FAQs and Testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Students

Must I have taken German in secondary school to study it at UCC?

No.  The German department offers two levels in First Year German:  complete beginners and Post Leaving Certificate.  The beginners level is only open to those who have never done any German, or who have done Junior Cert German.  If you have done Leaving Certificate German you will not be eligible for the Beginners level course.

You must have a higher level grade C3 in your Leaving Certificate to qualify for the Post Leaving Certificate level.

Who can do the Beginner Level course?

The beginners level is only open to those who have never done any German, or who have done Junior Cert German.  If you have done Leaving Certificate German you will not be eligible for the Beginners level course.

Is German at UCC a pure language course?

By choosing to do German at UCC, German language will be a significant part of your studies.  You will also be exposed to different types and periods in literature such as poetry, novels, short stories, and drama, as well as related areas such as intercultural studies, film, linguistics, and more.  We also offer courses such as Fieldtrip to Berlin, German-Irish Relations: Past and Present, Teaching German as a Foreign Language, German Management and Human Resource Issues in an International Context, Intercultural Communication, and The Double Face of Germany: Representing the Holocaust.  Click here for a full and up to date list of the modules we offer.

What does language teaching in German consist of?

In each year, language modules integrate the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Written language courses in the first and second year include work on comprehension, grammar and vocabulary.  Essay-writing is an important feature of language-teaching and language-learning in all years.  Translation forms part of the language programme in the second and the final year.   Specialized language modules are provided for students of the BCL Law and German and the BComm International (German), and, in the second year, for all students who spend the third year of their degree programme abroad.

Are lectures and language classes taught through German?

In First Year classes are taught using a mixture of German and English.  In Second Year more German is used than English.  In Third Year most classes are taught through German.

Can I study German even if I'm taking a degree in another subject area?

Yes.  Some degree programmes in the following departments allow students to take a language option for one or two years (Languages for All):  Law, Government, Computer Science, Social Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering, GeoSciences, Erasmus & Visiting Students.  You should check with your programme to see if this is an option for you.  These courses are available at Beginner, Improver, Intermediate (Post Leaving Cert) and Upper Intermediate level, subject to sufficient numbers.  for more information.

Which degree would suit me best?

See our courses in the Programmes section or have a look at UCC Admissions Office Prospectus

Which students spend a year abroad?

Students of BComm (International), European Studies, Drama & Theatre Studies (International), BA International and BA World Languages must spend their third year abroad.  Arts students who choose the four year pathway are awarded a BA (International) degree.  Arts students who choose the three year pathway are awarded a BA.

What does the year abroad involve?

Students spend their third year at one of our approved partner universities in Germany or Austria.  See our Going Abroad section for a list of our partner universities for each programme.  UCC’s International Office organises the paperwork and students then spend two semesters at a partner university.  Over the course of the year they are required to attend courses and carry out assessments/exams, as specified by the host university, in German language and in the subject area of their other subject.  They then return and complete their final year at UCC.

What can I do after college with a degree in German?

Click here to see benefits and opportunities available to German Graduates.

How can I get more information?

There are a number of useful sources of information to which you can refer. These include the University prospectus for students thinking of entering U.C.C., which can be obtained from the Admissions Office. You should take the opportunity to visit the University on the Open Days, which take place in October and April each year.  You should speak to your career guidance counselor or contact UCC Admissions Office for more information

You can also write to the Department of German with any questions you may have to:

Head of Department, Department of German, University College Cork
Or, by e-mail to: german@ucc.ie


Elaine Hackett

My name is Elaine and I graduated from the BComm European with German in 2006. Since then I have pursued a career in teaching.

In the year following my graduation, I worked as an English language assistant in Zürich, Switzerland. I normally took students in half-class groups, (10-12) students, for English conversation lessons. We discussed my different topics including sport, film, Irish culture and current news stories. The focus of the lessons was to increase student’s fluency and confidence in speaking English. As there was no exam at the end of the semester, the atmosphere in the class was always fun and relaxed. I also had the opportunity to prepare students for the speaking element of the Cambridge First and Advanced Certificate exams. This year allowed me to gain valuable teaching experience and to get to know the Swiss culture and way of life.

In September 2007 I returned to Ireland and completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at NUI Galway. This year gave me a fresh insight into the constantly changing Irish education system. I also completed a Certificate in English Language Teaching during that summer.  

