French and Francophone Studies

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are not required. The language of instruction at Penn State is English (however, courses in French and Francophone Studies are typically taught in French). English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. Consult the English Proficiency section of the Graduate Bulletin Application and Admission Procedures page for more information.

Minimum qualifications for admission to the program typically include a B.A. in French or the equivalent, a minimum of 3.20 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale), and the ability to speak and write in both French and English. A speech sample demonstrating the applicant's ability to speak extemporaneously and coherently about his/her study and career goals in French for Anglophones, in English for Francophones, and in French and English for speakers of other foreign languages is required. A written text on a literary or cultural topic also must be submitted in French for Anglophones and speakers of other foreign languages, and in English for Francophones. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Exceptions to the minimum 3.20 GPA may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests, at the discretion of the program.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Candidates for the master's degree in French and Francophone Studies must complete a minimum of 33 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level, either 33 credits plus a master’s paper or 27 credits plus 6 credits for a thesis. A reading knowledge of a second foreign language plus oral and written examinations are also required.

The M.A. degree (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite to apply to the doctoral program. Students who complete a thesis must take at least 6 credits in thesis research (FR 600 or FR 610). The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense.  Students who complete a master’s paper do so by building on ideas or concepts from one of their graduate courses, including a faculty member’s feedback and suggestions for further developing a final paper.

Required Courses
FR 571French Literary Theory and Criticism3
FR 502Introduction to French Linguistics3
FR 580Approaches to French Civilization3
FR 581Theory and Techniques of Teaching French1-6
FR 501APro-Seminar in French Studies I1.5
FR 501BPro-Seminar in French Studies II1.5
6 3-credit courses in French and Francophone Studies18

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The Ph.D. degree prepares students for careers in teaching and research at the college or university level. Between 33 and 36 credits beyond the M.A. in French and Francophone Studies (or equivalent) is required in course work at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level. Students who have not taken these courses while completing their M.A. at Penn State must take FR 571 French Literacy Theory and Criticism (3), FR 580 Approaches to French Civilization (3), FR 581 Theory and Techniques of Teaching French (1-6), FR 501A Pro-Seminar in French Studies I (1.5), and FR 501B Pro-Seminar in French Studies II (1.5). Credits must be distributed in one of two areas of specialization: culture and society or literature.

Doctoral students must demonstrate either an advanced knowledge of one foreign language other than French or a reading ability of two foreign languages other than French (equivalent to the 12-credit level). The foreign language requirement must be completed prior to scheduling the qualifying exam. All doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination. To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and African Studies

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

French and Francophone Studies doctoral students who have research and educational interests in African studies may apply to the dual-title doctoral degree program in African Studies. The goal of the program is to enable doctoral students from French and Francophone Studies to complement their knowledge and skills in their primary discipline with in-depth knowledge of prevailing theories on and problem-solving approaches to thematic, regional, or national issues pertaining to African development and change.

The dual-title doctoral degree program will provide interested French and Francophone Studies doctoral students with a multidisciplinary approach that will enhance their analytical capabilities for addressing key issues in African Studies.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in French and Francophone Studies and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the African Studies dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements of the African Studies Bulletin page. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may make their interest in the program known clearly on their applications to French and Francophone Studies and include remarks in their statement of purpose that address the ways in which their research and professional goals in the primary department reflect an interest in African Studies-related research.

To be enrolled in the dual-title doctoral degree program in African Studies, a student must have the approval of the French and Francophone Studies Department and then submit a letter of application and transcript, which will be reviewed by and African Studies Admissions committee. An applicant must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) to be considered for enrollment in the dual-title degree program. Students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in African Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in French and Francophone Studies.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirement of the French and Francophone Studies doctoral program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, as established by the African Studies Program.  Within this framework, course selection is determined by the student with the approval in advance of the African Studies Director of Graduate Studies.

Upon acceptance by the African Studies admissions committee, the African Studies director will assign the student an African Studies academic adviser in consultation with the African Studies admissions committee. As a student develops specific scholarly interests, s/he may request a different African Studies from the one assigned by the African Studies admissions committee. The student and the French and Francophone Studies and African Studies academic advisers will establish a program of study that is appropriate for the student's professional objectives and that is in accordance with the policies of the Graduate Council, the French and Francophone Studies graduate program, and the African Studies Program.

The Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and African Studies is awarded to students who are admitted to the French and Francophone Studies doctoral program and admitted subsequently into the dual-title degree in African Studies. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in French and Francophone Studies and African Studies are as follows.

Required Courses
A minimum of 66 post-baccalaureate credits. Course work accepted for the M.A. in French and Francophone Studies will count toward the credit requirement. At least 48 credits, exclusive of dissertation research credits, must be in French and Francophone Studies.
18 credits of Africa-related course work at the 400- or 500-level of which the following 9 credits are required: 1
Key Issues in African Studies
a minimum of 6 credits from a list of courses maintained by the African Studies program chair

Language Requirement

Fulfillment of the foreign language requirement will meet the existing French and Francophone Studies requirements.

The foreign language requirement at the doctoral level is designed to provide students with a skill that will aid them in research and in securing employment. The French and Francophone Studies department feels that the majority of students would profit most from four-skill proficiency in another language. However, some students would benefit most from a reading knowledge of two languages.

Qualifying Examination

The dual-title degree will be guided by the qualifying examination procedure of the French and Francophone Studies graduate program. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both French and Francophone Studies and African Studies.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from French and Francophone Studies and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the African Studies Program. The designated dual-title faculty member may be appointed from French and Francophone Studies if that person holds a formal affiliation with the African Studies program.

Ph.D. Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a French and Francophone Studies and African Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the African Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the committee representing French and Francophone Studies is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in African Studies, the member of the committee representing African Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination consists of a series of content-intensive examinations and the doctoral dissertation proposal. The African Studies representative on the student's Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. Students enrolled in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and expertise in French and Francophone Studies and African Studies. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and Visual Studies

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

French and Francophone Studies graduate students who have research and educational interests in global visual culture may apply to the dual-title doctoral program in Visual Studies. The program aims to (a) provide students with the conceptual and methodological tools they will use to interpret literature, culture and society in French, Francophone and global contexts; (b) generate and analyze ground-breaking research at the intersection of such disciplines as cultural anthropology, philosophy, socio-cultural and literary history, stylistics, urbanism, visual studies, and women’s and gender studies; and (c) guide students in using their specialized knowledge and skills to produce research of publishable quality on varied sites of analysis (city, library, archive, classroom, stage, environment, among others). The program prepares graduates for college and university teaching, and careers in other related fields.

The dual-title Ph.D. in Visual Studies comprises two core components: 1) historical and theoretical analysis of various forms of visual culture, their diverse sources, and their current manifestations; 2) historical and theoretical analysis of visual media in the information age, including the visual aspects of the digital humanities and the presentation of scholarship and teaching in visual media. A program-specific required course in each of these areas will ensure breadth of training for participating students. Together these components will offer students a sophisticated understanding of and ability to intervene in debates about visual culture and visuality in the world today.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the doctoral program in French and Francophone Studies and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may make their interest in the program known clearly in their applications to French and Francophone Studies and include remarks in their statement of purpose that address the ways in which their research and professional goals in the primary department reflect an interest in Visual Studies-related research. After admission to the doctoral program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Visual Studies dual-title program, as described in the Admission Requirements section of the Visual Studies Bulletin. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Visual Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in the French and Francophone Studies program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Visual Studies, listed on the Visual Studies Bulletin page.

The Visual Studies segment of the program will consist of a total of fifteen credits, including two required courses --- VSTUD 501 Visual Culture Theory and History and VSTUD 502 Visual Studies in Digitality --- and three elective courses dealing with questions of visuality, chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies for French and Francophone Studies. Up to six credits may be double-counted by both the primary graduate program (FFS) and the dual-title.  All in all, students must complete a minimum of 66 post-baccalaureate credits for the Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and Visual Studies. Course work accepted for the M.A. in French and Francophone Studies will count towards the credit requirement.

The choice of courses in Visual Studies is to be proposed by the student, subject to approval in advance by the French and Francophone Studies and Visual Studies academic advisers. The suite of selected courses should have an integrated, intellectual thrust that probes thematic, national, or regional issues and be complementary to the student’s specialty in French and Francophone Studies.

Language Requirements

Fulfillment of the foreign language requirement will meet the existing French and Francophone Studies requirements.

