Graduate Program Handbook

Last updated January 24, 2024

Download the full Graduate Handbook.pdf

Table of Contents

German Studies Graduate Program

  1. Chair’s Welcome Note
  2. Departmental Website
  3. General Information for Graduate Students
    1.  Checklist for New Students
    2.  Advising
    3.  The Parlor
    4.  Mailboxes, Emails
    5.  Georgetown Box
    6.  Canvas
    7.  Departmental Calendar
  4. Faculty and Their Roles
  5. Graduate Program
    1. Coursework and Program of Study for MA and Ph.D. students
    2. Additional Degree Requirements
      1. MA Degree
        1. MA Colloquium
      2. Ph.D. Degree
        1. Annual Reflective Statement
        2. Second Foreign Language Requirement
        3. Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
        4. Dissertation
    3. Transfer of Credits
    4. Current Courses 
    5. TA Development
    6. Admission & Financial Aid
    7. Conference Support
    8. Summer Support 
    9. Study Abroad
    10. Graduate Student Career Resources

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  1.  Graduate Bulletin and Policies
  2.  Registration and Academic Calendar
  3.  Academic Integrity/Academic Misconduct Issues
  4.  Leave of Absence
  5.  Grade Appeals
  6.  Incompletes
  7.  Language Study Scholarships and Policies
  8.  International Issues (Office of Global Services)
  9.  Graduate School Contacts and Resources
  10.  Graduate Student Government (GradGov)
  11.  Graduate Student Ombuds
  12. Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees (GAGE-AFT)
  13.  Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy Statements
  14.  Student Health Services
  15.  Financial Aid for Graduate Students
    1. Need-Based Aid: Office of Student Financial Services
    2. Merit-Based Aid: Graduate School Dean’s Office

German Studies Graduate Program

This handbook provides practical information on the policies, procedures, and resources related to the Graduate program in the Department of German. The Department offers MA and Ph.D. degrees in German Studies. With the BMW Center for German and European Studies, the Department also offers the joint MAGES/Ph.D. in German.

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Chair’s Welcome Note

We are delighted that you have chosen the German Department at Georgetown University to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in German Studies!

Graduate study brings with it great opportunities and challenges that require informed decisions. We have drafted this Handbook to assist you with many of these decisions by providing essential information on policies and resources available to you. The Handbook contains information specific to your degree program in the German Department (part I) and information on general policies of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (part II). The online version includes hyperlinks to the Graduate School and other pertinent websites. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the information provided in the Handbook and contact your advisor or me with questions about any aspect of our graduate program.

We are a mid-sized department of faculty and students with a long-standing tradition of collaboration on research projects, including curricular issues, often resulting in joint publications. As chair of the department, I want to encourage you to make use of these opportunities and get fully involved in our departmental life beginning with your first semester at Georgetown! This involvement includes participation in committees, workshops, lectures, and symposia at Georgetown and beyond (e.g., at the local Goethe Institut), as well as in graduate student initiatives (ranging from brown bag lunches with visiting scholars to organizing graduate student conferences). In short, try to benefit from your time at Georgetown not only in the classroom but also beyond!

Our graduate program is ideally positioned to respond to the challenges in the profession and to the changing role of the humanities. Many program features already reflect the recommendations of the recent MLA report on Doctoral Study, illustrating the forward-looking character of the Graduate Program in German (examples include the central role of teacher education and year-round financial support). Results of a recent graduate alumni survey confirm that the graduate program prepares our alumni well for a range of career paths in academia and other professional contexts.

On behalf of the entire German Department faculty, I wish you a successful and rewarding time at Georgetown.

Peter C. Pfeiffer, Professor of German & Chair

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Departmental Web Site

The department’s website is your primary resource for information about the Department of German. It contains announcements, academic guidelines, course offerings, and administrative policies and procedures. The website URL is

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General Information for Graduate Students

Checklist for new students

This section provides useful information for graduate students in the German MA or Ph.D. program at Georgetown University, and it can also be a helpful resource for exchange students. (The Office of Global Services also offers additional important information for exchange students.)

Before their arrival at Georgetown, new graduate students and exchange students should read this section carefully and submit the necessary documents.

Immunization Records

All students regardless of age are screened for tuberculosis by completing the risk assessment questionnaire form. All students under the age of 26 at Georgetown University are required to submit proof of immunizations as required by the District of Columbia. The deadline for submission for new and incoming students entering the fall semester is August 1, and for the spring semester, the deadline is December 15. For additional information, please go to the Immunizations website.

