Germanic Languages and Literatures

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 seven associated fields.

Both faculty and students teach and do research in a wide range of related disciplines, including art history; comparative literature; digital humanities; European studies; film and media studies; higher education administration; Jewish studies; Medieval and Renaissance studies; religious studies; and women, gender, and sexuality studies.

McGlothlin on Interdisciplinarity
McGlothlin on Interdisciplinarity

We consider international exchange to be a crucial component of graduate education. We have a long-standing relationship with the University of Cologne that brings students to St. Louis to study and teach alongside the PhD students in our program, and our PhD students often pursue research at universities throughout the German-speaking world. 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.

Tatlock on Mentoring and Pedagogy
Tatlock on Mentoring and Pedagogy

Departmental faculty are known across campus and across the discipline for their close mentoring of graduate students, who are 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 instructor development through our unique pedagogy internships, through recurring workshops, and through a classroom mentoring program that ensures that all assistants in instruction receive feedback and advice from a large number of faculty members. Graduate students have the opportunity to 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 universities and liberal arts colleges across the country.

Luetzeler on the Max Kade Center
Lützeler on the Max Kade Center

Their success is facilitated by the outstanding research collections available at the Washington University library, including the Mike Lützeler Contemporary German Literature Collection and 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 Saint Louis University. In addition, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Washington University Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum have extensive holdings in German expressionist and contemporary art.

For questions about the graduate application process, please visit the Graduate Admissions page of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures website.

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