German language, literature, and culture—like classics or English—is a liberal arts discipline worth studying in its own right. But it also brings distinct advantages to any career path. Learning a foreign language will boost the average salary by 2%, and learning German will increase that number to 4% (see this article in Money).
Students with BAs in German compete well in non-technical fields for jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree. And a major in German, when paired with another major, minor, or certificate, offers a competitive edge in a variety of professions. Pitt German majors have become successful lawyers, doctors, business professionals, teachers, scholars, engineers, and scientists. A major in German is also excellent preparation for graduate study in a variety of fields, including German, law, history, philosophy, film, and politics.
The German Department helps its students prepare for careers in a variety of ways:
- The courses “German for Professional Purposes” (German 1003) and "The German Business (Eco)System (GER 1004) give students linguistic and cultural skills necessary to engage with the German business world;
- Many students have pursued German-related internships, both in Pittsburgh and abroad, while earning academic credit through German 1905 (see the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information about this) or through Pitt’s International Internship Program in Berlin;
- All current German majors at Pitt automatically receive membership in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, an excellent opportunity to network with the many German businesses located in the Pittsburgh area;
- All students are encouraged to join Handshake and pursue other opportunities with the Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance;
- Courses in the German Department often count towards Certificates in Western European Studies, European Union Studies, and Global Studies, which strengthen the credentials of those students interested in international careers. Information about both certificates is available at the Center for International Studies Web site;
- Students interested in a career in teaching can draw on a degree in German as preparation. Pitt’s School of Education offers teaching certification for those interested in teaching in the public schools (please check with the school for specific prerequisites); and
- Pitt German alumni in a variety of fields often return to campus to speak about their career paths and the role that German played in it. Recent visitors have included a professor of mathematics, a translator, an attorney, and a school teacher.
Knowledge of foreign language and culture brings obvious competitive advantages in careers with an international dimension. The rapidly changing political, economic, and cultural scene in Europe suggests that German language and culture, in particular, will play an increasingly important role in international events for the foreseeable future. Whatever your field, a German major will help prepare you for a global job market.