Students with a BA in hand (or who will be completing it prior to beginning graduate study in our program) who intend to earn a PhD may apply directly to the PhD program. If admitted, these students complete three years of coursework and are not required to write an MA thesis on the way to the PhD. For students entering with an MA in hand, graded coursework in the PhD program is condensed into one academic year.
Our PhD curriculum offers an intensive set of advanced courses with a primary focus on German-language literature and culture since the Enlightenment. In both the core 600-level courses and in other 500-level courses, the study of theoretical and philosophical discourses complements the investigation of literary genres and their historical contexts.
NEW CORE COURSE PROGRAM (BEGINNING IN 2020):
I. "PARADIGMS OF INTERPRETATION" SEQUENCE:
GER 690 -- FORM AND STRUCTURE
GER 691 -- GENDER, RACE, CLASS, NATION
GER 692 -- SUBJECT, CONSCIOUSNESS, MIND
II. "MEDIATIONS" SEQUENCE:
GER 693 -- PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM, VIDEO, ELECTRONIC MEDIA
GER 694 -- ENVIRONMENT AND TEXT
GER 695 -- TRANSLATIONS/TRANSFORMATIONS
We encourage and support interdisciplinary explorations as part of that coursework. Comprehensive exams are taken at the beginning of the fourth year (if entering with a BA) or the second year (if entering with an MA). After advancing to candidacy and embarking on their dissertation work, students enroll in six more courses (on a pass/no pass basis) over their remaining time in the program. This allows them to stay connected to the intellectual life of the department and keeps them engaged with faculty and fellow students while they are working on their dissertation.
The high ratio of graduate faculty in relation to the number of doctoral students in our program ensures that every student benefits from careful mentoring and is given attention in light their own specific intellectual projects. Students who have advanced to candidacy also take part in a monthly Dissertation Writing Colloquium where they discuss their research with peers and faculty.
Most of our PhD students work as Graduate Employees (GEs), teaching German language courses from the first through the third year, as well as leading discussion sections of larger lecture courses instructed by faculty and, potentially, teaching an advanced undergraduate course of one’s own design.
We offer plentiful mentoring and support for these teaching responsibilities as well. The financial compensation of the GEship, along with a tuition waiver and health insurance available at minimal cost, enables students to support themselves while working towards the PhD degree. They also gain valuable teaching experience that will be an asset in any future career, particularly in the field of education. For details see Funding for Graduate Students, click here.
Students who have recently completed the PhD in our program have succeeded in finding positions at institutions both large and small, including public universities and private colleges. See our PhD placements and graduate alumni testimonials from previous students, click here.
Application for the PhD program
Those interested in applying for the PhD program should either hold a BA or an MA in German, or anticipate the completion of the respective degree prior to the beginning of the Fall term for which they are submitting an application. We admit new students only for the Fall term each year. Successful applicants will have a strong background in the study of German language and literature.
The priority deadline for applications is January 15. After that date, applications will be considered depending on the availability of any remaining openings. Applications are submitted via the electronic GradWeb system. For details on how to apply, click here.