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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Certificate Program

Applied German Language Skills


The Undergraduate Certificate in Applied German Language Skills is designed for students of any discipline who wish to acquire and demonstrate to potential employers that they possess a fluid working knowledge of the German language and understanding of the cultures in which German is spoken. The completion of the requirements for this certificate can also serve as a means for non-degree seeking professionals to develop a working competency in the German language and culture for use in such areas as international business, education, genealogy, transatlantic travel, academic research, translation, and many other fields.

Student Performance Goals

Upon successful completion of the certificate, students will be able to:

  • communicate in German using written and oral skills at a minimum equivalent of the ACTFL intermediate-high level
  • demonstrate knowledge of cultural and/or literary facets of the German language
  • Document time spent in an academic environment in a German-speaking country
  • Provide internationally recognized evidence of German language proficiency

Entrance Requirements

All currently enrolled students at UC Denver (undergraduate or graduate) in good standing (including non-degree seeking students) are eligible for admission into the program. Any student who already possesses an undergraduate degree is also qualified for admission into the program but must apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. Students working toward a baccalaureate degree who are currently enrolled in a college-level institution other than UC Denver are also eligible for certification.

Performance Requirements

In order to obtain the certificate, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all coursework required for the program.

Residency Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of upper division German language skills courses and six credit hours of German culture courses from UC Denver faculty. This residency requirement may be reduced to nine credit hours of upper division skills coursework and three credit hours of culture coursework from UC Denver faculty if the remaining required coursework has been completed through an approved study abroad program.

Transfer Credit

A significant portion of the certificate program is based on language proficiency. Consequently, students who have developed language skills through coursework at institutions outside of UC Denver, including study abroad, may apply a limited number of previously earned credit hours toward the program. Please refer to the following requirements for details. All transfer credit for consideration toward the program must be approved by UC Denver German faculty.

Curriculum and Certificate Requirements

Students who successfully complete the following three requirements will be awarded the Undergraduate Certificate in Applied German Language Skills:

1. Completion of required coursework

A. German Language Skills (15 credit hours)

Students must complete a minimum of 15 semester credit hours of upper division German language skills courses. These courses are defined as those areas of study in which grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and/or communicative abilities in German are the primary focus of instruction. Up to six credit hours of upper division German skills courses may be applied as transfer credit from outside, college-level institutions. Alternately, students may apply up to nine credit hours of officially recognized study abroad credit toward this requirement.

B. German Culture (nine credit hours)

Students must complete a minimum of nine semester credit hours of German culture courses where the primary focus of instruction addresses any facet of Austrian, German and/or Swiss culture. These courses may be completed at any level (lower or upper division as well as graduate) and in any combination of disciplines provided that the student supplies evidence that a significant portion of each course is devoted to Austrian, German and/or Swiss culture. This includes but is not limited to history, philosophy, political science, literature (in German or in translation) and other German cultural topics. Up to three credit hours of culture courses may be applied as transfer credit from outside, college-level institutions. Alternately, students may apply up to six credit hours of officially recognized study abroad credit toward this requirement.

2. Official documentation of university-level coursework completed in a German-speaking country

Students must document that they have spent time in an academic environment in a German-speaking country. This may include but is not limited to a minimum of three weeks in an officially approved language study program, a semester or year abroad at a German-speaking institution of higher education, private instruction at the equivalent of university level, or professional/business experience with German as the language of communication. Students must receive prior approval from German faculty at UC Denver to ensure that their experience in this area is valid and applicable toward certification.

3. Successful completion of an internationally recognized German language proficiency exam

At any point prior to the awarding of the certificate, students must submit documentation that they have passed an internationally recognized German language skills examination. Such proficiency exams (some of which are administered locally in Denver and Boulder) include but are not limited to the TestDaF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache), Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD), Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZDfB) and Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch (PWD). Students must receive approval from German faculty at UC Denver to ensure that their exam scores are valid and applicable toward certification.

Application of Coursework

The coursework applied toward certification is meant as a proficiency requirement and not as a total credit amount. As a result, students who are working toward a degree may apply coursework in German certification as credit toward other programs such as a minor, general education requirements, or their major. Students are encouraged to inform their advisor in their home department that they are working toward certification in German for help in coordinating their overall academic curriculum.

Further Information

Students are encouraged to hold a personal conference with a departmental advisor before applying to the certification program.