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iSTEP FAQs

What are the advantages of pursuing a second major in iSTEP?

iSTEP provides you with the linguistic, culture and career readiness skills to pursue an exciting international career after you graduate. The study abroad and professional experience components allow you to get immersed in the culture and make first professional contacts in highly sought after industries and research laboratories. 

Having this second major on your transcript sets you apart from other job and grad school applicants. Equipped with all the knowledge and skills you get out of iSTEP, you might even choose to pursue an advanced degree at a German university for free after graduating from UMass.

 

What if I do not have any background in the German language?

Not to worry, you can enroll in iSTEP without any prior German language experience. We do encourage students to enroll in Elementary German 110 as soon as possible in their freshman year to get them up to speed. 

Elementary German 110 and German 120 are both available online in the summer. These courses help students acquire introductory German reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Please see UMass Summer Session for more information. https://www.umass.edu/online/summersession

 

Is this program only open to UMass Amherst Students?

No, we also accept students from the Five College Consortium!

 

Which STEM subjects can I combine with STEM-German?

We welcome all students pursuing a Bachelor of Science. Our current majors come from the College of Engineering; the College of Information and Computer Science; and the College of Natural Sciences. 

 

What is the average STEM-German class size?

The average class size for German courses and STEM-German courses is 20 or fewer students. Smaller class sizes help students progress and excel in the language and intercultural communication skills much faster. We also provide students with individualized advising for their career and academic goals.

 

How many students are in the program?

As of April 2020, there are 25 students enrolled in the program.

 

Can I be Pre-Med and be a part of the iSTEP Program?

Yes! We have many pre-med students. Knowing German and pursuing study abroad and professional experiences in Germany helps you stand out on medical school applications.  

 

Can I graduate in four years?

It is possible to finish the program within four years provided students start the coursework in their first year of college. If you learn about this awesome program only at the end of your freshman year, you can catch up by doing some foundational course work during the summer. Students with prior German knowledge might go through the program even faster than 4 years. Another advantage of iSTEP is that many of your GenEd requirements can be fulfilled in German culture classes that also count towards STEM-German major credit. 

If you are pursuing a double major or dual degree in Engineering, and you have no prior German knowledge, we recommend that you finish in five years. This allows you to go to Germany for an entire year in your fourth year of study. Engineering students typically study at a German university for the first six months and pursue a paid internship with a German company in the last six months. You would then finish your fifth and final year at UMass. However, deciding to complete additional coursework in the summer might shorten the graduation timeline. 

The iSTEP Director, Dr. Julia Feldhaus, will consult with each student to map out an individualized course of study before they declare the major. Students continue receiving support and individual advising as they progress through the program.

 

Can I minor in iSTEP?

Unfortunately, we do not offer an iSTEP minor. However, German Studies minors are welcome to take STEM-German classes to count towards their course of study. 

 

Can I take summer classes?

Yes, UMass Amherst offers German 110 and German 120 online. If you are new to the German language, taking these courses as soon as possible is essential to your success in the program. 

Please see UMass Summer Session for more information. https://www.umass.edu/online/summersession

 

Where do students in iSTEP study abroad?

Depending on your STEM major, we will advise you in collaboration with the International Programs Office (IPO) on the best possible fit for your major at a German partner university. Generally, students have the opportunity to go to any university in the state of Hessen and Baden Wuerttemberg in Germany. In the past, students have studied abroad at the University of Stuttgart, the University of Freiburg, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.  

Please check out the IPO website for all available programs.

 

Where have students interned abroad?

Students have been accepted to internships abroad at Siemens and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Many internships in Germany are paid. 

 

What do you learn in STEM German classes?

Students learn German in the context of their chosen STEM field. Since we are a small program, we have the luxury of adapting much of the content to our students’ needs. The topics we focus on range from mathematics in German, to environmental issues, to infrastructure and the car of the future, renewable energies, the German health care system, and so much more. 
 

Where can I learn more?

Please feel free to contact the Director of the iSTEP Program, Dr. Julia Feldhaus, at istep@umass.edu