Health Insurance

According to registration criteria, Georgetown University requires most full-time students in a degree-seeking program to have adequate health insurance. A charge for the Premier Plan appears on students’ accounts when their course registration meets the eligibility criteria. If graduate students are granted a graduate stipend, Georgetown University will also cover the cost of the Premier Plan. Students who want this coverage need to accept it online. Enrollment in the Premier Plan can be waived if a student has other adequate coverage. More information about Student Health Insurance can be found through the Student Health Office’s online insurance resources.

Stipends, Income, and Taxes

Graduate School Tuition Scholarships and Assistantships are considered earned income and therefore subject to federal, state, and local tax withholdings. All recipients of assistantship stipends who have not been employed previously by Georgetown University during the current calendar year (or who have been terminated) must complete Form I-9 by the first day of the semester. For more detailed information about tax documentation please go to Georgetown University, 15.2 Merit-based Aid in this handbook and use the provided links.


The Department of German advises its new graduate students to start searching for housing a few months prior to the beginning of their first semester at Georgetown. Graduate students may apply to live in the Georgetown graduate housing located at 55 H Street NW. This housing is managed by the Office of Residential Living and is subject to their billing schedule. To see more information and apply, please visit the Graduate Housing website. For off-campus housing inquiries, graduate students should call or write to the university’s office of Neighborhood Life (202-687-5138;, use ApartmentListcraigslist, the Washington DC housing Facebook group, or PadMapper for their apartment hunt, or contact one of the graduate students in the Department of German. Desirable housing locations are close to public bus stops, to GUTS bus stops (university-operated buses that are free for Georgetown students), to metro stations (Georgetown does not have a metro station but can be accessed by buses that leave from various metro stations such as Rosslyn or Dupont Circle), and to the Capital bikeshares ( Suggested neighborhoods are as follows:

North Arlington, Virginia: Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon

Washington, DC: Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Glover Park

It is recommended that exchange students also consult the document “Tipps für Austauschstudenten” provided by the Department Administrator. 


The Department is committed to providing individual advising and mentoring to all of its graduate students. While all professors participate in this process, students select a permanent advisor during their first year. Students are encouraged to stay in close contact with their advisor throughout the degree program and to discuss their academic interests and questions related to the profession with this person. The advisor also approves course selection during pre-registration and signs the required paperwork. 

Incoming graduate students are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). At the beginning of the first semester, new graduate students meet with the DGS to discuss course selection and registration. In the spring semester of their first year (before registration in early April), graduate students select a faculty member as an advisor whose research interests correspond with their own. (Note for Ph.D. students: The advisor is not necessarily identical to the dissertation mentor. If students’ research interests change over the course of their studies, they are encouraged to find a new mentor.) 

The Parlor and Faculty Offices

The Parlor is the office space for all graduate students. The Parlor provides a space to work, study, grade, and relax. Upon their arrival, new graduate students will receive a key to the Parlor. Graduate students who are teaching do not hold their office hours in the Parlor but rather use one of the faculty members’ offices. Graduate students will be assigned to a faculty office and coordinate their office hours with the respective faculty member.

Mailboxes, Emails

The Department of German assigns graduate students their own mailboxes. These mailboxes are mainly used for departmental and university-related communication. Students are discouraged from using the Department’s address as their personal mailing address. Every student will receive her/his own NetID and can access her/his Georgetown email account through Georgetown Apps.

Georgetown Box

The Department of German uses the university’s online platform, Georgetown Box, to store, upload, and manage curricular and administrative documents. Graduate students who are teaching and/or preparing to teach in the Department of German download and use existing teaching materials available in Box. Before uploading new teaching material onto Box, graduate students need approval from the Director of Curriculum.


Canvas is the university’s online platform that lists all courses offered at Georgetown. Graduate students use Canvas in two distinct ways: As students, they can access course materials and post their responses online when asked to participate in the course blog or online class discussions. As instructors, they upload and make available class materials to their students. They can also use Canvas to communicate with their students and post discussion board questions.

Departmental Calendar

Events, talks, and meetings relevant to or organized by the Department of German can be found on the Departmental Calendar.  The calendar changes every semester and the most recent version is available in Box (All Files > All Department).

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Faculty and Their Roles

TitleNameResearch Topics
Associate Professor
Department Chair
Director of Graduate Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Mary Helen Dupree
18th and 19th century literature and culture, sound and media, gender, performance
Assistant Teaching ProfessorAnja Banchoff
FL pedagogy; business culture
Associate Professor
Director of Curriculum
D. Joseph Cunningham
Second language acquisition, interlanguage pragmatic development, technology-mediated language pedagogy, foreign language curriculum design, teacher education
George M. Roth Distinguished ProfessorFriederike Eigler
Literature and Culture from 1900 to the present w. special focus on post-1945 literature, memory studies, autofiction, space and narrative, gender studies
Assistant ProfessorVerena Kick 
German Modernism, with a focus on literature and visual culture of the Weimar Republic; photography, film, intermediality, materiality, Digital Humanities
ProfessorPeter C. Pfeiffer
19th and 20th century German and Austrian literature, literary history, literary representations of social change
Associate ProfessorMarianna Ryshina-Pankova
Foreign language curriculum design, second language acquisition, advanced foreign language learner, second language writing, discourse analysis
Professor (joint position with the Center for German and European Studies)Katrin Sieg
Cultural theory, queer and feminist theory, theater and performance, post-1945 German culture
Teaching ProfessorAstrid Weigert
FL pedagogy, business culture; the German-speaking world, 18th and 19th century women’s literature

