Department of Germanic Studies

MA Program and PhD Core Requirements

All students entering the program must fulfill the same core course requirements:

  • Students entering with a bachelor's degree should fulfill the requirements within four semesters.
  • Students entering with a related master's degree should fulfill the requirements within two semesters. On a case-by-case basis, selected core courses may be waived, depending on preparation and previous graduate-level coursework.


  • Core: GER 398T Supervised Teaching in German (offered every year)
  • Core: 1 literature (usually GER 386) or culture (usually GER 382M or N) course, or GER 381.2 Intro to Linguistics
  • 1 Elective in the department from among the other courses offered in the semester


  • Core: GER 381.2 Intro to Linguistics
  • Core: 1 literature (usually GER 386) or culture (usually GER 382M or N) course
  • 1 Elective in the department from among the other courses offered in the semester

Notes On Core Requirements:

  1. No more than ONE course toward the MA may be taken Credit/No Credit (CR/NC); core courses may NOT be taken CR/NC.
  2. 398T may not be taken CR/NC. A minimum of B must be earned in the course to be eligible for an AI/TA appointment in the Department.
  3. A core course reflects special attention to research strategies and resources and professional development (professional organizations, conferences, journals) in its topic areas.
  4. Students beyond their first year in the program may select either core courses, elective courses, or (with the consent of the Graduate Advisor) courses outside the department in their areas of concentration.
  5. The elective courses offered each year beyond the four core courses will be distributed as follows:
    • a. linguistics courses (393K courses)
    • b. applied linguistics courses (397P courses)
    • c. literature/culture courses (392 or 394C courses)
  6. The courses offered in a given year will reflect a range of scholarly subfields, historical periods, and theoretical/methodological approaches in the fields associated with Germanic Studies.
  7. All other elective topics (various topics classified under GER 392, 393K, 394C, 397P) will ordinarily be offered no sooner than once every FOUR years.
  8. Students wanting a dual language concentration for MA and PhD will take literature and culture core courses in their respective languages, often as a conference course or as a graduate conference course appended to a SCA or GSD course. This option must be arranged in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and the language area specialists.


Knowledge of German/First Germanic Language

During orientation week (typically the week before classes begin), all incoming students whose native language is not German or another Germanic language of their specialty area will take a diagnostic test (see Teaching Guidelines); consult with the Graduate Advisor to arrange language assessments for other Germanic languages.This language assessment is critical for fulfillment of degree program requirements and in TA/AI appointments, as described in the Teaching Guidelines. If necessary, retake must be completed by December 15. No exceptions to these procedures can be allowed.

Foreign Language Requirement

The student will need to demonstrate reading competence in one (1) language other than English and the language of the student's major field of study for the MA usually German). This language requirement should be fulfilled as early as possible, since the languages function as research tools. The language beyond English and the primary Germanic language certified for the MA degree outside of UT may count towards Ph.D. program at UT .

Each student will normally have German, English, and ONE other language by the time they complete their MAs or Core Requirements; students with English and another Germanic language are strongly encouraged to choose German as their first other language, since this selection will increase their chances at employment, both here at UT and afterwards.

The student proves such competency in one of three ways:

  1. The final in a 312L- (fourth-semester-) level course in the language, or the equivalent.If you would like to use another Germanic language to fulfill this requirement, the exam may be the final of DAN, DCH, NOR, SWE or YID 612. To take the exam in a non-Germanic language, register for the exam through Instructional Assessment and Evaluation (IAE). Request funding for the IAE exam through the Graduate Coordinator.
  2. A translation of a passage from a scholarly work. The passage is usually about two printed pages in length (ca. 500-700 words); the student has 1 to 1.5 hours to complete their translation, and may use a dictionary. The exam will be administered by departmental faculty whenever possible, or otherwise through IAE. Request funding for the IAE exam through the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator can inform you which faculty can administer which languages.
  3. A graduate-level course requiring use of the language. Clear this substitution with the Graduate Advisor.

Non-Native English Speakers

Students must receive ITA English Certification to become eligbable for a TA or AI appointment. Exceptions may apply, please visit for more detailed information. You may also contact the graduate coordinator at for questions or more information. 

