German Graduate Program
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Ph.D. Degree Options

German Literature and Culture

The graduate program offers students the opportunity to pursue MA and PhD degrees in the study of the literatures and cultures of German speaking countries, from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Faculty research interests include Renaissance culture, the relationship between literature and philosophy, German literature as world literature, the age of Goethe, the history of consumer culture (fashion, architecture, and masculinity) in literature and philosophy, comparative modernism, psychoanalysis, and film and gender studies. Students also have the opportunity to participate in Penn State's dual-title doctoral degree in Visual Studies. For a list of faculty teaching and researching in Visual Studies, see here

The program is designed to familiarize students with key theoretical approaches for analyzing culture and literature, as well as contemporary critical debates, such as the memory of the Holocaust, multiculturalism, religion, and reunified Germany’s relation to the former GDR.

Penn State's German department offers an intense scholarly environment that nurtures interdisciplinary research. Students in the MA and PhD program are grounded in German intellectual history and encouraged to write in global context. The German department works closely with Comparative Literature, Philosophy, History, and Women’s Studies.

Dissertations include such diverse topics as Early Modern Brain Studies, German-Arab identity, German as a chosen second language for literary production, Post-colonial feminism in nineteenth-century Marathi and Austrian literature, Literatures of Reconciliation in unified Germany and post-Apartheid South Africa Nationalism, feminism in literature before the 1848 Revolution, and Kurt Masur and Mahler performance in the DDR.

German Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

The interdisciplinary Ph.D. in German Linguistics and Applied Linguistics prepares students to conduct systematic examinations of how the German language is structured, how it is acquired, how it is used across varied linguistic communities and by individuals, and how it is taught and learned. In addition to the traditional subfields of linguistic inquiry, faculty members offer courses in second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, language contact, language change, sociolinguistics, and Pennsylvania German. Students also have the opportunity to participate in Penn State's dual-title doctoral degree in Language Science.

For more information about degree requirements, check the Graduate Student Handbook.