Department of French and Romance Philology  


Ph.D. in French

Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature

M.A. in History and Literature

M.A. in Global French Studies


Course Descriptions and Directory of Classes


M.A. in French (Free-Standing)

The requirements (courses and Master's essay) for the free-standing M.A. degree are outlined below. Students may attend full-time or part-time. Part-time students must complete all requirements for the free-standing M.A. degree within four years.  Students in the free-standing M.A. program may apply for admissions to the Ph.D. program, but their applications are reviewed together with all other current applications to the Ph.D. program.

Please examine carefully the Free-Standing M.A. Student Checklist for a detailed breakdown of course requirements.  All incoming students are required to take the Proseminar, which is a theoretical and practical introduction to research in French and Francophone Studies.

There are two basic categories of graduate courses offered by the Department, roughly distinguished as lectures (4000-level courses) and seminars (6000- and 8000-level courses). These distinctions correspond to the course number designations in the bulletin and registration listings. The 4000-level lecture courses, which typically allow for discussion, cover broad aspects of a given period. The 6000- and 8000-level seminars are specialized courses. These courses focus on particular writers, themes, genres, movements or theories.  

Reading and Credit for Coursework
You may take courses for a grade or for "R" credit. For "R" credit, you receive no letter grade.  Make sure you consult with the professor about requirements and submit the Proof of Agreement for R Credit form. If you take the class for a grade, you must complete the required work/term papers, oral presentations, examinations and will receive either a letter grade or a mark of Pass/Fail. With the latter option, no letter grade is recorded (other than P or F), but a written evaluation of the coursework is entered in your file (available upon request).


Developing a good and productive relationship with your advisor is the key to your success as a graduate student. First-year students are assigned an individual advisor who will guide them with their choice of courses and will help them with the first steps towards the choice of a research field. Please bear in mind that first and second-year students should have their program of study approved by the Director of Graduate Studies at the beginning of each semester. 

Once you have settled on an MA topic, your main advisor is your MA advisor. Pick a faculty member with whom you feel you will have a good rapport, intellectually and personally.


Students must take 8 courses that fulfill Department requirements, and must write and defend an MA essay.


  • Proseminar (an introduction to methods and critical approaches)
  • Stylistics (techniques of close reading)
  • 6 electives (two of which may be taken outside of the Department with permission of the DGS; one elective may be taken for R credit)

As you are scheduling your classes, please keep in mind the Department’s distributional requirements.  Over the course of the MA, students must take classes in at least four of the following fields: "Middle Ages,", "Renaissance," "Classical," " Enlightenment," "Nineteenth Century," "Twentieth and Twenty First Century," and "Francophone."

MA Essay:

The M.A. essay is a paper of approximately 30 to 40 pages, either developing a paper written for a class or based on new research. You must choose a sponsor (in consultation with the DGS if necessary) and consult regularly with him or her.

  • The M.A. Essay will give you practice in carrying out a research project that, while necessarily limited in length and in scope (30 to 40 pages), presents a problem treated in more depth than in a term paper. Under the guidance of a sponsor, you compile an adequate bibliography, choose the appropriate methodological approach, organize the material, and present it in a scholarly (as well as readable) fashion. 
  • The essay should be written according to the specifications of the MLA Style Sheet. When your sponsor has approved the essay, provide the second committee, the other jury member and the Graduate Coordinator with final copies. The essay will be defended orally before the committee consisting of your sponsor and one other member of the faculty, at least one of whom must be a tenured associate or full professor.


The M.A. degree is awarded in October, January and May. Please consult with the Graduate Coordinator, Benita Dace, for all questions concerning deadlines for applying. In order to get credit for the MA, students should register for G8092 M.A. Essay Direction.  The M.A. degree must be completed by the end of your second year (four years if attending part-time); if not, you must petition the Chair for permission to continue in the program.

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