Ph.D. Degree

Completion of the M.A. either in Plan I or II is required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Those admitted to the program with an M.A. degree from another institution begin their program here. You can view the full text of the German Degree Requirements (PDF)online.

Course Requirements

Students entering with a B.A.
Students holding a B.A. who are admitted to the Ph.D. program follow the course of study outlined for the M.A. degree (Plan II) during their first two years with respect to courses, but do not take a comprehensive examination.

Students entering with an M.A.
Students who enter the Ph.D. with an M.A. must successfully complete CRI 200A + six graduate courses in the German Program. Some courses (such as GER 211, 240, 241, 242, and 297) may be repeated, provided the content is different. The approval of the graduate adviser is required. The adviser may also approve completion of 298 (Group Study) or 299 (Individual Study) in lieu of graduate seminars if the content is pertinent to the student’s course of study.

Students may also elect to pursue additional course work in a "Designated Emphases", such as Critical Theory, Feminist Theory and Research, Second Language Acquisition, or Classics and the Classical Receptions. These programs were created to accommodate interdisciplinary research interests. Students must complete all courses listed on their Ph. D. program of study before being admitted to the qualifying examination.

Committees

Admission Committee (Graduate Matters Committee):
The Graduate Matters Committee consists of all Graduate Group faculty. Once the completed application, all supporting material, and the application fee have been received, the Department's Graduate Matters Committee reads and evaluations all applications to the Ph.D. program. This committee then makes recommendations of admission, deferral, or denial of admission to Graduate Studies, which officially acts on the applications.

Course Guidance:
Until the student chooses a major professor, the student develops a study plan in close consultation with the program Graduate Adviser. For students entering with the B.A., the student chooses a faculty member during the third year to serve as a major professor. For students entering with the M.A., the student chooses a faculty member during the second year to serve as a major professor. Students with academic appointments and/or fellowships are required to enroll in no fewer than 12 units to be considered a full-time student.

Qualifying Examination Committee:
The qualifying examination consists of three parts, to be taken in consecutive quarters (spring and fall are considered consecutive quarters). The examination committee will be the same for all three parts of the examination.

-- For students completing degrees with an emphasis on German Literature and Culture, the examination will be administered by four members of the Graduate Program in German and one extra-departmental examiner;

-- For students completing a degree with an emphasis on German linguistics or second-language acquisition, the examination will be administered by at least two members of the Graduate Program in German and at least one member of the Graduate Group in Linguistics, with the other two members drawn from German, Linguistics, or another appropriate Graduate Group or department.

The examination committee will include the student’s major professor, who cannot serve as its chair. The members of the examination committee are nominated, after consultation with the student, by the Graduate Adviser and are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy.

If the student has chosen to complete a Designated Emphasis, one member of the examination committee must represent that respective area. For details on the examination, see “Section 7. Advancement to Candidacy” below.

Advising Structure and Mentoring

University Mentoring Guidelines are available here.

Advancement to Candidacy

For students entering with the B.A., the student should have completed the requirements for the M.A. by the beginning of the third year, so that they can take their qualifying exam and advance to candidacy before the beginning of the fourth year (observing the nine-quarter rule).

Qualifying Examination requirements: Post-B.A. students must complete their  qualifying examination prior to beginning their fourth year to remain eligible for academic appointments.

Post-M.A. students must take their qualifying examination prior to beginning their third year of study to remain eligible for academic appointments.

As mentioned above, the three parts of the qualifying examination must be completed within a period of three consecutive quarters (spring and fall are considered consecutive quarters). The three parts of the qualifying examination are as follows:

1) Part One (the “breadth section”) is a written examination designed to test the historical breadth of the student’s knowledge of the discipline. In consultation with the candidate’s major professor and the candidate, the chair of the examination committee creates a comprehensive list of works on which the candidate is tested. This list is based on the “Graduate Reading List in German Literature” for literature and culture students and, for students specializing in linguistics or second-language acquisition, on the “Graduate Reading List in German Linguistics.” This portion of the examination is administered in three parts: each part is three hours in length, with one part each administered on three consecutive days. If a student has already completed a comprehensive exam for the Master’s degree in the UCD German Department, Part One's form and contend may be varied, under the supervision of the Graduate Adviser and major professor.

2) Part Two (the "area section") is a written examination. In consultation with the candidate's major professor and the candidate, the chair of the examination committee creates a list of texts on which the candidate is tested. These works may concern theoretical or methodological issues relevant to the candidate's dissertation project; they may also comprise a second area of specialization. This special area portion of the qualifying examination is administered in one written examination of three hours.

3) Part Three (the “oral examination”) is an oral examination based on a dissertation prospectus of approximately twenty pages that the student submits to the examination committee at least one month prior to the examination. A substantial bibliography must be appended to the paper. This position paper must present the overall thesis and main line of argumentation of the student’s dissertation project and serves as the focal point of a sixty- to ninety-minute discussion of the research project between the candidate and the examination committee. The qualifying examination, or any single part thereof, may be repeated once. This means that if a student fails any single part of the exam but has passed the other parts, he/she may repeat the failed part.

Normative Time and Time to Degree

Students entering with the B.A., should have completed the requirements for the M.A. by the beginning of the third year, so that they can take their qualifying exam and advance to candidacy before the beginning of the fourth year. Those students should then complete their dissertations by the end of the fifth year.  Students entering with a B.A. may take into the sixth year for the completion of the dissertation.

Typical time line and sequence of events for Ph.D.

  • 1st Quarter: Meet with adviser to plan course of study
  • 1st -3rd Quarters: Take required coursework. Submit application for the DE and complete DE course work (if applicable)
  • 4th – 6th Quarters: Satisfy language requirements
  • 4th - 6th Quarters: Post-MA students take qualifying exam and advance to candidacy
  • 9th Quarter: Post-BA students take qualifying exam and advance to candidacy
  • 7th+ Quarters: Post-MA students write dissertation and complete degree
  • 10th+ Quarters: Post-BA students write dissertation and complete degree

Questions?

For questions about the admissions process, please visit the admissions portion of our website. For questions about degree requirements, please contact Maria Ruby at (530) 752-2239 or mruby@ucdavis.edu