Germanic Studies

2014-15 Tuition

$29,500

Application deadlines

Fall, Jan. 2; no spring admission

Requirements summary

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • two recommendations
  • GRE general test for U.S. citizens
  • writing sample
  • fluency in German
  • German area studies applicants - contact the field

Degrees

  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Germanic Studies (Ph.D.)

Major concentrations

  • German area studies
  • German intellectual history
  • Germanic linguistics
  • Germanic literature

Minor concentrations

  • Old Norse

*Please note that students are not admitted into a terminal-M.A. program in Germanic Studies, but may earn the M.A. on the way to earning the Ph.D. For complete information, please contact the field.

The concentration in German area studies combines relevant courses in history, international relations, and comparative economics with courses in German literature, culture, and language.

The concentration in German intellectual history draws on faculty members of other fields such as philosophy, history, government, anthropology, psychology, music, etc. Students may concentrate on a theme or in a historical period from the Middle Ages to the present. The focus of the major is generally on the history of ideas as reflected in German written documents. Students may also concentrate in German cinema studies.

The concentration in Germanic linguistics aims to ensure familiarity with the basic tools of research in linguistics and philology and to provide the student with a thorough knowledge of selected areas of specialization. Students may focus on one or more of the following: the structure of modern German; the history of German; comparative Germanic linguistics; and the older Germanic languages.

The concentration in Germanic literature is uniquely flexible: in general, requirements are defined in terms of competence, not in terms of credits or specific courses. Students are expected to acquire a general knowledge of German literature and to become familiar with the tools and methods necessary for research and analysis. In addition, students are expected to acquire a more detailed knowledge of one of the following areas: medieval; Renaissance, Reformation, Baroque; enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, Schiller, Goethe; romanticism, Biedermeier, Restoration through Vormärz; realism, naturalism; or twentieth century.

The university's collection of Old Norse materials (the Fiske Icelandic Collection) is probably the best of its kind outside Scandinavia.

Application:
Applicants should have a good background in German literature and be fluent in German. Fluency in another language is also desirable. United States applicants are required to submit GRE general test scores. A field brochure is available on request from the graduate field office.

Leslie Adelson -- Concentrations: German area studies; Germanic literature; Research interests: German literature since 1945; migrant and minority studies; Jewish studies; feminist theory; cultural history
Susan Buck-Morss -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Research interests: German political philosophy - Marx to Benjamin
Andrew Chignell -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Research interests: 17th and 18th century philosophy; philosophy of religion; epistemology
Paul Fleming -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; German area studies; Germanic literature; Research interests: 18th - 20th century German literature with an emphasis on classicism, romanticism, and realism; aesthetic theory
Peter Gilgen -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Germanic literature; Research interests: German intellectual history; Germanic literature
Arthur Groos -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; German area studies; Germanic literature; Research interests: medieval literature; early modern city culture; German and Italian opera; history of science
Wayne Harbert -- Concentrations: Germanic linguistics; Research interests: the historical linguistics and syntax of the Germanic and Celtic languages; language endangerment, death, revival and maintenance
Isabel Hull -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Research interests: eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century German political, legal, military, and institutional history; sexuality and gender
Peter Katzenstein -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Research interests: political, economic, cultural affairs of Germany and Europe
Michelle Kosch -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Research interests: German philosophy; 19th- and 20th-Century German and Danish philosophy
Patrizia McBride -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Germanic literature; Research interests: German literature; aesthetic theory; visual studies
Annette Richards -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; German area studies; Research interests: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music criticism and aesthetic theory and practice; C.P.E. Bach; intersections between music and visual culture
Anette Schwarz -- Concentrations: Germanic literature; Research interests: romanticism; realism; twentieth century; literary theory; psychoanalysis; philosophy of language
Elke Siegel -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; German area studies; Germanic literature; Research interests: German literature from 1900 to present; literary theory; psychoanalysis
Geoffrey Waite -- Concentrations: German intellectual history; Germanic literature; Research interests: European philosophy; visual studies; Marxism; Spinoza; Nietzsche; Heidegger; Althusser; Lacan; Karatani
James Webster -- Concentrations: German area studies; Research interests: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music; opera; music historiography; musical aesthetics

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

David Bathrick -- Concentrations: German area studies; Germanic literature; Research interests: twentieth-century German literature and culture; cultural theory; history and theory of cinema; German Democratic Republic and Weimar culture

Assessment Plan:

One of the leading graduate programs nationally and internationally, German Studies at Cornell offers a flexible yet rigorous course of study that draws on the expertise of faculty members from both the Department of German Studies and a variety of units in the College of Arts and Sciences and other schools (including Comparative Literature; Theater, Film, & Dance; Philosophy; History; Government; Music; and Architecture, Art & Planning). The German Studies faculty has a strong interest in cultural and intellectual history, philosophy, literary theory, gender studies, Jewish studies, visual studies, film, and music. Members of the faculty are also affiliated with the Medieval Studies Program, the Program of Jewish Studies, the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance, the Visual Studies Program, and the Department of Comparative Literature.
Students are encouraged to pursue their academic interests by exploring a variety of disciplinary and theoretical approaches. Cornell’s unique field system, which fosters close cooperation among scholars working on related topics across departments and schools, is key to supporting our students’ cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research in German Studies. The areas of expertise covered by the faculty and explored by the graduate students in the Department of German Studies represent the full spectrum of professional sub-fields in German literary and cultural studies (from the Middle Ages to the present), and interdisciplinary affiliations further extend the department’s intellectual and creative engagement.

Learn more about the graduate field of Germanic Studies assessment plan.