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Fellowships & Funding

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers all students in the Ph.D. program a complete five-year package of full funding support. The pattern of departmental support we propose includes a mix of graduate student instructorships (GSI-ships) and fellowship support. Unless otherwise indicated in your admission’s offer letter, all support is for the academic year only, and includes predetermined stipends and fringe benefits, as well as a tuition waiver. Summer support is not guaranteed by the department.

In order to receive continued assistance, you will need to be a student in good standing; meet degree requirements; perform GSI duties acceptably; and make progress towards the graduate degree according to schedule.

Questions? Contact the Student Coordinator at german.dept@umich.edu or by telephone at 734.764.8018.

Fellowships

Fellowship support includes department fellowships or competitive fellowships from sources like the Rackham Graduate School, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, or national/international funding institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD); the department encourages and strongly supports applications to these institutions, and we have had great success in obtaining external grants for our graduate students in recent years. Finally, the University offers a number of short-term funding opportunities for the final stages of completing the degree, such as a One-Term Dissertation Fellowship administered through Rackham. The university also offers generous resources for conference travel and short-term research travel.

Graduate Student Instructor Positions

The department offers several Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) positions in the Fall, Winter, and Term III semesters. German graduate students and affiliated graduate programs are first considered for these positions and are contacted by the Graduate Program Coordinator about preferences and assignments in February/March (for Fall term) and in October/November (for Winter term).

The remaining positions are then posted for two weeks in April (for the Fall term) and November (for the Winter term) for graduate students from outside of the department to apply. In addition to the online application, applicants will be asked to upload a cover letter, which should address the graduate student’s specific interest in the position and outline skills and experiences that directly relate to the position, curriculum vitae and former GSI’s at U-M should attach summary sheets from teaching evaluations. Postings can be found on careers.umich.edu under "Graduate Student Appointments."

Decisions will made by the faculty member teaching the course after review of applications and possible interviews.

Summer Funding and Additional Funding Opportunities

The Department, together with the Graduate School and other university offices, often is able to provide funding for spring/summer study or research. These awards are intended to reduce graduate students’ reliance on teaching or other employment as they prepare to fulfill the requirements for the Ph.D. degree (e.g. prelims, prospectus, dissertation, etc.). They are not intended to support travel to conferences, the writing of seminar papers or the writing of articles for publication. These awards do not entail waiver of tuition or other fees.

For summer research trips students can apply each Winter term to the Department for a cost-sharing contribution and to Rackham for Research Grants. Rackham Research Grants can award up to $1,500 for pre-candidates and $3,000 for candidates.

In some years, it may be possible to teach in the summer as well, for extra compensation. Summer teaching does not count against the total number of GSI-ships we offer in our admissions letter, or the maximum of ten terms of College of LS&A funding.

Frank X. Braun Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Frank X. Braun Prize for the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor in the German language program is awarded each year in honor of the late Professor Frank Braun, who was a dedicated teacher in the department for many years. This award was established in 1989 when it was presented to Ann Schmitt. The following year it was presented to Hartmut Rastalsky. In 1994 it become a memorial endowment, furthering Frank X. Braun’s legacy.

Frank X. Braun Award Winners

2019: Lauren Beck, Elizabeth McNeill
2018: Emily Gauld, Andrea Rottmann
2017: Domenic Desocio, Calder Fong
2016: Mary Hennessy, Kathryn Holihan
2015: Naomi Vaughan
2014: Catherine Combes, Landon Little
2013: Hannah McMurray
2012: Marc-Niclas Heckner, Elizabeth Nijdam
2009: Seth Howes
2008: Solveig Heinz, Sara Jackson
2006: Michael André
2005: Helga Rom
2002: Ilka Rasch
1990: Hartmut Rastalsky
1989: Ann Schmitt

About Frank X. Braun

Frank Xavier Braun was born in 1904 in Spaichingen, Germany, the eldest of a long line of Swabian organ builders. He followed his father to the U.S. in 1923, becoming a citizen in 1930. Living in St. Louis, he made various scientific instruments ranging from microscopes to submarine engines. In 1928, Ford Motor Company offered him a job as toolmaker. From there he was promoted to inspector, and finally Chief Inspector of the Experimental Department. While working full time at Ford, he completed his college prerequisites, and went on to receive his bachelor of arts degree in 1934 from Wayne University, a master of arts degree in 1935 and a doctor of philosophy degree from U-M in 1940. In 1945, he was appointed an instructor in German at U-M, assistant professor in 1949, associate professor in 1954, and full professor in 1960. Upon being granted Emeritus status in 1974, a local (unidentifi ed) paper quoted the Regents as saying, “Above all else Professor Braun demonstrated excellence as a teacher... He displayed amazing skill in motivating and captivating students with a teaching style that was at once compelling and highly effective.”

In addition to his extraordinary classroom success, Professor Braun was deeply involved with student housing needs and spearheaded the effort to establish the Max Kade House; moving it from an idea to reality within two years. He also was an ardent supporter of the LSA Language requirement (which was threatened to be removed around 1966), the academic year in Freiburg program, and counseling students’ academic endeavors.

Bettsteller Fellowship

The Katharina and Kurt Bettsteller, Sr., Endowment for the Study of German and German-American History is to support students who are pursuing the study of German and/or German-American History in Germanic Languages and Literatures.