The foreign language requirement at the doctoral level is designed to provide students with a skill that will aid them in research and in securing employment. The French and Francophone Studies department feels that the majority of students would profit most from four-skill proficiency in another language.  However, some students would benefit most from a reading knowledge of two languages.

Qualifying Examination

The dual-title degree will be guided by the qualifying examination procedure of the French and Francophone Studies graduate program. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both French and Francophone Studies and African Studies.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from French and Francophone Studies and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Visual Studies Program. The designated dual-title faculty member may be appointed from French and Francophone Studies if that person holds a formal affiliation with the Visual Studies program.

Ph.D. Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a French and Francophone Studies and a Visual Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Visual Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role.

If the chair of the committee representing French and Francophone Studies is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Visual Studies, the member of the committee representing Visual Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination consists of a series of content-intensive examinations and the doctoral dissertation proposal. The Visual Studies representative on the student's Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. Students enrolled in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and expertise in French and Francophone Studies and Visual Studies. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-title M.A. and Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in French and Francophone Studies and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program.  After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admission requirements of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies dual-title program.  Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Bulletin page. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may make their interest in the program known clearly on their applications to French and Francophone Studies and include remarks in their statement of purpose that address the ways in which their research and professional goals in the primary department reflect an interest in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies-related research.

To be enrolled in the dual-title M.A. or Ph.D. program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, a student must have the approval of the French and Francophone Studies Department and then submit a letter of application and transcript, which will be reviewed by the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Admissions committee. An applicant must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) to be considered for enrollment in the dual-title degree program. Students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in French and Francophone Studies.

Degree Requirements for the M.A.

To qualify for this dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the French and Francophone Studies Master of Arts degree program, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, they must satisfy the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program requirements for the dual-title master’s degree. Refer to the Degree Requirements section of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Bulletin page. Some courses may satisfy both the graduate primary program requirements and those of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Final course selection is determined by the student after consulting, in advance, with their French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies advisers.

For students who elect to write the thesis for the dual-title M.A. degree in French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the thesis must reflect the student’s education and interest in both French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. All members of the student’s thesis committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The master’s thesis committee must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D.

The dual-title Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requires between 30 and 42 credits beyond the master’s degree, including:

Required Courses
FR 571French Literary Theory and Criticism3
FR 580Approaches to French Civilization3
WMNST 501Feminist Perspectives on Research and Teaching Across the Disciplines3
WMNST 502Global Perspectives on Feminism3
WMNST 507Feminist Theory3
A further twenty-one credits selected in consultation with the adviser, of which nine credits must be Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies approved21
Electives
Six credits of elective study

Language Requirement

Second Foreign Language: Reading proficiency in two foreign languages, or advanced level in one foreign language.

Qualifying Examination

The dual-title degree will be guided by the qualifying examination procedure of the French and Francophone Studies graduate program. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of graduate Faculty from French and Francophone Studies and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. The designated dual-title faculty member may be appointed from French and Francophone Studies if that person holds a formal affiliation with the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

Ph.D. Committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least two members of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. 

If the chair of the committee representing French and Francophone Studies is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the member of the committee representing Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination consists of a series of content-intensive examinations and the doctoral dissertation proposal. The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies representative on the student's Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. Students enrolled in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and expertise in French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

French (FR) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will be able to conduct research that significantly furthers knowledge and theory in the study of either French and Francophone literature or French and Francophone culture and society, and will develop the skills needed to communicate the results of their research within the profession as future scholars and teachers.

  2. Graduates will master a variety of theoretical approaches to literature and culture, including semiotics; reader-response criticism; “French Theory:” feminist, queer and postcolonial theories; and narratological and sociological approaches.

  3. Graduates will articulate arguments and ideas with rigor and clarity in oral presentations and written formats, according to the conventions of the discipline.

  4. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of scholarly and professional standards in the field through written work and oral presentations, and through interactions with faculty and graduate students both within and outside the Department.

  5. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to design course activities and assessments appropriate to courses at various levels.

  6. Graduates will master oral and written communication skills in the French language.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Willa Zahava Silverman
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Jean-Claude Vuillemin
Program Contact

Heather Rutten
hxr87@psu.edu
(814) 863-0997