German Studies, Certificate

Program Code: GERSC_UCT

Program Description

The German Studies certificate offered at Penn State Behrend is designed for students who wish to specialize in interdisciplinary German Studies by acquiring advanced German language skills and taking courses in culture, film, history, literature, music, or politics of the German-speaking countries. In-depth knowledge of the German-speaking countries prepares students for a global workforce and careers in international business, engineering, finance, politics, or the sciences.

What is German Studies?

German Studies is an interdisciplinary academic sub-field of the Humanities concerned with the languages, literatures, arts, and politics of German-speaking communities in Europe and across the world (e.g., Pennsylvania Germans). In pursuing each of these areas German Studies intersects with the related fields of linguistics, literary studies, visual studies, and history, respectively.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You’re interested in German language, culture, and history.
  • You envision working in a German-speaking country or for a German company within the United States.
  • You wish to study abroad.
  • You plan to apply for fellowships or internships in Germany or Austria.
  • You are an engineering student who wants to take advantage of Behrend’s relationship with Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences in Rosenheim, Germany.
  • You recognize that speaking a second (or third!) language doubles (or triples!) your career options.

Admission Requirements

Students who have not reached the third level of German Language proficiency may need to take Elementary German I (GER 1) and Elementary German II (GER 2) first.

Program Requirements

To earn an undergraduate certificate in German Studies, a minimum of 16-17 credits is required.

Students must have a C or better in each certificate course.

Required Language Courses
Required Language Courses: Require a grade of C or better
GER 3Intermediate German4
GER 201Conversation and Composition3-4
or GER 301 Intermediate Speaking and Listening
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select nine credit hours from a program approved list:9
German Culture and Civilization Keystone/General Education Course
German Film Keystone/General Education Course
Twentieth-Century German Literature in English Translation Keystone/General Education Course
GER 200
History of the Holocaust 1933-1945 Keystone/General Education Course
HIST 143
The World at War: 1939-1945 Keystone/General Education Course
Germany Since 1860
An Introduction to Western Music Keystone/General Education Course

Certificate Learning Objectives

  • Application: German Studies Certificate students apply classroom experience and textbook knowledge in a real world, authentic setting by using their expertise in German language and culture. They can reside as global border ambassadors in Trippe Hall (opened fall 2018), work as German language tutors on campus, get involved in clubs, obtain summer internships at cultural institutions such as the Goethe Institute or the DAAD or German/Austrian/Swiss businesses in the US or abroad, study abroad with Penn State Global programs in Marburg, Freiburg, Berlin, Pforzheim et al. Behrend international business and engineering major can participate in the Rosenheim exchange.
  • Historical Context: German Studies Certificate students will be able to critically set current political developments in the German-speaking worlds in a historical context.
  • Intermediate Language Proficiency: German Studies Certificate students will be able to demonstrate intermediate language proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They will be able to:
    • read a variety of texts in German (short stories, poems, fairytales) and demonstrate in writing and orally the comprehension, analysis, and interpretation of those texts.
    • write essays using complex sentence structures with dependent clauses, and different tenses (present, simple past); summarize texts from a specific viewpoint, and revise their work using a correction key. They will critically evaluate their progress toward intermediate German proficiency in a self-reflective essay required for their course portfolio.
    • discuss a variety of topics and demonstrate their intermediate oral proficiency in a final presentation.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.



Eva Kuttenberg, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of German
49 Kochel
Erie, PA 16563

Career Paths

The certificate in German Studies can be pursued by students in most Penn State Behrend degree programs. Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for college and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.


Immersive education in German language and culture is a competitive advantage in many professions. Adding a certificate in German Studies to your Penn State Behrend major degree program permits sub-specialization and increases the number of internship and career opportunities available to you.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduate study in German opens doors to more specialized careers. These might include translation, technical translation, German language education, English-language learning education, applied linguistics, and diplomacy.


Professional Resources



170 Irvin Kochel Center
4951 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563