Contacts

Office: Building 260, Rooms 127-128
Mail Code: 94305-2030
Phone: (650) 723-3266
Email: germanstudies@stanford.edu
Web Site: German Studies

Courses offered by the Department of German Studies are listed on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site under the subject code GERMAN. For courses in German language instruction with the subject code GERLANG, see the “Language Center” section of this bulletin.

The department is a part of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

The department provides students with the linguistic and analytic ability to explore the significance of the cultural traditions and political histories of the German-speaking countries of Central Europe. At the same time, the interdisciplinary study of German culture, which can include art, economics, history, literature, media theory, philosophy, political science, and other fields, encourages students to evaluate broader and contradictory legacies of the German past, the history of rapid modernization and the status of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland today.

The German experience of national identity, political unification, and integration into the European Union sheds light on wider issues of cultural cohesion and difference, as well as on the causes and meaning of phenomena such as racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. In general, an education in German Studies not only encourages the student to consider the impact of German-speaking thinkers and artists, but also provides a lens through which the contours of the present and past, in Europe and elsewhere, can be evaluated.

The department offers students the opportunity to pursue course work at all levels in the languages, cultures, literatures, and societies of the German-language traditions. Whether interested in German literature, the influence of German philosophy on other fields in the humanities, or the character of German society and politics, students find a broad range of courses covering language acquisition and refinement, literary history and criticism, cultural history and theory, history of thought, continental philosophy, and linguistics.

By carefully planning their programs, students may fulfill the B.A. requirements for a double major in German Studies and another subject. A coterminal program is offered for the B.A. and M.A. degrees in German Studies. Doctoral students may elect Ph.D. minors in Comparative Literature, Humanities, Linguistics, and Modern Thought and Literature.

Special collections and facilities at Stanford offer possibilities for extensive research in German Studies and related fields pertaining to Central Europe. Facilities include the Stanford University Libraries and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. Special collections include the Hildebrand Collection (texts and early editions from the 16th to the 19th century), the Austrian Collection (with emphasis on source material to the time of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, the Napoleonic wars, and the Revolution of 1848), and the Stanford Collection of German, Austrian, and Swiss Culture. New collections emphasize culture and cultural politics in the former German Democratic Republic. The Hoover Institution has a unique collection of historical and political documents pertaining to Germany and Central Europe from 1870 to the present. The department also has its own reference library.

Haus Mitteleuropa, the German theme house at 620 Mayfield, is an undergraduate residence devoted to developing an awareness of the culture of Central Europe. A number of department courses are regularly taught at the house, and there are in-house seminars and conversation courses. Assignment is made through the regular undergraduate housing draw.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in German Studies

The mission of the undergraduate program in German Studies is to provide students with the German language skills, the ability to interpret literature and other cultural material, and the capacity to analyze the societies of the German-speaking countries of Central Europe. In addition, its interdisciplinary component prepares students to understand other cultures from the perspectives of multiple disciplines. The program prepares students for careers in business, social service, and government, and for graduate work in German Studies.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. oral proficiency in German beyond the interpersonal level with presentational language abilities.

  2. writing proficiency in German beyond the interpersonal level with presentational language abilities.

  3. close reading skills of authentic texts in German.

  4. the ability to develop effective and nuanced lines of interpretation.

Graduate Programs in German Studies

The University requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Learning Outcomes (Graduate)

The purpose of the master's program is to further develop knowledge and skills in German Studies and to prepare students for a professional career or doctoral studies. This is achieved through completion of courses, in the primary field as well as related areas, and experience with independent work and specialization.

The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in German Studies. Through completion of advanced course work and rigorous skills training, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to the knowledge of German Studies and to pursue career tracks in higher education and in other sectors.

German Studies and a Minor Field

Students may work toward a Ph.D. in German Studies with minors in such areas as Comparative Literature, History, Humanities, Linguistics, or Modern Thought and Literature. Students obtaining a Ph.D. in such combinations may require additional training.

Faculty in German Studies

Director: Kathryn Starkey

Chair of Graduate Studies: Kathryn Starkey

Chair of Undergraduate Studies: Elizabeth Bernhardt-Kamil

Professors: Russell A. Berman (also Comparative Literature) (on leave Winter), Elizabeth Bernhardt-Kamil, Adrian Daub (also Comparative Literature), Amir Eshel (also Comparative Literature), Matthew Wilson Smith (also Theater and Performance Studies), Kathryn Starkey

Assistant Professor: Lea Pao (on leave

Courtesy Professors: R. Lanier Anderson, Michael Friedman, Thomas S. Grey, Fiona Griffiths, Stephen Hinton, Norman Naimark, Thomas Sheehan, Elaine Treharne   

Courtesy Associate Professors: Shane Denson, Charlotte Fonrobert, Nadeem Hussain, Christopher Krebs, Marisa Galvez, Brent Sockness, Laura Stokes

Emeriti: (Professors) Theodore M. Andersson, Gerald Gillespie, Katharina Mommsen, Orrin W. Robinson III

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Department of German Studies is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. The overall goal of advising, both in the DLCL and the department, is to help graduate students make academic and career choices wisely, and think ahead, in order to craft a long-term plan for their graduate student career and beyond. When most effective, the advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the advisor and the advisee. As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the advisor and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity. Advising is both an academically invaluable form for the transmission of expertise, as well as a key aspect of creating a strong departmental and Stanford community.

Faculty Advisors

Faculty advisors guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

  • Upon enrolling, students plan their work under the direction of the Chair of Graduate Studies or a faculty member designated by the program. When the student selects a more specialized advisor, the transition should involve oral or written communication between both advisers and the student concerning the student's progress, goals, and expectations. It is possible for doctoral students to choose two main advisers at the dissertation stage, provided all agree this is academically sound. 

  • Faculty advisors should meet with assigned students to discuss their selection of courses and to plan from a broader, longer-term perspective, including discussion of Program milestones and a basic timeline; an overview of Department and DLCL offerings beyond courses; student goals and interests and DLCL or Stanford programs that may be relevant; and (for doctoral students) how to transfer previous graduate coursework.

  • Faculty advisors and graduate students should meet at least once per quarter to assess the advisee's course of study, performance over the past quarter, and plans for the next quarter, as well as longer term plans. If a student has two advisers, the student should meet at least once per quarter with each adviser and at least once per year with both advisers at the same time. 

  • For doctoral students, faculty should help their advisees plan for exams, research grant applications, develop research projects, and plan ahead for both the academic job market and the job search beyond academia.

  • Faculty advisors should provide feedback about the student's progress to the department during the Annual Review process. For more information about the Annual Review, see the Graduate Handbook.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

  • Upon enrolling, students plan their work under the direction of the Chair of Graduate Studies or a faculty member designated by the program. As the student develops a field of expertise, the student chooses a program advisor to replace the Chair of Graduate Studies role. The transition should involve oral or written communication between both advisers and the student concerning the student's progress, goals, and expectations. 

  • Graduate students and faculty advisors and should meet at least once per quarter to assess the advisee's course of study, performance over the past quarter, and plans for the next quarter, as well as longer term plans. If a student has two advisers, the student should meet at least once per quarter with each adviser and at least once per year with both advisers at the same time. 

  • Students should consult with their advisors on all academic matters, including coursework, conference presentations and publications, research travel, and teaching plans. 

  • Students should provide a thorough self-evaluation each year for the annual review. For more information about the Annual Review, see the Graduate Handbook.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the Graduate Advising section of this bulletin.