View of Brookings Quadrangle at sunset

Graduate Program

a comprehensive program in the language, literature, and culture – past and present – of Germany and German‐speaking countries

The Graduate Program

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis offers one of the finest graduate programs in North America. It is dedicated to training exceptional scholars, well-rounded pedagogues and skillful administrators able to meet and exceed the expectations of the university job market today and in the future.

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 doctoral program with Comparative Literature and innovative certificate programs. Both faculty and students teach and conduct research in wide range of related disciplines, including Art History, Comparative Literature, European Studies, Film & Media Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Religious Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

International Opportunities

We consider international exchange to be a crucial component of graduate education. Exchange agreements with multiple German universities enable us to guarantee a year abroad for all of our doctoral 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. In addition, our graduate students have regularly qualified for scholarships for additional study abroad from such agencies as the Fulbright-Hays Commission and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Exceptional Training for Teaching

Our students have an opportunity to assist with and teach a wide variety of courses, including introductory through advanced German, as well as courses in Comparative Literature, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Film & Media Studies. At the beginning of their teaching experience, students work in close collaboration with the Foreign Language Pedagogy specialist, as well as other faculty members. As they gain more experience and prove themselves, students have the opportunity to teach their own courses under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

As part of their training, all graduate students take a series of 1-2 unit seminars that facilitate and reinforce their development as teachers over the course of their graduate studies. A unique, two-semester apprenticeship then allows advanced graduate students to observe literature and culture classes taught by professors in the German Department as well as professors in other departments, to teach model classes themselves, and to develop draft syllabi.

A Foundation for Success

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.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Joint doctoral program with Comparative Literature

The joint doctoral program with comparative literature consists of a complete graduate program in German and intensive course work in comparative methodology and literary theory.

Learn more about the joint doctoral program

Interdisciplinary Certificates

Our innovative certificate programs give graduate students the option of developing an expertise in one of seven associated fields.

Learn more about interdisciplinary study

Master's program in German Studies and Higher Education

The master's program in German studies and higher education offers qualified students with a strong background in German the opportunity to combine advanced study of German language, literature, and culture with coursework in higher education administration.

learn more about the higher education master's degree

Unique to WashU

The Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature

The Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature promotes teaching and research of modern German literature and supports collaboration among American students/scholars and German/Austrian/Swiss writers, critics, scholars, and students in this field. Founded in 1984 by its director, Paul Michael Lützeler, it is the only center of its kind in the United States.

Learn More about the Max Kade Center

Mentorship & Teaching

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 mentees 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.

Lynne Tatlock

Lynne Tatlock on Pedagogy

"We have long cultivated a teaching culture in this department, and one outgrowth of that has been our pedagogy initiative ... We aren't modeling a single style of teaching but trying to teach the students to find their own style and their own voice in the classroom."

research collections