Cover illustration from Thea von Harbou's novel Metropolis (1931), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University

How to Apply

Application Process

The Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German has a single admissions process that ensures that incoming students matriculate fully at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University. The following instructions will be very helpful as you put together your application.


We seek applicants who demonstrate academic excellence, and we welcome applicants from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. A Bachelor's degree or the equivalent is required, generally in German Studies or a related field. We encourage applications from those interested in literary, philosophical, and/or cultural German studies across all periods, genres, and media. Interdisciplinary interests and approaches are welcome. Please be aware that language pedagogy is not among the areas of dissertation research we support. In order to start the application process, please visit UNC-Chapel Hill's Graduate School.

Application deadline

Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their applications by December 14 2021.

Application process

Please read UNC’s Admissions Instructions for detailed information about the application process and requirements. Questions regarding translation issues and foreign degrees and transcripts should be directed to

Please pay careful attention to the list of required application materials, and to the following instructions.


Please arrange for letters from three recommenders who are familiar with your intellectual and academic abilities and work. In most cases these will be your university professors in humanities courses. If you have been employed in a related field such as teaching, a letter from a supervisor or a colleague may also be appropriate. You will submit the email address of each recommender when you submit your online application.

Statement of Purpose

In order to help the Admissions Committee assess how well your interests and goals fit with our graduate program, please provide a 1-3 page personal statement. At the top of your statement please insert a brief description (20 words or fewer) of your specific research interests. In addition, please discuss your goals in pursuing the Carolina-Duke German Studies Ph.D., your study abroad experience(s) and the trajectory of your academic career thus far.

Substantial Writing Sample

The writing sample is among the most significant elements of your application. Please upload a single writing sample of 10-20 double-spaced pages (roughly 8,000 words) that represents your very best academic writing. Typically, this an essay submitted for credit in a humanities course of relevance to German Studies. Your essay should make an interpretive argument supported using evidence from literary or theoretical texts or other cultural media like film or video. You may submit your writing sample in either English or German; however, we strongly encourage you to submit a paper in your native language. If neither English nor German is your mother tongue, then choose either one of these two languages in which you exercise the greatest mastery. The purpose of your writing sample is to demonstrate your intellectual capabilities, not merely your language proficiency.

Your statement of purpose and writing sample must be uploaded into the online application system. Should you have any difficulty with this submission, you may also send them as an email attachment (in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat format) to Please put “Writings for Graduate Admissions” and your last name in the subject line of your email.

For further information, contact  Professor Thomas Pfau and Professor Richard Langston.

Standardized Tests

The Carolina-Duke Graduate Program no longer requires applicants to take the GRE (which is administered at the Educational Testing Service).

Non-native speakers of English will need to take the TOEFL or IELTS to demonstrate language proficiency.  Information on the requirement and the few exceptions to it can be found at this link.

Please designate “Institution #5816” when requesting that your official score reports be sent to the Carolina-Duke program.