German Literature Degree Programs
You can study German literature at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, though this particular field is most often studied at the master's level. Explore common topics of study, program requirements and your potential career options.
What Types of Degree Programs in German Literature Are Available?
On-campus bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in German literature are available at various colleges and universities. Some German literature programs may function as emphases of German/Germanic studies or German-language degree programs.
Online programs in German literature specifically aren't available at any degree level, though broader programs specializing in the German language are available in online and hybrid formats at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Some schools may offer language classes online, but online German literature classes are relatively uncommon.
|Degree Options||Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in German literature, German language or German/Germanic studies are available|
|Online Availability||No online German literature programs, but German language may be studied online at the bachelor's and master's levels|
|Common Undergraduate Courses||German drama, German poetry, famous German writers, German language|
|Common Graduate Courses||Modern German literature, medieval German literature, German fairy tales, German linguistics|
|Possible Program Requirements||Study abroad in a German-speaking country, thesis, exam, dissertation, teaching assistantship|
|Career Options||Translator, interpreter, professor, English teacher, German teacher|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||5% growth (for area, ethnic, and cultural studies teachers, postsecondary)*|
|Median Salary (2020)||$78,840 (for area, ethnic, and cultural studies teachers, postsecondary)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Study in an Undergraduate Program?
Many colleges offer undergraduate programs in German or German studies with courses, concentrations or emphases in literature. To be admitted into a German literature bachelor's degree program, you must demonstrate an affinity for the language by taking introductory language courses in high school or your first year of undergraduate study. Other undergraduate topics in these programs include German grammar, conversation, film and civilization. Your literature courses may stress the study of common themes in German classics, poetry and drama, or in pieces by Faust, Nietzsche and Goethe.
What Will I Study in a Graduate Program?
German literature is commonly pursued at the master's degree level. For a master's degree in German literature, you must be able to speak some German and may be required to submit a German writing sample or hold a bachelor's degree in German. As a graduate student, you will likely study literature and poetry from the Medieval, Baroque and Enlightenment periods, as well as modern literature from the 20th century. Through your studies, you will learn to analyze, interpret and discuss the purposes and meanings of various literary works at an advanced level.
Although doctoral programs in German literature aren't as common as master's programs, some doctoral programs in German studies and related areas may include courses in literature. To be admitted into a doctoral program in German literature, you must have an advanced knowledge of the German language and German literature. You may also be required to understand an additional foreign language, such as French or Latin. Sometimes, you can choose a specialization in an area of interest to you, such as pre-modern or modern German literature. In addition to research courses, you may study the following:
- German literature before the 1500s
- German literature since 1800
- German or Scandinavian linguistics
- Fairy tales from the Brothers' Grimm
- Contemporary German novels
What Are the Program Requirements?
For a bachelor's degree in German literature, you may be required or encouraged to participate in a study abroad program in a German-speaking nation, such as Germany or Austria. Most master's degree programs require you to produce a thesis or take a final capstone exam testing your understanding of German literature. In a Ph.D. program, you may have to take a general examination evaluating your written language skills. Assistant teaching experiences and the completion of an original dissertation may also be required for graduation.
How Can I Use My Degree?
With a bachelor's degree in German literature, you may be able to find a job as a German teacher, writer or travel agent. Master's degree holders can continue to research German literature or work as an interpreter or translator. You may also be able to teach German or English. A Ph.D. allows you to teach German at the college level, conduct research on German literature or analyze German texts.