As the oldest academic program in German Studies in North America, the Germanic Languages and Literatures section, part of the Francophone, Italian and Germanic Studies Department (FIGS), at Penn combines a commitment to the traditions of Germanistik with a forward-looking perspective on developments in the field. In contrast to many graduate programs in German, we continue to believe in the importance of a solid grounding in the entire German literary tradition, from the Middle Ages to the present, as well as the history of the German language. At the same time, we vigorously support interdisciplinary study (as a quick glance at our diverse graduate group faculty shows) and an awareness of the latest methodological and theoretical movements (for example in film, women's studies, cultural studies, and post-colonial theory). In addition, we believe firmly that our students should be trained with an eye to their career objectives and the realities of the academic job market. Our students receive plentiful training in second language acquisition, instructional technology, and teaching methods. A professional development program prepares them for the academic job search. All of our students admitted with fellowships acquire significant and sustained teaching experience. The field of German Studies is under construction as we enter the 21st century. Universities across the country are under pressure to adapt to new circumstances and fiscal realities. Wonderful intellectual and pedagogical opportunities are opening up even as once reliable self-understandings are questioned or require new justification.
As a prospective graduate student you will want to take many things into consideration as you select the best graduate program for your purposes. At Penn, we have surveyed the situation and come up with a blue print that works. We invite you to browse our web pages to learn more about our department. If you're interested, we urge you to contact us. Better still, come and visit. We'd be delighted to show you our facilities, introduce you to students and faculty, and answer your questions. Discover what it feels like to study German at an Ivy League institution that puts you and your future first.