The German Graduate Program offers curricula leading to the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy degrees in German.

German Graduate Program

Welcome to the German Graduate Program

Located within GNS, the German Graduate Program is a place of lively and collegial intellectual exchange. The program is especially strong in its breadth: our students complete coursework in literary studies, linguistics, and second language acquisition before specializing. Graduate students participate in interdisciplinary training and professional development through close mentoring relationships with faculty members, many of whom have been recognized with national or international awards in their research fields. Despite the difficult Humanities job market, the program continues to place graduate students in competitive positions, and we work with UW initiatives and other groups to mentor students for careers beyond academia. The program is also home to dynamic and committed teachers: a number of faculty and graduate students have been honored by the university for excellence in teaching. Faculty and graduate students present regularly at national and international conferences (for which our students receive financial support), in addition to the Wisconsin Workshop and German and Dutch Graduate Student Association conferences organized annually by the program that bring together scholars at all levels and across disciplines for in-depth discussion and collaboration.

The German Graduate Program offers curricula leading to the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy degrees in German.

The M.A. degree in German requires 30 credits of course work at the graduate level (10 courses) approved by the graduate advisor and the Masters examination.

The Ph.D. requires an additional eight courses (24 credits) for a total of 18 courses (54 credits) [for students entering with an M.A. from another institution: a total of 12 courses/36 credits, of which up to two can be transfer courses as allowed by graduate advisor], an external doctoral minor, proof of proficiency in another foreign language, and a preliminary qualifying exam in preparation for writing a Ph.D. thesis. Students must pass the Goethe Certificate C1 (German-language proficiency) before advancing to the doctoral preliminary examination.

The department offers a broadly inclusive and flexible curriculum in the entire range of medieval through contemporary literature and culture, a full spectrum of linguistics and philology, and a program in Dutch language, literature, and culture. The program is unsurpassed in comprehensive representation of the entire field of the study of German through individual faculty members’ specializations and research publications, including: early modern and medieval studies; film and media studies; multicultural literature and cosmopolitanism; Gegenwartsliteratur; literary and cultural theory; Holocaust studies; poetics, stylistics, and narratology; 18th-century studies; literature in its sociocultural context; literary and cultural theory; Dutch literature and linguistics; historical and synchronic linguistics; applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and foreign language education. Offerings include interdisciplinary areas such as literature and other arts (especially image/text, visual culture, and literature/music), German-Americana, literature and philosophy, and German–Jewish relations.

Graduate students are encouraged to pursue inter- and multidisciplinary work beyond the German Program in such areas as art history, communication arts/cinema, comparative literature, history, linguistics, musicology, Scandinavian studies, visual studies, and women and gender studies. The department cooperates closely with the interdepartmental programs in European studies, medieval studies, Jewish studies, and second language acquisition.  For more information and details on degrees, please contact our Graduate Coordinator.

Deadline for financial funding consideration is January 2nd if you are applying for Fall admission

A. Admission with full standing requires:

1. Students with a B.A. in German
Undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours and GPA in German courses beyond the second-year level of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

2. Students with an M.A. in German
GPA in graduate work of at least 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.
Note: In evaluating German Zeugnissesehr gut will be considered 4.0, gut 3.5, andbefriedigend 3.0. Coursework from abroad will not be considered without appropriate documentation and consultation with the Department and the Graduate School after such work has been completed.

3. Deficiencies: Students granted regular admission with deficiencies will be required to make up all deficiencies, both undergraduate and graduate, above and beyond the required course work of the graduate program.

4. Students admitted for work toward the Ph.D. who do not have the M.A. degree but who have substantial coursework past the B.A. level are required to take the M.A. examination no later than the end of the second week of the second full-time semester of study in the program.

B. Probationary admission is possible under the following circumstances:

1. Students with a B.A. in German who have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale and GPA in German courses beyond the second-year level of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

2. Students with an M.A. in German who have a GPA in graduate work of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Note: Students admitted on probation cannot receive financial support until removed from probation.

Deadline for financial funding consideration is January 2nd if you are applying for Fall admission.

1. You must apply electronically at the website of the UW Graduate School. You will be required to pay an application fee to the Graduate School before your application becomes active with our Department. Instructions can be found here:

2. “Statement of Purpose” , also called “Reasons for Graduate Study” This should be approximately 1-3 pages in length explaining your scholarly interests in Germanic Studies. (Please follow the instructions found with the application regarding uploads.)

3. Upload copies of all unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended.

4. GRE test scores optional.  If submitted, scores should be no older than five years.

5. Three letters of recommendation. Please follow the instructions found with the application regarding how to have letters uploaded by your recommenders.

