Information for Prospective MA Students

Prospective Students' FAQs

Students admitted to the master's programs in French Studies will receive an Institute of French Studies Scholarship, which covers 50% tuition (not registration and services fees).  Further funding is available through our Yves-André Istel Scholarships, which are awarded on a competitive basis and provide an additional tuition scholarship.

For students admitted to Joint or Dual Master's programs, our scholarships apply to French Studies credits only. Further funding might be available through our partnering departments.


Accepting late applications for September 2017.


What are the strengths of the IFS’s M.A. program?

The greatest strength of the program is the quality of the faculty and the students who make it what it is.  No less important, the students who pursue degrees through the Institute bring tremendous talent and experience to the program.  Another strength is the unparalleled opportunity to take courses in English as well as in French.  Every year, the Institute brings to the NYU campus four stellar scholars from France, giving students the opportunity to work with top academic figures.  Nearly all of our M.A. students also spent the summer term in Paris, where they take two courses and fully immerse themselves in French culture.  Other strengths include the opportunity to complete an M.A. in a single calendar year and our rich program of lectures, seminars, films, and conferences.  All of this makes the Institute a lively intellectual community — a tight-knit group of faculty and students who take full advantage of living and studying in New York and Paris.

Who makes up our faculty?

NYU has long had top faculty in the area of French and francophone studies, from historians and political scientists to sociologists and anthropologists.  Our permanent and affiliated faculty also represent several areas of interest and approaches to French Studies.  In addition, scholars from France broaden the scope of our curriculum.  In recent semesters, the historian Pap Ndiaye (EHESS) has taught a course on “History and Sociology of Black Populations in France” while political scientist Nonna Mayer (CNRS) offered a course on the French political landscape during the past decade.  Daniel Rivet, a leading historian at the Sorbonne, has taught “France and the Maghreb.”  Sociologist Eric Fassin (Ecole Normale Supérieure) devoted a course to minority issues in France while the ethnologist David Lepoutre (Nanterre) led students on an anthropological study of contemporary France.  Other visiting faculty have included the sociologist Stéphane Beaud (ENS) and Nacira Guénif-Souilamas (Paris XIII), the historians Myriam Cottias (CNRS) and Jacques Revel (EHESS), and the political scientist Pascal Perrineau (Science Po).

Who are our students?

Our students come from all over the United States and from many countries abroad.  Some of them come directly from undergraduate programs.  Others have worked, studied or traveled after college before coming to our program.  Most (though not all) have had some experience studying and living in a French-speaking country.  Our students are diverse in background, interests, and goals, thereby enriching the community of learning and research at the Institute.

How can I complete the program in a single calendar year?

Most students, in fact, do it this way.  The M.A. program begins in September and ends the following July.  You take three courses at IFS in New York during the fall semester, another three the same way in the spring.  Then you take two IFS-sponsored courses in Paris at NYU in France in the summer, thereby completing the eight courses required for the degree.  The program concludes with a one day M.A. exam in Paris in July.  No thesis is required.

Is the summer session in Paris required?

No.  You may opt to complete the degree by taking two courses at the Institute in New York during a third semester.  A few students usually take this option.

Does the program offer financial aid?

Yes, the Institute is presently offering all admitted M.A. students (both full-time and part-time) a Yves-André Istel Fellowship, which covers tuition points. Students are encouraged to seek out other forms of aid as well. A comprehensive list of fellowships, prizes, and awards appears in the Financing Graduate Education section of the GSAS Application.

Can I be a part-time student?

Yes.  Many students have completed the M.A. as part-time students.  If you are interested in this option please contact Professor Frédéric Viguier ( Part-time students are eligible for scholarships.

How proficient should I be in French to pursue this program?

You needn’t have been a French major in college to pursue our M.A. program, and many of our students aren’t.  But you do need good skills in the language.  Our students’ level of French ranges from near-native ability to proficient.  Because half of our courses are taught in French, you must be able to read French scholarship and understand the spoken language.  Your written work may be in either French or English.  Students improve their language skills in the natural course of their work and activity at the Institute, but we do not teach language per se. 

I am interested in the M.A. program, and would like to meet with faculty or sit in on a class.  Is this possible?

Absolutely.  You may do so in the fall, before sending in your application, or after receiving news of our decision in the spring.  Prospective students often attend our Tuesday luncheon workshop series, sit in on a class, and meet with faculty and students.  Please email our graduate student affairs coordinator to arrange your visit.  Note that these informal meetings are intended to address prospective students' questions and concerns. They are not application interviews.

What are the requirements for admission?

To apply for admission to our Master's program you should hold a BA degree (or the equivalent). In addition to the required forms, you should submit three academic letters of recommendation, upload an official copy of your academic transcript from each school you have previously attended, a statement of purpose, a writing sample, results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and, for international students, results from the TOEFL* or TOEFLC* (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Please visit the GSAS Application Resource Center for up-to-date application instructions, requirements and deadlines.

Whom should I ask for recommendation letters? What kind of recommendation letters is most effective/useful?

Letters from professors or advisors with whom an applicant has studied are most useful to the admissions committee.  If you are unable to provide letters from three academic references, professional references from people who can discuss your abilities as a researcher or writer are acceptable. We do not recommend character references from friends, family, or religious advisors.

How should I apply?

NYU no longer mails hard copy application bulletins. The application and all applicable information are available online from Graduate Enrollment Services.  Applicants now submit their personal statement, writing samples, transcripts, and letters of recommendation online.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for admission with financial aid consideration is the February 7th prior to the fall semester you are applying for. In the case where February 7th falls on a weekend day, then the deadline will fall on the Monday immediately following. All applications received by that date will be guaranteed consideration.  Applications that arrive afterwards will be considered on a rolling basis.

Applicants to our dual degrees with Law or Business Administration must submit two applications, one to each of the schools they are applying. Applications must be submitted by each school's deadline and an interest in the dual degree indicated at that time. The application deadline for admission with financial aid consideration for the dual degree (M.A.-M.B.A.) in French Studies/Business Administration is December 15th. However, applications to GSAS do not have to be submitted until February 7th.

How are admissions decisions made?

The Admissions Committee is made up of permanent Institute faculty.  We look for strong academic training, an inquisitive mind, prior acquaintance and curiosity about France and its place in the world, and sufficient command of French. 

May I go on to pursue a Ph.D. at NYU after completing the M.A.?

The M.A. in French Studies does not automatically admit you to a Ph.D. program at NYU.  You would have to apply to the Ph.D. just like other applicants.  Many of our M.A. graduates have gone on to excellent Ph.D. programs.  Because admission to our Ph.D. programs is highly competitive, we always encourage students to apply to a number of programs, and not just NYU’s.

I have other questions. Whom should I contact?

Please write Frédéric Viguier, the Institute’s Director of Graduate Studies (