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Career Options

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The M.A. degree in German will allow you to pursue a wide variety of career options. With the new emphasis on foreign language education in a globalized economy, teaching German as a foreign language in high school or college remains a valuable career option. A considerable number of our graduates continue toward a career in higher education by entering a Ph.D. program (our graduates have placed into renowned programs at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins University, University of Illinois at Chicago, etc.). Almost every year a number of graduates return to Germany or Austria on Fulbright fellowships to teach English as a foreign language in a secondary school. An M.A. in German has many applications aside from teaching. More and more corporations are looking for graduates with a solid background in the liberal arts and foreign language skills. Our graduates have found jobs with large international corporations, with banks, and with local businesses. We have also placed graduates in government positions where knowledge of a foreign language is required. Some graduates have returned to Germany or Austria and found employment with foreign companies.

Training for Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants in the department are ordinarily either teaching assistants or research assistants. Both positions offer opportunities for professional training. Teaching assistants receive training in teaching methodology as part of their program of studies and work with a course supervisor during their first semester of teaching. Research assistants are ordinarily assigned to one or more professors to aid in the carrying out of research projects. The department also supports student participation at various national conferences.

Career Planning

The Department is committed to an active role in helping its students formulate clear career objectives and find placement which furthers these objectives. In addition to departmental efforts, University Career Services identify various employment opportunities for graduate candidates and seek to provide personalized assistance through conferences, employment interviews, and referrals. The professional staff of this office works closely with employers across the country.

  • Education: Teaching at the middle and high school level is certainly an important option. Should you wish to teach at the college level, you will need to work toward a PhD. There are also numerous additional options for those graduates interested in the field of education: a '93 alumna is currently a program coordinator in the International Programs Office at the University of Michigan. Another graduate is Senior Associate Executive Search Consultant for educational institutions while others are career counselors, exchange program coordinators or foreign language audio and computer lab directors.
  • Travel Industry: Graduates may be interested in working in the travel industry and might seek a position as customer service agents or international flight attendants as did several of our alumni. A '89 alumnus attended the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, completed the Austrian Travel Counselor Specialist Program, and currently runs his own travel agency.
  • Translating and Interpreting: You may want to explore the field of museum curatorship and translate documents, treatises, catalogues and even movie scripts for a museum. Interpreters and translators may also opt to work free-lance at Olympic Games, World Expositions, Deutsch Welle, the German Information Center, or the UN, to name only a few organizations. Several of our graduates work as technical translators for Austrian or German firms in the US or abroad.
  • Political Organizations: Many political organizations have international ties and need employees competent in languages. One of our graduates worked as a congressional aid in Washington while another spent a semester as an intern at the UN in Vienna. Another alumna has secured a post in the foreign service and is planning a career as an intelligence analyst in European affairs. Working for political advocacy groups may also interest our graduates. See the following ad: "Wanted: Program Assistant for implementation of international development programs, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs."
  • Journalism and Publishing: Graduates in German will have learned how to research, write, and discuss their ideas not just in one but two languages. These are skills necessary to be successful in international journalism. Entry-level positions in publishing usually involve copy-editing and proofing, such as in the following announcement: "Wanted: Editor (entry level) to edit/proof translated research articles, patents, etc., at Corporate Translations, Inc."
  • Business and Law: A number of our graduates have found employment with German and Austrian firms or international firms. A '95 alumnus is working for "Commodity Components Inc." in Massachusetts, an electronics components company that supplies Siemens Austria and IBM France, among other European firms. A 1990 graduate is working for Electro-Wire Products as program coordinator for a BMW project. She suggests: "Those searching for job tips: send resumes to German firms." The recent Daimler-Chrysler merger may offer further opportunities. Others have pursued an MA or a PhD in Business/ Business Administration. Graduates may be interested in working in the area of international law. One alumna is teaching introductory US law courses at the Humboldt University in Berlin.