German Graduate Studies

Director of Graduate Studies/Graduate Advisor (contact)

The graduate program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures - German Studies combines the rigor of traditional philological inquiry into the history of German literature with a broader cultural studies approach that attends to the historical and mediological aspects of German intellectual history. Particular emphasis is placed on the way media technologies – film, photography, the physical form of the book – influence, interact with, and inflect this textual tradition. In bringing together research on both the semiotic and material aspects of literary and intellectual history, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures - German Studies encourages students to engage with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches on their way to formulating their own coherent interdisciplinary programs of research.

Program Requirements for the M.A. Degree. For the M.A. Degree there are thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option entails six courses plus a master's thesis. The aim of the thesis is to initiate students into the theoretical, methodological and historical approaches to the study of German literature and culture. The non-thesis option entails 9 courses and three extra research papers. The course on "Introduction to Literary Theory" is a requirement for all MA students.

Program Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree. For the Ph.D. Degree, students are required to take eight courses. During the usual two years of coursework, students must pass yearly written comprehensive examinations. At the end of coursework students are expected to pass an oral examination that focuses on three fields related to their proposed dissertation project. The written examinations are generalist exams to ensure students' knowledge of the broader canon of German literary and media history. The oral exam is constructed in consultation with the students' chosen examiners and is more narrowly focused on fields that will prepare the student to undertake his or her major research project. Successful completion of both exams is a necessary prerequisite for the writing of the dissertation.

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the broad interdisciplinary and interuniversity resources available in Montreal, including the Center for German and European Studies in connection with the Department of German Studies at the Université de Montréal; collaborative research initiatives organized by our own faculty such as the Interacting with Print research group and the Project on European Cinemas; the Kant/Hegel research circle at Concordia University; and a variety of events coordinated through the Montreal Goethe Institute

The Department is also committed to supporting students' integration into the profession and fostering their intellectual quality of life. To that end we organize a variety of formal and informal activities that complement students' coursework, including: staff-student colloquia, dissertation workshops, one-day seminars on core themes in the field (e.g. "introduction to media or cultural studies"), monthly Kaffeestunden with faculty and students, visiting speakers, reading groups, and film series.

Application. Applicants to German Studies should have a solid background in the German language and cultural history. Students with undergraduate or graduate degrees not in German are encouraged to apply, but must demonstrate linguistic fluency and some prior study of German-related courses. Such students may be admitted with the requirement of extra-course work or as qualifying students.

As of October 2012, McGill’s formerly paper-based graduate application process has been replaced with a more convenient electronic version.  For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents in the new version, please see:

Deadlines for Receipt of Completed Applications: 

Please note that incomplete applications (including letters of recommendation, testing scores (TOEFL, IELTS), transcripts, sample(s) of written work) by the application deadline will not be considered.

For Fall Admission:  January 6 (Canadian/Permanent Resident/International).

For Winter Admission: September 15 (Canadian/Permanent Resident); August 14 (International). 

Special/Exchange/Visiting:  As above.

Application and Required Documents:

Should you decide to formally apply, all supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to the McGill admissions processing system (complete

  • Online application form.
  • Application fee.  You must pay a $100 non-refundable fee or your application will not be processed.
  • All university transcripts. Those transcripts not in English or French must be accompanied by a certified English or French translation (prepared by a licensed translator).
  • Statement of purpose. Applicants are requested to send a brief statement of their interests and the areas they wish to study within the Department (1 to 3 pages).
  • Two letters of recommendation. Those letters not in English or French must be accompanied by a certified English or French translation (prepared by a licensed translator). On the application form you must provide the names and email addresses of at least two professors who are familiar with your academic work. McGill will contact these referees and invite them to upload references on your behalf. Please note that although you can list public domain addresses such as Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo Mail on the application form, references uploaded from these addresses will not be accepted by the Department. Therefore you must list a valid institutional or corporate e-mail address for your referees.
  • One or two samples of written work (in PDF format). This can be in the form of a graded paper, a chapter from a thesis, or an academic article.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores for non-native English applicants. This is a requirement of all students applying whose native language is other than English. Results must be on file by application deadline – Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies no longer process applications without official results. Minimum score of 575 or 231 computer based scale. Please note that permanent residents may be required to submit a TOEFL score. IELTS scores are also acceptable: a band score of 6.5 or greater (Academic module).

McGill's funding for graduate students in the humanities is based on a combined package of language instructorships and multi-year awards.

Contact Information:

Ms. Lynda Bastien
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
McGill University
688 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 3R1
info.llcu [at] (Email)
Phone : (514) 398-4400 ext. 09015