The department at Yale has long been considered one of the strongest departments of German in the United States. While emphasizing the practice and theory of reading and interpretation with a rigorous study of canonical, and also non-canonical, works of German literature, the department also encompasses and encourages within its own framework the intensive study of interdisciplinary fields such as critical theory and philosophy, comparative approaches to literature, the histories of science and law, social and political thought. Film and media studies are a focus in the German/Film program as well as within the department.
In our close-knit intellectual community the faculty works with each of its students to develop a course of study that combines those elements of German thought and culture that most reflect the individual’s interests. Our goal is to allow as much freedom as possible while assuring the completion of a degree that will have thoroughly prepared the student for a strong entrance into the profession. Our record in placing our graduates has been superb over the years.
The Interdisciplinary Context
One of the many strong points of Yale as a graduate institution is the permeability of the walls between departments. In keeping with this, the department has a large number of exceptional affiliated faculty who have their official appointments elsewhere but who are committed to periodically offering courses in the Department and to working actively with our students. In order to enrich their interdisciplinary and theoretical thinking, students are also encouraged to explore any contiguous fields of their choosing at Yale. We have a strong, vital Program in Film and Media Studies, and a close cooperation with members of the Philosophy and the History Departments. Over the years our students have also established rewarding collaborations in such fields as Jewish Studies, Political Theory, Music, and Art History. Our own courses draw students from a wide range of other departments.
Admissions and financial support:
Information about the application and admission process can be found here.
Study Abroad and Exchanges
Exchange programs exist with Humboldt University, the Zentrum fur Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft (ZfL), the Universität Konstanz, Universität Freiburg, Universität Tübingen, Universität Heidelberg and others through the Baden Württemberg-Exchange.
Courses Offered in the German Department
Courses for the current academic year are listed here .
Beyond the regular academic curriculum and in addition to the yearly series of invited speakers and German colloquium, the Yale Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures is a major focal point for far-reaching interdisciplinary collaborations. At the faculty level, we regularly organize events and conferences with our affiliated faculty, with other departments such as Comparative Literature and History, with partners within Yale such as the Beinecke Library, as well as with leading scholars from other universities and institutes. Recent European partners include the “Morphomata” Kolleg from Cologne, the Humboldt Foundation, the Heimito-von-Doderer Gesellschaft and the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Sciences.
A special highlight of the academic year is the Spring Graduate Student Conference. Yale’s German Department was the very first to institute a yearly graduate student conference. Graduate students in the fourth year organize this event around a topic of their own choosing. In 2014 our graduate students were also involved in the organization of a second major event, a workshop with the faculty and students of Northwestern University on the topic of guilt (Schuld, Schulden, Verschuldung). In 2015 our graduate students organized a conference titled Versuche über den Roman: Life and Literature after Lukács.
In addition to these more formal events, Yale and the German Department offer an array of informal settings in which students can collaborate and discuss their work. Reading groups (listed through the Whitney Humanities Center) and a work-in-progress group (formerly the “Graduate Student Forum”) in which students can discuss their ongoing research contribute to the intellectual vibrancy of our department.
Graduate and affiliated Faculty
Carol Jacobs, Director of Graduate Studies
Office: WLH 310
Office phone: (203) 432-0711