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In the European Union, German is the mother tongue of more people than any other language (including French and English). Beyond Europe, there are speakers of German as a first or second language across the globe, including here in the United States, where more Americans claim German ancestry than any other. At UW–Madison students are able to select from a range of courses that is broader than in any other German department in North America. Aside from basic language courses, we offer courses in culture, literature, linguistics, and German-American studies.

Given the close relationship among Germanic languages, it is relative easy for speakers of English to become proficient in German. After completing just the fourth semester of our German language series (GER 204), students are ready to study at a German university abroad, including through our signature program, the Academic Year in Freiburg. Most German majors at UW–Madison also pursue a second major in subjects across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, thereby strengthening their qualifications for careers in diverse fields or for graduate or professional school. And for those students interested in the Certificate in German, this can be earned by taking just 15 credits of coursework beyond 204.

Majors & Certificates 

German Major, German Certificate, European Studies Certificate; visit the Majors & Certificates page for more information.


Mark Louden,

Jeanne Schueller,


Live in Stockwerk Deutsch, the German House in the International Learning Community.

Study Abroad 

You can study German in Germany and Austria. Contact International Academic Programs for more information. Additional opportunities are available through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Wisconsin School of Business.

Student Organizations 

German Club; browse the Wisconsin Involvement Network for more information.


Consider an internship where you can use German, either in the US or abroad. An internship in any field can complement your language study and can provide valuable professional experience.

Summer Study Options 

German is frequently offered during the summer. Please consult the Schedule of Classes for detailed course information.

Non-credit Classes 

Affordable non-credit language classes offered on campus in the evenings, on the weekends and in the summer. Learn more