Graduate Program

Coursework and Program of Study for MA and Ph.D. students

This document provides a chronological overview of the MA and Ph.D. programs in German at Georgetown, including coursework, teaching opportunities, and specific requirements and recommendations. It lays out the program of study for a “typical” MA/Ph.D. student, i.e., a student entering the MA/Ph.D. program in the fall semester of a given academic year with a BA degree and no prior teaching experience. For students entering the Ph.D. program with an MA degree, the program of study will be adjusted accordingly.

Please note: Different requirements apply to German majors enrolled in the five-year BA/MA program and to students in the joint MAGES/German Ph.D. program.

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

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 and cultural studies or in German second language teaching and learning (G/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.

MA students usually take a total of 12 courses over a period of four semesters. Ph.D. students usually take 17 courses in six semesters, including a minimum of two courses in G/SLA or Applied Linguistics. First-year students may take courses in the German department only. Thereafter students may take no more than one course per semester in another department with the approval of the advisor, with the exception of SLA students who may occasionally take more than one course in the Linguistics Department. Beyond the required coursework, this document includes a number of recommendations that are meant to foster students’ intellectual and professional development as researchers and teachers.

Student performance will be assessed in the annual graduate review letters from the Director of Graduate Studies, based on written input from all faculty and discussion of students’ performance at the first faculty meeting of the calendar year. Continuation in the graduate program is contingent upon academic progress and faculty recommendation. 

At the end of their coursework, students in the MA program take the MA colloquium in German to demonstrate their ability to draw meaningful connections between topics, texts, and historical periods. Ph.D. students take the Ph.D. qualifying examination consisting of a written and oral component (see “Degree Requirements” for further information). 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. Preparation for and successful completion of the exam will also assist them in identifying a dissertation topic. 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.

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

Fall/Semester 1:

  • MA & Ph.D. students: Regular course load of nine credits: three graduate level courses, one of which is “Fundamentals of Teaching towards Advanced Literacy in a Foreign Language.” (Joint MAGES/Ph.D. students usually take this course in their second year.)

Spring/Semester 2:

  • Course load
    • MA students: 2nd semester through 4th semester: regular course load of nine credits
    • Ph.D. students: 2nd semester and subsequent three semesters: regular course load of nine credits
  • By early April (before pre-registration), first-year students select a permanent advisor by asking the respective professor and by informing the DGS of their choice.
  • Extensive observation at Levels I – III or paired teaching with an experienced instructor
  • Recommendation for Ph.D. students: enrollment in a 2nd foreign language course

1st Summer:

  • Annual reflective statement due to advisor by mid-August for first-year MA and Ph.D. students. See section 5.2.2 for more information on the reflective statement.
  • Summer support via TA- or RA-ships or approved internships in the DC area; occasional opportunity for spending the summer semester in Dresden or Trier (upon recommendation by DGS and advisor and successful application; application forms are due November 1).
  • Extensive reading: Begin compilation of Reading List for MA oral colloquium at the end of the 4th semester or oral Ph.D. exam at the end of the 6th semester (see “Degree Requirements” for further information).
  • Recommendation for Ph.D. students: individually tailored annotated bibliography as a helpful research tool.

Fall/Semester 3:

  • 3rd semester and subsequent semesters: Teaching with class visits and feedback by the Director of Curriculum and other faculty.

Spring/Semester 4:

  • Recommendation for Ph.D. students: enrollment in a 2nd foreign language course.
  • Ph.D. students are eligible to receive a Master’s in passing.
  • MA degree candidates: course-based oral colloquium in German (for more information, see section 5.2.1).

2nd Summer:

  • Annual reflective statement due to advisor by mid-August for second-year Ph.D. students.
  • Summer support via TA- or RA-ships or approved internships in the DC area; occasional opportunity for spending the summer semester studying in Dresden or Trier or teaching for the Georgetown Summer School in Trier (upon recommendation by chair and advisor).
  • Initial Statement of Teaching Philosophy in consultation with the Curriculum Coordinator.
  • Extensive reading: continued work on the reading list and annotated bibliography.
  • Recommendation: revision of a course-based research paper and submission to a journal and/or conference.

