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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

In addition to the general KU requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree concerning research skills, the oral comprehensive examination, the dissertation, and the final examination, a student must meet the following specific departmental requirements:

  1. Normally a minimum of 27 credit hours (excluding GERM 999 Doctoral Dissertation) beyond that required for the M.A. For students in German Applied Linguistics, some of the courses may be taken outside of the department.  Students in literature and culture and students in Germanic philology may choose a minor up to 9 credit hours of coursework outside the department in consultation with their advisor. This minor may consist of coursework combined with a project. The 9 hours of the minor are included in the required 27 credit hours. Required Courses: One research seminar in the area of specialization; Approved elective courses in the area of specialization; Approved elective courses for the outside minor area (depending on specialization); Reading knowledge in one foreign language other than German.  Prior to the portfolio evaluation an approved course in a foreign language for one semester or an equivalency exam must be completed.
  2. At least 1 semester of half-time teaching or the equivalent (normally GERM 800 is required concurrently with the first semester of teaching).
  3. a). A portfolio evaluation in the third semester of study after successful completion of 18 credit hours of coursework. For a detailed description of portfolio content, see the Graduate Handbook . Upon passing the portfolio evaluation and fulfilling all degree requirements, students advance to the comprehensive examination in the fourth semester of their doctoral studies. b). A comprehensive written and oral examination in the fourth semester upon completion of all required coursework (27 credit hours in German Studies; for students in German Applied Linguistics and for students with a minor option, some of the courses will be taken outside of the department) and fulfillment of all degree requirements. The comprehensive examination consists of a 2-part written departmental preliminary examination based on the student’s submitted portfolio followed by an oral examination.

Research Skills & Responsible Scholarship

The University requires that every doctoral student have training in responsible scholarship and research skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the comprehensive oral exam. For Germanic Languages and Literatures doctoral students, this requirement is met by the following:

Course List
GERM 700 Introduction to Graduate Studies in German 3
GERM 702 Tutorial-Introduction to Graduate Studies in German 1
GERM 800 Seminar: Teaching German as a Second Language 3
GERM 855 Introduction to German Applied Linguistics 3
Demonstrated reading knowledge of French and one other modern language, Latin or Greek. Students specializing in medieval philology or older literature must select Latin as the second language for reading knowledge.  


Graduate Handbook

For further details about the requirements for the Ph.D. see the department's Graduate Handbook.



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The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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