2023-24 Edition

German, Ph.D.

The graduate programs in German at UCI combine innovation with a solid foundation in traditional approaches. The course of study focuses on both the German literary tradition and foreign language pedagogy, with the goal of integrating works of literature, philosophy, and art into pertinent cultural, theoretical, and historical contexts in teaching and research. UC Irvine has a decades-long reputation for excellence in the study of Critical Theory, having placed first in most rankings, and the campus provides a learning context that encourages students to push the boundaries of thinking in their discipline.

Students may apply to either the M.A. program or the Ph.D. program, but only students applying to the Ph.D. program can be admitted with fellowship funding. Students with a B.A. may apply directly to the Ph.D. program and receive fellowship support, but their official advancement into the Ph.D.program is contingent upon successful completion of the M.A. before or during the second year of study. Students who already hold the M.A. degree are also encouraged to apply to the Ph.D. program.

The Ph.D. program is organized to encourage completion within five years, and there is special funding and potential employment available for those who do finish in five years. A student arriving with a B.A. normally will require three years to complete course work for the Ph.D. and qualify for advancement to candidacy. A student arriving with an M.A. will normally require two years to advance to candidacy. Most of the course work is done within the Department, but students are encouraged to broaden their studies by taking related courses in other departments in the School of Humanities, such as comparative literature, critical theory, feminist theory, or visual studies; other combinations of courses may be selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. Our innovative exam structure (involving course-syllabus development) and post-exam timeline are designed both to expedite progress to degree and to enhance the professional training of our students.

For students who enter with normal academic preparation and pursue a full-time program of study, the normative time to degree for the Ph.D. is six years or less.

The program requires a minimum of 22 approved courses from students entering with a bachelor’s degree. These may include courses in philosophy, history, comparative literature, and others suitable for the individual student’s program of study. The student also will participate in each of the German Program’s colloquia. The student will augment the reading list and keep it current during the whole course of study. At least two years of residence are required.

Students entering with the master’s degree will be advised individually as to remaining course requirements.

Qualifying Examination

In order to advance to candidacy, the student must take and pass a qualifying examination. At least two months prior to the planned date of the exam, students must submit a comprehensive reading list, prepared in consultation with their committee chair, to the examination committee. The committee may make recommendations to the list. On the basis of that list, students must design three courses, drafted in consultation with the student’s committee chair. These courses should be graduate seminars organized around topics, genres, authors, or periods. At least one of these courses must comprise the student’s intended area of dissertation research. The three courses must be clearly distinct and have minimal overlap. These courses must include reading lists of required and optional texts, main secondary literature, a written justification/course description, and a basic syllabus (for a 13-week semester course). No more than one course may be a modification of a seminar taken in the program. These courses must be submitted to the committee members at least two weeks prior to an oral examination date. Students must submit a dissertation prospectus to their advisor and, following approval by the advisor, circulate it to the entire committee. The oral exam will be a three-hour exploration of the reading list, focusing on the courses. In addition, part of the qualifying exam will involve a discussion of the student's dissertation prospectus. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, the candidate will have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy.

Dissertation Prospectus

Students must submit a dissertation prospectus to their advisor and, following approval by the advisor, circulate it to the entire committee.

Dissertation Chapter Review

Students must submit a substantial piece of writing (approximately 45 pages) from their dissertation ordinarily in the form of a chapter and a comprehensive bibliography. In consultation with their dissertation committee chair, they schedule a date and time for the oral review with the committee, which lasts approximately two-three hours. Prior to the oral review the student will make a public presentation, open to the UCI community and guests, in the form of a lecture with questions and answers.

Doctoral Colloquium

Students who have advanced to candidacy and are in residence must attend a colloquium for doctoral candidates. The colloquium will be held at least two times per quarter. Students will be expected to present sections of their prospectus or dissertation.

Dissertation Defense

The oral defense of the dissertation focuses on the adequacy of the student’s research and thesis.

Normative Time to Degree and Expected Programs of Study

For students entering with a B.A.:

Year 1: Course work;

Year 2: Course work; M.A. completed;

Year 3: Course work; Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Prospectus (latest, fall of year four); advance to candidacy;

Year 4: Dissertation chapter review and public presentation;

Year 5: Completion of dissertation; defense.

For students entering with an M.A.:

Year 1: Course work;

Year 2: Course work; Qualifying Examination and Dissertation Prospectus (latest, fall of year three); advance to candidacy;

Year 3: Dissertation chapter review and public presentation;

Year 4: Completion of dissertation; defense.

Teaching German

Since the majority of German Ph.D. candidates choose careers that involve teaching, the faculty recognizes its obligation to offer them both outstanding pedagogical training and real-world preparatory experience. Therefore, all candidates for the German M.A. and Ph.D. are required to pass HUMAN 398A and HUMAN 398B - Foreign Language Teaching: Approaches and Methods - which together comprise one graduate seminar taught over two quarters. In addition, all candidates for the German M.A. and Ph.D. program are required to teach under the supervision of a faculty member one course in each of at least three quarters (for which they will receive credit as GERMAN 399). Three of these courses may be counted toward the 22 courses required for the Ph.D. HUMAN 398A and HUMAN 398B will not count toward the 22 courses required for the Ph.D.

Faculty Mentors

Each graduate student will be assigned a faculty mentor to consult at least once each quarter about progress, the program, academic questions, or any other issues pertaining to the student’s graduate career. A student may change mentors for any reason (indeed, without giving a reason) at any time after meeting with either the graduate advisor or chair.

First-Year Review

Students ending their first year of study at UCI must undergo a more comprehensive review procedure. This applies to students entering with either a B.A. or an M.A. After the review, students will be apprised of the faculty’s evaluation and advised on a future course of study or recommended for discontinuation of the program.

Annual Review

All students will undergo an annual review by the faculty of the program. Each spring the faculty will meet to discuss students’ progress in the program. Annual review and evaluation of student performance and progress assure both the student and the faculty that each student is meeting the academic standards, teaching standards (for teaching assistants and associates, readers, and “ABD” lecturers), and professional standards of conduct expected of graduate students in the program. The review process provides an opportunity to assess and make recommendations regarding any deficiencies in student performance and progress. The following factors will be considered in determining graduate student performance and progress: grade point average, time to degree, foreign language requirement, and teaching performance.

Grade Point Average

All graduate students in German, including those in both the master’s program and the doctoral program, are expected to maintain a 3.3 GPA. A GPA below 3.3 in any quarter falls below the academic standard expected by the program. Pursuant to the terms of appointment, a student whose GPA falls below 3.3 in any given quarter and whose cumulative GPA is not 3.3 by the end of the academic year may be ineligible for funding, and faculty may recommend the student be disqualified from the program.

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must possess reading knowledge of one language other than German or English. This can be demonstrated by completing one year or the equivalent of University-level language study (1C), or passing one of the 97 graduate reading courses, or passing a translation examination administered by the Department. In the two-hour examination, the student translates selections from a scholarly book or article in the target language into English. A dictionary may be used during the examination. Full-time students must demonstrate near-native speaking abilities in German and English. Students with significant deficiencies in language competency that will adversely affect their academic progress normally will not be admitted to doctoral candidacy. Students in the doctoral program will meet language requirements on a schedule established by their doctoral committees, but in all cases the requirements must be met prior to taking the Ph.D. qualifying examination. If these requirements are not met in a timely manner, faculty may recommend disqualification from the program.