About the Master's Program

About the MA Program in German Studies

The Master's Degree in German Studies provides training in German literature, film, culture, and the German language. Through an intensive program of study with leading experts in their fields, students become familiar with a broad range of authors, genres, and themes. Our program is small enough to allow students to work closely with faculty from day one, and large enough to provide diverse opportunities for study. The program has foci on Film and Media Studies, Austrian Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, German-Jewish Studies, Disability Studies, History of Science. and Postcolonial Studies.

 At the conclusion of the program students will be able to:

  • identify major authors, texts, and periods of German literary and cultural history
  • comprehend spoken German on all levels, ranging from casual conversation to academic discussion
  • demonstrate an understanding of important scholarly methodologies and theories used in German Studies
  • analyze cultural texts in various media
  • produce a significant work of scholarship that conforms to disciplinary standards

What can you do with an MA degree in German Studies?

Many students who receive an MA in German Studies continue in the PhD program and ultimately go on to careers in teaching and research at the university level. Many others obtain their master's degree and go on to teach at the K-12 level both at public and private institutions. MA graduates also find employment in language resource centers, as translators, or in international companies.

What are the requirements for an MA in German Studies?

To receive an MA in German Studies, students must complete 30 graduate credits and successfully pass the German Studies Department's MA Exam. Most students will take two years to complete the degree, but it is possible to graduate from the program in just one year.

Course Requirements:

  • One Research Seminar (GRMN 7051)
  • The Focus: Media 1 Seminar (GRMN 8011)
  • The Focus: Topics 1 Seminar (GRMN 8013)
  • Electives: additional approved courses at the graduate level

Students have two options for completing the MA Exam:

(1) Exam Option and (2) Thesis Option. All students pursuing an MA in one year will normally take the Exam Option and all students pursuing the MA in two years will normally take the Thesis Option (exceptions are possible in both cases with the permission of the graduate director).

Exam Option

The exam option consists of two exams, both of which are normally taken in the spring of the first year in the MA program. The first exam is based on the department's comprehensive reading list. The second exam is based on a list focusing on a topic of the student's choice, compiled in consultation with a faculty advisor. Both exams are taken in two consecutive weekends during spring semester. These written exams are followed by an oral exam.

  • Comprehensive Exam: In the spring of their first year of MA studies, students take a comprehensive take-home MA exam based on the departmental MA reading list. The exam consists of two sections, each of which contains multiple questions. The first section will cover genres and media. The second section will cover authors and periods. The texts will be drawn from the departmental reading list. Students will receive their exam at the scheduled time and will have from Friday morning (10am) to Monday afternoon (3pm) to complete it.
  • Topic Exam: Students pursuing a one-year MA will compile a reading list of 15 titles on a topic of their choice to be determined in consultation with a faculty advisor. This list must be approved by their advisor by the second week of spring semester. Students will take a take-home exam in the spring based on this reading list. Students will receive their exam at the scheduled time and will have from Friday morning (10am) to Monday afternoon (3pm) to complete it.
  • Oral Exam: The two written exams are followed up by a one-hour oral exam in which the candidate for the MA exam and faculty discuss their exams and their work in the program.

During the semester in which they are studying for their exams, students will sign up for GRMN 7092 (MA Exam Prep).

Thesis Option

Students pursuing the thesis option will take a comprehensive exam and an oral exam in their first year of MA study and will write and defend a thesis in their second year of MA study.

  • Comprehensive Exam: In the spring of their first year of MA studies, students take a comprehensive take-home MA exam based on the departmental MA reading list. The exam consists of two sections, each of which contains multiple questions. The first section will cover genres and media. The second section will cover authors and periods. The texts will be drawn from the departmental reading list. Students will receive their exam at the scheduled time and will have from Friday morning (10am) to Monday afternoon (4pm) to complete it.
  • Oral Exam: The written exam is followed up by a one-hour oral exam in which the candidate for the MA exam and faculty discuss their exams and their work in the program.
  • Thesis: Students pursuing the thesis option will work during their second MA year with a faculty advisor on a 40-50 page thesis. They must have an approved topic by the fourth week of fall semester and an approved proposal and bibliography by the end of fall semester. The thesis is due by week 10 of spring semester and is followed up by a one-hour oral defense in which the candidate for the MA degree and the faculty discuss the thesis and the candidate's work as an MA student.

During the spring semester in which they are completing their thesis, students will sign up for GRMN 7091 (MA Thesis)

Exam Dates

In 2014, topic exams will take place from Friday, March 28th at 5:00 pm to Monday, March 31st at 10:00am.

Comprehensive exams will begin on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 5:00 pm and end on Monday April 7th at 10:00 am.