German & German Studies

Herzlich Willkommen | Welcome to the German Language Program at UBC!

“Whoever is not acquainted with foreign languages knows nothing of their own.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the great writer and poet, who knew eight languages.

German is one of the world’s major languages with approximately 100 million native speakers and a further 20 million non-native speakers. It has become the second language in Eastern Europe and is important in the fields of science and music. More books have been translated into and from German than any other language and at present 18% of all books published each year are in German. The German Language Program at UBC is one of the largest in Canada, making for a vibrant student community.

Learning another language means learning another way of understanding yourself and the world. It expands your possibilities of thought and expression and improves your understanding of your own language and culture. Acquiring another language is vital to acquiring global citizenship in our evolving global community.

  • Approximately 120 million people speak German. It is the official language of Austria and Germany, one of the official languages of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and is increasingly becoming the economic language of Eastern Europe.
  • As the second most spoken language within the European Union, German provides access to the European business and professional community, including opportunities in such diverse fields as international commerce, publishing, journalism, translation and tourism.
  • German is the second most commonly employed language within science and engineering, reflecting the important contributions that German speakers have made to these fields.
  • German is the language of music and of many of the greatest composers within the Western classical tradition. Germany is the birthplace of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Brahms, and Richard Strauss. Austria was the home of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler and Johann Strauß;.
  • German is the language of philosophy and of many of the most influential thinkers within the Western intellectual tradition: Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud.
  • Knowing German will enhance your enjoyment of literature and the arts. It is the language of such great writers and poets as Gerhardt Hauptmann, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, and Elfriede Jelinek.
  • A knowledge of German provides you with educational opportunities within Germany and other German-speaking countries. A wide range of exchange programs between Canada and Germany are available for university students, as well as a generous number of scholarships. For more information please reference the Exchange Programs page.

The goals of the German Language Program at UBC are:

  • proficiency in writing, reading, listening, and speaking German
  • development of cultural understanding and awareness
  • development of autonomous learning skills

The German Language Program promotes autonomous learning and the development of critical thinking skills through learner-centered teaching practices. Learners acquire communicative competence in what are considered the five proficiencies of language learning: listening, reading, speaking, writing and culture. These proficiencies are acquired within an integrated four-level course of study described below:

  • German 100/110: These entry level courses develop linguistic proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Intercultural learning and an international awareness are also promoted.
  • German 200/210: These intermediate courses reinforce and expand linguistic proficiency in German and intercultural learning and awareness.
  • German 300/310/313: These advanced-intermediate courses further develop German linguistic skills and promote intercultural learning and awareness.
  • German 400/410: These advanced courses strive for near-native competence and a highly developed understanding of contemporary issues; emphasis is on oral discussion and participation.

Conversational German 313 - This course develops oral communication skills and strategies in important areas of German cultural life; prerequisite: German 210 or equivalent linguistic proficiency.

Business German 314 - This course is offered in Term I.
It focuses on microeconomic orientation and will prepare students for the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf exam to be held in Term II. For more information, see the Business German Program Website.
Prerequisite: German 210 or equivalent.

Business German 414 - This course is offered in Term II.
It focuses on macroeconomic orientation and will prepare students for the exam Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch International which is given every May. For more information, see the Business German Program Website.
Prerequisite: German 300 or equivalent.

German 433 - An Introduction to German for Reading Knowledge. This course is available to students who have no or very little prior knowledge of German, but need to acquire basic reading knowledge in the target language in order to fulfill necessary academic requirements.

German 434 - Students can choose one of four available modules: humanities, business/economics, musicology and chemistry and concentrate on academic readings in their field of expertise.
Pre-requisite is either German 433 or one year of German studies.

German 506 - Intercultural Competence and Second Language Acquisition
This graduate seminar presents current practical and theoretical issues in second/foreign language acquisition as these relate to German. It is a required course for departmental graduate students who are Teaching Assistants.

In addition to their German courses, students can take advantage of many other activities and opportunities provided by the Program: