Top-ranked in the two most recent National Research Council rankings of doctoral programs in the United States. Berkeley’s German department is also one of the oldest in the country, with its first Ph.D. degree awarded in 1908. (See Past Dissertations.)
An established faculty whose research has been honored with Guggenheim, Getty, Fulbright, NEH, ACLS and Alexander von Humboldt fellowships, as well as with a Humboldt Research Prize and a Goethe Medal.
Engaged graduate students, many of whom are already fully active in the profession, presenting papers at conferences, writing articles and reviews, and organizing symposia, workshops and reading groups. (See also Newsblog.)
A large community of faculty, affiliated faculty, and students in German, Comparative Literature, Rhetoric, Film & Media, Critical Theory, etc., that makes shared projects possible and allows for a rich program of seminars and extracurricular activities.
Combined with a campus-wide collegial atmosphere, working groups within the department foster a spirit of collaboration and innovation that is further promoted by interdepartmental Townsend working groups.
Cross-disciplinary openness and a strong interest in theory and media. Students are free to work with affiliated and other faculty in philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, rhetoric, comparative literature, film & media, etc. In the past, students have taken seminars with Judith Butler, Gary Holland, Martin Jay, George Lakoff, John Searle and many others.
Graduate degrees in German can be combined with Designated Emphases (D.E.) in one or two of the following programs: Critical Theory; Dutch Studies; Film Studies; Women, Gender & Sexuality; New Media; or Early Modern Studies. There is also a concurrent doctoral degree program in Medieval Studies.
A strong global network of intellectual exchange. Students are encouraged to work with faculty at universities in German-speaking countries and to build their own networks of research contacts. The department is affiliated with several universities abroad and has a constant stream of visiting researchers and doctoral students from exchange programs. (See International Networks.)
A balance of coverage and focus. The department offers a full range of courses from the Middle Ages to contemporary literature, as well as seminars that emphasize philosophy, theory and media. Courses and seminars in Germanic linguistics include historical and contemporary German and its dialects, linguistic methodology and comparative Germanic linguistics. Various “scenarios” give students a both a solid foundation and maximum freedom to specialize.
An annual graduate student conference conceived, organized and carried out by our graduate students (regularly resulting in a book edited by the main conference organizers).
Many departmental innovations initiated by students. One such project is TRANSIT, the first online journal devoted to travel, migration and multiculturalism in the German-speaking world.
A stimulating intellectual life including a constant lineup of lectures. Past speakers included Peter Sloterdijk and Slavoj Žižek, Martin Walser and Christa Wolf, Thomas Hettche, Esther Dischereit, Hugo Loetscher, Peter Wehrli and Zafer Şenocak, among many others. The Bonwit Heine lecture series, the Semiotic Circle of California, the Berkeley Germanic Linguistics Roundtable and the Berkeley Conference on Dutch Literature and Linguistics also attract national and international speakers.
Outstanding research facilities. With more than 11 million volumes, including over half a million titles in German, the Berkeley Library is among the nation’s largest. Full inter-library loan privileges across the UC system and Stanford add more than 20 million additional volumes.
A sizable departmental library that offers an around-the-clock resource for grads and faculty alike with more than five thousand volumes, a DVD collection and a viewing station. It also serves as an after-hours meeting place for various reading and research groups.
Various additional funding sources for research assistantships, summer teaching, summer programs, conference travel and teaching excellence. The Dean’s Office grants a year-long stipend for dissertation research after the Qualifying Exam. Many of our students also successfully apply for DAAD, Social Science Research Council and Fulbright grants for research in German-speaking countries.
An outstanding placement record. Our doctoral students have accepted teaching positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Washington University, Harvard University, Brigham Young University, the University of Washington, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Arizona, the University of Ohio, McGill University, the University of Rochester, the University of Virginia and numerous other tenure-granting institutions. Non-academic employers, especially those in the high-tech industry, also seek out our PhD. students.