Fall/Semester 5:

  • Extended class observations of “Text in Context” or “Issues and Trends” are required for students interested in teaching a Level IV course; other options may include RA-ship with Curriculum Coordinator

Spring/Semester 6:

  • Last semester of coursework for Ph.D. students: Enrollment in two courses and pre-thesis research (to maintain full-time status).
  • In consultation with their advisor, Ph.D. students choose their exam committee which usually consists of two additional faculty members.
  • Due after spring break to all committee members: 1. final version of Ph.D. Reading List; 2. Statement of Intellectual Development (SID), including three or four broad themes (determined in consultation with the committee) that will guide the oral examination.
  • Preparation for the oral Ph.D. exam.
  • Preparation of an abstract for the written part of the exam (Literature Review), due to the committee before the Oral Ph.D. exam.
  • After the end of classes: Oral Ph.D. exam, including feedback on the abstract for the written exam (total length: two hours).

3rd Summer:

  • Summer support via TA- or RA-ships
  • After successful completion of the oral exam and approval of the abstract, students spend approx. six weeks on the Literature Review.

Fall/Semester 7:

  • Public Presentation and Discussion of Literature Review. Once a student has passed the Ph.D. exam, a departmental presentation on the Literature Review is scheduled (open to all faculty and graduate students). The feedback at this event informs the student’s dissertation project and proposal.
  • Submission of dissertation proposal to the Graduate School.
  • Recommendation: application for research grants or dissertation fellowships (deadlines for DAAD/Fulbright are usually in the early fall) and/or for conference participation. 

The period between submission of the dissertation proposal and completion of the dissertation:

  • Contingent upon satisfactory progress, students receive support for three additional semesters (and summer support where applicable).
  • It is recommended that students apply for a DAAD or Fulbright dissertation fellowship to conduct research in a German-speaking country (most deadlines are in the early fall). Students may also apply for a semester- or year-long exchange in Trier or Dresden upon recommendation by their advisor and successful application.
  • Students who have the requisite background in teaching upper-level courses are encouraged to submit a proposal for a Level IV or V 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 clearly spell out the integration of language and content. (Actual teaching assignments at this level depend on the Department’s curricular needs.)
  • Students are encouraged to submit a revised version of a research paper to an academic journal.

Upon completion of dissertation:

Dissertation Defense

  • 20-minute presentation of dissertation research and results followed by comments and questions from the dissertation committee and the public (total length: two hours).

Additional Degree Requirements

MA Degree

MA Colloquium

At the end of their coursework (usually in early May), students who complete their studies with the MA take an oral colloquium in German to demonstrate their ability to draw meaningful connections between topics, texts, and historical periods. This course-based colloquium is administered by two professors of the student’s choice (length: one hour). Prior to the colloquium, students submit a Statement of Intellectual Development (SID), a list of all courses taken during their time at Georgetown, and a list of materials studied in these courses. In the SID (3-4 pages), students reflect on how their interests have evolved during their time in the graduate program; these reflections will provide the point of departure for the colloquium. 

Ph.D. Degree

The following sections provide detailed information about specific requirements for Ph.D. students beyond coursework regarding the annual reflective statement, second foreign language exam, the qualifying examination, and dissertation writing.

Annual Reflective Statement

The annual reflective statement helps students to engage in academic and professional development through reflective practice. Reflective practice is already an integral part of the graduate program at Georgetown University’s German Department. While the coursework and teaching opportunities throughout the academic year foster critical thinking skills, intellectual development, and comprehensive knowledge, the summer break presents an ideal opportunity for graduate students to pause and reflect on how their academic interests have evolved and on what kind of issues they plan to pursue in the future. In addition, the summers also give students the time to actively explore and engage with professional development resources, as well as to develop a basic understanding of their professional profile vis-à-vis the demands of the job market.

Consequently, the goal of the annual reflection is twofold. On the one hand, students ponder their intellectual development, their future course of study, and how connections between past and future coursework can be drawn. On the other hand, students look forward and contemplate how their current academic profile and skill set relate to the demands of the job market. In order to reach these goals, graduate students will work both independently and with guidance from their advisors.

The graduate student: engages with past coursework; draws on professional development resources curated by graduate students; explores the job market and develops an understanding for research foci and skills that are in demand.

The advisor: provides guidance on future academic coursework and relevant readings in the student’s area of interest, as well as on how research projects can develop (non)academic skills the student hopes to attain.

Ultimately, the annual reflection aims to support graduate education by helping students identify and/or develop areas of research interest in a targeted manner with guidance from the advisor early on and over their entire course of study; fostering an intellectual and mentoring relationship between advisor and advisee; familiarizing students with the task of writing the Statement of Intellectual Development (SID; see below); encouraging students to actively explore and familiarize themselves with the demands and dynamics of the job market, as well as with career/professional development resources on and off campus.

