Frequently Asked Questions

French Graduate Programs and Applications


What kind of doctoral programs do you offer?

Doctoral students must complete 72 points of post-undergraduate coursework (about 18 courses). This may include credits earned during M.A. work at NYU or transfer credits from another graduate institution. 

Ph.D. in French Literature

The Ph.D. program in French literature prepares students to teach in all areas of French and Francophone literature, stressing both breadth and depth through research seminars and qualifying exams. Ph.D. students in French literature will complete coursework in all seven fields--Medieval, Renaissance, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, and 20th century and Francophone literatures--as well as a proseminar in textual analysis. The program also trains students to be outstanding researchers and important contributors in the field which best speaks to their intellectual passions.

Students in the French Literature track are allowed to take on an interdisciplinary approach to their studies that will enable them to conjoin the study of literature with cinema, fine arts, music or with the social and human sciences (history, linguistics, politics, sociology, anthropology). Students design a course of doctoral study that reflects their special interests and takes advantage of the exceptionally rich resources of New York University (Institute of French Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, Cinema Studies, etc.). Interested students should meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss their desired track.

Joint Ph.D. in French Studies and French Literature

The Institute of French Studies (IFS) at NYU is an interdisciplinary program devoted to the study of modern and contemporary France and francophone countries. The Department of French and the IFS offer a joint Ph.D. in French Studies and French that is designed for students interested in developing research expertise in the history and analysis of literary texts closely linked to their social, cultural, and political contexts. It prepares students to teach both literature and civilization in French departments, and gives them the scholarly expertise to integrate the two. The Joint program combines strong training in literary analysis with substantial exposure to the study of France, Europe, and the Francophone world, offered by historians and social scientists. The program covers 19th and 20th-Century France and French literature, although students ordinarily develop a narrower research specialty within this time period.

The specific focus--and challenge--of the joint degree is the marrying of a social science research approach with a literary one.  Students applying to the program should have a background both in French literature and in history and the social sciences. Admission to the joint Ph.D. program must be granted by both the IFS and the Department of French.

What kind of master's programs do you offer?

**The French department is currently not accepting applications to M.A. programs.

Master's students must complete 32 points of post-undergraduate coursework (8 courses). The distribution is dependent upon the program of study:

M.A. in French Literature
The M.A. in French Literature may be pursued in New York City or in Paris. The course of studies leading to the M.A. in French Literature is comprehensive in that candidates are expected to acquire a broad knowledge of all areas of French literature. Students in French Literature are expected to acquire a solid background in critical practice and a broad knowledge of all periods of French literature by completing at least one course each in six of seven areas (Middle Ages; Renaissance; 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; Francophone) and one course in textual analysis. 

For information about Master's programs housed in Paris, see the NYU Paris site: Master of Arts in French Language and CivilizationMaster of Arts in Teaching French as a Foreign Language



What kinds of funding are available for doctoral students?

All students admitted to Ph.D. programs at the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) will receive a Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship, for a period of five years. This fellowship includes full tuition remission, waiver of registration and services fees, and health insurance through NYU, as well as a competitive fellowship stipend toward your expenses. GSAS also provides a one-time start-up stipend for first-year students. 

Students who enter with external funding may still be awarded a MacCracken fellowship to ensure that they are receiving full-funding from both sources combined.

Following the MacCracken Fellowship, students are encouraged to apply for both internal and external fellowships

Is teaching a requirement of the MacCracken Fellowship?

No. However, our doctoral students are strongly encouraged to teach for four semesters to gain invaluable experience for their careers. And with the implementation of Financial Aid Reform (FAR4), teaching as an adjunct instructor provides compensation over and above the MacCracken stipend. See below: Teaching.

What kinds of funding are available for M.A. students?

**The French department is currently not accepting applications to M.A. programs.

M.A. students enrolled in programs at NYU Paris campus should see the NYU Paris site for more information about funding for programs in Paris. 

The Graduate School’s Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) encourages students to apply for external grants and provides matching tuition points (from 50 to 100 percent) to eligible recipients of external awards from recognized, academic sources of funding outside NYU.  For applications and specific details about TIP eligibility criteria, please see the TIP application document (PDF). New York University offers several loan programs to students.  Information is available at or at the Office of Financial Aid, 212-998-4444.

