A Group of Students Attending a German Event.


Pursue your interest of German language and culture in a location at the heart of German-American heritage.

Why Study German?

As a German major at USD, you will learn about an important language of international business and commerce. German is a gateway to one of the richest veins of Western heritage, and is the most spoken language in the European Union. German also links Americans to their past -- 1 in 7 Americans has German ancestry, and it is the largest ethnic heritage group in the U.S. The University of South Dakota is located not only in the Heartland of America but also in the heart of German American heritage. Students at USD are uniquely located next to many towns with predominantly German ancestry, including Mennonite colonies where German is still the primary language spoken.

Degrees & Offerings

German (B.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A degree in German prepares students for a variety of fields after graduation. Having a knowledge of German language and culture gives students an advantage in the fields of art, science, technology and business. Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue professional or educational experiences in Europe.

German (B.A.) with Secondary Education Certification

Major with Certification
  Vermillion Main Campus

Prepare for a career of teaching German language and culture to middle and high school students with the German Bachelor of Arts degree paired with a secondary education certification.


  Vermillion Main Campus

A minor in German correlates well with majors in business, international studies, sociology and the arts.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional. text in field.

Student Opportunities

Get involved on campus with different opportunities available to German majors.
Communities within an hour's drive of USD offer research internships for German students. Positions at local libraries and museums in small towns with predominantly German heritage allow students to apply their language skills to projects that enrich our small South Dakota communities. 

Our university maintains exchange partnerships with German Universities such as the Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg and Die Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. The Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning & Education Abroad also provides a number of exciting study-abroad opportunities in German-speaking countries. Travel grants and financial aid are also available.

Learn More

Kaffeestunde, film nights and events sponsored by the German Embassy to the United States provide many extracurricular opportunities to hone your language skills and acquire additional cultural knowledge. They’re also lots of fun!

Explore Student Organizations

German majors in good standing are eligible to apply for the Erwin Behrendt Memorial Scholarship, averaging $1,000 per academic year. The German government and its various agencies maintain generous scholarship programs for the benefit of students of German.

Foreign Language Placement Testing

If you are interested in taking a German language class at USD and have had previous experience with that language, it is highly recommended that you take our language placement test. This exam will help to determine which level of the language you should take as your first course.

To take the exam, follow the steps below:
  1. Click on the link for the German language test.
  2. Complete the required information (name, email address and your student ID number) and click “Continue.”
  3. All questions are multiple choice. For each question, click on the letter for the correct answer and then select “Submit Answer.”
  4. Note: Do not use your browser’s back button or you will be taken back to the registration screen.
  5. When you have completed the exam, you will be given your score and placement.
  6. After you have viewed your scores, click “Finished.” Your score will be made available to the language department. You will also have access to your scores using the login information you created in step 2.
  7. The test should be taken without any notes or other materials and in a quiet setting.

Take the German Placement Test

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty include award-winning professors who provide mentorship to students for their Honors Theses, U.Discover research projects and internships. We are dedicated to mentoring you and helping you prepare for the exciting career opportunities open to those who speak more than one language.
Students Working on Assignments in Classroom

Modern Languages & Linguistics

Connect with others, gain marketable skills and thrive in a culturally diverse world by learning a new language and exploring other cultures.

faculty and staff

Our faculty in the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics have consistently earned awards for their teaching and scholarship. Our faculty are experts in their fields, contributing to research in Spanish literature and theater, German language and culture, foreign language pedagogy, Russian culture, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and phonetics.

Alum Success Story

Success story Gabrielle Metzger smiling.
I love languages, which led me to add on studying German and English. I went to law school after graduating from USD and specialized in international law at Georgetown Law, graduating in 2021. My advisors helped me apply for law school, and my German advisor served on my honors thesis committee, as my thesis was written in both German and English.

Gabrielle Metzger JD

B.A. German, English, Political Science '18
Clerkship, South Dakota Supreme Court
Pierre, South Dakota

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