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German and Scandinavian Studies Doctoral Degree Requirements

Program | Faculty | Master's | Doctoral | Courses

The Ph.D. Program provides a more advanced course of study and requires a greater degree of individual work than does the Master’s Program. Admission requirements are a Master’s degree or equivalent (e.g., Staatsexamen) in German studies or a related field, and a demonstration of scholarly potential. The Ph.D. candidate specializes in one of three major areas—Modern German Studies, Medieval Literature, or Germanic Philology—and within the chosen area is encouraged to concentrate on particular fields of interest. The Ph.D requires at least eight courses (24 credits) beyond the M.A. degree.

Modern German and Scandinavian Studies
The structure of the Ph.D. Program allows for a great deal of individual flexibility in defining study areas and the opportunity for interdisciplinary work. To coordinate an individualized course of study that also provides a good familiarity with principal issues of the field, Ph.D. students should choose an adviser by the end of their first semester in the program. Courses should be chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and Graduate Program Director in order to provide the basis for comprehensive examinations, reflecting expertise in the knowledge areas and practices of the discipline, and a foundation for dissertation work. Demonstration of these skills is then provided by the four comprehensive examinations, usually scheduled for the student’s fourth semester of Ph.D. work.

Areas of examination: Four areas are determined by candidates in consultation with their adviser and are subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director. These areas may include: a literary period, a genre or theme (over two centuries), an author, or another topic, issue, or problem (e.g., film, literary theory, feminist theory, German women writers, the German Lied, exile literature, or theories of resistance).

Parallel to their coursework in modern German studies, students are also expected to explore the cultural, historical, and linguistic precedents in the ancient, medieval, and early modern period. To do so, students must take at least three courses treating language and literature before 1700, at least one of which must be in the language and literature of the Middle Ages. The customary pattern for this is:

601 Middle High German plus at least two of the following three options:
One course in Germanic philology (702 Old High German, 703 Gothic, 704 Old Norse, 705 Old Saxon, or English 702 Old English, or French 511 Old French);

One course in medieval literature (715 The Heroic Epic, 716 The Courtly Lyric Epic, 717 The Courtly Epic, 718 Narrative and Didactic Middle High German Literature);

One course in the literature of the 15th, 16th or 17th century (730 Literature of the 15th and 16th Centuries, 733 17th Century Poetry and Prose, 734 17th Century Drama).

With approval of the Graduate Program Director, component courses may be substituted or an equivalent course taken at another institution.

The remaining courses will be chosen from the courses in German Studies offered by the department in consultation with the adviser and the Graduate Program Director. If a candidate’s field of specialization necessitates taking courses in other departments, approval must be sought from the adviser and the Graduate Program Director.

Medieval Literature and Germanic Philology
The university and the Five Colleges, in addition to their strengths in Modern German Studies, offer excellent resources for the study of languages, literatures, and cultures of the Middle Ages and earlier periods. Both literary and cultural studies and work in historical linguistics provide students with avenues to explore the origins of modern languages as well as cultural phenomena such as ubiquitous literary tropes, narratives of history, concepts of nationhood, and ethnic and gender identity.

The following courses are required:
1. 702 Old High German
2. 703 Gothic, or 704 Old Norse, or 705 Old Saxon, or English 702 Old English, or French 511 Old French.
3. Two courses in German literature from the 15th century to the present.

In general, it is expected that the remaining courses will be chosen from the medieval literature courses offered by the department, or relevant courses in, for example, History, Philosophy, Music, or Art History.

Germanic Philology
The normal program requires the completion of four courses in philology above 700, one course in linguistics, one course in medieval literature, and one course in modern literature.

Language Requirement
Candidates for the Ph.D. will be required to show advanced proficiency in one foreign language (other than German or English) pertinent to their field of specialization.

The university has a partnership agreement with the universities of Baden-Württemberg. Students may enroll in any of the universities of Baden-Württemberg at any time during their graduate studies.

Note: All teaching assistants doing coursework for the M.A. or Ph.D. participate in a one-credit practicum each year to enhance their teaching skills and to participate in coordination of the language program. For details, refer to the Teaching Assistant contract and the Graduate Employee Organization regulations.