For a description of all Graduate School fellowships and assistantships, please refer to the document Financing Graduate Education (PDF).

How do I apply for other scholarships and loans?

The financial aid package, including scholarships and loans, that students receive from NYU is based on the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. FAFSA is the basic application form for most student aid programs, available January 1 each year. The federal school code number for NYU is 002785.

Additional information on Financial Aid and Fellowships is available through the GSAS website and through the NYU Office of Financial Aid.



Do I have to have an M.A. to apply for a doctoral program?

No, an M.A. is not required to apply to the doctoral program. Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. at NYU should apply directly to the doctoral program.

Students who enter without a Master's degree will become eligible for the Master of Arts in French (or French Studies) after completion of the first 32 points of coursework and a successful M.A. exam (or thesis)--usually at the conclusion of the first year of study. Some of our students enter the doctoral program with a previous M.A., and many do not.

I already have a Master's degree. Will you accept it for credit toward doctoral coursework?

Absolutely. You may be awarded up to 23 points of transfer credit for your earned master's degree toward your doctoral coursework in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and pending approval from the Graduate School.  

Do you have a foreign language requirement?

Native or near-native fluency in French is expected of all graduate students in the NYU Department of French. This requirement is filled by passing any graduate-level course taught in French.

Doctoral students in French Literature are also required to fulfill a requirement for a second foreign language apart from French or English, preferably by the end of the second year. This can be fulfilled in several ways: (1) having taken and passed an intermediate-level language course no more than two years prior to matriculation into the graduate program, (2) taking and passing such a course while in residence at NYU, (3) passing a GSAS-administered foreign language exam. If a student is a native speaker of a language other than French or English, he or she may petition the Director of Graduate Studies for a waiver of this requirement.

The joint Ph.D. in French Literature – French Studies and all M.A. programs do not have a second foreign language requirement.

What kinds of courses would I take as a graduate student in French at NYU?

The Department of French offers at least 8 graduate seminars each semester, covering a broad spectrum of topics in French literature and civilization, critical theory, the history of ideas, cultural studies, film, Francophone studies, and translation. See current course offerings and the bulletin course descriptions.

What if I want to take courses outside the department?

Even if not formally enrolled in an interdisciplinary program, students in the French Department are welcome and encouraged to take courses outside the department and through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium which are germane to their research interests. 

What is the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium?

The Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (IUDC) offers eligible GSAS students the opportunity to take graduate courses at distinguished universities throughout the greater New York area. The IUDC has been in existence for over 25 years and offers students an enormous array of courses and opportunities for contact with faculty and students in their fields.

Participating schools are: Columbia University, Princeton University, CUNY Graduate Center, Rutgers University, Fordham University, SUNY Stony Brook, the Graduate Faculty at New School University, Teachers College at Columbia University, and New York University.

The IUDC is open to doctoral students from participating schools who have completed at least one year of full time study toward the Ph.D. Terminal master's students and non-GSAS students are not eligible. 

Are there opportunities to take courses at the IFS even if I am not a joint student? Is there a certificate program?

Absolutely! You are encouraged to take courses at the IFS--or any department--that pertain to your research interests. Doctoral students in the Department of French may complete a Certificate of Achievement in French Studies by completing four courses at the IFS while in residence at NYU.

Are there other certificate programs within NYU?

Yes, there are. Students may apply to earn a certificate in Poetics and Theory or a Concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies



Are there opportunities to teach as a doctoral student? Is it a required component of the MacCracken Fellowship?

The NYU Department of French instructs over 1,000 students per semester in its language and content classes, many of which are taught by students in the Ph.D. program as adjunct instructors. The Department of French feels that teaching is an essential experience for its doctoral students to grow in their skills and confidence as educators and to be competitive on the job market. With the implementation of Financial Aid Reform 4 (FAR4)(PDF download), teaching as an adjunct instructor provides compensation over and above the MacCracken stipend. Ph.D. students in the Department of French typically teach for two years, usually beginning in their second year of coursework.

Doctoral students may also have other opportunities to teach, such as undergraduate summer language or literature courses in New York or at NYU Paris.

What kind of training is provided?

