Department of Germanic Studies

Study at UT: MA and PhDs

Berlin books

Why come to UT for graduate work?

1) You will be taught and mentored by a world-class faculty distinguished by its interdisciplinary and transnational engagements. Our students and faculty question inherited norms and design new research paradigms in cultural studies, linguistics, literary studies, and fields related to teaching and learning.

2) The UT program encourages students to design their own, innovative professional profiles and to develop their own distinctive voices as future leaders in their fields. 

3) UT graduates have an excellent placement record in positions that suit their talents and interests, both inside and outside of traditional academic careers.

4) Many of our graduates have also become leaders in related fields, bringing the humanities into related contexts.

5) The program's PhD dissertations and MA reports document its commitment to innovative, often interdisciplinary or transcultural work spanning various languages and cultures of Northern and Central Europe and their contact zones in the EU and beyond.  Recent projects have addressed many cutting edge trends, beyond traditional scholarship in cultural studies and linguistics:

  • identity politics established by language, media, and cultural practices;
  • effects of contact zones, borders, exile, and migration on language and culture;
  • cultures of feeling, material cultures, political cultures, minority cultural groups;
  • linguistic and philological investigations, especially dialects (most notably, Texas German) and language acquisition;
  • mediality and the digital humanities;
  • intellectual history and the history of disciplines and institutions as cultural hegemonies.

6) UT students figure prominently national and international conferences. The department commits significant resources to support student research and travel to conferences – we help you plan and fund your innovations.

7) UT candidates enjoy enviable success in winning competitive national and international research and travel scholarships, both from international foundations and UT sources.

8) Students participate broadly in the life of the university and the department, both inside and outside the classroom: organizing conferences, film series, and student events (Stammtisch, an immersion weekend, state German contests);  and working with exchange and outreach programs.

9) Students at all levels are mentored into the skills used by successful professionals:  grant writing, professional communication; effective teaching, assessment, and course development (both for language and content courses).

10) Within the department, you can learn Danish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Yiddish; significant campus funding is available for learning other European and world languages (especially Slavic and Middle Eastern languages, in flagship programs).

Other Significant Information

The program is built around a common MA/PhD core of three courses (one addressing cultural and literary studies, one in the language and linguistic sciences, and one in teaching and language acquisition). Students design the rest of their programs to combine two areas of specialization so that their work and preparation realizes their own visions of professional futures.

The program emphasizes professional engagement, communication, and  teaching at all levels, in order to enhance students' viability for future employment in a range of venues.   Graduate students have the opportunity to develop and teach content courses in English and segments within the language tracks. Many engage in professional development workshops (as students or presenters) on topics such as diversity, study abroad, student-centered classrooms, and others, sponsored by COERLL and the Graduate Student Development Program.

Students who enter with the BA or equivalent can reasonably expect 5 (and in many cases 6) years of support as a Teaching Assistant (pre-MA classification) or an AI (post MA-classification); students entering with the MA or equivalent can expect 4 (and in many cases 5) years of support. Fellowships can extend these awards further. (State law requires yearly review of all appointments for progress towards the degree.) The program is committed to helping students complete their degrees, with support and in a timely fashion.

And last but not least, coming to UT involves life in the nature-friendly, foodie oriented, self-declared music capital of the world, Austin (see more…)

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The academic job market is very tight for Ph.D.s in the humanities, and completion of the degree will by no means guarantee subsequent employment. The yearly reports in the Newsletter of the Modern Language Association outline the difficult facts of academic employment. Nonetheless, graduates from the Department of Germanic Studies over the last 10 years have met with great success in finding positions in academic departments, in related fields, or in careers that use their skills.