Placement guidelines for German

Willkommen an der UCSC! If you have never taken German before, you can simply enroll in German 1 (Fall quarter) or German 1A (Winter quarter).

Any students who have taken German language courses before (in high school, community college or elsewhere) or if they speak German as a heritage language will have to take the German placement exam before enrolling in a German language course.

The German placement exam consists of a 15-minute interview with a faculty member in the German language program. Students can self-identify where they feel they should place, and if there is a discrepancy between their self-assessment and the placement exam results, they may take a written exam in addition to the oral interview.

There will be a brief orientation/placement session Fall quarter, TBA, before classes begin. 

Placement exams are also offered in Winter and Spring quarters by appointment.

German Courses at UCSC

There are 13 German language courses offered by the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics every year:

Fall quarter               German 1 and German 4

Winter quarter          German 1A (intensive), German 2 and German 5

Spring quarter          German 1B (intensive), German 3, German 6 and German 119 (German Media)

German 1 or 1A (Beginning German) are for true beginners, who have never taken German before. 1A can be taken after minimal German language study as well, and is intensive in that it covers material taught in German 1 and the first half of German 2.

German 1B, 2 or 3 (Beginning German) are for students who have had some German in High School or at a Community College. The placement exam will determine the appropriate course for you, but students are encouraged to aim high and challenge themselves in as high a course as possible.

German 4-6 (Intermediate German) are for students who have recently completed one year of college-level German or three years of high school German, or their equivalent. The placement exam will determine the appropriate course for you.

German 119 (German Media) is a German language and culture course at the advanced level that focuses on current social, cultural and political issues. It is designed for students who have completed German 5 or its equivalent (e.g., AP German with a score of 5).

German 120 (Advanced German Conversation and Composition) This third-year language course is designed for students who are comfortable speaking and writing German at the GERM 5 level or above. Using a variety of German texts, including print- and visual media, students practice advanced conversation and composition skills. Taught in German.

Courses in German Literature are offered through the Literature Department (; several of them are taught in German every year. Students who have completed German 5 or its equivalent (e.g., AP German with a score of 5) may wish to enroll in these courses.

Information about German Courses, possible majors and Study-Abroad Opportunities can be found on the German website of the Languages and Applied Linguistics Department.

If you would like to discuss your placement, or have any questions about the German Program at UCSC or the UC programs abroad, we would be happy to answer them.