Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Students

applying to the program

  • How do I apply to the graduate program?
    • Go to the GSAS Admissions web site. Read carefully the admissions requirements, application policies and deadline information posted there. All applicants must use the online application.
  • Can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program?
    • Yes. As a matter of fact, if you are considering the Ph.D. as your degree goal, you should specifically apply for admission to the Ph.D. program by checking the Ph.D. option on your application form. (Ph.D. applicants should never check the MA option on the application, because there is no financial aid available for MA students.) However, all students must pass the first-year review in order to be permitted to continue course work for the Ph.D.
  • When do you admit new students into the program?
    • We admit students to our graduate programs in the fall semester only.
  • When is the application deadline?
    • We recommend that you submit your application materials by 18 December for admission in the following fall term. The final deadline for admission with financial aid is 4 January. Late applications are accepted until 15 April, but there is no guarantee that financial aid will be available for students applying after the January deadline. Masters applications are due April 15.
  • What do I have to submit along with my application?
  • The following materials are required of all applicants:
    1. An official report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores;
    2. A personal statement outlining the applicant's goals and reasons for applying to the program;
    3. At least three letters of recommendation;
    4. A complete set of official academic transcripts;
    5. A recent sample of the applicant's academic writing in either German or English (15-20 pages).
  • Must I take the GRE?
    • Yes, the GRE is required for all applicants without exception.
  • What about the TOEFL?
    • If you are not a US citizen and are not a native speaker of English, you must take the TOEFL examination and have the scores reported to NYU.
    • NYU also now accepts the IELTS as a test of English language proficiency. You must send your test scores electronically from IELTS by requesting they be sent to us. Please contact your test center directly and request that the test scores be sent electronically to New York University, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York, NY. There is no institutional code.

Transfer credit

  • Will NYU accept my M.A. degree from another university?
    • Yes, NYU will accept the M.A. or equivalent degree from an accredited university in the US or abroad. Final decisions on degree acceptance are made by the Graduate Admissions Office. However, the department may require some students entering the program with the M.A. to take additional courses as necessary to fill gaps in their background.
  • I've already taken some graduate-level courses in German at another US university. How many courses can I transfer for graduate credit at NYU?
    • No more than 32 points of transfer credit from other institutions may be applied to the Ph.D. course requirements. This transfer-credit limit includes earned M.A. degrees (which are usually valued at 32 points). This means that students entering the program with outside M.A. degrees must earn all 40 points of remaining coursework in residence at NYU.
  • I've taken university courses in Germany. How many of these courses will receive credit toward the Ph.D. requirements at NYU?
    • You will be able to receive credit, usually up to a limit of 16 points, only for Hauptseminare.


  • How many courses do I need for the M.A.? For the Ph.D.?
    • Eight courses (32 points) are required for the M.A. Ten additional courses (M.A. + 40 points) are required for the Ph.D.
  • What is the normal course-load for a graduate student in German at NYU?
    • The normal full-time course-load is six courses per academic year, distributed evenly over the fall and spring semesters. Summer courses are also available.
  • How long will it take me to earn a Ph.D. in German at NYU?
    • Students entering the program with a B.A. or equivalent degree can usually complete all of the course work for the Ph.D. within three years (6 semesters). Completion of the comprehensive examination and dissertation can take an additional 2-3 years. Most students entering the program with a previously-earned M.A. will require 4 years to complete the Ph.D.
  • Can I take courses in other departments at NYU?
    • Yes, in fact this is encouraged. You should consult with your academic advisor or with the Director of Graduate Studies before registering for a course offered outside of the department.

financial aid

  • What are my chances of receiving financial aid if my application is accepted?
    • All students admitted to the Ph.D. program receive financial aid in the form of multi-year fellowships that are renewable annually for up to 5 years, based on the recipient's academic performance and progress toward the degree.
  • Is there a time limit on financial aid?
    • Yes. In most cases we try to guarantee funding for up to five years (with annual renewal contingent on good academic standing). Seven years is the absolute maximum that a student can receive financial aid from the department. After you have been enrolled in a graduate program at NYU for this amount of time (not including authorized leaves of absence), the university will no longer approve financial aid awards.
  • Can I use my financial aid to take undergraduate courses, such as language classes, for credit?
    • Yes, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • What kind of financial support is available during the summer?
    • Financial aid stipends cover the 9-month academic year from September through May. Although the tuition component of the graduate financial aid package can be applied to summer courses, the stipend cannot be extended to cover the summer months. Some teaching and other work opportunities are available in the department and at Deutsches Haus over the summer, and when filling those positions we consider first the qualifications and financial needs of our own graduate students. The Director of Graduate Studies can also provide information and referrals to summer stipends, research fellowships and on-campus employment opportunities.


Who will be my academic advisor?

When you are admitted to the program, you will be assigned to the Director of Graduate Studies as your academic advisor for the first semester. You are free to change advisors at any time during your studies, and as often as you wish. We encourage you to choose an advisor whose interests are compatible with your own and with whom you are personally comfortable. The purpose of our advising system is to allow you to develop a relationship of trust with a faculty member who can provide you with academic, professional, and personal support when you need it.

Does my academic advisor have to be the same person as my dissertation supervisor?
No. As a matter of fact, we encourage you to choose different persons for these very different functions. Given the relatively small size of our department, however, it is not unusual for the same faculty member to serve in both capacities for an individual student.

So what is the difference in the functions of the academic advisor and the dissertation supervisor?
The academic advisor helps you plan your courses and provides general support and supervision of your academic and personal progress in the program. In choosing an academic advisor, it is less important to find someone who shares your research interests than it is to find someone who is accessible and with whom you can speak comfortably and freely.

The dissertation supervisor serves as guide and mentor for your dissertation research, as advocate for your project within the department, and ultimately as the principal critic and editor of your dissertation. You should choose a supervisor whose expertise matches your research interests as closely as possible and whose working style is compatible with your own.