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German Studies (Carolina-Duke German Program)

For more information contact

Co-Director of Graduate Studies
The Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies
Duke University
Box 90256
Durham, NC 27708-0256

Phone: (919) 660-3160


General Information

Degree offered:
Faculty working with students:
Students receiving Financial Aid:
Part time study available:
Test required:
GRE General: Optional for 2021
Application Deadlines

Program Description

The Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies is a fully merged graduate program, granting the PhD in German Studies, with a joint admissions process and a single diploma bearing the names of both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its organizing principle is a careful combination of disciplinary rigor and interdisciplinary flexibility that recognizes the fundamental interrelation of all the cultural expressions of societies where the German language is spoken. Taking full advantage of the intellectual, educational, and cultural resources of two of the finest universities in the nation, the program features an advantageous combination of individual attention in small classes and a close connection to the broader communities of literature, cultural studies, and German Studies at Duke University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The core German Studies faculty represent all fields of the discipline, including literature and culture from 1000 to the present, gender and sexuality studies, German-Jewish studies, science studies, critical race theory, film and media studies, literary theory and poetics, political theory, philosophy, and intellectual history. Multiple program options are available to students, and interdisciplinary work is strongly encouraged. Admission is highly competitive and limited to about five students a year. Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are committed to offering six years of full funding, including tuition, to admitted students. Students take courses full time in their first year of study; in subsequent years they acquire teaching experience at both a private (Duke) and a public (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) university.


Application Information

Application Terms Available

Application Deadline
To assure full consideration, completed applications should be submitted by December 14th

Applicants for The Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies must use the University of North Carolina Graduate School's electronic application:

The single admissions process for the joint program will ensure that incoming students matriculate fully at both universities.

Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)

Statement of Purpose Guidelines
In order to help the Admissions Committee assess how well your interests and goals fit with our graduate program, please provide a 1-3 page personal statement. At the top of your statement please insert a brief description (20 words or fewer) of your specific research interests. In addition, please discuss your goals in pursuing the Carolina-Duke German Studies Ph.D., your study abroad experience(s) and the trajectory of your academic career thus far.

Writing Sample
The writing sample is among the most significant elements of your application. Please upload a single writing sample of 10-20 double-spaced pages (roughly 8,000 words) that represents your very best academic writing. Typically, this an essay submitted for credit in a humanities course of relevance to German Studies. Your essay should make an interpretive argument supported using evidence from literary or theoretical texts or other cultural media like film or video. You may submit your writing sample in either English or German; however, we strongly encourage you to submit a paper in your native language. If neither English nor German is your mother tongue, then choose either one of these two languages in which you exercise the greatest mastery. The purpose of your writing sample is to demonstrate your intellectual capabilities, not merely your German language proficiency.

Your statement of purpose and writing sample must be uploaded into the online application system. Should you have any difficulty with this submission, you may also send them as an email attachment (in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat format) to Please put “Writings for Graduate Admissions” and your last name in the subject line of your email.

For further information, contact the co-directors of graduate studies: Professor Thomas Pfau and Professor Richard Langston.

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance