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Research degrees in German



See also: the website for the Department of German

With its flourishing Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations; its connections with the Leo Baeck Institute and the University of London Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies (IGRS); and its partnerships with the Stiftung Weimar Klassik and with various German, Austrian, and Swiss universities, the German department offers an outstanding international research culture and is an exceptional place to pursue postgraduate study at MA and PhD level.

The Department, together with its Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, has established an innovative MA in this field of research (see MA in Anglo-German Cultural Relations). It is also actively engaged in the MA in Comparative Literature. 

 MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Departmental Research Seminar, the Oberseminar for doctoral students, and a range of events organised by the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, as well as lectures, readings and workshops given by visiting fellows and the writer in residence. All these events, together with the sheer number of research students (some 12 in a given year) and a structured programme of Oberseminare and research training Seminars also mean that the department is able to offer an unusually rich, supportive, stimulating and friendly framework for advanced research.

The Department is interested in receiving applications from prospective PhD students across a wide range of areas. The Department's expertise covers virtually the whole field of Germanic studies, including Austrian and Swiss literature and linguistics.

Research areas

 Particular research strengths include:

  • Anglo-German Cultural Relations, including comparative literature and cultural studies, the comparative history of ideas, the history of British Germanistik, cultural transfer, linguistic relations, translation theory and travel writing.
  • Jewishness and German culture, including German-Jewish writing, exile and holocaust studies, and the rhetoric of anti-Semitism
  • German, Austrian and Swiss Literature in their social contexts, including Sociability, Spas and Salons; 
    women's writing; gay and lesbian studies
  • German Thought from Lichtenberg to the Present, including Goethe and his age; Nietzsche, Freud and the history of psychoanalysis; hermeneutics; the Frankfurt School and queer theory.
  • Poetry, Poetics and Poetologies, including Droste-Hlshoff, Rilke, and Celan
  • German Literature between 1945 and 1989, especially GDR literature before and after the Wende, Hubert Fichte and Uwe Johnson
  • German Linguistics, centred on dialectology and sociolinguistics, with a particular interest in contemporary German-speaking societies

The doctoral projects currently being supervised within the German Department include:

  • WH Auden
  • Christopher Isherwood
  • Stephen Spender and the German World (1928-1947)
  • Berlin, London and Paris
  • Heinrich Heine's image of the Metropolis
  • Houston Stewart Chamberlain's Nationalist German Discourse
  • Literary Representations of Time in Paul Celan's and Nelly Sachs' Late Poetry
  • The Surveillance of German Exiles and Refugees in mid-19th Century London by the Prussian Police
  • Musical and Literary Self-Reflection in the Work of Wolfgang Hildesheimer
  • The Relation between Nietzsche and Chopin.

Research students in the Department have recently read papers at graduate colloquia and at research seminars in the UK, Germany and Austria. Where appropriate, they are encouraged to undertake archival research abroad, and grants have been awarded to work in Berlin, Wolfenbttel, Marbach, Munich, Vienna and Zurich. Five theses from the Department have appeared in book form in recent years.

Entry requirements

For entry at PhD level, we would normally expect candidates to have an MA or equivalent. The School accepts students for a research degree leading to a PhD of the University of London. Applicants for this degree are accepted on the basis of previous academic performance and subject to the availability of a member of staff to supervise their work. We welcome applications from home and overseas students. As a prospective students are advised to consult a potential supervisor with a draft research proposal before submitting a formal application. You should also include a relevant piece of written work showing your potential for carrying out high level research in your subject area (preferably a final-year undergraduate or MA dissertation), with your application. Completed applications should be sent to the Admissions and Recruitment Office at Queen Mary.

Please also refer to the How to apply section.

For international students, please refer to the International students section on this website.

Further information

Please contact:
Dr Angus Nicholls
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 2683

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