The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers a comprehensive program in the language, literature, and culture–past and present–of Germany and German‐speaking countries. Our faculty pursue a multiplicity of approaches in their research and offer seminars that provide a healthy balance of theory and the history of German literature and culture. The department offers numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary study, including a one-of-a-kind joint PhD program with Comparative Literature and an innovative certificate program that gives students the option of developing an expertise in one of four associated fields.
Both faculty and students also teach and do research in wide range of related disciplines, including Art History, Comparative Literature, European Studies, Film & Media Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Religious Studies, and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.
We consider international exchange to be a crucial component of graduate education. We maintain an exchange agreement on all levels (faculty, graduate, undergraduate) with the University of Tübingen, in addition to graduate student exchanges with the universities of Berlin, Cologne, and Munich. These arrangements enable us to guarantee a year abroad for all of our PhD candidates while at the same time enriching our program by bringing German exchange students to campus to study and teach alongside the full-time students in our program. Exchange is further facilitated by the Max Kade Center, which, in addition to numerous other activities, plays host each spring to a writer- and a critic-in-residence. The Department also invites a distinguished visiting professor to campus every other year.
Departmental faculty are known across campus and across the discipline for their close mentoring of graduate students, who are also integrated into the department through their participation in numerous activities, from the graduate student symposium and the Department’s biennial international symposium to outreach programs like German Day. We also give close attention to teacher training through our unique pedagogy internships, through recurring workshops and through a classroom mentoring program which ensures that all teaching assistants receive feedback and advice from a large number of faculty members. Graduate students have the opportunity teach in our undergraduate German program at all levels, in both German and English, and many also have a chance to teach courses or sections in other programs.
The combination of our extremely competitive funding packages and the low cost of living in St. Louis ensures that students have the resources they need to stay focused on their academic work. As a consequence, our graduate students not only produce first-rate dissertations, they also go on to accept positions at top research universities and liberal arts colleges across the country.
Their success is facilitated by the outstanding research collections available at the Washington University library, including the Collection of Contemporary German Literature, as well as the Suhrkamp/Insel Collection. Other resources include the Gontard Collection (18th to 20th centuries) in the Rare Book Collection of Olin Library, the internationally famous Reformation Collection at Concordia Seminary, and the Vatican Manuscript Collection at St. Louis University. The Saint Louis Art Museum and the Washington University Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum have extensive holdings in German expressionist and contemporary art.
To meet with an adviser, please contact our Chair or our Director of Graduate Studies, Erin McGlothlin. For questions regarding the graduate application process, or to request a brochure, please contact Cecily Stewart Hawksworth.