The dual degree M.A.-J.D. program in French Studies and law prepares students for careers in international law, especially careers in which knowledge of French law and legal traditions is important. It is of special interest to students who wish to continue an undergraduate interest in French society and culture while preparing for a professional career in law. Through this arrangement between the School of Law and the Graduate School of Arts and Science, students are able to combine the rigorous schedules of two separate programs, and complete both degrees with a decreased course load.
The School of Law requires 83 points for the J.D. and the Graduate School requires 32 points for the M.A. Students in the dual degree program may apply 12 points of Graduate School credit towards the J.D. and 8 points of Law School credit towards the M.A., a total savings of 20 points. A student in the dual degree
program can therefore complete both degrees by completing only 95 points. Information on the requirements for the J.D may be found on the NYU School of Law Web site at law.nyu.edu. You will find below more details about the M.A. part of the program.
The dual J.D./French Studies degree requires the successful completion of six courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Science, including at least five of them at the IFS, and a comprehensive M.A. exam. The program can be completed in three to four years. Normally, the first year of the program is spent at the law school; work toward the M.A. degree in French studies typically begins in the second year or during the summer between the first and second years.
Courses in the Institute of 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. 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 Southeast Asia. Each year, we also welcome four visiting professors from France. Half of the course offerings are 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 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.
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. 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 M.A. 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 graduate student is advised by a faculty member.
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. Candidates for the dual program with the School of Law must submit two applications: one to the Institute of French Studies and one to the School of Law. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of both the Institute and the School of Law, and admission is subject to approval by both. Applications to the Institute do not require GRE scores or financial disclosures. We assess applicants on the basis of their undergraduate transcript, a writing sample, and letters of recommendation. Application to the two schools can be made either simultaneously or sequentially. Please refer to the NYU School of Law website for J.D. application deadlines. Students enrolled in NYU’s Law School who wish to pursue the Dual M.A. in Law and French Studies may apply to GSAS during their first or second year at the Law School. Our IFS deadline for M.A. admissions is Feb. 7. Don’t hesitate to contact Wendy Diaz for specific inquiries on the deadlines. Please also visit our Prospective Student FAQs page.
Funding. We now offer all admitted M.A. students at least one-half tuition remission for courses in French Studies, and more for our best applicants.