Format and time frame: the reflective statement is 1 – 3 pages in length and should be submitted to the advisor no later than mid-August; it serves as the basis for a conversation with the student’s advisor.

Second Foreign Language Requirement

As part of the Ph.D. program in the German Department, students complete a second foreign language requirement. It is fulfilled by completing six credits in a foreign language with a passing grade, irrespective of instructional level, during their studies at Georgetown and prior to taking the Ph.D. qualifying examination. (Students in the joint MAGES/Ph.D. program fulfill the requirement by completing the MAGES 2nd FL requirement.) Classes have to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and tuition scholarships are awarded in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School. Language Scholarship policies can be found in section II.E.3 of the Graduate Bulletin.

This requirement reflects a number of intellectual and experiential goals that align with the graduate program’s academic and educational profile. Among these are the values of

  • enhancing one’s language abilities so that they can be used to advance research and professional communication;
  • experiencing language learning and language teaching with a higher level of awareness regarding the teaching and learning of a foreign language in a classroom setting;
  • projecting qualities of an educated person in the humanistic tradition who is able to move about in the global multilingual and multicultural environment of research and researchers.
Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

At the end of their coursework, students will take the Ph.D. qualifying exam that consists of an oral and written component. (The student’s advisor will coordinate all logistical aspects of the exam.) Both parts of the exam are designed to assess comprehensive knowledge and intellectual engagement as defined above. Particular emphasis is placed on an examinee’s preparedness to perform independent research. Students are expected to demonstrate their qualifications as generalists and as specialists in a given research area. Successful completion of the examination will assist them in identifying a dissertation topic. Students who have successfully completed the exam present the results of the written exam (i.e., the literature review) at a public event and advance to Ph.D. candidacy.

Oral Part of the Ph.D. Examination

Required Documents Prior to the Oral Exam:

At the end of spring break (or at least one month prior to the Oral Exam) students submit two documents: the final versions of a Course-Based Reading List consisting of all primary and major theoretical sources covered in the student’s coursework; and a Statement of Intellectual Development (SID) of approximately five to six pages. There is no prescribed format for the SID but it includes both reflections on how the student’s academic interests have evolved during the time at Georgetown and on what kind of issues the student plans to pursue in the future. As part of the SID and in consultation with the committee, the student identifies three or four broad themes that will guide the oral Ph.D. exam. 

The Course-Based Oral Exam

Immediately following completion of coursework, students take a course-based oral exam (in either English or German) based on their Reading List. Students are expected to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge by making connections between texts and ideas across historical periods and theoretical approaches at a high conceptual level. The oral exam is guided by three or four broad themes the student identified in the SID. The exam also includes a brief discussion of the student’s abstract for the written part of the Ph.D. Examination (see below). The total exam time is two hours. 

(For some students whose research focus is SLA, the committee for the written exam may be different from the course-based oral exam. In those cases, feedback to and approval of the abstract for the written part of the exam will not take place during the oral exam but at a separate meeting to be convened by the student’s advisor.)


A student who does not pass the oral exam receives written feedback from the exam committee and is granted one retake. It will take place within two weeks of the original exam date. 

Written Part of the Ph.D. Examination: Literature Review/Forschungsbericht

Document Required Prior to the Literature Review

At the end of the final semester of coursework and prior to the Oral Ph.D. examination, students submit an abstract that describes the area of scholarship they intend to review and the rationale for selecting it. The research question(s) need not be explicitly formulated, but the overall topic should be clear. The student’s exam committee members will review the abstract and it will become the focus of a 10-15 minute discussion during the oral examination. Upon approval, students spend part of the summer (approximately six weeks) writing the literature review so that it is ready for submission in mid-August. Students who complete their coursework in the fall semester write the literature review during the first six weeks of the spring semester.

The Literature Review/Forschungsbericht

Before embarking on the writing of a dissertation, any researcher in German literature, culture, or G/SLA must be able to survey the existing literature on the topic of her/his choice, indicate and evaluate a range of views and approaches to that topic, and identify gaps or disagreements in the literature that merit further research. The literature review goes beyond summarizing existing research and analyzes, synthesizes, and historicizes distinct views, methodologies, and schools of thought. The literature review surveys and assesses theory and criticism. In the case of G/SLA, the literature review surveys previous empirical research and clearly indicates major findings and their implications for our understanding of language learning and teaching.

Writing a literature review will help students construct a research question or problem and will enable them to begin to specify an appropriate critical/methodological approach for the selected topic. It should therefore culminate in the articulation of a genuine puzzle or substantive research question(s). Particularly in the case of G/SLA, research questions should be stated in a way that allows them to be investigated through empirical research.

