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Requirements for the Ph.D.

Coursework

Our course offerings reflect the research interests and expertise of our faculty.  Students have great flexibility in the choice of concentration and coursework.  They must take at least two courses per semester with GSS faculty.  Throughout their coursework, students have a range of other interdisciplinary options in related fields of their choice, to be determined in consultation with the academic advisor.  In addition, students can pursue graduate certificates in a range of fields, such as Film Studies, African Diaspora, and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.  Students holding a teaching assistantship must enroll every semester in our pedagogy workshop, German 583: Methods of Teaching German, in addition to the regular coursework.

 

Funding

The Program in German and Scandinavian Studies is committed to funding our students through the timely completion of the PhD degree.  Students admitted into the PhD program are typically offered five years of funding (if entering with a BA) or three years (if entering with a MA), primarily through teaching assistantships.  These assistantships provide a waiver of tuition, a 95% waiver of health insurance (90% for families), and a stipend to cover living expenses. During their course of study, many students also receive competitive university- and college-wide fellowships in addition to their original funding offer.  Our students have had great success in obtaining dissertation research support from Fulbright and DAAD.  Furthermore, PhD candidates often teach at one of the prestigious liberal arts colleges in the area.

 

Requirements

Program course of study for students entering with a BA (5 years)

  • 15 courses (45 credits). Full-time students take three courses per semester and should thus be able to complete their coursework during their first five semesters.
  • Professional Development Seminar (required each year for all students in residence)
  • Qualifying examination
  • Dissertation prospectus defense
  • Dissertation defense

 

Program course of study for students entering with a MA (3.5 years)

  • 6 courses (18 credits). Full-time students take three courses per semester and should thus be able to complete their coursework during their first two semesters.
  • Professional Development Seminar (required each year for all students in residence)
  • Qualifying examination
  • Dissertation prospectus defense
  • Dissertation defense

 

Examinations

Students take exams in four fields. The content of these fields is flexible, determined in consultation with the exam committee and should relate to the dissertation topic. Some examples of fields are:  film and media studies, medieval poetry, cultural history, German-Jewish culture, minority literature, post-war literature, Holocaust historiography, social and literary theory, etc. Fields are finalized at the beginning of sixth semester (if entering with a BA) or the third semester (if entering with an MA).

For each field, students have the following options:

     1. A five-day take-home exam of about ten pages

     2. A three-hour formal exam (Klausur)

     3. An annotated syllabus on the field

Two of the exam fields must be taken as option 1.  Only one exam field may be taken as option 3.

Students then demonstrate knowledge of their fields in an additional oral examination.

 

Dissertation

Dissertation topic
Our program is open to dissertation topics in any field relevant to German Studies.

Dissertation prospectus
The prospectus should present an overview of the dissertation’s topic, methodology, and questions, as well as a review of the scholarly literature.  The length is at minimum ten pages.

 

Dissertation Archive

To see the variety of dissertations that have been produced in German & Scandinavian Studies, visit: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/germanic_diss/.