Graduate Programs

The Department of German Studies offers a Ph.D. program that both provides a coherent perspective on major developments in German literature, culture and critical thought in the modern period (1650 to the present) and affords students the opportunity to develop their own specialized interests in German Studies.

The program requires a secondary field of study consisting of a coherent sequence of four courses outside the Department. With guidance from the Director of Graduate Studies, each student plans this sequence in a specialized interest. Some examples of possible specialized programs of study are Media Studies, History, Jewish Studies, Visual Arts, Philosophy, Music or Theater. Drawing on the expertise of eminent scholars in these fields at Brown, the program thus fosters an interdisciplinary approach to the field of German Studies.

The guiding principle of our curriculum is a conscious exploration of those topics and moments in the history of German literature, culture, and thought which define its uniqueness, exemplify broader issues in the humanities, or have resonated most strongly in other cultures. A field which unifies these moments — aesthetics and aesthetic theory from Kant to Adorno — is currently one of our strengths.

The program is designed to prepare students for a diverse and ever-changing workplace, within academia and outside. To become first-rate scholars and researchers, students are trained to develop their writing skills and to deliver publishable work. To become mature and innovative teachers, they are exposed to a rigorous program of theoretical and practical approaches to teaching. To enable them to become high–performing professionals, students will learn to conduct innovative research, to process information effectively and efficiently, and to communicate highly complex subjects to a variety of audiences.

Application Information

Applicants are expected to have a strong background in German literature and thought.

Application Requirements

GRE Subject:

Not required

GRE General:

Not required

Writing Sample:

Required (in English or German – twenty pages maximum).

Additional Requirements:

Fluency in German required.


Application Deadline

Completion Requirements

Thirteen courses, including four courses in a secondary field of study; reading knowledge of two additional foreign languages; teaching; qualifying exam; dissertation and defense.

Alumni Careers

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Department Chair
Kristina Mendicino
Director of Graduate Studies
Gerhard Richter

Contact and Location

Department of German Studies

Mailing Address

Brown University
Box 1979
Visit the Department of German Studies