A summary of program requirements is provided below.
German students who are interested in our exchange programs should email Cecily Stewart Hawksworth for more information.
The PhD requires 51 units of courses (including 36 AM 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 units of course credit.
Each student must take courses in the full range of German literature and culture, to be chosen in consultation with the director of graduate studies. The following courses are required (exceptions are only possible upon review by the faculty):
- German 453 Theories of Literary and Cultural Analysis (3 units)
- German 456 History of the German Language (3 units)
- German 457 Introduction to Linguistics and the Structure of German (3 units)
- German 5051 Introduction to the Teaching of German (1 unit; normally taken during the second semester of the first year of the program)
- German 5052 Teaching Practicum (1 unit)
- German 5053 Theory and Practice 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. This requirement must be completed in residence at Washington University.
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 courses completed elsewhere should be discussed with the director of graduate studies, who will make a determination about transfer credits.
Graduate students may wish to take courses in areas other than German. Of special interest are graduate offerings in art history; comparative literature; English; the digital humanities; film and media studies; higher education administration; history; music; philosophy; romance languages; and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Students interested in completing one of our interdisciplinary certificates are generally required to complete additional seminars.
Foreign Language Requirement
Students planning to work primarily on post-1700 materials must display reading proficiency in French. The requirement may be satisfied by examination or by enrolling in and successfully completing French 400 and French 401. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue reading knowledge in languages other than French if necessary to conduct particular research for their dissertation.
Students planning to work on pre-1700 materials must pass a reading exam in Latin. Reading knowledge of French is also strongly encouraged.
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 on both the oral and written exams is one important element affecting the faculty's decision about whether the student will receive permission to proceed with their graduate studies.
Qualifying Examinations and Dissertation Prospectus
Students taking qualifying 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. The qualifying exam is usually taken during the fourth year of study for students entering with a bachelor's degree and during the third year for students entering with a master's degree. The qualifying exam process consists of four phases:
- Phase 1: development of a bibliography for the exams;
- Phase 2: preparation for and completion of two exams, each of which consists of a written portion and an oral portion;
- Phase 3: creation and defense of a dissertation prospectus; and
- Phase 4: preparation and circulation of the dissertation abstract and filing of the Title, Scope and Procedure Form (the latter of which must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than at the end of the fourth year of graduate study).
For the first exam, the student is required to situate their primary materials and their author(s) in their respective historical contexts and periods, with specific points of emphasis to be determined together with the exam committee. 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.
Doctoral candidates are required to complete a minimum of six semesters (or the equivalent) of mentored teaching experiences (MTEs) within the German department in order to be eligible for the degree; some students may have the opportunity to complete additional MTEs in other departments. Most of our students (particularly students who do not enter with an MA in German and with experience teaching German at the university level) will complete eight semesters of MTEs (the maximum allowable number) in order to prepare themselves for the rigorous demands of the job market in German.
For information beyond what is presented here, please contact our administrative coordinator, Cecily Stewart Hawksworth.