M.A. in French Studies

The M.A. program is designed for students interested in careers in international business and banking, the media, government, and cultural organizations or in teaching French civilization in secondary schools or two-year colleges. Full-time students who attend the Institute’s eight-week summer program in Paris complete the M.A. degree in one calendar year. Part-time students normally take two years to meet the course requirements.

The program requires successful completion of eight courses (32 points) and a comprehensive examination. The latter covers the following fields in French studies: (1) 19th-Century French history; (2) 20th-Century French history; (3) French society; and either (4) French politics and the economy or (5) French culture in society. The course 19th-Century France, IFST-GA 1610, is required for all M.A. students. The Institute offers two graduate courses in Paris, usually from late May to early July. The course(s) are offered at the NYU in Paris facilities and are taught by faculty appointed by the Institute.



The French Studies M.A. degree requires the successful completion of eight courses, including at least seven of them at the IFS, with an average grade of B or better. You must also pass a comprehensive M.A. exam. A normal full-time course load is three courses per semester.  Full-time students can complete the degree in one calendar year by taking the IFS summer courses offered at NYU in Paris, and sitting for the M.A. Comprehensive Examination in Paris.  The summer term typically runs from late-May through early July.  Those who do not participate in the summer program complete their M.A. requirements in three semesters of study at NYU. Part-time students normally take two years to meet the course requirements.

The M.A. offered by the Institute can complement work done toward a graduate degree in French language and literature. The M.A. credits are counted toward the Ph.D.

Course work prepares you for the M.A. Comprehensive Examination.  All students are normally required to take the history course on 19th Century France (IFST-GA.1610).  With the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, course work done elsewhere may be substituted for the course on 19th Century France.

Students pick the remaining courses from the IFS course offerings.  The choice of courses is made in consultation with an advisor on the basis of interest, previous training, and professional needs.  IFS courses are grouped into four fields:

I. History: Current and recent courses include Nineteenth-Century France, France and the Maghreb, France in War and Peace (1914-45), and topics in French History: Journalism. 

II. Society: Current and recent courses include Education in France, France and Islam, and Topics on Women and Gender in France. 

III. Politics and the Economy: Current and recent courses include The Fifth Republic, The Extreme Right in France, France and Globalization, and Topics in the French Economy: Work and Its Market. 

IV. Culture in Society: Current and recent courses in Culture in Society include Intellectuals in France, the Sociolinguistics of French, the Visual Arts in French Society, and Approaches to French Culture.

Students may also choose one course toward the M.A. from another department. 

The M.A. examination is a four-hour written exam (in English).  Students are eligible to take it only after all eight courses have been completed with at least a B average.  M.A. candidates are examined in the fields of History and Society.  They also choose a third field, which may either be Politics and the Economy or Culture in Society.  Please note that some courses are useful for preparation in more than one field.

Students also submit a Master's Essay on the day they take the written part of the M.A. Comprehensive Examination. Normally this essay is a course term paper, which has been given a grade of B+ or better. It may be revised, but not expanded in length, before submission.


Given our small size, the Institute’s faculty provides close supervision and careful advisement on the choice of courses and the training required for various career goals. Each M.A. student is advised by a faculty member during the entire academic year.


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