(This question may be off-topic, and better suited for Academia.SE. I think it is helpful to German language learners, but I'll understand if it's closed.)

I'm pursuing a move to Germany in the coming years. I am currently a music professor in the United States.

I see on the Goethe Certificate summary that a C2 level allows admission into every Hochschule in Germany. Many accept C1 students, and many music schools accept B2 students (see pp. 4, 5, and 7).

This is one of several documents showing the levels for potential students, but I can find no such information for potential job applicants.

Obviously the more fluent the better, and I'm sure different universities will have different requirements. (And, like with students, I'm sure a C2 level would be a universally acknowledged acceptable level.) But I'm asking if there is any universal standard that I haven't yet found.

I'm assuming that such a certification would be necessary to have a successful application, and that publishing in German and interviewing in German may not be enough from a legal standpoint.

  • 1
    That probably depends on what you're teaching. Back in the day when i studied, I remember a french guy lecturing over isotopes for environmental reconstructions (geoscience background here). He didn't speak a word German and even his English was ... Fench :-) He holds a chair today. Also, in technical/natural science subjects the standard language is English at German Universities, once out of the base level. Like geo-sciences, information sciences, engineering, ... – a_donda Mar 3 at 16:09
  • Sorry, I should have made that obvious: I intend to continue teaching music in the university, just now in Germany. – Richard Mar 3 at 16:27
  • 1
    I second a_donda's impression. I got lectured by some professors whose English was questionable, not to mention their German. Then again, universities aren't really famous for their vast mass of didactic expertise. – infinitezero Mar 3 at 18:09
  • For music it might be quite different. I read once the WDR Rundfunkchor asks singers to have German as native language (not C2). – c.p. Mar 3 at 22:16
  • @c.p.: Of course, singing is just one of various musical discoplines, and arguably one of the most language-centric. – O. R. Mapper Mar 4 at 8:35

I think there are no formal requirements as a Goethe Certificate.

The following is a typical example. Quote:

Gute Sprachkenntnisse in Deutsch und Englisch werden vorausgesetzt.

Perhaps you should contact a Goethe-Institut, I am sure they have adequate information. You may also have a look at this website where you can find hints concerning German language. Quote:

Zum guten Leben gehört auch, sich verständigen zu können. Mit Englisch kommen Sie im Job gut zurecht. An vielen Forschungseinrichtungen und – insbesondere an den naturwissenschaftlichen – Instituten der Hochschulen ist Englisch die Team- und Wissenschaftssprache.

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Note: This might not address the question as stated in the title, but it may help with the underlying problem, which I understand to be “What is an adequate level of German to teach at a German university?”

I have worked in Academia for two years, with the working language being German, and am currently involved in recruiting software developers for a company in which German is the main working language.

We had candidates boasting a C1 level competence that were able to converse without any severe problems but absolutely unable to communicate anything technical.

If you have to teach or otherwise interact with students in German, do the students a favor and be at least at C1, with adequate technical (or “musical”) language skills, and an intelligible accent.

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