French Graduate Programs

Graduate students who pursue a doctorate in French and Francophone studies at Washington University in St. Louis receive 5-6 years of funding with opportunities for additional conference and summer funding and fellowships. Students work closely with our active, dynamic faculty, whose interdisciplinary research and teaching demonstrate remarkable historical and geographical scope. You can complete coursework and pursue research in Medieval through contemporary French and Francophone literature and culture spanning Europe, North and West Africa, and the Caribbean. Our interdisciplinary approaches extend from comparative arts through medical and digital humanities and translation studies. We encourage you to take courses outside the department that complement our offerings and your interests. You can also earn a graduate certificate in Early-Modern Studies, Film and Media Studies, Language Instruction, Translation Studies, or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students benefit from pedagogical and pre-professional training that paves the way for a variety of enriching Mentored Teaching and Mentored Professional Experiences. St. Louis celebrates its own Francophone heritage and provides a rich historical and cultural context in which to study. Our cultural center, French ConneXions, recognized as a Centre d’Excellence, features local, national, and international speakers and events throughout the year.

Our Degree Programs

PhD in French Studies

Obtaining a PhD will always be a rigorous and involved process, but it need not feel daunting. At Washington University, you can receive your PhD in six years, all fully funded.

Learn more about the PhD in French Studies

Joint PhD in French & Comparative Literature

Completing a doctorate in a joint program with Comparative Literature means gaining the expertise to think about literature across languages and cultures, geography, historical periods, and means of production and transmission. The joint programs require a focus on a "home" literature, in which the student normally duplicates the courses and other preparations expected of a doctoral candidate in that literature or program.

Learn more about our Joint PhD program

Graduate Certificates

Students in our doctoral program may earn graduate certificates, in addition to their Ph.D. in French. A significant number of our students take one of these unique opportunities. Since each of these programs requires coursework in addition to that ordinarily required for the Ph.D., students accepted into them receive an additional semester in their total funding package

Learn more about our Graduate Certificates

Supporting our Students

Financial Support

Financial support includes six years of funding. In the first year, all new students receive fellowships exempting them from teaching duties. Students also receive fellowships (no teaching duties) for two semesters in their fifth and sixth (final) years in the program. Currently, all graduate students in the department receive a living stipend ($34,000 most recently) and a full tuition scholarship. Qualified candidates can also compete for graduate fellowships awarded by the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences.

more financial support information

Teaching Development Program

Our Teaching Development Program includes teaching orientation for students beginning the Mentored Teaching Experience, a one-semester course on contemporary language teaching, and six semesters of the Mentored Teaching Experience that allows students to work in both language teaching as well as focus on literary and culture studies.

learn about our teaching program

Job Market Preparation

On the Profession is an ongoing workshop series that addresses a variety of topics such as dissertation design, publishing, how to approach the job market (including guidance for preparing materials, mock interviews, and practice job talks), as well as broader conversations about trends and contemporary questions shaping the profession. Goals of the workshops include helping students navigate the transition from graduate school to professional life after the PhD and, among others, engaging more general issues humanities scholars face today.

workshop schedule

How to Apply

To be considered for admission to our doctoral program, you will need to submit your online application and all supporting materials by December 4, 2023 for Fall 2024 admission.

admissions Information and application

Your Path to the PhD in French Studies

Graduate students pursuing French and Francophone studies at Washington University in St. Louis have considerable freedom to tailor their course of study to their needs and interests. Pedagogical and professional training, research and summer funding, exams that build upon coursework and pave the way for teaching and research, conference presentations and publications, as well as for alternative career paths are all integral parts of our program. Close mentoring relationships with core and affiliate faculty in our doctoral and certificate programs help ensure you make steady progress towards your goals. Reading and research groups, fellowship opportunities, our French ConneXions cultural center, and a lively, engaged graduate community provide an enriching and supportive context for your studies.


Find your path

"The French program at Washington University provided me with excellent preparation in teaching and research. My faculty mentors encouraged me to publish articles, to attend conferences, and offered valuable critical perspectives, allowing me to write a truly interdisciplinary dissertation. Further, the teacher training I received was elemental in my first year on the job. Washington University offers excellent library resources and avenues for intellectual exchange, while the city of St. Louis is a vibrant cultural center."

―Amanda Lee, PhDVisiting Assistant Professor of French, Colgate University