European joint degree program Transnational German Studies receives funding worth EUR 4 million

Funding from the European Union's Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees program to serve to award scholarships for students

3 February 2022

The European joint degree program "Transnational German Studies" – a collaboration of the universities of Porto, Luxembourg, Mainz, and Palermo – will be funded over the next five years with roughly EUR 4 million from the European Union's Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees program. This financial backing will be used primarily for student scholarships. "Being supported by the EU underlines the importance and quality of our integrated Master's degree program – especially in view of the fact that currently only a few programs in the humanities are funded at all, and only three of those focus on literature and culture," emphasized Professor Stephan Jolie, Vice President for Learning and Teaching at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and co-initiator and director of the joint degree program. "Our Master's degree program is a journey through European cultural and literary history and gives our students the chance to experience the past, present, and future of Europe. It offers interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural learning all at once – always with a clear focus on developing specific areas of competence and on teaching career-relevant skills," said Jolie, who teaches in the German Department at JGU.

European cultural and German literary history

The four-semester Master’s degree program "Transnational German Studies" relates the study of European cultural history with German literary history. Students deal with central motifs of German and European literature in order to further explore intercultural aspects of European literature in general and of German literature in particular. Multilingualism as both an idea and a historical fact is brought into focus – as it is, of course, experienced on a practical level by the international students who attend courses for German and for the languages of the resident universities (Italian, Portuguese, Luxembourgish, French). "By providing networking opportunities with representatives of various professional fields as well as internships and subject-related practical projects where students develop and reflect on their personal career profiles, we support the transition to later professional life," said JGU Vice President Professor Stephan Jolie. To realize this, the universities at all four locations collaborate with numerous non-university partners in business, media, and culture. This allows students to acquire specialist knowledge and skills that help shape their personal career paths at the same time."

The Transnational German Studies degree program was developed within the framework of the EU-funded Strategic Partnership "TALC_me" (Textual and Literary Cultures in Medieval Europe). It was originally led by Professor Stephan Jolie at JGU and is now coordinated by Professor John Greenfield of the University of Porto, winner of the 2014 Gutenberg Teaching Award 2014. It is a joint Master's degree program in which all students are enrolled at all four universities for the entire duration of the course of studies and receive a joint degree certificate from all four universities.

Experiencing Europe together

The students in each four-semester cohort complete each semester together at a different European university in a different European country. "Our students share the experience of arriving in and settling into different European countries with one another, they learn together, they experience Europe together. This is what creates a strong sense of cohesion," said Jolie. In this way, the degree program makes an important contribution to the European network of learning and teaching at JGU. With the University of Palermo, a partner from the FORTHEM European University Alliance – coordinated by JGU – is involved in the program.

The degree program offers a place to a maximum number of 25 students for each cohort. The majority of places is reserved for students from Erasmus partner countries outside the Erasmus area. Students from Erasmus program countries are also welcome and typically a maximum of two students from the same country are accepted. The recently-obtained EU funding will serve to award scholarships for about 15 study places per cohort; for the other 10 places there are subsidies available, for example to cover fees and travel expenses.