Graduate Certificate

What is the Graduate Certificate in German Studies?

The goal of the certificate is to provide a concise program of study that offers graduate students an in-depth introduction into key concepts and issues in German culture and contemporary German Studies.

The certificate targets students earning PhDs in other units, especially Comparative Literature, History, Slavic, Music, Political Science, and Sociology. It offers students whose research touches upon German speaking Europe a deeper understanding of German cultural and intellectual traditions, critical theory, and the humanistic ramifications of German political theory and historiography.  Students entering the Certificate Program will complement their PhD with a "minor" in German Studies and thereby actively engage in cross-disciplinary inquiry. In the process, they will gain access to the disciplinary protocols and academic networks in German Studies (publishing venues, conferences, journals), which will allow them to speak (and potentially also to teach) confidently across disciplines. The latter skills will not only benefit the students' dissertation work but also strengthen their credentials on the job market.

Required Courses

Students in the Certificate Program in German Studies take graduate course work in German Studies totaling 12 credit hours. Of these, nine will be earned in three required courses: GER 540, the introductory course, (could be substituted by Teaching Methods, GER 531) and two further courses from a list of three core course rubrics of the graduate curriculum in German Studies , GER 701/02, GER 731/32, and GER 761/62. The particular scholarly interests and disciplinary home of the Certificate student should inform the choice of courses. 

The remaining 3 credits will be earned in the colloquium (Ger 825) during the term in which the student presents his/her capstone project. As capstone project, students are asked to present the chapter of their dissertation that is most closely related to issues in German Studies, or a rewritten seminar paper that they wrote in one of the Certificate classes and that is associated with the students’ dissertation work.

Throughout their studies Certificate students will be mentored by the Graduate Chair in German Studies and should consult with the Graduate Chair about their course choices.

In short, the requirements entail three stages that are summarized below:

Stage 1:  1st required course: Introduction to German Studies (GER 540) or Teaching Methods (GER 531) (3 credits)

Stage 2:  2nd and 3rd required courses (choice between GER 701/02, 731/32, 761/62) (6 credits)

Stage 3:  German Studies Colloquium (GER 825): Presentation of Capstone Project and participation in the colloquium (3 credits)

Who is eligible to apply?

Students who have been admitted or are currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Michigan (except for students enrolled in the German PhD program) in Ann Arbor are eligible to apply for the Certificate Program in German Studies. Students from non-Rackham graduate programs (i.e. Law or Business) who are admitted to the Certificate will be asked to also register in Rackham.

Application Requirements

Applications will be accepted throughout the academic year on a rolling basis. Students who wish to enter the Certificate Program should address their application to the German Department’s Executive Committee, german.exco@umich.edu or 3110 Modern Languages Building, and submit the following documents:  

  • Statement of purpose that outlines the student’s interest in the program and his or her background in German Studies.
  • One writing sample.
  • One letter of recommendation from the student’s advisor in his or her home department.
  • Official transcript demonstrating that the student is in good standing at his or her graduate program.
  • Evidence of German reading language proficiency.
  • A completed Dual Degree/Program Application signed by the student’s home department must be submitted to the German Department’s Student Services Coordinator, Jennifer White at jenpatri@umich.edu or 3109 Modern Languages Building. The application can be found on the Rackham website.