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Graduate Program

Requirements for M.A. Examinations

All requirements of the Graduate College, plus the following departmental requirements:

The committees for the M.A. examinations are appointed by the department head on the recommendation of the director of graduate studies in consultation with the student. M.A. committees consist of at least three faculty members, at least two of whom must be members of the faculty of this department, and two of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Additional faculty members will not submit written questions. The committee will be chaired by the faculty member representing the student’s area of main interest. All members of the committee will read the written examination and may pose questions in the oral examination.

M.A. Written Examination

The series of written examinations for the M.A. degree, normally administered in the second week of April, consists of three examinations of three hours each in the areas of older German literature, modern German literature, and Germanic linguistics, designed to test the student's ability to synthesize the knowledge gained through course work and independent reading. At least one of these examinations must be written in German (in the case of native speakers of German, at least one examination must be written in English). To ensure a minimal acquaintance on the part of the candidates with works in the three areas of examination, the graduate faculty of the department has established a Master's reading list as a guide. It is expected that a majority of these works will already be familiar to the student through undergraduate course work or through course work toward the Master's degree. Since the reading list is intended as a guide and an aid, the student may propose to the appropriate member of the M.A. Committee the substitution of particular works and/or authors.

M.A. Oral Examination

The Master's oral examination is administered only upon the successful completion of the written examination. With the advice of the chair of the M.A. Committee, the candidates prepare, and submit to the committee at least a week in advance of the oral examination, a written presentation of a research topic, which the candidates then discuss with the committee at the beginning of the oral examination. The remainder of the two-hour oral examination is devoted to questions about older German literature, modern German literature, and Germanic linguistics.


The grading of examinations for the degree will be on a pass/fail basis. If the student passes the final oral examination, the committee will certify the student's successful completion, and in addition, will recommend on the basis of the student's overall performance that (1) the student should be encouraged to continue with graduate studies, or (2) that the student should not continue, in which case the M.A. degree will be considered a terminal degree.

In case of a failure on any part of the examination, the committee will determine whether the student shall be allowed to repeat that part. Decisions of the committee must be unanimous.

MA Exams - Guidelines

*In order to take MA exams, students need to have a minimum 3.0 GPA

Written part

3 written exams about reading list (older lit, newer lit, linguistics): 3 hours each Written
presentation of a research topic (=a slightly revised but not extended seminar research paper,
20-­‐25 pages)

Oral part (2 hours)

Questions about written exams
Presentation and discussion of research topic

Language: Mix of English and German (which exam will be written/discussed in what language should
be determined with head of committee beforehand)

Reading list: 40 texts
a) 10 texts from “older lit” category (Categories I and II on list: “althochdeutsche Literatur” to
b) 10 texts from “newer lit” category (Categories III and IV on list: “Romantik” to “21. Jhd”)
c) 10 texts from “linguistics” category (Category V on list): (When choosing articles, 3-­‐5
articles substitute for a book. Choices to be discussed with linguistics examiner)
d) 10 additional texts chosen from a, b, or c. This will be the field of
specialization/concentration (either breadth of coverage or focus on a specific cluster in that

In each category 5 texts should be chosen from the existing list (there is no difference between
items with an asterisk [*] or without one). The other 5 will be chosen in consultation with the
faculty member giving the exam. For the “d category,” there can be more flexibility since this
should give students a chance to explore their research interests.

MA Reading List