M.A. in French (Free-Standing)
The requirements (courses and Mater's essay) for the free-standing M.A. degree are outlined below. Students may attend full-time or part-time. We encourage full-time students to complete the degree in 12 months (2 semesters, plus one summer). 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 complete the required work/term papers, oral presentations, examinations and 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 (Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne) 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.
Perhaps the most important step is the choice and conceptualization of the research topic. This may require several meetings with your advisor. When you submit an essay, a chapter or a bibliography to your advisor, please bear in mind that he or she usually has several other advisees. Please do not burden your advisor with unfinished chapters or drafts. After you have submitted a chapter, it is a good idea to make an appointment to discuss it with your advisor two or three weeks later. You should receive feedback from your advisor within a reasonable period of time (two to three weeks). Do not be shy about reminding your advisor that you're waiting for feedback. If you feel that your advisor is not sufficiently responsive, you should talk to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Department Chair who will intervene on your behalf.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MA DEGREE
Students must take 9 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)
- Cultural History (an introduction to the civilization and culture of France and the French-speaking world)
- 6 electives (one 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 distribution requirements. Over the course of the MA, students must take:
- at least two courses in literature and culture before 1800: Middle-Ages; Renaissance; Classical; Enlightenment.
- at least two courses on literature and culture since 1800, including Francophone literature.
- The M.A. Essay will give you practice in carrying out a research project that, while necessarily limited in length and in scope (about 25 pages), presents a problem of greater complexity than 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.
- A subject for the essay should be chosen early. It is often helpful to draw upon material dealt with in courses. You should begin exploring and discussing possible subjects during the first year of graduate study.
- The essay should be written according to the specifications of the MLA Style Sheet. When your sponsor has approved the essay, provide the sponsor, the other jury member and the Graduate Coordinator with final copies. The essay will be defended orally before the jury consisting of your sponsor and one other member of the faculty, one of whom must be a tenured associate or full professor.
MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE
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.