Following on from this I spent two years teaching in Irish secondary schools. My first post was as an English language teacher in Kells, Co. Meath. I then made the long trip to Tralee in Co. Kerry where I taught German, Geography and C.S.P.E.

Due to the lack of teaching posts in my chosen subjects in Ireland and an urge to live abroad again, I made the decision to move back to Zürich, where I am once again working as a language assistant. This year I have the added responsibility of preparing students for all elements of the Cambridge Proficiency exam. It’s a challenge, but one from which I have learned a lot. I really enjoy living and working in Switzerland, even more so than I did first time round. In fact, I am so at home here that I have decided to stay on for another year!

Looking back on my working life so far, I realise that I would not have been able to do many of the things that I have done, were it not for the knowledge and love of German which I acquired during my time at UCC.

Elaine Hackett, English Language Assistant Teaching Scheme, June 2011


Lovely to hear from you and thanks for thinking of us! I am actually out in Australia this year. I got my HDip in [...] this year but I decided to take a year out to do some travelling and take some time to think about where I go from here. I am going to look into study options in Germany as well..or I might apply for an internship of some kind over there. Ever since my year in Hamburg, I feel drawn to go back! ..such a fantastic experience! :) I hope everyone is well in the German Department. I really should have called up after I got my results and thanked each of you personally. Before I knew it, a few weeks/months had slipped by and I felt like I had left it a bit too late to call up then! But really, I do owe you and everyone else a big thank you. Studying German at UCC was a really positive experience for me. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm of you all for each of your subjects and I just felt really supported all the way.  We all had such an amazing year away as well. Whenever I meet up with others from the class, we all have so many good stories to share :)Thanks for keeping in touch with regard to work Siobhan. It's always good to know what kind of options we have..especially with the work situation at the moment. I gotta go now but I would really appreciate it if you could pass on my regards to everyone else in the Department as well..better late than never I suppose! 

Winter 2009 


I studied Language and Cultural Studies with German at UCC during which I did an Erasmus year in Hannover and did a Postgraduate in German Studies.

I always enjoyed the small classes and friendly approach of the German department and was particularly enthusiastic about the variety of courses in literature, drama, film and language teaching and learning during my undergraduate years. When I graduated in 2004, I was awarded the Boyle scholarship and went to Munich to spend a year researching at the university there. I came back to start my MPhil thesis on the teaching of language at third level. The whole department made me feel really welcome and like I was part of the team. The atmosphere was very supportive and I even had the opportunity to give tutorials and some language classes. As a result of this and the research I had done, I was offered a job at the University of Magdeburg where I taught English Language and Culture from October 2007 to summer 2009. The years I spent as an undergraduate and postgraduate at the German department were extremely enjoyable and, moreover, the opportunities I was given to study abroad and work and research in an academic setting were invaluable for my career.



I consider my German degree to be of considerable benefit in combination with my Law degree. It certainly stands out to prospective employers within the legal profession and is something which they are very keen to discuss. My classmates have gone on to do many things:  One went teaching English in Germany for a full year and another gained a six month contract with a German equities firm based in Limerick.  It also goes without saying that in the ever integrating Europe in which we live, more and more possibilities may become open to German graduates outside of Ireland . I think this is something that should be emphasised more to incoming students, as many of them are only thinking about employment opportunities within Ireland .

David, Law & German graduate 2008


I had always been interested in languages and when the time came to list my choices on my CAO form, I knew I wanted to study German. Having taken higher level economics and accounting for my leaving certificate, I felt that Commerce and German would be an ideal combination. I absolutely loved studying the language over the four years, I spent at UCC. Although studying German at third level does take up a lot of your time, it’s a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. The classes are small and you get to know a lot of people quite quickly, unlike the larger courses. The highlight of my four years was definitely the year I spent studying in Nürnberg, with three of my classmates from college. It was undoubtedly the best experience of my life so far and I am still in touch with many of the people I met there.

Karen, BComm Euro graduate 2006


I graduated with a 2.1 degree in Commerce and German in 2004. I always found the German dept to be extremely helpful and patient. The course was quite varied, from studying German literature to German business language. At the time, I wasn’t so keen on German literature, but in hindsight, it really helped me to get a good grasp of the language. The workload was manageable and staff members were always willing to assist if I had any questions on project work etc.  There was a great choice of universities for the Erasmus year abroad. Even looking back now, I would say the Erasmus year was probably the best year of my life and I would highly recommend it. My language skills came on leaps and bounds. It was a great experience for a 20 year old to live abroad for a year and to be able to communicate in a foreign language. Final year was a bit more challenging, but lecturers guided me every step of the way, whether it be preparation for the oral or grammar classes. I built up a steady relationship with the German dept and still feel comfortable calling into them to this day.

