Students of the M.A. program in French Studies examine the French and the French-speaking world in French and in English through multiple disciplinary lenses: history, sociology, political science, anthropology, cultural analysis, and more. They explore the imperial nation and post-colonial situations, welfare and discrimination, memory and forgetting, gender and race, religion and secularism, and other questions that play out in singular ways in the Francophone world.
M.A. students go on to careers in a variety in fields that prize clear thinking, global understanding of the world, and analytical fluency in more than one language. These include the Foreign Service, journalism, humanitarian assistance, immigration law, primary and secondary education, translation, international business. Each year, some M.A. students parlay their research and relationships with IFS faculty into offers from leading Ph.D. programs in history, anthropology, French, linguistics, or politics.
The French Studies M.A. degree requires the successful completion of eight courses, including at least seven of them at the IFS, and 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 early June through mid- 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 course work is done in small seminars taught by leading scholars from the U.S. and the French-speaking world. NYU’s faculty includes experts on France and Europe, Africa and the Maghreb, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and South-East Asia. Each year, we also welcome four visiting professors from France. Half of the course offering is in French, and students perfect their oral and written command of the language and put it to analytical use. Our French Language Lab provides linguistic support as needed.
All students are normally required to take the history course on 19th Century France (IFST-GA.1610). Students pick the remaining courses from the IFS course offerings. The choice of courses is made in consultation with an IFS faculty 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, Twentieth-Century France, France and the Maghreb, France and Africa, Colonial and Postcolonial French Antilles, and topics in French History: Journalism.
II. Society: Current and recent courses include Education in France, Immigration in France, the Urban Question in France, and Race, Class and Gender in French Society.
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 the Invention of the Belle Epoque, the Sociolinguistics of French, Cinema and history, and Press, Society, and Literature Since the 19th Century.
Students may also choose one course (occasionally two) toward the M.A. from another NYU department.
The M.A. examination is a five-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.
The French Studies MA has a strong research component. Whether they choose archival investigations, ethnographic fieldwork, or journalistic reportage, students conduct research in both New York and Paris (during our summer program). On both sides of the Atlantic, they receive close mentoring from our faculty. 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 research term paper. It may be revised before submission.
Advisement. 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.
Networking. Graduate students gather regularly outside of class for informal meetings conceived to support degree progress and master’s projects preparation. We also have an unmatched program of talks and events with scholars, artists, writers, filmmakers, and IFS alumni. These events always start or finish with a reception or a dinner, and allow our students to engage with our prestigious guests speakers and connect with our committed network of alumni.
Admissions. Applicants are not required to take the GRE or fill out financial disclosures. They are assessed on the basis of their undergraduate transcript, a writing sample, and letters of recommendation. Applications will be received until December 15 for the MA/MBA dual degree and January 4 for the Joint Global Journalism degree and February 7 for MA in French Studies application. Please see our Prospective Student FAQs.
Funding. We now offer all admitted M.A. students at least one-half tuition remission, and more for our best applicants. 100% of our students thus receive financial aid, with no teaching or TA requirements.