The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts in German and Doctor of Philosophy in German. Students may choose an additional specialization and certification in Medieval Studies, Cinema Studies, Scandinavian Studies, or in Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Candidates for the Ph.D. in German may additionally obtain a certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE).


Applicants should apply online and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and a sample of their written work in English or German or both. In order to receive full consideration for all possible sources of financial aid, applications must be completed no later than January 1. We will accept applications after that date, but we cannot guarantee that financial aid will still be available. For admission to the Master of Arts program, the writing sample might be a term paper, and for admission to the doctoral level, a master's thesis or seminar paper. Original transcripts (with English translations if applicable) showing all undergraduate and graduate work completed should be sent to SLCL Graduate Student Services, 3070 Foreign Languages Bldg., 707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL  61801. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. The applicant should ask the ETS to submit scores to institution 1836. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 79 on the internet-based test (iBT); they must also pass the speaking sub-section of the iBT with a minimum score of 24.

Degree Requirements

*For additional details and requirements refer to the Graduate College Handbook.

Master of Arts

Required Courses: Required Hours
GER 510 4
A 500 level course in German Linguistics 4
A 500 level course (not including GER 593) in German literature before 1800 4
A 500 level course (not including GER 593) in German literature after 1800 4
Electives within or outside of the department with advisor's approval 16
Language Requirement: proficiency in reading one language other than English and German. (If coursework is necessary to acquire reading proficiency, this coursework does not count toward the total of 32 hours for the M.A.)  
Total Hours 32
Minimum Hours Overall Required Within the Unit:
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall:
Other Requirements:*  
Deficiencies in undergraduate preparation may necessitate more than 32 graduate hours to meet the requirements  
Written and oral examinations  

Applicants should have completed undergraduate studies similar to the concentration in German at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have a grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, and be able to follow lectures in the German language. Acquaintance with German history and culture in their relation to the general European background is desirable. Admission to the program is on a competitive basis.

Candidates for the Master of Arts degree may emphasize either German literature or linguistics. All candidates must take courses in both literature and linguistics.

Requirements for MA Examinations

Doctor of Philosophy

Required Courses: Required Hours
One course in German or Scandinavian literature before 1800 4
One course in German literature since 1800 4
One course in German, Germanic, or Scandinavian linguistics 4
GER 582 (if GER 582 was already part of M.A. coursework, this course can be substituted with an elective in GER) 4
6 courses at the 500 level 24
Language Requirement: a reading knowledge of two research languages other than English and German. (If coursework is necessary to acquire reading proficiency, this coursework does not count toward the total of 40 hours for the Ph.D.)  
Thesis Hours Required (min/max applied toward degree): minimum 12
Total Hours Required for graduation by Graduate College (including 32 hours of M.A. coursework) 96
Minimum Hours Required in the Unit:
32 (not including GER 599)
Other Requirements:*  
Teaching of elementary or intermediate German (at least one half-time appointment as teaching assistant for one academic year).  
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? Yes
Preliminary Examination Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes

Applicants must meet the admission standards outlined for the Master of Arts and, in addition, hold a Master of Arts in German (or equivalent) with a graduate grade point average of 3.5 (A = 4.0). Admission to the program is on a competitive basis.

Candidates for the Ph.D. in German may specialize in older German literature, modern German literature, Germanic linguistics, or Scandinavian literature.

Students working toward the Ph.D. degree must have completed all requirements for the Master of Arts degree given above and must complete an additional 40 graduate hours of coursework approved by the graduate adviser. At least 32 graduate hours must be for courses in Germanic Languages and Literatures. No more than 8 hours of credit in 400 level courses beyond those presented for the M.A. will be counted toward these ten units. The 40 hours may include up to 4 hours of Ger 593 "Research in Special Topics," taken as an independent study, but may not include any credit for GER 496/"Special Topics in German Studies" for work taken as independent study. Residence requirements are those of the Graduate College.

Requirements for PhD Preliminary Examination and Thesis Committees

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, experience in teaching is considered an important part of the graduate experience in this program, and all students teach. Non-native English speakers must first pass a test of their oral English ability.

Financial Aid

All students accepted into the program have financial support, usually in the form of a Assistantship, Research Assistantship, or Fellowship.

For additional information on funding, please see Opportunities and Fellowships.