The PhD in German Studies at Michigan State University offers students a solid grounding in the study of literature, culture, and language in a uniquely streamlined program that integrates digital humanities approaches into coursework, teaching, and research opportunities. The program is designed to allow students with a BA to complete a four-year PhD, shortening the typical six- to eight-year path.
Traditional seminars are complemented by independent work on non-credit modules (workshops, colloquia, and self-paced assignments) to provide core components of professional expertise. Progress toward the PhD is accelerated through an intensive 12-month model that fully utilizes summer semesters. Preparation for comprehensive exams and the dissertation is integrated into coursework and modules beginning with the first semester of study.
The MSU German Studies program acknowledges the central role that changing technologies play in all of our lives. The faculty at MSU integrate insights from their expertise in the areas of digital humanities, instructional technology, computer-mediated language learning, global cultural studies, and film/media studies into their teaching and research. Students in the PhD program work with new technologies in and out of the classroom, and consider the influence of media on language, culture and society in all of their seminars. Seminar offerings encompass literature, film and cultural studies from the 18th century to the present, German linguistics, and second language acquisition.
In addition to Digital Humanities, faculty and students collaborate with innovative programs across campus: Global Studies, Second Language Studies, Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Gender Studies, Religious Studies, and Peace and Justice Studies. Students in the PhD program work with new technologies in and out of the classroom, and consider the influence of media on language, culture and society in all of their seminars.
"What is the most impressive about the graduate program is the willingness to continually examine the market conditions for PhDs and to make robust and productive changes accordingly...the program has long integrated language, literature and culture coupled with strong pedagogy skills and most recently instituted a strong interdisciplinary link with Digital Humanities and with Educational Technology."
-Karin Wurst, PhD
Dean, College of Arts & Letters
The College of Arts and Letters' innovative program fosters breadth and depth of knowledge, intellectual skills, mental flexibility and ethical grounding, preparing students to play responsible roles in society while launching successful careers inside academia as well as in the public and private sectors. Coursework is combined with learning and teaching opportunities beyond the classroom, including virtual research experiences, study abroad internships, job shadowing in upper-level classes, engagement in MSU's Community Language School, and other outreach programs.
Transcriptable graduate certification programs are available in Digital Humanities; College Foreign Language Teaching with an emphasis on educational technology, and Film, Media, and Transmedia Studies (expected 2013); and on language, culture and society in all of their seminars.
PhD students receive 4-year funding packages that include a combination of teaching assistantship, Max Kade Fellowship, and summer grants for teaching, collaborative research, and study abroad or other internship experiences.
German Studies Program Designated "German Center of Excellence" by AATG
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY'S GERMAN PROGRAM has been designated a "German Center of Excellence" by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) for 2013. After carefully reviewing applications from numerous college and university German programs, the AATG committee found Michigan State University's German programming excellent in every category. MSU's German Studies Program is one of only two recipients of this high distinction.
Keith Cothrun, executive director of AATG, notes, "The jury was impressed in particular that the MSU German Program is so very well established. There is clear evidence that the program has strong support from the administration, professional colleagues, alumni, and students, and has strong ties to the wider campus and community. Most impressive is the program's curriculum. There is a clear, articulated sequence of instructional programming that is standards-based and reflects current methodologies."
Located within the College of Arts and Letters, MSU's German Studies Program is uniquely situated to provide a humanist dimension for international and global studies. The program is intent on developing methods that produce the most effective learning environments for its students, and is committed to doing so as a continuing process. In addition, it offers a variety of curricular and co-curricular experiences on campus and abroad that are designed to enhance both the academic and pre-professional experience. This program has led the way among language programs at MSU, as well as other peer institutions, in its close attention to curricular review and revision at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Furthermore, faculty members are deeply committed to fostering student research and are active in mentoring students in curriculum-based research projects, college-based research, and university research forums.
"On behalf of the faculty and staff at the College of Arts and Letters and, specifically, those within the German Studies Program, we are honored to be awarded this distinction," says Karin Wurst, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. "In particular, I am very proud of the long tradition of attention to curricular nimbleness, articulation, and standards-based assessment and the inclusion of internships and outreach activities on the undergraduate level."
Dean Wurst adds, "What is most impressive about the graduate program is the willingness to continuously examine the market conditions for PhDs, and to make robust and productive changes accordingly. Much attention has been paid over the years to preparing PhDs for a variety of teaching situations with careful mentoring, job shadowing, and outreach tasks through our Community Language School. Most recently, the program has instituted a strong interdisciplinary link with Digital Humanities and with Educational Technology for all graduate students."
Find out more about the new 4-year German PhD program: