Students in our department may earn the Master's degree as part of the Ph.D. program. Those who enter the program with an M.A. or the equivalent in French from another university will normally have some credits transferred from that degree toward the Ph.D. The determination of how many credits to transfer occurs at the end of the student's first year of study in our program.
Requirements for the Master's Degree
1. Course credits
For students admitted before Fall 2011, thirty (30) credit-hours of graduate-level coursework. Beginning with students admitted in Fall 2011, thirty-six (36) credits. The student may transfer a maximum of six credits from another graduate institution.
Skill in oral and written French, and a reasonably comprehensive knowledge of French literature.
3. Master's Exam (Written)
Students are expected to take the Master's exam during the fourth semester of study (in March, for students who enter in August; in October for students who enter, exceptionally, in January). The examination, written in French, includes three parts of two hours each, taken over a period no longer than three days, and addressing three periods of French literature. For the examination the candidate will choose one early period (Middle Ages or 16th), one middle period (17th or 18th), and one recent period (19th or 20th). For each of these segments of the exam, a student who has not taken a seminar in one of the two must choose that period for the exam. In their preparation, students should be guided by the Master's reading List and possible questions, and become familiar with exam procedures. Faculty expect the candidate to demonstrate:
- knowledge of literary history;
- knowledge of individual texts;
- an ability to discuss literary problems and methods in reasonably sophisticated fashion, and;
- the ability to write a properly organized and clear essay in competent French.
4. Master's Exam (Oral)
Successful completion of the written exam is the prerequisite for the oral. The oral exam, conducted in French, generally in the week following the written exam, will last approximately one hour and consist of
- an explication de texte, which the candidate will have prepared in the hour preceding the exam, lasting no more than 15 minutes, and
- further examination on the three chosen periods of literature. Examiners may pursue subjects covered by the written exams but will not limit their questioning to such subjects. Faculty will limit their questions bearingon specific texts to those appearing on the AM list, but broader questions will require discussion of a variety of texts, whether from the list or not. Before taking the oral exam, students should review how to develop a formal explication de texte.
5. Other course work
The AM degree also requires course work in the three periods not selected for the examination. Faculty base their judgement of proficiency in these areas exclusively on successful completion of this course work. Thus the candidate who elects to take the exam in the 16th, 18th, and 20th centuries must also complete courses on the Middle Ages, the 17th century, and the 20th century. Candidates may take these courses in the same semester as they take the exam.