First-time adjunct instructors receive training in the form of a week-long intensive Teaching Orientation the summer before they begin teaching. Training continues in a bi-weekly Teaching Seminar and Workshop through the fall and spring semesters, in which students examine the theoretical underpinnings of second language acquisition and explore praxis through sample lesson plan and exercise creation, test writing and analysis, textbook analyses, and peer- and self observation. This Teaching Orientation and Workshop is a required course for all doctoral students in the Department of French and carries four points (two points each semester) points toward the 72-point Ph.D. requirement.

Are there opportunities to teach as a master's student?

M.A.-track students are not eligible to teach classes through the Department of French at NYU.



Are there opportunities to study in France?

Ph.D. students may elect to take courses at NYU Paris in the summer, or, in the case of Ph.D. students who do not hold an earned M.A., to complete their M.A. at NYU Paris. Students may also apply to hold a resident assistant position at NYU Paris in the summer, perhaps coupled with study there. There are also opportunities for students to teach summer language courses and, during the academic year, one student is needed to teach a literature course in the Anglophone program, as well.

The Department of French also has an agreement with the Ecole Normale Supérieure in both Lyon and Paris that allows up to two doctoral students to spend a year or semester at the ENS and participate fully in its seminars.

The M.A. program in French Literature is offered at both NYU in New York and NYU Paris. Students generally complete their coursework at the campus to which they applied.

The M.A. in French Language and Civilization is offered only at NYU Paris.

The M.A. in Teaching French as a Foreign Language is a multi-year program, of which the first year is spent at NYU Paris. (The remaining coursework is completed on a full- or part-time basis at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU Washington Square.)

Are there opportunities to conduct research in France or abroad?

After finishing coursework, doctoral students may choose to conduct research for their dissertation in France or other relevant locations. They may continue to draw on their MacCracken fellowship as it is available and may also be eligible for supplementary funding through additional competitive fellowships at NYU or externally. The faculty will make every effort to assist students in making contact with relevant universities, libraries, archives, and other resources.



The Department of French at NYU is part of a network of intellectual sites grouped within the Center for French Civilization and Culture. The Center branches into the University's four significant spheres of activity in French Studies: the Department, the Institute of French Studies, NYU Paris, and La Maison Française. These form the most comprehensive American academic complex devoted to the culture of France, past and present.

The Department of French currently has 19 faculty members, representing a broad spectrum of specialization in all areas of French literature and civilization, and 14 full-time language lecturers. In addition, the Department offers courses by eminent visiting professors, including Réda Bensmaïa, François Cornillat, Marielle Macé, Christian Biet, Yves Citton, Philippe Roger, and François Noudlemann.

The Department offers approximately 8 graduate seminars each semester, with enrollments ranging from five to fifteen students. Thus, students are able to choose from the rich offerings of a large department, yet also enjoy the opportunity for close, personal interaction with professors.

Are there any student groups within the department?

There are approximately 60 graduate students, from M.A. students to Ph.D. candidates finishing their dissertations, based in our department here at NYU Washington Square. All graduate students are invited to take part in the French Graduate Students' Association (FGSA), which serves as a forum for students on both the master’s and doctoral level. Through meetings and a regular dialogue with the Director of Graduate Studies, the FGSA provides an organized channel through which graduate students voice their interests and concerns and make suggestions to the faculty.The Graduate Student Association also organizes a series of “brown-bag lunches,” including work-in-progress discussions. Individual students have also convened dissertation writing groups, the teaching and training committee, and other initiatives.

In addition to this, graduate students participate in a series of Teaching and Training workshops organized by the graduate student instructors and Language Lecturers and take responsibility for organizing events for undergraduate students such as the monthly Ciné-Club, and Café et Conversation conversational hours. 

Do graduate students typically organize conferences?

Yes. Each spring, the third-year Ph.D. students organize the annual Graduate Student Conference. Recent conference titles have included Conference in Progress. (2012), La Bête Noire (2011), Rien/Nothing (2010), and Unbecoming Masters (2009). 

What other resources can I benefit from as a student at NYU's Department of French?

