German Graduate Program

Overview

The Department of German and Russian Studies offers the only German MA degree from a state university in Missouri.

We draw a diverse range of Masters candidates from across the United States and abroad; most incoming classes include both domestic and international students.

The MA program prepares students interested in German language, literature, and culture for a variety of future careers: teaching‹both in the United States and abroad ­ PhD study, international business, journalism, law, and tourism.

And it does so very successfully. At last count, the overwhelming majority of MA graduates had found careers in education, either at the secondary or university level. Approximately, 44% are now teaching. Many graduates are now pursuing their doctorates, and will presumably seek careers as professors.

Approximately 33% are in graduate school. Our graduates have gained admission to some of the best doctorate programs in the US, e.g. Cornell, Berkeley, Texas, Indiana, and Duke/UNC.

Over the course of the two-year program, students usually take three graduate seminars each semester. Some of these courses cover professional issues; these include our seminar on language-teaching pedagogy and our introduction to graduate studies in foreign-language cultural studies. Most of the coursework, however, focuses on specific intellectual concerns located over the chronological spectrum of German studies, from the medieval to the postmodern periods. Through courses examining literature, film, and various theoretical and philosophical texts, students gain familiarization with current questions driving intellectual inquiry in the field while also acquiring a firm base in the German studies cultural canon.

Our graduate seminars are quite small ­ usually between 8-12 participants ­, which allows for sustained contact between professors and students. These mentorship relationships can also take the form of independent study and/or research opportunities.

With rare exception, all of our MA candidates teach in our undergraduate German language and culture program as TAs (teaching assistants), and the development of pedagogical skills is an important aspect of the MA curriculum. Students are supported in their teaching through coursework in pedagogy as well as sustained individual and group mentoring. In addition to making the MA program very affordable, the TA program also has the benefit of fostering close cooperation between the members of each MA cohort.

Academic Calendar

The academic year consists of two semesters: The fall semester runs late August to mid-December. There is a one-week vacation the third week of November for Thanksgiving break. Prior to the semester, there are mandatory meetings, training sessions, and orientations, as well as paperwork that must be filed, etc. Therefore, we strongly recommend that domestic students plan to arrive in Columbia no later than August 12. International students should plan to arrive a week earlier ­ we strongly recommend arriving in Columbia the first week of August.

The spring 2016 semester runs mid-January to mid-May with a one-week vacation for spring break in late March or early April. Again, there are mandatory meetings prior to the beginning of this semester. Students should not purchase tickets for travel away from Columbia until their TA supervisor has communicated this meeting schedule.

Degree Requirements and Requirements for the Teaching Assistantship

Students in the MA program who hold teaching assistantships (TA-ships) must fulfill two sets of requirements:

  1. The TA-ship is a form of financial support and is subject to an independent set of guidelines established by the university. Each student holding a TA-ship must be actively pursuing a graduate degree, must be in good standing, and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
  2. The MA degree requires a minimum of 30 credits (ca. 10 seminars) of graduate-level courses with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Under certain circumstances, some of these courses may be taken in other departments, but no fewer than 24 credits (ca. 8 seminars) must be earned in courses offered by the German program, and at least 15 credits (ca. 5 seminars) must be taken in German seminars at the 8000 level. A thesis, with a maximum of six hours of credit or a critical essay, with a maximum of three hours of credit, are optional. Normally, students complete the Masters program in two academic years (four semesters).

At the end of their second year, candidates for the MA degree must pass comprehensive written and oral final examinations based on course work and an individualized reading list.

Financial Support

Incoming graduate students are normally offered paid positions as Teaching Assistants.

Teaching assistants (TAs) are normally appointed for one academic semester and automatically renewed for the following three semesters of study when teaching and progress toward the degree are satisfactory. Appointments after the second year may be available in special cases, depending upon departmental needs and resources. The TA-ship provides a stipend of approximately $1,000 per month over the 9 months in which semesters are in session (mid August ­ mid May) In addition, TAs do not pay tuition for courses taken toward the MA. Most students find that this funding is enough to cover their costs while living in Columbia.

The Graduate School offers several valuable fellowships for which the department may nominate incoming students. In addition, the department offers competitive grants to support graduate students’ professional development. Click here for more information on Graduate School financials.

Requirements for Application

1. An undergraduate BA degree (or its equivalent) in German (or a related field) from an accredited college or university. You do not need to have this degree in hand at the time of application, but you will need to have it by the time you begin the MA program in August of 2015.

2. An average grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on the last 60 credit hours of the undergraduate course of study. The transcripts of international students are assessed differently on a country-by-country basis.

In general, your coursework should have been graded “good” or “above average.”

3. Excellent language skills in both German and English.

4. International students must submit either a TOEFL or a IELTS test score. This score must not only meet minimum requirements for university admission, but must also show a very strong score in the ‘speaking’ category.

5. The GRE is not required for application.

6. The department reserves the right to evaluate the work presented for admission and to determine how the student may make up for any background deficiencies.

Admissions Process For Domestic Students

There are two parts to the application process: an application to the department, which determines whether a student will be accepted into the German MA program and an application to the MU Graduate School, which determines whether a student has met the requirements for admission to the university. The German program¹s acceptance decision is made before the Graduate School¹s admissions decision. It is therefore in the student¹s interest to submit the departmental application as soon as possible (preferably before the first deadline of January 15), and to submit the Graduate School application shortly thereafter.

1. Applicants should first submit an application directly to the department. Applications are available in Word document format (.doc or .docx) as well as in PDF format in the box just to the right. Only one format needs to be completed.

This application may either be sent by post or by e-mail. This application includes three letters of recommendation, which should be sent directly to the department (see addresses below).

