The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers many forms of support for admitted graduate students.

Teaching Assistantships

Graduate teaching assistants are essential to the program of instruction of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. They normally provide instruction in the first six semesters of German language under the direction of a faculty course coordinator.

Assistantships generally include a tuition and service fee waiver. Teaching assistants can also apply for a limited number of summer teaching assistantships. Summer teaching assistants are expected to be enrolled.

For first-year assistants, the teaching load is normally one section in the fall, two in the spring semester; for continuing assistants, the load is normally two sections in the fall and one in the spring.

Because of the importance of graduate teaching actions to the instructional program of the department, and because of the importance of the assistantships to the students' professional development, the department takes very seriously the role of faculty members as supervisors and mentors. The faculty course coordinator is responsible for selecting and making available the curricular materials (including textbooks, realia, and other supplementary materials), setting instructional and grading policies, overseeing the preparation and administration of examinations, providing guidance to the teaching assistants in the form of regular meetings, and where possible serving as master teacher.

In addition to faculty course coordinators, the department mentors its teaching assistants through faculty observers who visit classes taught by the teaching assistants. Faculty visitation has a two-fold purpose: to assist graduate students in their development as teachers and to monitor the quality of instruction offered in the department

Research Assistantships

With remuneration at the same rate as teaching assistantships, research assistantships are often available for qualified continuing students.


The University of Illinois makes available on a competitive basis a number of generous fellowships in support of graduate study and research. The School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics is a source of attractive fellowship support. In addition, each year the Department may nominate a limited number of outstanding students for University Fellowships. Exceptional students applying for admission may be nominated to compete in the university's Distinguished Fellowships program.

At the appropriate stage, graduate students may apply for Dissertation Completion Fellowships; Dissertation Travel Grants, which subsidize travel and other costs associated with doctoral dissertation research; Humanities Graduate Students Research and Conference Support; and On-Campus Dissertation Research Grants and Thesis/Project Support Grants. The Department has received generous grants from the Max Kade foundation for additional graduate student fellowship support.

Graduate students in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures have also been extremely successful in obtaining external fellowships and grants for study and research at home and abroad. Awards have been made by such prestigious agencies as the American Association of University Women, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and Fullbright-Hayes Students with external fellowships may not hold university fellowships concurrently. Information and assistance in applying for funding from these and other sources are provided by the director of graduate studies.

Fellowships and Assistantships Abroad

The stipends for the fellowships and assistantships abroad are comparable to those for students serving in the department as teaching or research assistants. The Department selects graduate students each year to study at our exchange universities: Göttingen, Greifswald, and Heidelberg.

Illinois in Vienna 

The Department regularly selects a graduate student to serve as administrative assistant to the resident director of our undergraduate study abroad program in Vienna.

This graduate assistant performs teaching and administrative duties under the supervision of the resident director. These included the following: teaching of one advanced language course each semester, preparation for and assistance during fall-and spring-semester orientation programs, assistance with other aspects of program administration, such as bureaucratic tasks associated with life and study in Vienna, preparation for and supervision of participants during extracurricular events, and nurturing good relations with the exchange partners.

Departmental Policy on Financial Aid

Financial aid is normally provided as follows:

  1. For students with a B.A. working toward the M.A. or M.A.T.G. degrees: two academic years. To meet the requirement for normal progress, the student must pass the M.A. or M.A.T.G. examinations before the end of the second semester of the second year of support.
  2. For students with the M.A. working toward the Ph.D. degree: two academic years for the completion of course requirements. To demonstrate normal progress, the student must pass the preliminary examinations, both written and oral, before the end of the second semester of the second year of support.
  3. For students who have passed the preliminary examinations and are working toward completion of the doctoral dissertation: two academic years.

Summer teaching by graduate students or appointment as Assistant to the Director of Illinois in Vienna will not be counted in the above limits.

Academic-year fellowships and assistantships for study abroad count as one semester of financial aid for students who have not yet passed the preliminary examination for the doctorate, but as a full year at the dissertation stage.

The department guarantees six years (2-2-2) of financial aid contingent on normal progress toward a degree and availability of funds. Renewal of teaching assistantships is also contingent on the rendering of satisfactory service by the assistant.

Since the primary purpose of financial aid is to enable students to pursue graduate studies toward a degree, all financial aid is contingent upon the student's maintenance of normal progress toward a degree. Students working towards the M.A. degree shall be full-time students, enrolled in an average of 3 units per semester, and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0; students in the doctoral program shall be full-time students, enrolled in an average of 3 units per semester, and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5.