NYU's Bobst Library houses over 3.3 million volumes, twenty thousand journals, and over 3 million microforms. NYU also has reciprocal borrowing privileges with several other nearby university libraries and reciprocal on-site access with Columbia's Butler Library. In addition, the New York Public Library is freely available and boasts four major research centers and myriad local lending branches throughout the City. The Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media at Bobst Library offers an impressive selection of French film; the Department also houses a small collection of films of its own.

The Department of French is housed at 19 University Place, just north of Washington Square Park and just across the street from La Maison Française and the Institute for French Studies on the historic Washington Mews.

La Maison Française is one of the most active centers of French-American cultural exchange on any American campus. Founded in 1957 on the historic Washington Mews just north of Washington Square Park, the Maison offers a year-round program of activities, including lectures, roundtables, conferences, film and video screenings, art exhibits, concerts, and special presentations. All events are free and open to the public.

Established in 1978 through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of French Studies (IFS) offers degree programs for Ph.D. students for careers in higher education and master's programs to prepare students for careers in international business, banking, the media, cultural organizations, and government. In addition to its teaching programs, the Institute of French Studies fosters research by faculty, doctoral students, research associates, and a wide array of visiting scholars, who share their research through the French Studies Colloquia public lecture series and weekly luncheon seminars.

At NYU Paris, students in graduate studies have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in French intellectual and cultural life. Students join a rich and stimulating academic community that is small enough to provide individual attention yet is made up of some of the very best scholars in French literature, history, and civilization. Host to a series of conferences and lectures that bring together artists, filmmakers, politicians, and writers, NYU Paris is a thriving center of intellectual and cultural exchange. See the NYU Paris site for more information.



What is the job placement record for students from the doctoral program?

In 2014, current and recent graduates obtained tenure-track positions at the University of South Carolina, Wagner College, and Dartmouth College. Students also accepted one-year appointments at Vassar College and New York University and a two-year appointment at Bard College.

In 2013, current and recent graduates secured tenure track positions at University of Wisconsin - Madison, Catholic University, University of Southern Indiana, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College; one-year appointments at Bryn Mawr and Wagner College (Staten Island); and a post-doctoral fellowship in the Princeton Society of Fellows. 

See Job Placements page for more information.



If you have more questions about the graduate programs in French at NYU, contact the graduate aide via e-mail at or by calling the department at (+1) 212 998-8700. If you have questions about the online application, review the information found at the Graduate School of Arts and Science Application Resource Center.



The Department of French is housed within New York University's Arts & Science division. Prospective graduate students will apply through the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS).

The following refers to departmental specific deadlines and requirements. Please refer to the GSAS Application Resource Center for questions about the online application process. 

**The French department is currently not accepting applications to M.A. programs.

Degrees Conferred
Field of Study
Field of Study
 Ph.D. French
 Joint Ph.D.
French Studies/French
(students must apply jointly to both the Institute of French Studies and the Department of French)


 M.A. French Literature 
  French Literature (NYU Paris)
  French Language and Civilization (NYU Paris)
 Joint M.A.
Teaching French as a Foreign Language (NYU Paris)
(applicants apply through NYU Steinhardt)

Do I have to have an M.A. to apply for a doctoral program? 

No, an M.A. is not required to apply to the doctoral program. Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. should apply directly to the doctoral program. 

Students who enter the doctoral without a Master's degree will generally become eligible for the Master of Arts after completion of the first 32 points of coursework and a successful M.A. exam (or thesis)--usually at the conclusion of the first year of study. Some of our students enter the doctoral program with a previous M.A., and many do not.

I already have a Master's degree. Will you accept it for credit toward doctoral coursework? 

See: Coursework

If I am not accepted for the Ph.D. program, may I be considered for the M.A. program? 

Yes. Applicants who wish to be considered for the M.A. program, should their application to the Ph.D. program be unsuccessful, should indicate this on the application and in their Statement of Purpose. No additional application fee is required.

If I am not accepted to the joint degree program, can I still be considered for the Ph.D. in French?

Yes. An applicant to the joint program whose writing and training demonstrates strong potential for research in literature and/or critical thought may be considered--with their permission--for the Ph.D. in French. It is possible, within this program, to write a dissertation on cultural or philosophical topics as well as on strictly literary ones.

When are applications due?

