M.A. in German

Over the course of their graduate studies in German, students acquire in-depth knowledge of the literatures of the German-speaking countries along with the critical skills for literary analysis. The German program offers the majority of graduate courses in German. As a result, many of our Master of Arts candidates develop superior language competency.

We offer students a challenging and enriching course of studies that encompasses literary and cultural history with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, culture and aesthetics, and linguistics. At the end of the two-year program candidates take a comprehensive examination. The M.A. in German entitles graduates to teach at California dommunity colleges and serves as preparation for entering doctoral programs at Ph.D.-granting institutions.

The graduate program takes great pride in mentoring students and advises them in designing their course of study within the parameters of the graduate curriculum. Students are encouraged to take courses in a related field to complement their academic preparation in German studies. We have forged strong ties to other departments such as ClassicsWorld and Comparative LiteratureHistoryJewish StudiesEnglishHumanities and Liberal Studies, Women and Gender Studies and Instructional Technology.

The faculty of the German program engages in a wide variety of research areas, such as literary theory, the history of aesthetic theory, psychoanalysis and literature, gender, nationalism and cultural politics, syntax, discourse analysis, pragmatics and applied linguistics/second-language acquisition.

In addition to the academic program, qualified graduate students have the opportunity to gain teaching experience as graduate teaching associates (GTAs) in a conventional as well as partially online classroom. This paid experience includes ongoing training and mentoring.


Admission to the Program

It is generally expected that students entering the program will have a B.A. degree or equivalent in German: however consideration will be given to applicants with advanced German language competencies who have a B.A. in another field. These applicants may be admitted as conditionally classified graduate students and will be required to remediate or complete all deficiencies before attaining classified status.

To apply to the program:

Apply to the Masters Program in German through the Department of Graduate Studies' online application page. Applicants must fill out an online application form and upload various documents. Documents to be uploaded may include: analytical statements of purpose (500 words) in German and English, unofficial transcripts for all colleges and universities attended, your CV/resume, writing samples, and other required documention. International students may also need to upload English language testing scores. 
In addition, please send directly to the German Program two (2) letters of recommendation. Send letters to:
German Program Graduate Advisor
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
If you have any questions, please contact the program’s graduate advisor to discuss academic preparation for the M.A.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students admitted into the Master of Arts Program in German are advised to do the following to complete their degrees:

Seek graduate advising every semester

If you are admitted conditionally to the program, see the adviser for “advancement to classified graduate standing” when you complete the preconditional courses (such as GER 401, GER 510 and GER 511). Preconditional course work may not be used to meet degree requirements.

Fulfill the English proficiency requirement

Take the Graduate Essay Test (GET) usually given in January and August. Contact the Testing Center for test dates. If you fail the GET, you must complete a course before the end of the second semester of your graduate study.

Submit ATC form and Culminating Experience form

Fill out your ATC (Advancement to Candidacy) form online and print it out. The ATC form should show at least 6 units yet to be completed for the degree. If you are making any substitutions for the program requirements stated in the Bulletin, file a “Petition for ATC Substitution or Committee Revision” along with the ATC. Fill out the Culminating Experience Form for the Comprehensive Examination online and print it out. This form must be filed along with the ATC. Both forms must be reviewed and signed by your graduate adviser before they can be submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies.

Prepare for the Comprehensive Examination

Meet with your graduate adviser to discuss the Comprehensive M.A. Exam. M.A. exams typically take place at the end of the semester. In the semester prior to the semester when you are taking your exam, meet with your exam committee.

Submit an “Application for Graduation” form to the Division of Graduate Studies

Submit the form, typically, before the third week of instruction of the term you expect to graduate. Check for the deadline in the class schedule.

Complete the Culminating Experience requirement

Comprehensive examination (oral and written) is given two weeks before the deadline for the completion of Culminating Experience.

Submit “Report of Completion of Specified Graduate Program Requirements”

After you have passed your Culminating Experience, this form will be provided to you by your graduate adviser. Once your examiners have signed the form, file it with the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department office (which submits the report to the Division of Graduate Studies).

Course Requirements — Minimum 30 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.
  • GER 745 History of German Language (3 units)
  • Graduate courses in German (12 units)
  • Upper division/graduate courses in German language, literature, or civilization (6 units)
  • Upper division/graduate courses in German language, literature, or civilization, or in related subjects with approval of graduate advisor (9 units)
Visit the current University Bulletin for complete course descriptions and class schedule.
and Master's Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations
The student is admitted to the oral examination upon passing the written examination. Both examinations may be attempted not more than two times.
Written English Proficiency. Students have to submit an analytical or argumentative writing of 3,500 words or more written in English, such as a graduate seminar paper. The writing will be evaluated by the German Academic Review Committee using ten criteria in four categories: (1) structure/organization, (2) conclusions grounded in theory and research, (3) knowledge and understanding, and (4) academic discourse which is comprehensive, logical, and consistent.