Joint Degree Doctor of Philosophy in French Studies and French

The joint Ph.D. program in French Studies and French is designed for students interested in developing research expertise in the history and analysis of literary texts closely linked to their social, culture, and political contexts. It prepares students to teach both literature and civilization in French departments and gives them the scholarly expertise to integrate the two. The joint program combines strong training in literary analysis with substantial exposure to the study of France, Europe, and the Francophone world offered by historians and social scientists. Students applying to the program should have background both in French literature and in history and the social sciences. The program covers French politics, society, culture, and literature since the French Revolution, although students develop a narrower research specialty within this time period.

Admission to the Ph.D. program must be granted by both the IFS and the French Department. A total of 72 points (normally eighteen courses) is required. Students typically take eight courses in each department with the remaining two in either department or in others, such as history, art history, cinema studies, anthropology, or comparative literature. The following courses are required of all doctoral students: Proseminar in French Literature, FREN-GA 2957; 19th-Century France, IFST-GA 1610; Research Seminar in French Studies, IFST-GA 3720. A research paper (normally of 30 to 35 pages) is also required. Students use the Research Seminar in French Studies, IFST-GA 3720, to write the paper. In addition to formal course work, doctoral students are required to participate in the IFS’s weekly Doctoral Workshop.

Students in the joint Ph.D. in French Studies and French are required to possess near-native writing as well as oral skills in French. A second foreign language is not required, but may be desirable for many students. 

Students must pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination, which is normally taken in the fall semester of the third year. The examination consists of a written part (two take-home essays on French Studies topics associated with the student’s principal area of research) and an oral examination devoted to one reading list on 19th-century literature and another on 20th-century literature. After passing the Ph.D. qualifying examination and earning 72 course credits, students are eligible for the Master of Philosophy degree.

Students must draft a dissertation prospectus during the spring of the third year, present it to the IFS Doctoral Workshop, and defend it before an examination committee whose members will expect them to situate their work vis-à-vis the most relevant scholarly literature in their field. The committee for the examination consists of three faculty members: one is the student’s major adviser; the other two are normally readers of the dissertation.

Finally, students must write and orally defend a doctoral dissertation. GSAS regulations govern the form of the oral defense, which is held once the writing of the dissertation is completed.