The graduate program emphasizes seminars that provide an in-depth study of specialized areas in German literature, culture, and language. Instruction in methodology is provided for graduate student instructors and prospective teachers, and seminars in applied linguistics and second-language acquisition provide a theoretical and practical foundation for teachers. The program aims at comprehensive historical knowledge of German literature and culture and/or linguistics and is designed to train students in rigorous scholarship, original research, and independent thinking.

Students are not admitted solely to pursue a master of arts, which is an integral part of the PhD program.

There are two options to fulfill the language requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to acquire useful reading knowledge in two languages other than English and German (Option 1 per the Guide to Graduate Policy). Many of our students choose French, Latin, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Japanese, or Turkish. Students may also choose to learn only one language other than English and German (Option 3 per the Guide to Graduate Policy). The languages should have value for the students research project and probable future career needs and are selected in consultation with the advisor. The language requirement must be fulfilled prior to the QE.