Graduate Degree

German Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

German Studies - Doctor of Philosophy
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Arts and Letters
Linguistics, Germanic, Slavic, Asian, African Lang

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Arts and Letters

Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures

Graduate Study
German Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy in German Studies seeks to provide students with a critical understanding of the field of German studies in the digital age. The curriculum comprises the study of literature, culture, language and pedagogy within the context of the production and dissemination of knowledge via media and technology. The program emphasizes an integration of curricular and co-curricular activities in the comprehensive training of students in research, teaching, service, and outreach.  It is expected that at least two years of study will be devoted to course work. The program is designed to be completed in four years.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Arts and Letters, students must meet the requirements specified below.


To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in German Studies an applicant must:

  1. Have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in a relevant field.
  2. Submit a 500-word personal statement that addresses the applicant's goals for pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in German Studies at MSU and the applicant's research interests.
  3. Submit a 500-word statement of purpose and research interest.
  4. Submit a writing sample, either a significant paper or a master's project, written in German and illustrative of the applicant's scholarly abilities.
  5. Provide contact information for an interview.

To be admitted to the program on regular status, the applicant must demonstrate German language proficiency sufficient to pursue graduate work in German, as determined by program faculty. If an applicant appears to have inadequate language proficiency, admission to the program may be granted provisionally.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in German Studies

The student must:

  1. Complete at least 24 credits but no more than 39 credits in courses approved by the guidance committee, including at least 18 credits in German studies and at least 6 credits outside of German studies according to the student’s research interests.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in German and English and document proficiency in a third language at a level appropriate to the student’s program of study, as determined by the guidance committee. 
  3. Pass written and oral doctoral comprehensive examinations.  The examinations will be administered by the student's guidance committee.
    1. Written comprehensive examination:
      The written comprehensive examination will consist of the following parts:
      1. portfolio consisting of a current curriculum vitae, an annotated list of relevant course work, one original research paper suitable for publication, and a reflective statement on one’s research activities, teaching philosophy, and participation in co-curricular pre-professional activities.
      2. four-hour examination on an area or areas coordinated by the guidance committee that is based on courses taken and a reading list approved by the student’s guidance committee.
        To assure breadth, the portfolio paper should be in a different area from the focus area examined in the written examination.
    2. Oral examination: The oral examination will consist of the following parts:
      1. A public presentation, based on the paper referenced in item (1) of the written examination, followed by a question and answer session. 
      2. A two-hour examination based on item (2) of the written examination.
  4. Submit a dissertation prospectus to the guidance committee no later than the end of the semester following the one in which the student passes the comprehensive examinations. Approval of the prospectus is required before the student may enroll for additional German 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research credits in subsequent semesters.
  5. Successfully defend the dissertation.