6. Upload resumé or curriculum vitae. This should include any academic honors, distinctions, teaching experience, and publications you may have. (Please follow the instructions found with the application regarding uploads.)

7. Upload list of any German courses currently in progress at the time of this application if they do not appear on transcript(s).

8. Upload writing sample in German. This can be a brief sample of something previously written and should be approximately 5-15 pages in length.

Note: All materials should be uploaded to electronic application.  Nothing is sent to Department.

Please contact Mark Mears, the Graduate Coordinator, at or ph: (608)262-6764 if you have any questions about the application process.

International applicants must also provide the following in addition to the checklist above:

9. Upload documentation (unofficial transcripts) of all courses taken and grades received from each undergraduate or postgraduate institution.

10. Upload certification of degrees and dates granted.

11. English proficiency is required for all international degree-seeking applicants. See the Graduate School Requirements page for more information.

Note: All materials should be uploaded to electronic application.  Nothing is sent to Department except recording of spoken English.

Please contact the Graduate Coordinator if you have any questions about the application process.

Financial support is competitive. Please note the applications deadline for financial support is January 2nd. Fellowships, TA-ships and most PA-ships include in- and out-of-state tuition waivers. In addition, TA-ships held in the spring semester provide a tuition waiver for the summer session. Financial support also comes with access to health insurance at much-reduced cost. A teaching assistant typically is responsible for one section of beginning or intermediate German each semester with either 4 or 5 contact hours a week, depending on level. There are opportunities for teaching third-year courses and for summer TA-ships, as well as financial support for graduate student travel to conferences and research facilities.

For more information on graduate assistant policies and procedures got to

Selected Graduate Courses offered by the Department of German (2010-2016): 

For current course offerings, please see the Course Guide of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (select the current term); generally, graduate courses are those numbered 600 and above.

German Literature / Culture

  • Bertolt Brecht and Beyond
  • Comparative World Literature
  • Deutsche Literatur und Kultur des 18. Jahrhunderts
  • Deutsche Literatur und Kultur des 19. Jahrhunderts
  • Deutsche Literatur und Kultur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts
  • Emblem, Allegory, Symbol
  • German Film
  • Geschichte in neusten Familienromanen von Frauen
  • Historicizing the GDR (Interdisciplinary CGES Seminar)
  • Hölderlin, Kleist, Büchner
  • Kafka and the Kafkaesque
  • Kafka und Benjamin
  • Kosmopolitismus in deutschsprachiger Literatur
  • Philosophie und Film
  • Literatur als Sprache
  • Memory Discourses and Postwar German Cinema (Interdisciplinary CGES Seminar)
  • Mimesis and Realisms
  • Nachbilder der DDR/Afterimages of the GDR
  • Novellen des 19. Jahrhunderts
  • Text and Image / Literature and Photography
  • The Global Book: World Literature in the World Market
  • Theorie und Praxis des deutschen Theaters
  • Translationality as Transformation and Transfer
  • Transnational Perspectives on German Studies (Interdisciplinary CGES Seminar) 

Germanic Linguistics

  • Comparative and Historical Grammar of the Old Germanic Languages
  • Contemporary German: Phonology of German
  • Dialectology
  • Dialects in Middle-High German (1250-1450)
  • Early New High German
  • German Dialect Syntax
  • German Phonetics and Phonology
  • Germanic Immigrant Languages in Wisconsin
  • Germanic Languages and Migration (Interdisciplinary CGES Seminar)
  • Historical German Syntax
  • Historical Linguistics
  • History of the German Language
  • Introduction to Middle High German
  • Language Development of Trilinguals in Berlin
  • North Sea Germanic
  • Old Germanic Languages: Gothic
  • Old Germanic Languages: Old Saxon
  • Old High German
  • Palæography of Medieval and Early Modern German
  • Pennsylvania German Language and Culture
  • Problems in Comparative German Linguistics
  • Sociohistorical Linguistics
  • The German Language in America
  • The Morphology of German
  • The Sociolinguistics of German

Second Language Acquisition

  • Beliefs and Motivation in Second Language Learning and Teaching
  • Collaborative Teaching and Learning
  • College Teaching of German/Theory of Teaching German
  • Crosscultural Understanding and Authentic Materials
  • Foreign Language Writing
  • Hot topics, hot seat: Language Program Direction
  • The L1 in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching
  • Language Evidence
  • Motivations, Perceptions, and Attitudes in SLA
  • Pragmatics in Foreign Language Learning/Teaching
  • Reception in FL Instruction: Theory/Practice
  • Resistance and Subversion in FL Teaching & Learning
  • The Speaking Ecology of a Foreign Language Classroom
  • The Study Abroad Experience

Dutch Literature / Culture

  • De multikulturele Samenleving
  • Dutch Tolerance and Multiculturalism
  • Immigratie/Emigratie in de Lage Landen
  • Lage landen of hoog water?
  • Nieuw Amsterdam/ Nieuw York
  • Occupation, Holocaust, Memory” in Dutch Literature


Grievance Procedures

If a student feels unfairly treated or aggrieved by faculty, staff, or another student, the University offers several avenues for resolving the grievance.

