Masters in French Studies

Our Program

The Institute of French Studies (IFS) offers several MA programs devoted to the interdisciplinary study of modern France and the French-influenced world.  These programs combine rigorous cross-cultural training, vibrant intellectual exchanges within and outside the classroom, a tight-knit community in our townhouse on historic Washington Mews, and the cultural resources of New York City. 

Students normally complete all requirements of the M.A. in French Studies in one calendar year.  During the fall and spring semesters, they take courses in French, history, politics, anthropology, sociology, and art history at NYU’s Greenwich Village campus, where they can study Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, Haiti and the French Caribbean as well. Nearly half of our courses are taught in French, many of them by eminent French academics invited each year as visiting professors to the IFS. During the summer, M.A. students travel to Paris, where they take two additional courses at NYU’s campus in the Latin Quarter. Throughout the year, students and faculty complement their regular coursework with a wide range of seminars, workshops, and colloquia that make our intellectual and professional community unique. 

As an alternative to the M.A. in French Studies, students can select a joint masters' program that combines significant coursework at the IFS with a degree in journalism, business or law.  Our joint M.A. programs with the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, the NYU School of Law, and the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute provide high quality professional training together with interdisciplinary work in French studies. 

Qualified NYU juniors and seniors enrolled in the College of Arts and Science or Global Liberal Studies may pursue a BA/M.A. degree in French studies.  This program enables undergraduates to take graduate courses and thus to complete their senior year with a significant number of graduate course credits already in hand. Many can finish their coursework for the M.A. degree in only one additional semester of study, allowing them to earn both the B.A. and M.A. in as little as 4 ½ years.  In effect, the Graduate School of Arts and Science grants B.A./M.A. students a tuition fellowship equal to half the normal cost of the M.A. degree.

Professional and Intellectual Opportunities

Students who come to pursue the M.A. in French Studies share a strong interest in France and the French-speaking world.  They use this degree to advance their professional and intellectual interests in a variety of ways.  Some students arrive with an undergraduate background in French literature and want to strengthen their training in the social sciences and history.  Others come with prior coursework in history and the social sciences and want to take their engagement with these fields to the next level. 

Our M.A. degrees provide students with the cross-cultural understanding, analytical abilities, and strong, multilingual writing and speaking skills that can give them a competitive advantage in today’s interconnected world.  Students with M.A.s from the IFS are well prepared for careers in government, diplomacy, education, public relations, development, international business, publishing, media, and the arts.  An IFS M.A. also leads to other graduate or professional programs, including business, law, education, and doctoral work in history, French, linguistics, or anthropology. 

Recent graduates of the Institute have found rewarding positions in both the public and private sectors—as teachers at the Lycée français de New York and the St. Ann’s School (Brooklyn); parliamentary assistant at the European Parliament; Program Officer at the French-American Foundation; program coordinator at Columbia University’s Maison française; journalists for World Trade Press and Standard & Poor’s; editor at John Wiley and Sons; and grants administrator at the Fund for Global Human Rights.  One recent IFS graduate even founded a school, the International School of Brooklyn. Others have moved from the M.A. to the Ph.D. and then to successful careers in higher education.


All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and have a strong reading and spoken knowledge of French. For further information or to access the application for admission, please see our program FAQ’s and the GSAS Application Resource Center.

Please feel free to contact Professor Frédéric Viguier, the Director of Graduate Studies (