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How to Apply

We welcome applications to our Germanic Studies program from students with a minimum of a BA (or equivalent four-year degree) in German, Scandinavian or a related field. Admission to our program is based on:

  • the applicant's demonstrated potential for research and teaching excellence

  • evidence of a commitment to the advanced study of literature, culture, and media

  • demonstrated advanced proficiency in German or one or more Scandinavian languages (ACTFL Advanced or CEF B2 or higher)

  • distinguished academic record, especially in courses related to Germanic Studies

  • scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (not required for non-native speakers of English)

The deadline to submit all of your application materials is December 15. Applications are accepted for fall semester admission only.

Applications must include the following materials, all of which are submitted via the Graduate School's online application system. If you have any questions or problems with the application procedure, please e-mail

Materials Notes
Graduate School application and fee  
Statement of your professional goals (Statement #1) A description of your professional goals of approximately one–two pages (750 words) as related to your academic interests in the proposed field of study. Please include information about the level of your training at the time of application; the particular areas of scholarly interest that you would like to pursue during your graduate work; and your professional plans upon completion of your training. You should also address your reasons for undertaking graduate study in the field, and for studying at the University of Minnesota in particular. The statement should be written in English.
Diversity statement (Statement #2) (OPTIONAL) Our program uses the optional Diversity statement to determine if students are eligible for the University's Diversity of Views & Experiences Fellowship. Two important criteria for this are:

1) Evidence that the nominee has achieved academic success while overcoming substantial educational or economic obstacles; and

2) The nominee’s demonstrated experience with, or commitment to, serving or working with historically underserved or underprivileged populations.

If you believe these descriptions fit you, please submit the statement (not to exceed one page in length).
Three letters of recommendation The letters should be from persons who can comment meaningfully about your intellectual capabilities. At least two of these letters must be from professors with whom you have studied.

Your recommenders must be listed in your online application. It is best if they upload their letters,  but if they encounter problems with that or would prefer not to, they may send email their letters to
Transcripts Please make sure your institution's name is on the copy you upload. More information on uploading transcripts.

International transcripts/credentials: The Graduate School requires non-English transcripts/credentials to be accompanied by English translations of those documents.
Writing sample The paper should be no more than 25 pages and should reflect your scholarly/academic interests as well as the current level of your analytic knowledge in German or Scandinavian Studies. A term or seminar paper is best. If you have a thesis, please send an excerpt (e.g., title page, contents, and one chapter). The paper may be in English, German, or a Scandinavian language, but keep in mind that the admissions committee is made up of faculty members from both German and Scandinavian, and it is not a given that they are fluent in all these languages. Some students send two shorter papers, one in English and one in German. If you do this and want to use the upload feature in ApplyYourself, only one paper can be uploaded into the “Writing Sample” section. The other one can be uploaded in the ”Other Information” section. If submitting more than one paper, the total number of pages should not exceed 25 pages.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores Have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) forward the scores to the Department. If you take the test in December or if you requested a copy be sent to us late, please also e-mail us a copy of your scores so that your application will be complete in time.
  • Students who already have an MA degree are encouraged, but not required, to submit the GRE scores.
  • GRE scores are not required for non-native speakers of English unless they wish to be considered for the CLA Fellowship. Non-native speakers will be considered for a departmental fellowship or teaching assistantship without GRE scores.
English language proficiency (TOEFL, etc.)
Minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language for non-native speakers of English) score requirements: 79 on internet-based test, with a minimum of 21 in writing and 19 in reading. [A speaking score of at least 27 is required for a teaching assistantship. Additional coursework in English is required for teaching assistants with a score below 27.]

The Graduate School also accepts English-language test scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS; minimum score: 65) or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB; minimum score: 80) in lieu of the TOEFL.

For more information on the requirements, see the Graduate School's "English Language Proficiency" page.