German and General Literary Studies M.A.


Key Info

Basic Information

Master of Arts
Start of Studies:
Winter Semester, Summer Semester
Standard Period of Studies:
4 semesters
ECTS Credits:
120Mehr Informationen

What does that mean?

ECTS are credit points that measure the workload of one's studies.


Admission Requirements

  • First university degree, required qualifications according to the examination regulations Mehr Informationen

    What does that mean?

    A first recognized university degree, through which the necessary education background for the Master course of study can be proven. The necessary knowledge needed in order for studies to be successful is determined in the respective exam regulations (PO).

  • Proficiency in German --- Mehr Informationen ---

    What does that mean?

    You must provide documentation of your language skills for the language of instruction at the time of enrollment. The exam regulations stipulate the relevant requirements.

Admission to First Semester


Admission to Higher Semesters


Dates and Deadlines


This course of study explores German-language literature in its European, media, and historical/cultural contexts. With this threefold perspective, the program looks at literature as an aesthetic phenomenon. It follows the concept of historical-philological literary studies oriented toward current theoretical discussions while also meeting the challenges of the contemporary knowledge society characterized by cultural diversity and the transition to new media. The program picks up where the Bachelor’s degree program in Philosophy, Literature, and Linguistics leaves off and allows for a specialization in philological and cultural studies with the following emphases:

Literature Explored in the European Context

Here, we will examine how the literature of the past and present can be identified as a result of migration, multilingualism, and transnationality. In various modules in comparative and European-Jewish literary and cultural history, students will reflect on literature, poetics, and aesthetics in their inter- and transcultural contexts even beyond the language boundaries of national philologies.

Mediality of Literature

In this focus, students will reflect on digitization and the concurrent transition of the book to becoming a “historical” medium by examining various text cultures, literary forms, and artistic practices, observing how the book changed as a medium over time from the Middle Ages to the present. Students will work with digital and hybrid editions of historical texts as well as with digital writing processes and publication media of contemporary literature to explore the interfaces between text philology and digital humanities.

Literature and Knowledge

In the elective module Literature, Text Culture, Knowledge, students will consider literature in relation to the various historical constellations, principles of representation, and cultural practices in which knowledge is formed. A primary focus will be on the shared history of the natural sciences and the humanities in their methodological and imaginative entanglements and their mutual efforts at differentiation.


Degree Content

The program is subdivided into four module areas and the Master’s thesis:


Module Areas and Master’s Thesis

Core area with five compulsory modules, totaling 50 CP

The core area consists of four compulsory modules covering central areas of the subject of German studies and general literary studies, and a fifth module comprised of a research colloquium and a project colloquium:

  • Older German Literature
  • Modern German Literature
  • Literary theory, cultural theory, aesthetics
  • Comparative history of literature and culture
  • Research and project colloquia

Profile area, two of three modules of 10 CP each are to be selected, totaling 20 CP

In the profile area, two modules are offered that reflect the chief research interests of the Institute and open up corresponding specialization opportunities. A third, practice-based module allows students to work on independent projects and papers grounded in literary studies, where they can transfer what they have learned in their studies to a practical field of application.

  • European-Jewish literary and cultural history
  • Literature, text culture, knowledge
  • Literary Studies Laboratory

Internship, 4 CP

The third semester includes a mandatory professional internship of at least 120 working hours.

To support and accompany the internship as well as guide the students in their professional orientation, the Faculty of Humanities offers a Career and Internship Service.

Interdisciplinary area and professional perspectives, modules totaling 20 CP are to be selected

The Interdisciplinary Area includes a wide range of modules from other fields of study in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. In addition, students may choose to complete a second professional internship. The range of modules offered – specifically tailored to the course of study – allows students to set individual emphases and to supplement the subject specializations offered at the Institute with interdisciplinary perspectives of similar orientation, for example, in the fields of European literature, culture, the history of knowledge, and the study of science. Modules are offered in English Studies, Philosophy, History, Sociology, and Political Science.

Master’s Thesis, 26 CP

The program is completed with a Master’s thesis worth 26 CP.


Further details about the program structure, contact persons, and regulations can be found on the Website of the Institute for German and General Literature Studies. A tabulated model syllabus can also be found here.



The prerequisite for admission to the program is an initial university degree. The required academic background is described in the exam regulations. The determination on whether or not the admissions requirements are met is made by the examination board.


Career Prospects

The degree program is intended to prepare students for an academic or research-based career within or outside of the university and provides a basic qualification for numerous professions in the field of cultural education and in the media. Graduates are qualified for all fields of work that require understanding, writing, and editing texts, having also gained skills in independent research, information processing, and documentation. In addition, the Institute for German and General Literary Studies offers a free supplementary qualification in German as a Second Language. Graduates typically work in the following professional fields:

  • Research and academics
  • Adult education
  • Journalism, editing and content management
  • Publishing and editing; the book trade
  • Libraries and media libraries, literature and art archives
  • Literature education, for example in museums, houses of literature, Goethe Institutes, or at exhibition and festival venues
  • Dramaturgy at the theater
  • Translation
  • German as a second and foreign language, for example at language schools, also abroad
  • Science management and university administration
  • Public relations and PR as well as internal communication in companies and authorities
  • Marketing, fundraising, sponsoring; market and opinion research
  • International organizations, for example EU, UN, non-governmental organizations

Examination Regulations

Regulations that apply for all Bachelor’s and Master’s courses of study and detailed information about the necessary documentation of required language skills can be found in RWTH’s Comprehensive Examination Regulation. Examination regulations are only published in German as they are legally binding.

Subject Specific Exam Regulations(de) regulate academic goals, the course of study layout, and exam procedures.

The module handbook provides a description of all modules of a degree program and offers a comprehensive insight into the program contents.



The course of study in German and General Literature is offered and conducted by the Institute for German and General Literary Studies in close cooperation with the other subjects of the Department of Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy, and other institutes of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.