The German and Dutch Section is one of the very few departments in the United Kingdom that can offer postgraduate supervision in literary and cultural topics across the full historical range from the medieval period to the present day, as well as significant coverage of topics in intellectual, social and political history, and in the history of the German language.
Many members of the section also have comparative and interdisciplinary interests, and combinations of German studies with other disciplines are welcomed. The section has a dynamic research culture, with lecture and seminar series, many invited speakers, and a lively postgraduate research seminar.
The section also has partnerships with the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School (Freie Universität, Berlin) and the German department of the University of Chicago, with joint events and exchanges. And it offers generous funding for postgraduate research travel, conference participation, and the organisation by its postgraduate students of research activities and events.
In British universities, the PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy) is traditionally awarded solely on the basis of a thesis, a substantial piece of writing which reports original research into a closely defined area of enquiry. The completion of the PhD thesis is generally expected to take three to four years, and most funding is based on this assumption. It’s also possible to take a part-time route through research degrees, and the expected timeframe would be five years.
During your research, you will have the opportunity to work closely with a supervisor who is a specialist in your research area. In addition to your supervisor, you will normally also be able to draw on the help and support of one other lecturer, who will form part of your supervisory team. You might reasonably expect to see your supervisor fortnightly or at least three times per term.
In addition to providing specialist supervision, the Faculty runs a programme of professional training for the benefit of all research students. The programme includes seminars and workshops on library resources, giving conference papers, publishing, applications and interviews, teaching skills, specialist linguistics training, and film-making. The School of Arts and Humanities runs a central programme covering a range of topics from PhD skills training, to language training and writing and editing skills. If you wish, you are likely to be given the opportunity of gaining experience in small group teaching from Colleges. There may also be opportunities to gain some experience in language teaching and lecturing in the Faculty.
For those applying to continue from the MPhil to PhD, the minimum academic standard is an overall distinction on the MPhil.