German students who are interested in our exchange programs should contact Cecily Stewart Hawksworth for more information.
PhD candidates must complete 51 hours of coursework (including 36 master's-level credits) home-based in German. Students who complete interdisciplinary graduate certificates will be required to enroll in additional units as specified by the certificate-granting department or program. Students may not exceed 72 hours of coursework.
Each student must take courses in the full range of German literature and culture, to be chosen in consultation with the graduate adviser. The following courses are required (exceptions are only possible upon review by the Graduate Committee):
- German 453: Theories of Literary and Cultural Analysis (3 units)
- German 456: Introduction to Middle High German Language and Literature (3 units)
- German 457: Introduction to Linguistics and the Structure of German (3 units)
- German 5051: Introduction to the Teaching of German (1 unit)
- German 5052: Teaching Practicum (1 unit)
- German 5053: Seminar in Theories of Foreign Language Pedagogy (2 units)
- German 5061: Apprenticeship in the Teaching of Literature and Culture I (1 unit)
- German 5062: Apprenticeship in the Teaching of Literature and Culture II (1 unit)
In addition, students are required to take one additional course in German literature prior to 1700.
These rules regarding required courses to be taken at Washington University apply to students joining the department with a bachelor's degree. Students entering with a master's degree may already have fulfilled some of these requirements. The fulfillment of Washington University requirements with coursework completed elsewhere should be discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies who will make a determination.
Graduate students may wish to take courses in areas other than German. With this in mind, the program is designed so that PhD candidates may take a total of 12 credits in other areas; exchange students pursuing a master's degree may take six credits in another area of study. Of special interest are graduate offerings in art history, comparative literature, digital humanities, English, film & media studies, history, music, philosophy, romance languages, and/or women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Students who enter with a bachelor's degree must complete an oral and written master’s examination at the end of their second year. A student’s performance in both the oral and the written exam serves the faculty as one important element in deciding whether the student will receive permission to proceed with his or her graduate studies. The department does not offer a terminal master’s degree.
Students taking comprehensive exams should display general knowledge and understanding of the primary materials, historical contexts, scholarly questions, and theoretical frameworks that are likely to drive their future dissertations. Usually taken at the end of the fourth year for students entering with a bachelor's and at the end of the second year for students entering with a master's, the comprehensive exams consist of two written essays. In the first exam, the student is required to situate his/her primary materials and their author(s) in their respective historical contexts and periods, with specific points of emphasis to be determined together with his/her advising team. The second exam serves to frame the student’s primary materials in theoretical terms; it is meant to discuss in general terms the methodological approaches for the planned dissertation.
Within two months after passing the second comprehensive exam, the student is required to write a 10-15 page dissertation proposal and then to present it orally to his/her advising team.
PhD candidates are required to teach at least two years at Washington University under the guidance of the pedagogy specialist.
For information beyond what is presented here, please contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Erin McGlothlin .