Procedures for proper accounting of student grievances:

  1. The student is encouraged to speak first with the person toward whom the grievance is directed to see if a situation can be resolved at this level.
  2. Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact their unit’s Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the grievance, who will facilitate problem resolution through informal channels and facilitate any complaints or issues of students. The first attempt is to help students informally address the grievance prior to any formal complaint. If students are reluctant to approach their Director of Graduate Studies, they may consult with the unit head or the Department Chair. Students are also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisors regarding concerns or difficulties if necessary. University resources for sexual harassment, discrimination, disability accommodations, and other related concerns can be found on the UW Office of Equity and Diversity website:
  3. Other campus resources include
  4. If an issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student can submit the grievance to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair in writing, within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.
  5. On receipt of a written complaint, a faculty committee will be convened by the Department Chair to manage the grievance. The program faculty committee will obtain a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. This response will be shared with the person filing the grievance.
  6. The faculty committee will determine a decision regarding the grievance. The Department Chair will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the party toward whom the complaint was directed within 15 working days from the date the complaint was received.
  7. At this point, if either party (the student or the person toward whom the grievance is directed) is not satisfied with the decision of the faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal. Either party has 10 working days to file a written appeal to the Graduate School or College of Letters and Science.
  8. Documentation of the grievance will be stored for at least 7 years. Significant grievances that set a precedent will be stored indefinitely.

The Graduate School has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision made at the school/college level. These policies are described in the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures:

Reporting Misconduct And Crime

The campus has established policies governing student conduct, academic dishonesty, discrimination, and harassment/abuse as well as specific reporting requirements in certain cases. If you have a grievance regarding unfair treatment toward yourself, please refer to the procedures and resources identified above. If you learn about, observe, or witness misconduct or other wrongdoing you may be required to report that misconduct or abuse. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to consult with your advisor, Director of Graduate Studies, or other campus resources.

Research Misconduct Reporting

The University of Wisconsin–Madison strives to foster the highest scholarly and ethical standards among its students, faculty, and staff. Graduate students and research associates are among the most vulnerable groups when reporting misconduct because their source of financial support and their progress in their careers may be at risk by raising questions of wrongdoing. They are also often the closest witnesses to wrongdoing when it occurs and therefore must be appropriately protected from the consequences of reporting wrongdoing and be informed of their rights. Please find full details at

Academic Misconduct Reporting

If you know that a fellow student is cheating on an exam or other academic exercise, notify your professor, teaching assistant, or proctor of the exam. As a part of the university community, you are expected to uphold the standards of the university. Also, consider how your classmate’s dishonesty may affect the overall grading curve and integrity of the program.

Sexual Assault Reporting

UW–Madison prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. These offenses violate UW–Madison policies and are subject to disciplinary action. Sanctions can range from reprimand to expulsion from UWMadison. In many cases, these offenses also violate Wisconsin criminal law and could lead to arrest and criminal prosecution.

Students who experience sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking have many options and services available to them on and off campus, including mental health counseling, victim advocacy, and access to the criminal and campus disciplinary systems. For a list a confidential support and reporting options, please visit

Faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and others who work directly with students at UW–Madison are required by law to report firsthand knowledge or disclosures of sexual assault to university officials for statistical purposes. In addition, disclosures made to certain university employees, such as academic advisors or university administrators, may be forwarded to the campus Title IX coordinator for a response. For more information, please visit

Child Abuse Reporting

As a UW–Madison employee (under Wisconsin Executive Order #54), you are required to immediately report child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement if, in the course of employment, the employee observes an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, or learns of an incident or threat of child abuse or neglect, and the employee has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. Volunteers working for UW–Madison sponsored programs or activities are also expected to report suspected abuse or neglect. Please find full details at (midway down, right hand side)

Reporting and Response to Incidents of Bias/Hate

The University of Wisconsin–Madison values a diverse community where all members are able to participate fully in the Wisconsin Experience. Incidents of bias/hate affecting a person or group create a hostile climate and negatively impact the quality of the Wisconsin Experience for community members. UW–Madison takes such incidents seriously and will investigate and respond to reported or observed incidents of bias/hate. Please find full details at