German (MA)

The graduate program in German offers the master of arts (MA) in German, either through a regular two-year program or through a combined BA-MA program that enables students to complete the requirements for both the BA and the MA in German in five years. The program also offers the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in German, for which applicants may apply either with a BA or an MA already earned. The requirements for the PhD include one year of graded course work past the MA level and a written dissertation. The MA degree prepares students for teaching German language and culture up through the secondary-school level (in conjunction with teacher certification), while the PhD degree, as the highest degree in the field, is generally expected for an academic career involving both research and teaching.

The graduate curriculum acquaints students with the history of German letters (with a primary focus on modernity since the enlightenment), places this history in a European context, and provides tools for a critical analysis of the literary, theoretical, and cinematic discourses involved. The program encourages comparative, theoretically oriented work.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Language: Students should attain the point where they can discuss literature and culture in German fluently in an advanced academic environment. In addition, they should be able to write a fluent 20-30 page essay in German on an academic literary topic.
  • Literature: Students should be able to provide a general characterization of the history and shapes of all major genres (lyric, drama, and narrative) in the literature of the German language from the early Enlightenment through the post-World War II period. Students should also possess an overview of all major interpretive paradigms in literary studies since World War I. Beyond this general knowledge, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of the stakes of one genre across several periods of German literary history, mastery of the literature of one period in all genres, and mastery of at least one philosophical movement or interpretive paradigm. Mastery here includes broad knowledge and significant comprehension, as well as a basic overview of the scholarly literature on the subject.
  • Demonstrate mastery of the broader contours of German literary history in terms of genres, periods, as well as of relevant theoretical paradigms and critical traditions.
  • Demonstrate effective oral and written scholarly communication skills in English and German.
  • Demonstrate ability to conduct independent research and analysis in German studies, following professional standards of writing and citation.
  • Present research in a professional setting, such as a colloquium or a conference.

Core Curriculum

Students take one course each term. These courses are grouped according to common themes to give the program a topical and critical coherence. Core courses are paired with seminars of related or complementary content, and students are encouraged to explore connections between courses.

In the first year, core courses address a specific genre (narrative, drama, and lyric). While their content may vary with the instructor, they are intended to present in general terms the history of the genre itself and of critical thinking about that genre. In the second year, core courses have less traditional themes and present a broader concept of textuality.

GER 621
GER 622
GER 623
GER 624 1
GER 625Translations-Transformations 24
GER 690Literary Studies: [Topic] 34

Beyond course work, the program features close mentoring, including guidance for developing portfolio papers that expand on writing done for courses, and, at the PhD level, a dissertation-writing colloquium in which students and faculty members join in responding to ongoing dissertation work by students in the program.