Admission: Candidates to the Department of German must have earned a B.A. or an M.A. (or its foreign equivalent). In addition to the Graduate School of Arts and Science admission requirements, candidates must submit a recent sample of academic writing of approximately 15 pages in either English or German. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test are required.
Advising: Students entering the program are assigned to the DGS as his or her academic adviser from the department’s faculty for the first year of study; students may select a different adviser at any time thereafter. Students are encouraged to meet with advisers on a regular basis; at least one meeting per semester is required.
Course Work: A total of 72 points of course work is required for the Ph.D. degree. No more than 32 points of credit toward the Ph.D. course requirements may be transferred from another institution. Students who have studied at German universities should note that transfer credit can be awarded only for “Hauptseminare.” One of the two courses Origins of German Critical Thought I and II, GERM-GA 1115 and GERM-GA 1116, are required of all degree candidates in the department. The academic progress of each student is reviewed and evaluated after the second semester of study by means of a 60-minute consultation. Two faculty members are chosen by the student to review the highly individualized course of study and to develop a plan for advancement to the degree. Students who pass this review process are permitted to continue course work toward the Ph.D. degree.
Foreign Language Requirement: Students are required to demonstrate proficiency sufficient for research purposes in a language other than German or English. The choice of language is subject to approval by the student’s academic adviser. Students are expected to complete this requirement before taking the Ph.D. comprehensive examination. This requirement may be fulfilled by one of the following: (1) A passing grade on the foreign language proficiency examination administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Science. (The test is given several times a year.); (2) Native proficiency demonstrated by a degree from a non-Anglophone foreign university; (3) A passing grade in a graduate-level literature course in any of the language departments at NYU; or (4) A grade of B or better in an upper-level undergraduate literature course taken within two years of the student’s first registration at NYU. It is recommended that every student plan to study at a university in a German-speaking country for at least one semester.
Comprehensive Examination: A comprehensive examination must be taken within one semester after completion of the Ph.D. course requirements. The comprehensive examination is a process with several components. Students complete the written portion in the form of a take-home exam. The comprehensive examination concludes with a two-hour oral examination. This examination should take place
no later than two weeks after the written exam. Successful completion of the examination permits the student to proceed to the dissertation proposal. Students who
do not pass may take the examination a second time. A second failure precludes further work in the Ph.D. program. A detailed examination of the procedures and requirements of the department can be found in the department’s Graduate Student Handbook.
Dissertation: Proposal and Defense: The student should work in consultation with his or her dissertation adviser to produce a formal dissertation proposal within two months after completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination. All dissertation proposals require the approval of the department’s graduate faculty. The completed doctoral dissertation must be approved by the departmental committee and must then be defended by the candidate in an oral examination.