Program of Study

This document provides a chronological overview of the graduate program in German at Georgetown, including coursework, teaching opportunities, and specific requirements and recommendations. It is laying out the course of study for a “typical” Ph.D. student, i.e., a student entering the Ph.D. program in the fall semester of a given academic year with a Bachelor’s degree and no prior teaching experience. For students entering with an MA degree this would need to be adjusted appropriately.

Students will advance through the graduate program in close consultation with their advisor, the Director of Curriculum, and the Director of Graduate Studies.

The graduate program fosters students’ critical thinking, intellectual engagement with a range of competing ideas, concepts, and approaches, and comprehensive knowledge either in the area of literary & cultural studies or in SLA. The Department defines “comprehensive knowledge” as the ability to make connections between texts and ideas across historical periods and theoretical approaches at a high conceptual level.

Over a period of six semesters, students take a total of 18 courses including a minimum of two courses in SLA, two theory courses, and two seminars in Literary/Cultural Studies. Beyond the required coursework, this document includes a number of recommendations that foster students’ intellectual and professional development as teachers and researchers (e.g., the recommended revision and expansion of course-based research papers during the summer). Student performance will be assessed in the annual graduate review letters from the chair, based on written input from all faculty and discussion of students’ performance at the first faculty meeting of the calendar year. Continuation in the Ph.D. program is contingent upon faculty recommendations and a minimum average of A- in course work.

At the end of their course work, students will take the Ph.D. comprehensive exam which consists of a written and oral component. Both parts of the exam are designed to assess comprehensive knowledge and intellectual engagement as defined above. Students are expected to demonstrate their qualifications as generalists and as specialists in a given research area. Particular emphasis is placed on an examinee’s preparedness to perform independent research. Students who have successfully completed the exam advance to Ph.D. candidacy (ABD).

In addition to these guidelines and rules, all rules of the Graduate School regarding completion of the Ph.D. degree apply.

Fall/Semester 1
  • Regular course load (three graduate level courses one of which is “Fundamentals of German Language Instruction”)
  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
Spring/Semester 2
  • 2nd semester and subsequent semesters: regular course load
  • Extensive observation at Levels I – III or paired teaching with experienced TA/faculty
  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
  • Recommendation: initial steps toward teaching portfolio
1st Summer
  • Extensive Reading: Begin compilation of Reading List (primary and secondary sources)
  • Recommendation: individually tailored annotated bibliography as a helpful research tool; revision and expansion of a course-based research paper
Fall/Semester 3
  • Teaching with frequent class visitations and feedback by Director of Curriculum and other faculty
  • Second foreign language reading examination (to be completed before the end of semester 4)
  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
Spring/ Semester 4
  • 4th semester and subsequent semesters: teaching with gradually reduced observations
  • Recommendation: continued portfolio development
  • Terminal MA degree: Masters paper, i.e., a course-based research paper revised and expanded in consultation with the professor who taught the course, followed by a course-based oral examination in German administered by two professors (length: one hour). Students submit a list of courses and a list of books read in these courses to both professors prior to the exam.
  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
2nd Summer
  • Initial Statement of Teaching Philosophy in consultation with advisor and Director of Curriculum. This statement will be revisited after each subsequent year of teaching
  • Some teaching opportunities at GU or Trier
  • Extensive Reading: Continued work on reading list and annotated bibliography; submission of preliminary version of reading list to advisor for feedback
  • MA paper: revision and expansion of a course-based research paper in consultation with the professor (partial fulfillment of MA degree requirement for students continuing into the Ph.D. program)
  • Occasional opportunity for spending the summer semester in Dresden or Trier (upon recommendation by advisor and chair, and after consultation with the respective German university)
Fall/Semester 5
  • Oral presentation (open to all faculty and graduate students) based on Masters Paper paper, followed by Q&A period (partial fulfillment of MA degree requirement for students continuing into the Ph.D. program).
  • Submission of Reading List to all committee members for review and feedback
  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
Spring/Semester 6
  • Last semester of course work
  • Extended class observations of “Text in Context” are required for students scheduled to teach a Level IV course; other options may include RA-ship with Curriculum Coordinator
  • Submission of final version of Reading List to all committee members
  • Immediately upon completion of coursework, submission to all members of the student’s examination committee of:

1. Statement of Intellectual Development. This statement will assist in choosing a topic for the written part of the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination (i.e., the research paper) and in determining the topical foci for the oral part.

2. Four broad themes (determined in consultation with the committee) that will guide the oral examination

  • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
3rd Summer
  • Intensive preparation for the oral and written part of the comprehensive exam
  • Recommendation: application for a dissertation fellowship (deadlines for DAAD/Fulbright are in September/October) and/or conference paper proposals
Fall/Semester 7
  • Comprehensive Exams (for a detailed description see separate document):
  • • Mid-October (mid-March), i.e., six weeks after approval of topic: submission of a 25-30 page research paper (topic requires approval from all committee members)
  • • Early November (April): oral examination
  • • Upon successful completion of both parts of the exam.
  • • Meeting with dissertation committee and discussion of dissertation proposal
  • End of fall (spring) semester: Submission of dissertation proposal to the Graduate School; advancement to Ph.D. candidacy (ABD).
  • • Full participation in all academic department activities (lectures, workshops, etc.)
Period between submission of dissertation proposal and completion of dissertation
  • It is recommended that students apply for a DAAD or Fulbright dissertation fellowship to conduct research in a German speaking country (deadlines are in September/October). Alternatively, students are encouraged to spend one or two semesters at the University of Trier or Dresden.
  • Students who have the requisite background in teaching upper level courses are encouraged to submit a proposal for a Level IV course. An important part of the job market portfolio, the syllabus demonstrates the student’s ability to translate research interests into a viable course. In accordance with the department’s goals, the syllabus should indicate a clear integration of language and content. (As for all approved courses, the Department’s curricular needs determine actual teaching assignments.)
  • Students are encouraged to present papers related to their dissertation research at relevant conferences and/or to submit a revised version of the research paper (i.e., the written part or the comprehensive exam) to an academic journal
Upon completion of dissertation
  • Dissertation Defense
  • Brief presentation of dissertation research and results followed by comments and questions from dissertation committee and the public