For the literature review, students select a topic in German literature, culture, or G/SLA. The review should be 25–30 pages in length, excluding the bibliography or references. Students writing an SLA-themed literature review are likely to draw on empirical research of language acquisition other than German (e.g., English); however, such research must be directly relevant to the research topic, which is focused on a phenomenon in German.

The topic and sources encompass a body of research that is sufficiently large to make it possible to discern distinct theoretical/critical/historical/aesthetic/methodological trends. In particular, the literature review:

  • includes books as well as articles;
  • incorporates different points of view in German literature, culture, or G/SLA; understood as interdisciplinary fields. The topic may require reading in adjoining fields. If such sources are included the review should address questions of disciplinarity and how a field’s dominant methodology shapes researchers’ approaches to the topic.
  • uncovers important changes in perspective over time. The discussion of the selected topic should seek to uncover important changes in scholarly approaches and should include German intellectual discourses and critical traditions. For G/SLA, the historical scope of the topic may not extend beyond a few decades. It is nonetheless possible to identify distinct theoretical and empirical trends in research, and a discussion of such developments and their causes is necessary.

The literature review demonstrates why the topic is important, why approaches have changed over time, and/or why critical/field affiliations have resulted in different foci and findings. Most importantly, it identifies what questions or problems now merit the kind of research that is proposed.


A student who does not pass the written part of the Ph.D. exams receives written feedback from the exam committee and is granted one retake. The retake consists of four additional weeks devoted to revisions of the student’s Literature Review following the feedback of the exam committee.

Public Presentation of the Literature Review

Once a student has passed the Ph.D. qualifying exam, a presentation on the Literature Review is scheduled (open to all faculty and graduate students). The feedback at this event informs the student’s dissertation proposal.


Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation Format

The Dissertation proposal (see the Graduate School form), approved by the dissertation committee, should be submitted to the Graduate School during the same semester in which the student presents the literature review.

The Department accepts two dissertation formats: the monograph form; or a series of five related projects and a reflective essay. Both formats demonstrate the student’s ability to perform independent and original scholarship. The second format (five related projects) requires particularly close consultation with the advisor and the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense

Upon successful completion of the dissertation, a two-hour dissertation defense is scheduled. The defense consists of the student’s presentation of dissertation research and results (approx. 20 minutes), followed by comments and questions from the dissertation committee and the public. Once the requested revisions are completed and approved by the advisor, the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School.

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Transfer of Credits

Students entering the Ph.D. program with an MA degree from another institution may request transfer of credits. Requests for transfer of credits are decided by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student’s advisor.

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Current Courses

For detailed information about course offerings please visit our list of course synopses.

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TA Development

The German Department offers graduate students exceptional opportunities to develop their teaching abilities in its exemplary, nationally recognized curriculum, Developing Multiple Literacies. The curriculum carefully integrates language and content instruction in unique ways. Our TA development program enables students to teach on all levels of the undergraduate curriculum, including the most advanced undergraduate courses. Graduate students also participate regularly in collaborative projects to develop instructional materials and curricular revisions where they translate their knowledge of second language acquisition research into the programmatic realities of curriculum construction and pedagogy. The Department’s content-based curriculum inherently presents a particular focus for TAs. Overall, the TA program has the comprehensive aim of training classroom teachers to be independent and reflective decision-makers and views learners as autonomous participants. More information can be found in our section on TA development.

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Admission and Financial Aid


Applications include a statement of purpose, academic writing samples in English and German, and TOEFL results (for non-native English speakers who hold no college degree from the U.S. or another English-speaking country).


Deadlines for fall semester admission:

Jan 15: deadline for scholarship/funding consideration

April 1: final deadline (no scholarship/funding consideration)

Deadline for spring semester admission

November 1: final deadline (no scholarship/funding consideration)

The department awards competitive fellowships, tuition scholarships, and teaching and research assistantships. For up-to-date information about applications and admissions or to download an application form, please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Financial Aid

The German Department provides generous year-round support, making the completion of the Ph.D. program in five years (for incoming BA students) financially and academically feasible. Full financial support is guaranteed for this period for students in good academic standing. Students pursuing a terminal Master’s degree are generally not considered for financial support.

Financial Support for Ph.D. students includes:

  • Full tuition coverage and a competitive annual stipend for the academic year*
  • Summer support is granted for teaching, research, internships, or study abroad (see below)
  • Optional coverage of health and dental insurance made available through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Reimbursement for all required course materials
  • Support for approved conference participation, travel and study abroad

 *Depending on the stage of their graduate careers, graduate students receive annual stipends in the form of (1) Research Assistantships, (2) Teaching Assistantships, or (3) Dissertation Fellowships.

