consult an advisor in the department in selecting relevant courses under the basic skills and distribution requirements for the college. For further information, inquire at 701 McClung Tower.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The Language and World Business Program of the Modern Foreign Languages Department sponsors co-ops and internships for students, both in the U.S. and abroad. Contact the head of the LWB program for more information (

Students who are interested in internship opportunities in Germany have benefited greatly from the direct exchange program with the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Mannheim (DHBW) (Germany) which combines studying in Germany during the fall semester with the possibility of a paid internship with an employer in Baden-Württemberg in the spring semester.

Examples of other special (non-study option) programs that may of interest to students majoring in German include:

  • Internships in Germany through the Carl Duisberg Society
  • Internship at Volkswagen Chattanooga

Please note different levels of language proficiency may be required to participate for each of these programs.

Highlights of German

The German program regularly offers outreach activities that give students a chance to plunge themselves into a German-language environment outside the classroom, such as the weekly Stammtisch (“German table”) coordinated through the International House. The German program also organizes screenings of German films and brings renowned guest speakers to our campus. Many of these special cultural attractions are made possible in part through the Cobble Fund, an endowment designated for enriching undergraduate studies in German at UT.

Each spring, the German program honors exceptional students by bestowing awards from the following scholarship funds: Harris, Kind, Osborne, Shockley, Wunderlich, and Nordsieck.

You may study German abroad to fulfill general education requirements any time after your freshman year. For students who intend to complete a German major, the best time to study abroad would be after the completion of two 300-level courses taught in German at UTK.

Most students typically go abroad after completing 60 hours of undergraduate work, but seniors should not hesitate to go as well. Participating in an officially recognized UTK study abroad program is viewed as “work at UT” and through petition satisfies the requirement that the final 30 hours of work be done at UT.

UT offers the following faculty-led study abroad option for students of German: Students will complete a component of German 416 (“Berlin: Culture and History”), an interdisciplinary 4- credit-hour course by spending the mini-term in Berlin.

There are many other study abroad opportunities associated with the German program at UTK, including the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) run by the UT Center for International Education. Participants in the ISEP program spend at least one semester in a German-speaking country, pay UT tuition, and receive transfer credit in consultation with their German professors at UT. Participating partner institutions include the Universität Bonn, the Philipps-Universität inMarburg, the Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz, and the Technische Universität Braunschweig. To find out more about study-abroad opportunities in Germany and Austria go to and/or contact Noah Rost in the UT Study Abroad Office at (865) 974-3177.

Since 2008, a direct exchange program has existed between the University of Tennessee and the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Mannheim (DHBW) for undergraduate students who plan to major in German. Students who participate in this exchange program spend an entire academic year in Germany: They study business courses at the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Mannheim (DHBW) during the fall semester, and they then have the opportunity to complete a paid internship with an employer in Baden-Württemberg during the spring semester.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.


Experience Learning

Experience Learning LogoExperience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.

The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.

Learn more about Experience Learning.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
1115 Volunteer Blvd.
701 McClung Tower
University of Tennessee
Knoxville , TN 37996 -0470
Phone: (865) 974-2312


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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