PhD in French Language & Literature

The doctoral program in French Language & Literature provides each student with a thorough knowledge of French and Francophone literature, its history, and its major works. The program offers professional preparation through the acquisition of extensive knowledge of the field of study; advanced skills in the use, evaluation, and production of critical scholarly and research materials; experience communicating knowledge in a range of contexts; and substantial training in pedagogy and other relevant practical and professional training. Candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate foundational knowledge of the appropriate literature and written and oral competence in the language of study. The PhD program is open to those with a BA or MA in an appropriate field. A broad training in the humanities is advantageous.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a mastery and appreciation of language and literature in French in a global context and from all historical periods.
  • Demonstrate a near-native mastery of the French language.
  • Demonstrate the skilled application of research methodologies and techniques, and produce and defend an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the field.
  • Be prepared to communicate and teach specific works and literary concepts at the college and university level.
  • Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline.

Course Requirements

Sixteen courses (64 credits) on French literature and cultural studies at the 500 level or above are required for this degree, including at least one seminar per semester, as well as coursework and training in pedagogy (e.g., GRS LL 690/LL 691 Proficiency-Based Language Teaching 1 and 2 and CPT), as per departmental and GRS policies. At least three courses in the intended area of specialization are strongly recommended; this guideline may be satisfied in part through directed study.

Language Requirement

Degree candidates are expected to possess a near-native command of written and spoken French by the time they receive their PhD. Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of at least one language in addition to French that will be useful in their research work. In some areas of specialization, two or more additional languages may be required in order to ensure research competence.

Qualifying Examinations

Qualification for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is achieved through: (1) successful completion of the written Comprehensive Examination based on a reading list of major works and (2) successful completion and oral defense of two qualifying papers, substantial and thoroughly researched works of 25–40 pages. Detailed information concerning the content, format, and schedule of these examinations are described fully in the graduate program handbook. As a general rule, entrants should have completed all coursework and examinations by the end of their third year.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Department Chair/Program Director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as a valuable contribution to knowledge in their field and demonstrate a mastery of their field of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

Any PhD student who has fulfilled the requirements of the master’s degree program, as stated here, can be awarded a master’s degree.