Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Home > Degree Programs > German > Graduate Studies > Graduate Programs


The German Studies program at Michigan State University offers graduate students a solid grounding in the core disciplinary areas of literature, culture, and language studies in a unique course of study that integrates digital humanities approaches into coursework, teaching, and research opportunities.

MSU offers both the MA and the PhD in German Studies. We are especially excited about our streamlined PhD program, which allows students to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary work across the humanities. Students may enhance their German Studies degree with Graduate Certificates in Digital Humanities, Museum Studies, or College Foreign Language Teaching. Students receive personalized mentoring in teaching and research as well as in exploring various career options.


Graduate students benefit from the German faculty's active involvement with interdisciplinary programs across campus, including Digital Humanities, Second Language Studies, Global Studies, Jewish Studies, Gender Studies, and more. Students are encouraged to take advantage of collaborative opportunities in research, teaching, outreach, and other professional activities, including:

  • the Graphic Narratives Network, an interdisciplinary research group, gives students the chance to collaborate with faculty in exploring the MSU Libraries' world-renowned Comic Art Collection, and work on long-range research projects, both digital and otherwise, in the broader field of text-image studies.
  • with careful guidance from faculty mentors, students are encouraged to pursue innovative, non-traditional forms of scholarship, including hybrid dissertation projects, that are best suited for their intended career paths, whether inside or beyond academia.
  • Max Kade Fellows shadow faculty mentors in upper-level German courses, or related courses outside the department, to gain a deeper understanding of and hands-on experience with a wider range of types of teaching and pedagogies.
  • students acquire professional experience in study abroad program leadership, co-teaching a popular summer program in Germany.
  • the Center for Language Teaching Advancement gives students the chance to reach beyond the university and teach diverse ages of language learners in the Greater Lansing community.


Our program trains professionals for a range of 21st century academic and professional careers. Our graduates teach at institutions of higher education from Ivy League schools (Yale University), liberal arts colleges (Hillsdale College, Luther College, Aquinas College), to community colleges (Grand Rapids Community College). They also work in a variety of educational contexts beyond the classroom, such as study abroad and curriculum development. Many of our MAs pursue K-12 teaching careers, while others find their path in the private sector. See our graduate student page for details on recent graduates.


Graduate students in our programs are fully funded for 2 years (MA) or 5 years (PhD). Funding is comprised of a combination of teaching assistantship, research assistantship, and fellowship. The German program is committed to supporting its doctoral students financially through the summer months, with a variety of funding sources that include online teaching, study abroad program leadership, and research fellowship. All funding packages include tuition waiver for 9 credits per semester (fall and spring), health insurance, and other benefits. Students are encouraged to participate actively in the professional arena, with generous travel funding to present at scholarly conferences. In the dissertation phase, students are encouraged to apply for external grants to further support their studies (Fulbright, DAAD, etc.).

Q: Will this funding fully cover the duration of my studies?
A: The average MA student completes the degree in two years (often graduating in the summer term after Year 2). The average PhD student defends and graduates after 5-6 years, with the trend moving in the downward direction toward 4-5 years, following our focused attention to streamlining degree requirements and securing year-round funding.


For official details about admissions policies and policies governing the structure of the graduate programs, consult our graduate handbook.