What can I do with a subject in German?

Students graduating with an Arts degree

The German language is a leading world language, mother tongue of almost 100 million speakers. The German-speaking countries – Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein – form the largest language area in central Europe. It is an important language of trade, Germany being the third largest economy in the world.

Knowledge of German can be vital to international work in the areas of science, engineering, business and tourism. German-speaking Europe has not only been at the crossroads of history for the past 800 years, but promises to remain one of the most important world cultures for the foreseeable future.

Through their German degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that includes:

  • Reading, writing, listening and speaking German
  • Well-developed communication skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Understanding of the global interactions which shape contemporary society
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research and computing skills.

Practise your skills at work or in Germany

Opportunities to apply your learning are available:

  • An internship can deepen your skillset, working knowledge, and employability
  • UC offers a number of options to immerse yourself in German language and culture, including study exchange partnership programmes with the University of Konstanz and the University of Freiburg

A degree in German can lead to a variety of career options, for example:

  • Focusing on language or linguistics-related fields such as immigration, sales, language teaching, interpreting/translating
  • Entering a vast array of sectors that value the transferable skills of an Arts or Commerce graduate, such as recruitment, librarianship, policy and governance, marketing, international relations, analytics, tourism, finance, and trade
  • A popular combination is the study of a European language such as German with that of a professional degree such as Law or Teaching.

Germany and the world

  • German tourists are the second largest European tourist market in Aotearoa New Zealand, with over 104,000 visiting in 2016-17.*
  • Germany is an industry powerhouse with a high export ratio of 50%. Roles in trade, distribution,finance, import/export are available.
  • Germany is a leading player in the European Union and therefore an important country for New Zealand's foreign affairs and trade.
  • As an industrial location, there is always a demand in Germany for engineers in all sectors, for IT specialists and natural scientists.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Immigration officer / migration consultant

  • Understands immigration instructions
  • Assesses clients to establish their eligibility for visas or helps navigate migration processes
  • Writes submissions and files applications

Customs officer

  • Specialises in domestic and international markets or laws
  • Inspects or coordinates mail, imported and exported goods
  • Administers documentation and ensures adherence to the law

Legal practice – barrister / solicitor^

  • Provides legal advice or legal opinions to clients and sometimes other lawyers
  • Prepares legal or court documents
  • Makes submissions and negotiates for clients
  • Provides conveyancing services
  • Specialises in different areas of legal practice

Front end / web developer

  • Designs, builds and configures digital software solutions
  • Develops applications and writes code
  • Uses software development technologies

Recruitment consultant

  • Advertises vacancies and recruits staff
  • Advises on workplace policies and procedures
  • May oversee staff development, health and safety, pay and reward etc

Secondary school teacher

  • Plans and delivers instructional lessons
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback
  • Sets and marks assignments and tests

Sales assistant

  • Helps develop new markets or business
  • Supports client relationships and presentations
  • Implements sales and marketing strategies


  • Translates spoken language from one language to another, often simultaneously
  • Keeps abreast of up-to-date meaning of words
  • Researches specialist topics, travels with groups and presents to different audiences


  • Conveys source text into the target language
  • Researches terminology, technical words and language trends
  • Often works as part of a team of translators

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

  • Assesses a student's reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and needs
  • Designs and prepares learning materials
  • Presents lessons, including on local knowledge and skills for coping in a new place

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea, product or service
  • Offers services as a freelancer/consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the German subject page