Master of Arts
Candidates are required to take at least eight graduate courses (24 credits) and are encouraged to take a balanced load of courses, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. One course may be taken outside the department if desired (with departmental approval).
GERM 510 or its equivalent is expected at the M.A. level. An examination (three-hour written, one-hour oral) is required to complete the M.A. degree. It is based on a departmental M.A. Reading List. The oral includes a short prepared talk in German, and the entire exam is taken during the third semester.
Each teaching assistant normally teaches one elementary German course in the teacher training program and at the same time enrolls in three graduate courses.
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 (poetry, novel, drama, or Novelle/Erzahlung) and in a period (medieval, romantic, post-war, etc.). Literary theory, however, may be substituted for a genre.
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—a 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: Volker Kaiser, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of German, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400125, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4125.