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Germanic Languages and Literatures

Flexibility is the key strength of the Germanic languages and literatures program. While your focus will be on German literature and cultural studies, your individual coursework will often include comparative literature, art, philosophy, film studies, musicology, and history of science.

You may be part of a student group that organizes the Germanic Circle, which offers presentations by graduate students from other programs and occasionally thematic workshops. In addition to a substantial series of guest lectures, the department also participates in an ongoing seminar titled “German Studies: New Perspectives” at the Mahindra Humanities Center.

You will have access to an extraordinary array of resources, including partnerships with the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Universität Tübingen, and the University of Zürich, which include research trips to Germany, the Harvard University Library (the largest university library in the world), Houghton Library, the rare books collection, the Harvard Film Archive, and the Harvard Art Museums, which is the most extensive university art collection in North America.

Examples of student theses and dissertations include “Goethe and Law: Advancement Through Narrative and Arbitration,” “Environmental Fantasies: Mountains, Cities, and Heimat in Weimar Cinema,” “Die Souveränität der Natur: Zur politischen Imagination der Umwelt,” and “Dislocating – Embodying – Affecting: Reflections on Valie Export, Ulrich Seidl and Elfriede Jelinek.”

Graduates have secured faculty and research positions at prestigious institutions such as Aarhus University in Denmark, the University of Vienna, Louisiana State University, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as numerous post-doctoral fellowships and lectureships at Oxford University, Yale University, and elsewhere.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies

Areas of Study

German Literature | Other Germanic | Unspecified

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be on a relevant topic, in English or German and between 15 to 25 pages.


Applicants are required to submit a chronologically gap-free curriculum vitae in tabular form as part of the application.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Required

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Germanic Languages and Literatures


See list of Germanic Languages and Literatures faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures