Master of Arts
Candidates must take eight graduate courses (24 credits) plus 6 hours of Non-Topical Research and are encouraged to follow a balanced program, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. Up to two courses (approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies) may be taken outside the department. Any plan to seek credit for courses taken while on an exchange program abroad must be agreed upon beforehand by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Arts and Sciences.
Other requirements for the degree include:
proficiency in Middle High German, demonstrated by a passing grade in GERM 5100 or some departmentally approved equivalent;
an examination (based on the department’s M.A. reading list), normally taken in the third semester, consisting of a three-hour written part and a one-hour oral part, the latter to include a short prepared talk in German;
an M. A. thesis, on a topic approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and by the faculty member who agrees to supervise its writing.
Doctor of Philosophy
Requirements for entry into the Ph.D. program are the M.A. degree and departmental permission to proceed. The latter is a decision arrived at in a meeting of all faculty members, and it is based on class work, the M.A. examination, and the general performance of the student in the teacher training program.
Requirements include at least ten graduate courses (30 credits are required beyond the M.A. degree). Specialization that prepares for a dissertation is encouraged.
Periodic evaluation of the teaching performance of graduate instructors forms an integral part of the evaluation of the candidate’s progress in the program. Each student must teach a minimum of four semesters beyond the M.A. degree.
Candidates normally specialize in the works of one author, in a genre. The definitions of “genre” and “period” are flexible up to a point.
In the first semester as a Ph.D. candidate, the student submits a proposed reading list in all three areas to a committee of three faculty members (appointed by the chair after consultation with the student). Generally the head of the committee is the student’s dissertation advisor. The author, genre, and theory lists are based on departmental core lists, whereas the period lists are developed along the lines of previous period lists. In certain cases a combination of two specialties not mentioned in the guidelines can be approved by the chair and the committee of three. By the end of the second semester after the M.A., however, all three parts of the list must be in final form.
For the Ph.D. a reading knowledge of French is required—or another language, if approved by the chair and the student’s committee, and this requirement must be fulfilled before the Ph.D. examination. Reading knowledge is demonstrated either by passing a literature course in the respective department with a grade of B or better, or by passing a written examination administered by the German department. Students should study French during the summer, inasmuch as this does not count as a regular course.
The Ph.D. examination consists of three written examinations—on the period, genre, and a major author—plus a two-hour oral which includes a 15-minute critical presentation. The oral follows the written exam within a week, and the overall examination is graded as distinguished, passing, or failing. In the case of a failure, the student is granted another opportunity to take the examination within the following two semesters. All course work and the language requirement, however, must be completed before the examination can be taken.
The Ph.D. dissertation should be a book-length manuscript suitable for publication. With special permission the department has accepted three publishable articles instead. For the dissertation defense, a committee member is selected from outside the department.
Each semester a Ph.D. student teaches a five-day elementary German course plus enrolls in three graduate courses. Candidates generally complete the eight courses in three semesters (three courses each of the first two semesters, two the last). If desired, however, the student can take ten courses in four semesters (three courses each of the first three semesters, then one the last). In either case the Ph.D. exam takes place at the end of the last semester of course work, either early in January or in May. Whether taking the three- or four-semester option, students who postpone the exam from May until late summer are not granted the last-semester course reduction, but are required to take the normal three courses.
The continuation of financial support from year to year in the department is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward a degree.
For more information or application forms, please write: Benjamin Bennett, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of German, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400125, New Cabell 521, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4125.