French Graduate Program


Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid


Application Information
Applications to the program are accepted throughout the year. However, to be considered for a graduate assistantship or fellowship, students must apply before February 1. Outstanding applicants to the PhD program whose dossiers are complete by mid-to-late January may be awarded funding through campus-wide fellowship initiatives. Assistantships and fellowships are awarded in the month of April for the following academic year.

The French program does not require the GRE for admission. However, since assistantships and fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, applicants are strongly encouraged to take the GRE to enhance their application.

In addition to regular admissions materials, candidates applying for assistantships and all applicants to the PhD program are asked to submit a writing sample in French of approximately 10 pages.

Apply online or by mail:

The Office of Graduate Admissions
The University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

Financial Aid
Financial support is generally provided through teaching or graduate assistantships. These are awarded on a competitive basis and include a stipend along with a tuition waiver. Teaching assistants are assigned one course per semester and may have auxiliary duties. Graduate assistants engage in a variety of activities including research, advising, Le Cercle français, or organizing activities such as La Table français. All Teaching Assistants must complete LLC510, Language Teaching Methodology (or an equivalent approved by the Director of Graduate Studies) at the first available opportunity (normally fall) following their appointment.

Information for International Applicants
International applicants should be aware of visa requirements, including timeframes for issuing of a visa (varies greatly from one consular office to another), need for an affidavit of financial support, etc. Detailed information is available at the Graduate Admissions link above..

Program Leading to the Master of Arts Degree

The Master of Arts degree in French Studies is designed to provide essential knowledge in three sub-fields: language and linguistics, literature and the arts, and society and culture. Specific requirements are:

  1. French Core Courses. 9 credits: A Fre 505, 510, 512.
  2. Supporting Courses. 21 credits: up to 6 credits may be taken, with approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, outside the Department.
  3. Satisfactory completion of three written examinations and one oral examination in French.
  4. Foreign language requirement. Although competence in a second appropriate foreign language is not required for the master's degree, it is highly recommended for students planning further graduate study.

Students whose language proficiency in French is inadequate may be required to take one or two advanced language courses over and above the usual 30-credit program.

Combined BA/MA Program

Qualified undergraduates may apply for admission to the MA program and, if accepted, simultaneously work toward completion of the requirements for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, saving a year of study. Students should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. See "Combined Baccalaureate-Master's Degree Programs" in the Graduate Bulletin for details.

Master's Comprehensive Examination

In order to obtain the Master's degree, students must pass a Comprehensive Major Field Examination. Incoming students admitted to the PhD program but not holding the Master's degree in French must pass the Comprehensive Major Field Examination upon completion of the first phase of the program. Incoming PhD students who already hold a Master's degree from another institution will normally have attained this degree of competence; in contrary cases such students will be required to take those Master's level courses deemed necessary by the Program.

Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination will qualify the student to move on to the next level. Students deemed to have passed the Comprehensive Examination with a minimum level of competency only will be advised to leave the program with the Master's degree.

Program Leading to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The PhD in French Studies is based upon training in language and linguistics, literature and the arts, and society and culture. A core of graduate courses will address each of these areas. Students will be required to demonstrate competence in all areas before proceeding to more advanced studies in one area.

Program of Study

Students will meet the following requirements:

  1. The completion of at least 60 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree;
  2. Demonstration of reading proficiency in a third language (other than French and English). This requirement may be met in a variety of ways, depending upon the student's preparation and career plans;
  3. The completion of a professional Internship or a Teaching Practicum. Although the Department will help students in devising and executing internships, the ultimate responsibility for this requirement will lie with the student;
  4. The completion of a Qualifying Examination;
  5. The prospectus, execution and defense of a dissertation.


The program will admit only those graduate students who possess sufficient background to successfully pursue an interdisciplinary program relating to French Studies. Minimally this takes the form of a baccalaureate degree in French. Other possibilities, however, will be entertained: a strong minor in French with a relevant major (art history, for example); a strong liberal arts undergraduate degree followed by considerable residence in a French-speaking country; etc. It is assumed that graduates of the program will find careers either in higher education or in public and private entities engaged in international activities of some sort, and admissions will be based partially upon a perception of the student's likelihood of being able to fulfill such career plans.

Program Requirements

The first level of the program will consist of a series of core courses required of all students holding the baccalaureate degree and required as advised of all holders of Master's degrees, plus a further selection of 500-level courses. Students will be expected to pass these courses with the grade of B or higher.

The three core courses (carrying three credits each and required of all students) introduce the three major areas of French Studies:

  1. A Fre 505 Approaches to French Society and Culture;
  2. A Fre 510 The Structure of French;
  3. A Fre 512 Approaches to French Literature.

Reading Proficiency Requirement

All doctoral students will be required to demonstrate a reading competence in a language other than English or French. The level of competency required will be that necessary to follow scholarship and criticism in his or her field of specialization. The specific language chosen will be decided upon by the student, in consultation with the graduate director and/or the dissertation committee.

Qualifying Examination

Upon completion of the post-Master's courses, the student will be eligible to take the PhD Qualifying Examination. The examination covers the three areas of French Studies with particular emphasis on the area of special interest and culminates in the writing of the dissertation prospectus.

Internship or Practicum

Either immediately prior to or following the Qualifying Examination, each student must complete an approved Internship or Practicum appropriate to his or her career plans. Students will register for A Fre 700. This course carries S/U grading.

Internships are designed for those students planning non-academic careers. The Program will make every attempt to create suitable opportunities for internships. However, the ultimate responsibility for finding and completing the internship will rest with the student.

Practicums are designed as teaching experiences beyond the traditional elementary language courses.

Students wishing to prepare an internal Practicum will arrange to work with a member of the faculty to design and teach a segment of an existing course normally offered by that faculty member.

Students wishing to prepare an external Practicum will arrange to work with a member of the faculty in the preparation of a course to be taught at another institution. Students will render periodic reports to the supervising faculty member, and a final summation of the experience.

The Practicum requirement may be waived for doctoral students who have had extensive experience teaching French Studies beyond the elementary level.

Admission to Candidacy

Students will be admitted to doctoral candidacy upon the following:

  1. Satisfactory completion of course requirements;
  2. Satisfactory completion of the research tool/foreign language requirement;
  3. Completion of University residence requirements;
  4. Satisfactory completion of the Qualifying Examination;
  5. Satisfactory completion of the Internship or Practicum.

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