For prospective Ph.D. students: The Department of French recommends that applications be submitted by December 18. The final deadline for applications is January 4.

For prospective Master's students, the application deadline for fall admission to all programs, or admission in the summer program in Paris, is April 15. For students applying to programs at NYU Paris, students wishing to be considered for financial aid should apply by March 1. There are no admissions for spring semester. 

Applications should be submitted in English.

What should be included in my application?

1)  The Online Application.

2)  A Curriculum Vitae (CV) or résumé.  This should list your academic and, if applicable, relevant professional experience.

3)  A Statement of Academic Purpose that addresses your reasons for pursuing a higher degree, your field(s) of interest (if known), and why you see NYU as an appropriate home for your future studies. 

4)  A Writing Sample. For applicants to programs in French Literature or French Language & Civilization, a writing sample of scholarly, academic writing, no longer than 25 pages double-spaced or 7000 words in total, is required. It may be made up of one or two term papers, a research paper written for a French course, or an extract from an Honors thesis; some or all of it must be in French. 

5)  Three Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation may be in French or English, but preferably in the native language of the recommender. GSAS requires that these be submitted online using the Application Resource Center. Three letters are required; GSAS does not recommend that more than three are submitted unless there are compelling reasons for doing so. The most helpful letters are those written by professors with recent experience of your work, if possible in a relevant field and at an appropriate level, who are in a position to comment in detail on your achievements to date and your future potential.  

See the GSAS Application Letters of Recommendation FAQ (PDF download) for more information.

6)  Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (and Test of English as a Foreign Language or International English Language Testing System scores, if applicable)All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores; this is a GSAS requirement and cannot be waived. It is important that you arrange to take the GRE and have official scores sent to GSAS no later than four to six weeks before the deadline date. For example, if the deadline is January 4, you should take the GRE no later than November 15 so that the results are available for consideration by mid-December. Official score reports should be submitted to New York University--GSAS, institution code 2596. GRE scores are valid for five years. 

Students whose native language is not English or who have not received a B.A. or an M.A. from a university at which English is the language of record must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. It is important that you arrange to take the TOEFL and have official scores sent to GSAS no later than six to eight weeks before the deadline date. For example, if your program's deadline is December 18, you should take the TOEFL no later than October 15 so that the results are available for consideration by mid-December. Official score reports should be sent to New York University--GSAS, institution code 2596. The department code for French is 16. TOEFL scores are valid for three years. Students may also submit scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

See the GSAS Application GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS FAQ for more information.

7)  Transcript.  An unofficial, electronic copy of your transcript is acceptable for the application process.  If admitted, you will need to provide an official, hard copy of your transcript before matriculation. 

If any of your transcripts are in a language other than English, both the transcript in the original language and a literal certified English translation must be submitted with the online application. 

For complete details about transcripts, see the GSAS Application Academic Transcripts FAQ (PDF download).

How do I submit my supporting materials?

All supporting materials should be submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Science as part of the online application via upload. If there are issues uploading a document to the online application, see the GSAS Application Resource Center's troubleshooting guide (PDF download). Nothing should be sent directly to the department.

Did you receive my supporting materials?

All supporting materials should be sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Science as part of the online application. You can confirm submission of materials in GSAS' online Supporting Materials Tracking System

How many applications do you receive? How many are admitted?

Each year, the Department of French in New York and NYU Paris receive over 100 applications for admission into the doctoral and master's programs. Generally 7 - 10 students are accepted into the Ph.D. cohort, while each master's program accepts between 5 - 10 students.

What are the minimum test scores for admission into the French graduate programs? 

Since many factors influence admissions, neither the Department nor the Graduate School has minimum test scores required for admission. Applicants are advised to present the highest scores they can achieve, particularly in the Verbal Reasoning and Writing sections. 

The Graduate School recommends that an applicant receive a minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the internet-based test (equivalent to 600 on the paper-based test). 

Do you have an open house for prospective graduate students?

Intending applicants are welcome to visit the department and meet faculty with prior arrangement. 

Each February and March, we are pleased to welcome our top ranking prospective Ph.D. students to Mac Day, our annual open house event, which features a series of orientation sessions, seminars, meetings, and social events involving the faculty and graduate students of the Department.