French Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in French

Here is a description of the typical path to the Ph.D degree:

Students enter the graduate program with either a B.A. or M.A. degree. Early in the second year, after having taken 9 to 11 courses, those who entered with the B.A. take an M.A. exam for which they submit a more ambitious, developed version of a seminar paper and pass an oral exam. Those students entering with the M.A. are encouraged to take the same exam at the end of the third or fourth quarter of residency. All students select the faculty committee with whom they prepare the exam. Ideally this research paper leads to one of the topics of the Ph.D. qualifying exam. Students also take a foreign language proficiency exam.

Students proceed to the Ph.D. working closely with a four-member faculty guidance committee of their own choosing: they take 7 to 9 courses including seminars outside the Department, and satisfy a second language requirement. The Ph.D. qualifying exam, typically passed in the spring of the third year or the fall of the fourth year, is designed to help define an area of specialization and an eventual dissertation topic. Students devise three topics from the general rubrics of author, genre, period, and critical problem; a fourth topic addresses the students' outside fields of interest. Like their coursework, the topics of the qualifying examination represent the students' own intellectual interests.

After advancing to candidacy following successful completion of the Ph.D. qualifying exam, students write a dissertation under the supervision of a three-person committee that they select. Opportunities are available to spend the dissertation year in France, either through an exchange program with Nanterre or through the UC Education Abroad Program.

By the end of his/her studies, a candidate for the degree is expected to have acquired a broad knowledge of the field of French literature, a mastery of the French language, a mastery of a chosen field of concentration and a practical expertise in critical methods.

The following are the formal requirements for the Ph.D. degree:

Languages: A student must acquire a reading knowledge of two foreign languages relevant to his/her chosen area of specialization.

Courses: At least fifteen graduate courses in French, and three courses outside the Department in an area relating to the field of specialization must have been completed prior to the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. Additional course work is required for those students pursuing an Emphasis in Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, or Feminist Studies.

Master's Exam: During the second year, usually by the end of the winter quarter, a student must successfully complete the Master's exam. Students may opt either to write and defend a Master's paper or its equivalent, or to take a coverage exam. Entrance into the doctoral program is determined at the same time. For students entering the program with an M.A. or its equivalent, the Ph.D. Exam Committee has the responsibility of determining which previous work will be counted toward the Ph.D. degree.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam: This exam, typically passed in the spring quarter of the third year or the fall quarter of the fourth year, is designed to help define an area of specialization and an eventual dissertation topic. The student selects a faculty Ph.D. Exam Committee to help prepare three topics from the general rubrics of author, genre, period, or critical problem. A fourth topic addresses the student's outside field of interest. The exam has both written and oral components.

Dissertation: The doctoral dissertation, typically undertaken in the fourth year and completed in the fifth year, normally falls within one of the topic areas covered during the Qualifying Examination. The candidate writes the dissertation under the direction of a three member Doctoral Committee which may or maynot require an oral defense.