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Conference Travel Support

Departmental Policy

Note: Students are expected to plan ahead and comply with the Graduate School’s deadlines for funding requests.

Conference participation is an important part of professionalization and requires a substantial time commitment (writing/revising a paper and attending the conference itself). It thus has to be carefully planned, especially if the conference takes place during the semester when you are busy with coursework and your RA or TA responsibilities. Most importantly, conference participation has to make sense academically and is recommended primarily for advanced Ph.D. students (year 3 and beyond) who are ready to present their work to a community of scholars.

  • If you are interested in participating in a particular conference, please discuss your plans with your advisor and/or chair prior to the submission of your proposal. Travel support is contingent upon approval from your advisor and the chair. Generally, the Department will support conference participation if the project is related to the student’s dissertation research.
  • In exceptional cases, the Department will support the presentation of papers at the AATG/ACTFL even when they are not related to your dissertation research. Support will be limited to the most successful projects developed in conjunction with departmental SLA classes.
  • All students who seek departmental support are expected to apply for conference travel grant funding from the Graduate School.
    • This takes planning and cannot be done at the last minute (Grad School deadlines are generally in September and January). Departmental support is limited to one conference per academic year (fall through spring semester).
  • The Department will cover expenses for approved conference visits (i.e., the part not covered by the Graduate School) with the understanding that students make every effort to contain costs (by sharing accommodation, registering early, finding reasonable flights, etc.). Maximum amount covered per academic year: $1,000 (this includes up to $500 in Graduate School support).
  • We recommend that students attending conferences take full advantage of them: Beyond the presentation of your own paper, this means attending other panels, special events (including social events like cash bars), keynote addresses, and book exhibits — all of which are opportunities for establishing contacts with other scholars. (Faculty members attending the same conference are happy to help in these efforts but it also takes individual initiative.)
  • If you are interested in attending a conference close to the DC area, some departmental support might be available even when you are not presenting a paper. In these cases, please contact the chair ahead of time.

Graduate School Policy

The Graduate School is pleased to support the professional development of graduate students by providing Conference Travel Grants to both master’s and doctoral students on the Main Campus and the Medical Center.

The Graduate School also invites nominations for Dissertation Research Travel awards for up to $5,000 each. These competitive awards support the travel costs of students enrolled in doctoral degrees as well as students engaged in archival or field research outside the United States.

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Summer Support

Summer months are integrated into the course of study. Graduate students are eligible to receive summer support by taking on teaching responsibilities (Georgetown summer school or Trier program), RA responsibilities, or approved internships in the DC area. As part of the Department’s graduate exchange programs with the Technische Universität Dresden and the Universität Trier, students may also request support to spend the summer semester in Dresden or Trier.

Summer support is provided with the understanding that students spend the summer months, in addition to the above responsibilities, deepening their learning experience and on developing their research interests. This engagement can take different forms, including:

  • reading additional materials
  • taking courses in a 2nd foreign language
  • taking courses in Germanistik in Trier or Dresden
  • revising a paper for publication
  • preparing for exams
  • working on the dissertation

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Study Abroad

Prior to reaching the dissertation-writing stage, students may request to spend the summer semester at the University of Trier or Dresden. The department has longstanding and well-established exchange programs with the TU Dresden and Universität Trier and provides full financial support.

Students who have completed their coursework are encouraged to apply for DAAD or Fulbright dissertation fellowships or short-term research grants to conduct research in a German-speaking country (most deadlines are in September/October). Students may also apply through the Department for a year or half-year fellowship in Trier or Dresden. Faculty provides feedback and support in the application process. Detailed information can be found on our Graduate Study Abroad site.

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Graduate Student Career Resources

Information has been assembled by German department graduate students in order to provide a comprehensive list of resources provided by Georgetown University to assist in career planning. This document is continuously changing and the most up-to-date version can be found in Google Drive or in the Georgetown Box folder All Department > Graduate.

Also available in the same location is a wide-ranging collection of external internship and fellowship opportunities in the Washington, DC area.

Graduate students and faculty, May 2023

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The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Graduate Bulletin and Policies

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences establishes minimum requirements for admission and the award of degrees. Students should familiarize themselves with all the rules, regulations, and procedures relevant to their pursuit of a Graduate School degree. The Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School Policies and Procedures can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Registration and Academic Calendar

Important policies and procedures pertaining to graduate student registration are found in the Graduate Bulletin, Section II: Registration.  The Graduate School offers a website on procedures and links for graduate student registration.

In addition, all graduate students must be aware of the registration schedule, withdrawal deadlines, academic calendar, course schedules, and other important academic information published each semester by the University Registrar on the Registrar’s website

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Academic Integrity/Academic Misconduct Issues

The policies and procedures for Academic Integrity issues are found in the Graduate Bulletin, Section VI: Academic Integrity: Policies and Procedures (view/download the Graduate Bulletin from the top of the Policies page).

