The joint Ph.D. program in French Studies and History is designed for students interested in combining a multidisciplinary approach to the study of France and the Francophone world, with broad graduate training in European history. Students pursuing the degree may wish to prepare for careers of research and teaching in a history department and/or a French department, with a specialty in French culture and civilization.
Admission to the Ph.D. program must be granted by both the IFS and the History Department. A total of 72 points (normally eighteen courses) is required. In the first year students are expected to take the History Department’s required course, Approaches to Historical Writing, HIST-GA 3603, as well as the IFS’s required course, 19th-Century France, IFST-GA 1610, plus an IFS course in the social sciences. During the first two years students should also take one or two “literature of the field” courses in the History Department, a course in 20th-century French history, and the Research Seminar in French Studies, IFST-GA 3720, at IFS. Students are encouraged to take elective courses in both departments as well as other relevant departments, such as the French Department, as well as to avail themselves of IFS summer courses in Paris. In addition to formal course work, doctoral students are required to participate in the IFS’s weekly Doctoral Workshop A research paper (normally of 30 to 35 pages) is required for doctoral students in the Joint program in French Studies and History. Students use the Research Seminar in French Studies, IFST-GA 3720, to write the paper.
Because strong French language skills are required for admission to the IFS, students in the joint Ph.D. program need not take an additional language exam. A second language may, however, be desirable for many students.
Students in the joint program with history must pass a three-day written Qualifying Examination at the end of the second year. Students choose three faculty members to administer an exam based on the Literature of the Field courses and a supplemental reading list developed with the faculty examiners. The first two days of the examination are devoted to European history since 1750. Students in the Joint IFS History program are not examined in a second (minor) history field, as are students in History alone. Instead, they devote the third day of the written exam to the interdisciplinary field of French Studies. This portion of the exam will draw on their course work in French Studies, including especially work they have done beyond the field of history. A member of the Institute’s affiliated faculty will work with the student in preparation for this exam. All three examiners will evaluate the three exam essays. 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 no later than the end of the first semester of the third year. They must present the prospectus 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 Ph.D. oral defense, which is held once the writing of the dissertation is completed.