Ours is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished graduate programs in German(ic) Studies in the United States. Talented and ambitious students choose to come to us from all parts of the world. They are drawn here for many reasons, but these are some of the most frequently mentioned:
- Comprehensive program. The expertise of our faculty is unmatched in its breadth. We offer courses in German literature and culture from the Middle Ages through the Digital Age. We have strong offerings in Germanic philology (Old Norse, Old and Middle High German, Old Saxon, Gothic, Yiddish) as well as a rigorous program in Germanic theoretical linguistics. No matter what our students may be interested in, they are likely to find an interlocutor among our faculty. And like the faculty, all of our students work with the many distinguished programs on campus that adjoin our field, such as Comparative Literature, History, Jewish Studies, Medieval Studies, Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Gender Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, Political Theory, and English, among others.
- Distinguished faculty. Every member of our faculty is active in research and scholarship, and everyone has either earned or is on the path to earning an international reputation in his or her field. Our faculty have won MLA book prizes, been awarded prestigious fellowships (NEH, Humboldt, ACLS, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, IFK in Vienna), and been invited to present keynote addresses at international conferences. Though our areas of expertise and our theoretical approaches vary (there is no "Bloomington School"), we all share a commitment to theoretical sophistication and conceptual rigor.
- Demanding curriculum. With the range of interests represented by our Department, the curriculum cannot help but be flexible. It is also quite challenging. Our students take a substantial number of courses in a broad range of areas, and all must pass a qualifying examination based on a comprehensive reading list. We have found that such breadth yields more significant dissertations as well as greater success on the job market.
- Rigorous pedagogical training. We take teaching seriously. All our students take part in intensive, hands-on training in second-language pedagogy, reinforced by teaching at all levels of the language curriculum. We also enjoy the possibility of advanced study in second-language acquisition and many students take advantage of opportunities to offer upper-level courses in literature and culture, both in the department and elsewhere on campus. The excellent reputation of our training program has played an important part in placing our students in desirable positions.
- Intensive mentoring. Fostering close faculty-student collaboration is part and parcel of our departmental culture. Our students are counseled about the many decisions they make as they enter the profession: their course of study, their research projects, their participation in the larger community of scholars in conferences and publications. All students and faculty are involved in independent studies, take part in reading groups, or conduct research together, leading to common publications.
- Excellent placement. In the past fifteen years, 45 students received a Ph.D. in our department, and 43 of those landed an academic position. We are especially proud of this record, because it represents a collective vote of confidence in our program by our peers. Our students get jobs in liberal arts colleges as well as research universities, and those who don't secure a tenure-track position immediately often attain one within two to three years of their Ph.D. Our recent Ph.D.s are faculty members around the world and across the nation, from Tallahassee (Florida State University) to Toronto (University of Toronto), and from Ithaca (Cornell University) to Riverside (University of California).
- Congenial atmosphere. While our expectations of students are high and our commitment to ideas is intense, relationships in the department are harmonious. This is a place where faculty members treat each other and students with respect; our students exhibit a remarkable camaraderie. We read and critique each other's work, share teaching experiences, support one another during exams, help each other prepare for the job market – even when competing for the same positions. We are very proud of our collegial atmosphere and we value the productivity and collaboration that such harmony engenders.
- Substantial resources. Students have access to excellent research opportunities as well as generous funding. The holdings of the campus library are among the most extensive in the country; what it does not own, it acquires quickly. Indiana University is also home to the Lilly Rare Book and Manuscripts Library and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Together with the Institute of German Studies, the Department offers students generous funding for fellowships, summer research, conference travel, and other projects.
- Bloomington. It's not New York or San Francisco, but newcomers find Bloomington to be a surprisingly cosmopolitan place. It is consistently ranked as one of the most livable towns in the country, with a vibrant cultural life and superb music, where crime is virtually non-existent. The cost of living is quite a bit lower than most large metropolitan areas, which makes a big difference on a student stipend.