Leave of Absence

During the course of a graduate student’s time at Georgetown, it may be necessary to take a leave of absence for personal or medical reasons. The policies and procedures for this are found in the Graduate Bulletin, Section VII: Graduate Student Leave Policies (view/download the Graduate Bulletin).

Grade Appeals

If a graduate student feels that there is reason to appeal an official grade, the policies and procedures for this are found in the Graduate Bulletin, Section III-A-5: Academic Regulations and Procedures/The Grading System/Appeals Contesting Grades (view/download the Graduate Bulletin).


A grade of Incomplete (I) denotes that the student has not satisfactorily completed all course requirements or met stated learning objectives, but the student has made arrangements with the faculty to meet course requirements by an agreed date. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the faculty member before the course ends to arrange make-up work. All incomplete coursework must be finished within six months of the last day of that course. If the required coursework is not completed within the requisite time, the grade of (I) will become the grade of record.

Language Study Scholarships/Policies

There are specific policies and procedures that cover graduate student enrollment in language classes. The policies and procedures for this are found in the Graduate Bulletin, Section II.E.3 Language Study Scholarships (view/download the Graduate Bulletin).

International Issues (Office of Global Services)

Issues of special relevance to international graduate students are handled by Georgetown University’s Office of Global Services (OGS).  These include visa and immigration issues; work visas; full-time/part-time study issues; emergency situations; and other topics. OGS is located in the Car Barn building at 3520 Prospect Street NW (near 35th and Prospect Street) in Suite #210.

Graduate School Contacts/Resources

A list of GRADUATE SCHOOL DEANS & OFFICES and contact information is updated periodically by the Graduate School.

The GRADUATE STUDENT LOUNGE is located at 3520 Prospect Street, on the roof pavilion (4th Floor) of the Car Barn. It provides a quiet space exclusively for graduate students to study. The Graduate Student Lounge is wifi-enabled, has comfortable seating and study desks, and is open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or as posted.

Graduate Student Government (GradGov)

Georgetown University Graduate Student Government (GradGov) is the governing body for graduate students and also serves as an advisory board for student organizations composed primarily of graduate students. To help unite graduate students across the Georgetown campus, GradGov hosts academic, networking, cultural and social events and also allocates funding to member organizations for events and programming.

Graduate Student Ombuds

THE OFFICE OF THE STUDENT OMBUDS provides an informal, impartial, neutral, and confidential environment where graduate and undergraduate students can discuss University-related concerns and disputes. The Ombuds office does not advocate for any individual point of view, and does not participate in any formal grievance process, but works to promote a fair process for all. The function of the Student Ombuds is to listen thoughtfully and sympathetically to students’ concerns and to assist them in identifying options for addressing them. Graduate students can contact the Student Ombuds at

Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees (GAGE)

Information regarding the collective bargaining agreement between Georgetown University and the Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees and the American Federation of Teachers (GAGE-AFT) can be found on the GAGE-AFT Resources page.

Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy Statements

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Student Health Services

Student Health Services provide psychological and medical care to Georgetown students, helping them to stay healthy as well as focused mentally and physically. 

Counseling and Mental Health (CAPS)

The University offers its own Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) that serve the mental care needs of students and the campus community. Many students go to CAPS when they experience life events or academic pressures that leave them feeling anxious, confused, lonely, angry, depressed, or overwhelmed. CAPS is located at the back of Darnall Hall and operates Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. CAPS phone numbers are 202-687-6985 (during business hours) and 202-444-7243 for after-hours emergencies (ask to speak to an on-call clinician). The CAPS website offers more detailed information on their services.

Medical Care and Student Health Center

The Student Health Center (SHC) provides medical care and is a service provided by the Georgetown University Hospital at Georgetown University. Students can make appointments for common health issues either by phone: at 202-687-2200 or online via My Medstar Connect. A list of services available can be found on the Health Center’s website.

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Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Need-Based Aid: Office of Student Financial Services

The Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS) provides counseling services to prospective and current students and their families about:

  • Options available for financing higher education costs
  • Eligibility for assistance
  • Applying for and obtaining funding
  • Budgeting expenses and paying bills

For both undergraduate and graduate students, the OSFS determines eligibility for assistance from federal, state, and private financial aid programs based on the rules and regulations established by those external agencies.

Merit-Based Aid: Graduate School Dean’s Office

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers merit-based awards on a competitive basis to some programs for incoming and continuing students. The primary purpose of this financial assistance is to support qualified graduate students in the pursuit of their academic careers and the timely completion of their Graduate School degrees.

The Graduate School offers additional information on its website about the types of merit-based aid available to graduate students.

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