I started my professional career with Citi in Dublin working in hedge funds. After a few years of living in Dublin, I decided to venture to Luxembourg. Again, my German came in handy, and I reckon this got me over the line in the job interview. While working in Luxembourg with Fidelity, I lived over the border in Trier. It was a pretty smooth transition, having previously spent a year there studying. After a couple of years in Luxembourg, I moved to Australia and worked contract roles with JPMorgan and Statestreet. When my visa expired after two years, I returned to Luxembourg and currently work for Northern Trust in banking. Although, the commerce aspect of my degree is important, I always find that potential employers are very impressed that I mastered a foreign language. It has helped enormously in numerous applications. I have grown to love Germany, and the way of life here, whether it be watching bundesliga games or drinking the local beer, so I am thankful that I have the language.

Eoin O'Sullivan


Growing up I was interested in the media and acting. However, as acting is such a precarious profession I wanted to have some form of solid foundation behind me.

I decided to choose LCS (Language and Cultural Studies) German, eventually selecting Hispanic Studies as my Joint Honours Subject. I accompanied my studies in the German department with involvement in the German society, which really helped students to interact with Germans, with each other and to sample the culture of Germany while still in Cork. Theatre productions, the weekly Stammtisch and excursions were the order of the day and were strongly supported by the staff. The cultural side of the studies really immerse the students in the language and the often overlooked sides of Germany´s heritage - so many important periods in world literature are also strongly represented in German literature, culture, music and art.  The acting/improvistion workshops were particularly interesting. Part of the LCS course includes a year abroad which was both challenging and very enjoyable. No matter how hard you study in Ireland, the year abroad builds both confidence in your German and in yourself, and the Staff in UCC help you as much as they can and according to your individual needs.

Having graduated in 2003 I still had intentions of continuing to study in a year or two. My German helped me to get a job with Starwood Hotels, through which I was able to help Germans with reservations and help corporate companies from Germany with their requests, which was very rewarding part from a German language perspective.

I returned to study a Masters in Hispanic Studies in 2005 which also involved a scholarship to research in the United States and have since been working for a Spanish University.

The years of studying German taught me that there was much more to learning a language than just words, and were very formative years for both me and the students I was on the course with.

John, Language & Cultural Studies graduate 2003


I recently completed 2nd year of Language and Cultural Studies with German and Spanish. I think very highly of the German department, in that I feel the lecturers, administrative staff etc are very friendly, helpful and also extremely approachable. I acted as class rep for my German Language class in first year and in that role I found the German Department to be very open to any suggestions or recommendations that the students may have. I felt I could openly express my opinion and that it was taken into consideration.

Sarah, Language & Cultural Studies 2nd Year


I always found languages came easily to me at school, so after the Leaving Cert I decided to combine studying Law with a European Language, namely German. I can honestly say it was one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done.

Although there is a lot of work involved, it has benefited me greatly. Apart from the obvious communicative benefits of having a language, studying German brings with it a new-found cultural appreciation, for example of German cinema and literature. The BCLG (Law and German) programme also contains an introduction into modern German history, which in itself deepened my interest in learning the language. German has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn but when it is made interesting and relevant, I have not found this to be the case.

The German department staff are extremely efficient and will always provide constructive feedback on your academic

Progress – on ething I really appreciate is that you always know where you stand with regard to your progress and where improvements could be made.

As I embark on my Erasmus year, I would not be as prepared for what lies ahead without the dedication and efforts of the German Department.

Alice, Law and German


As a graduate of UCC, with an Honours degree in French & German, I look back on my time in the German Department with great fondness.  I found the department to be very personal, pro-active in my student life and very approachable at all times.  The level of teaching was extremely high and a high degree of professionalism was always in place.  My college career included a one year DAAD scholarship to Freiburg University and staff members were very involved and supportive in this. I would thoroughly recommend doing a German degree in UCC.  It is a great foundation and highly relevant in today’s economic times.

Helen, Arts graduate 1992


Department of German


First Floor, O' Rahilly Building, UCC