French and Francophone Studies PhD Requirements


  • YEAR 1: Coursework; first-year exam; language requirement; work on qualifying paper during the summer after first year. Students who have an MA from another institution may petition, during spring quarter, to receive credit for up to four courses taken as part of their MA. 
  • YEAR 2: Coursework; qualifying paper colloquium, language requirement (if not already fulfilled); comprehensive examinations for students who received four credits for a previous MA.
  • YEAR 3: Comprehensive examinations for students who entered without an MA or who did not receive full credit for a previous MA; language requirement (if not already fulfilled); dissertation proposal and colloquium; applications for dissertation research fellowships. By the time they complete their comprehensive examinations, students should already have chosen a dissertation director. By the end of the third year, it is expected that all students will be ABD.
  • YEAR 4: Applications for fellowships; dissertation work; research abroad. The fourth year should be dedicated to fellowship applications and dissertation research and writing. All students are strongly encouraged to spend a year of research, writing, and building contacts abroad. This is normally done in the fourth year, when students have no teaching obligations. However, it is possible to make arrangements to go abroad in the third or the fifth year. 
  • YEAR 5: Dissertation research and writing; job applications. During this year students will meet at least quarterly with their dissertation director and at least once annually with their entire committee.  Students will provide updates and materials to all of the members of their committee on a regular basis.

Internal and external dissertation fellowships are available to students past their fifth year.

For complete and updated Program Requirements, see the Graduate Student Handbook.  


For their secondary field, students will select one of two tracks: 1) second romance literature; or 2) second discipline or field, such as cinema and media studies (see section below for requirements specific to this track), philosophy, sociology, gender and sexuality studies (see section below for requirements specific to this track), visual culture, theater and performance, music, political science, history, etc. Students who choose theater and performance studies as a secondary field may also consider the dual degree program with TAPS, outlined below. Students should make every effort to take at least one course for a quality grade with each member of the faculty.

Secondary Field Track in Cinema and Media Studies
Students opting for cinema and media studies (CMS) as their secondary field should satisfy the following requirements, which constitute a coherent program of study and will provide scholarly and teaching competence in CMS.

Five classes in CMS, as follows:

  1. CMST 40000. Methods and Issues in Cinema and Media Studies, a graduate-level introduction to research methods, key concepts, and theoretical approaches, using case studies to introduce students to debates and issues in the field.
  2. CMST 48500. History of International Cinema I, the first of a two-quarter sequence.
  3. CMST 48600. History of International Cinema II, the second of a two-quarter sequence.
  4. One upper-level seminar in CMS taught by CMS core faculty; students should consider seminars on film theory or history such as: CMST 67203. Seminar in Contemporary Film Theory; CMST 67204. Cinema and Experience; CMST 67310. Philosophy and Film; CMST 68610. Cinema across Time and Cultures: History and Historiography of Film; CMST 67210. Poetics and Rhetoric of Cinema
  5. One upper-level seminar in CMS taught by CMS core faculty; this seminar may or may not be cross-listed with RLL, in which case writing will be done in French: FREN 43713/CMST 63701. Neo-Avant-Wave: Post War Film Experiment in France or FREN 43713/CMST 65203. History and Theory of the Avant-Garde


Secondary Field Track in Gender and Sexuality Studies
Students opting for Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) as their secondary field should satisfy the following requirements, which will confer the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies (please submit evidence to the CSGS Student Affairs Administrator, Sarah Tuohey,    


  • GNSE 31400. Advanced Theories of Gender and Sexuality or another approved theory course (also fulfills departmental theory requirement).
  • 4 GSS courses or approved substitutes (including French courses with a gender/sexuality component).
  • Regular or longtime attendance at the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop.
  • Inclusion of a substantial gender/sexuality component in the departmental qualifying paper (which should be written in English).

Sample programs

  1. GNSE 31400. Advanced Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  2. GNSE 41400. Gender, Power and Religion in Medieval Europe (800-1100)
  3. FREN 36301. Women in French Literature
  4. GNSE 33501. Gender, Sex, and Empire
  5. GNSE 44804. Virginity and the Body from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  1. GNSE 31400. Advanced Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  2. GNSE 30208. Feminist Theory and Counter-Cinema
  3. GNSE 33406. Contemporary French Cinema
  4. GNSE 41711. Fashion and Modernity
  5. GNSE 33310. Migration and Women's Rights in Literature and Film


Dual Degree Program with Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS)


Students are required to satisfy the standard French program requirements by taking 17 courses, as follows: 12 in French, four in TAPS, and one in pedagogy (RLLT 38800). At least two courses should be dedicated to critical theory or the history of literary criticism and aesthetics. These may include courses offered not only in RLL, but also in TAPS or other programs. Students who enter the program with a completed MA from another institution may petition, at the end of their first year, to receive credit for up to four courses taken outside of the program (the below sample program is for students entering without an MA;  time to candidacy will likely be more rapid for students entering with an MA).

Students in the dual degree program will also be required to take a two-course graduate sequence in the history and theory of theater and performance, three TAPS-related seminars within RLL (this can include independent reading courses), and five courses outside of RLL, including three in performance practice and two seminars. This adds up to a total of 10 courses, of which as many as 7 could overlap with RLL requirements (including RLL secondary field/elective requirement). In addition, students must pass the RLL first-year exam, meet the language requirement and complete both the RLL qualifying paper and a two-term qualifying paper and/or performance project in TAPS. The TAPS work is typically accommodated in two dependent research courses.

Additional TAPS requirements: Other requirements for TAPS include: (1) the completion of one or two internships in theater or performance practice; (2) two quarters of TAPS-related teaching, either by teaching a section in the TAPS core, or a teaching assistantship or instructorship for a TAPS-related course in the entry department; (3) a TAPS comprehensive exam, consisting of an oral exam based on a reading list of 20–30 works and a brief thesis paper (5-10 pp.) summarizing keys issues and concepts guiding the student’s intellectual agenda.

The dissertation would be a joint project overseen by faculty from both RLL and TAPS.


Master of Legal Studies Program

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Program is a one-year degree program for PhD students who wish to improve their knowledge of law. The program is designed to provide legal training to PhD students who are conducting research on issues related to law, without the cost and time commitment of a full three-year law degree.

The program is open to PhD students from all disciplines who will have completed their core coursework by the time they begin the program. It is our hope that legal training will improve the quality of their doctoral work, and thus help with job prospects in either their home field or in law. Students will receive free tuition and fees as well as a competitive living stipend.

We look forward to continuing the University’s esteemed tradition of interdisciplinary scholarship through this program. For more information, please visit our website or download the information sheet for distribution.