Why study German and German Studies at Elon?

Germany remains a key player in both a European and global context, due to its tremendous economic, political, and cultural influence. The EU in general and Germany in particular will continue to be among the world’s most important regions—even with the rise of China and Latin America. True, many educated people in Germany speak English. But that doesn’t mean German and other foreign languages are irrelevant. Research proves again and again that people who know a foreign language and culture are better able to work, study, and travel in foreign places. Critically engaging cultural and linguistic practices and perspectives will broaden your ability to function as a citizen of the world.

Here’s how studying German can elevate your academic studies and launch your career:


The German economy is the fourth-largest in the world and is more than half the size of the entire Latin American economy. The GDP of the European Union, with Germany as its cornerstone, is the largest in the world, outstripping China and the United States. Germany is also the world's largest exporter and, with a wealthy middle class and high per capita GDP, a rich consumer market for American goods. Frankfurt, with the seat of the Deutsche Börse (owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange) and the headquarters of the European Central Bank, is considered an “alpha city,” one of ten hubs of the global economy. And there are significant job opportunities for Americans who know German: 1500 German companies do business in the USA, including Fortune 500 companies BASF, Bayer, BMW, Daimler, Siemens, and Volkswagen. If you want to do business in Europe, German is the #2 business language there, second to English—meaning that professionals who know both languages will be more competitive.

To address the need for American business professionals to be proficient in German, Elon offers two options for studying Business and German: the dual-degree program with the European School of Business, and the certificate in Business German administered by the German federal government. Both tracks include internship opportunities and specialized coursework on business-specific language and culture.

The Arts

Together with Austria and Italy, Germany has defined Western culture since the Middle Ages, influencing art, architecture, literature, and music. Germany is also home to some of the world's best music academies and symphony orchestras, plus popkomm, the world's biggest pop music festival.

Communications, Journalism, Film, and Media

Communications fields are huge in Germany. The Deutsche Presse Agentur is a major worldwide news agency, with print, TV, online, and mobile services in multiple languages. The German film industry, based in the city of Köln, has produced numerous international hits in the past decade, including Good Bye Lenin, The Downfall, and The Other Side of Heaven. Germany's online presence is among the largest and most sophisticated in the world.

Science, Engineering, and Environmental Studies

Although English is dominant in scientific publications and at conferences, scientists working extensively with German colleagues need to know German, the second-most commonly used scientific language in the world. Germany is also a world leader in high-tech research and development, biotechnology, and alternative energy, particularly wind energy. German-speaking scientists have won 34 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 38 in Chemistry, and 31 in Medicine. Many Nobel winners from other countries have trained at German universities.

Philosophy and Religious Studies

The Reformation started in Germany, psychoanalysis in Austria. Add Kant, Adorno, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, and you've got the basis of modern philosophical and religious theory.


Students and faculty at German universities make significant contributions to historiography. And the German federal government actively supports research in history, maintaining the massive Bundesarchiv in the city of Koblenz.

Grants and Research Opportunities

Roughly two thousand scholarships and grants are awarded to American students and faculty members every year to study or conduct research in Germany.