Master of Arts: Specific MA Requirements


The MA degree requires 33 hours of coursework, including Core Requirements (30 hours) and Master's Report (3 hours). See Appendix for worksheet. If you entered the program with a bachelor's degree, complete Core Requirements within four long semesters. The Department will not support students financially beyond four long semesters if they do not complete these requirements. Courses required for the MA are:

  1. Core (3 courses/9 hours)
    • CULTURE: Cultural History (382M), Intellectual History (382N), or Literature Survey (386)
    • LINGUISTICS: Historical/Comparative Linguistics (381.3), or Synchronic Linguistics (381.2)
    • LITERATURE: Cultural History (382M), Intellectual History (382N), or Literature Survey (386)
    • APPLIED LINGUISTICS: Pedagogy: Supervised Teaching in German (398T)
  2. Electives (7 courses/21 hours)
  3. Report (398R) (3 hours)

A maximum of 6 semester hours (ordinarily, two courses) on the graduate level (with a grade of A or B) transferred in from other US institutions may be used to satisfy these requirements; the Graduate School will not allow non-US courses to satisfy parts of the MA requirement because of the difficulty of ascertaining equivalency. (With prior consent of the Graduate Advisor, however, some non-US coursework may be applied towards the Ph.D. program. Students entering with MAs or equivalent may often transfer up to 18 hours [6 courses] towards the Ph.D. program, under consultation with the Graduate Advisor.)

All substitutions for Core Requirements must be approved by the Graduate Advisor on an individual basis.

Foreign Language Requirement

See Foreign Language Requirement on how to meet the requirement. This requirement should be completed by the last class day of your graduating semester.

Master's Report

You must be registered in GER 398R in the semester of graduation. The Master's Report (25-30 pages), usually of the scope and quality of a publishable article, may be derived from a seminar paper with revision. Keep in mind Human Subjects Clearance, if applicable.

You will need to form your MA committee to advise you on the Report. The supervisor must be a member of the Germanic Studies GSC; the reader or co-supervisor may be from another GSC, with permission of the Graduate Advisor. Submit your Report according to Graduate School guidelines.

Oral Examination and Final Degree Requirement

All MA candidates must arrange to take an oral MA examination that will last up to 1.5 hours. The MA examination is based on the Report and your coursework. The committee is ordinarily the supervisor of the Master’s Report and a second reader. The oral exam must be completed, at the latest, before grades are due in the semester of graduation. The examination may not be taken if the student has not given the supervisor/reader a completed draft of the MA project two weeks before the proposed examination date; consult the Graduate Advisor if you cannot meet these deadlines.


PhD Core and Course Requirements

Core Requirements

If you entered the program with a related MA degree, fulfill your core requirements during your first year.

PhD Course Requirement

In consultation with the Graduate Advisor, the PhD student who has filled Core Program Requirements develops a primary and a supporting area of specialization; the primary area is usually the area of the proposed dissertation. These areas should represent professionally acknowledged focuses for research and teaching in the field, defined as the broad spectrum of literary, cultural, and linguistics specializations represented in the major professional organizations. How these fields are defined helps the student choose coursework and plan for the Candidacy Procedure.

Although the PhD is not awarded on the basis of a specified number of courses or credit hours, 27 credit hours (9 courses) beyond the Core program are a customary minimum. These 9 courses form the basis for a student's minimum competency in the primary area (a minimum of six graduate-level courses) and supporting area (a minimum of three graduate-level courses). Note that additional hours may be required to establish a student's competency to write a dissertation. Students are also encouraged to check the offerings in other relevant departments, such as Linguistics, Philosophy, History, Art History, Musicology, Comparative Literature, or Foreign Language Education.

Students must also fulfill the following requirements in conjunction with their coursework:

  1. in the summer after finishing the core, complete the Qualifying Procedure and be evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee as qualified to enter the doctoral program (students will receive one summer session of support to complete this requirement;
  2. near the completion of coursework, undertake the Candidacy Procedure; and
  3. defend the dissertation in a final oral examination. 

NOTE: For more extensive procedural information on all program policies, please consult the program's Academic Guidelines and Teaching Guidelines, available from the Graduate Coordinator.