Timeline: Graduate studies typically begin in the fall semester. The first deadline for applications to the German program is January 15. Applications received by this first deadline will be eligible for additional university-level grants. Applications received between January 15 and February 15 will be welcomed. Applications received after February 15 will only be reviewed as spaces become available in the program.

Please contact the department for further information.

2. Applicants should then apply for admission to the University of Missouri Graduate School. Click here for information for prospective graduate students.

Please note:

Transcripts: The Graduate School website allows you to upload unofficial copies of your university transcripts. You must submit official copies of your transcripts, which must be sent directly by your university to the graduate school (see addresses below) as soon as possible.

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required for the department application (none are required for the Graduate School application). Although the Graduate School allows you to upload letters of recommendation through their internet application software, please have your letters sent directly to the department instead (see addresses below).

Application Fee: The Graduate School requires an application fee.

In some instances, the department will be able to pre-pay the admission fee for applicants. In order to determine whether an applicant is eligible for this option, the completed departmental application should be sent directly to the department in advance of application to the Graduate School.

Admissions Process For International Students

There are two parts to the application process: an application to the department, which determines whether a student will be accepted into the German MA program and an application to the MU Graduate School, which determines whether a student has met the requirements for admission to the university. The German program’s acceptance decision is made before the Graduate School’s admissions decision, but the Graduate School generates the documents necessary for the international student visa application. It is therefore in the student’s interest to submit the departmental application as soon as possible (preferably before the first deadline of January 15), and to submit the Graduate School application as soon as possible thereafter.

1. Applicants should first submit an application directly to the department. Applications are available in Word document format (.doc or .docx), as well as in PDF format in the Documents box, just below Contact Information. Only one format needs to be completed. Applications should be typed and may be sent by post or by e-mail.

Letters of Recommendation:

The departmental application requires three letters of recommendation, which should be sent directly to the department (see addresses below).

Timeline: The first deadline for applications to the German program is January 15. Applications received by this first deadline will be eligible for additional university-level grants.

Applications received between January 15 and February 15 will be welcomed. Applications received after February 15 will only be reviewed as spaces become available in the program. Please contact the department for further information.

2. Applicants should then apply for admission to the University of Missouri Graduate School.

The Graduate School application is more rigorous for international students because the Graduate School processes the documents required for visa applications, which usually ensures that students do not encounter problems when they apply for the visa. The Graduate School has attempted to streamline the process ­you should start at this helpful website.

Do not hesitate to contact either the department or the Graduate School if you encounter problems.

Please note:

Timeline: It is very important that you submit your application to the Graduate School as soon as possible. The Graduate School processes thousands of applications each spring, and does so in the order in which completed applications are received. It can take several weeks for the final visa documents to be produced, and you can only contact your embassy to make an appointment after these visa documents are produced. After this, it can take several weeks for your embassy to grant the visa. We are usually successful in moving our students through the visa process, but delayed cases can be very stressful.

We therefore strongly recommend submitting the Graduate School application by February 1, or as soon thereafter as possible. Please note that it is also possible to submit applications much earlier.

Transcripts: You must contact your university and have official transcripts sent directly from your university to the MU Graduate School. If your university refuses to mail the document and insists upon delivering it to you instead (i.e.Datenschutz), then you must receive these documents in a sealed envelope with stamps across the seal, and you must put this envelope in a second envelope and send this directly to the Graduate School (see address below).  Beginning October 1, 2015, Graduate applicants will be required to upload unofficial copies of all transcripts for their application to be considered. Please provide official transcripts to the Graduate School as soon as possible.

Many international students are concerned about the fact that their transcripts do not show that they have completed the BA degree. Please do not be concerned: If you will complete all coursework required for the BA degree by the end of July 2015, then you are on schedule, and your transcript will be accepted. You will be able to submit a copy of your diploma upon arrival to Columbia or shortly thereafter.

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required for the department application (but none are required for the Graduate School application).

Although the Graduate School allows you to upload letters of recommendation through their internet application software, please have your letters sent directly to the department instead (see addresses below).

TOEFL or IELTS test scores: The TOEFL (or IELTS) score is an important part of your application. You must submit a TOEFL (or IELTS) score with your application to the Graduate School. You must have taken this test within the past 24 months. If you have not yet taken the TOEFL (or IELTS) test, please register to take this test as soon as possible. Your admission cannot be processed without this test score.

Affidavit of Support: This is a document that is required for the visa application and is designed to prove that you have the financial resources available to cover the cost of studying in the US. The estimated cost (which can be found here) is ca. $31,000 per year. As a TA, much of this cost is covered: (ca. $16,000) because TAs don’s pay tuition and (-ca. $9,000) because you will be earning a salary. Therefore, you will only need to show support of about $6,000.

Typically, this affidavit is submitted by a student’s parents, who must also submit a bank statement showing that they have ca. $6,000 in a bank account.

Any student having difficulties producing this document should contact the department as soon as possible; in some cases, alternative arrangements may be possible.

Application Fee: The Graduate School requires an application fee. In some instances, the department will be able to pre-pay the admission fee for applicants. In order to determine whether an applicant is eligible for this option, the completed departmental application should be sent directly to the department in advance of application to the Graduate School.

Addresses

Please send Departmental Application and Letters of Recommendation:

by post:

Prof. Kristin Kopp
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of German and Russian Studies
451 Strickland Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

by e-mail:

to Prof. Kopp at koppkr@missouri.edu
(Please note: Letters of recommendation must be sent via post.)

Please send Official Transcripts (International Students: TOEFL scores, Affidavits of Support) to:

Graduate Admissions
University of Missouri
210 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO
65211

Information

If you have any additional questions regarding the program or the application process, please contact Dr. Kopp at koppkr@missouri.edu!