Ph.D. Degree in French and Francophone Studies

The program of French and Francophone Studies at MSU is currently recruiting graduate students for fall 2021. You can find more information about our program, assistantship, and professional and academic opportunities in this brochure.

For a list of all pertinent forms for graduate students, please see this page.

The Ph.D. program in French and Francophone Studies offers several options which allow the doctoral students to work with a truly personalized degree, while retaining a strong foundation in French literature and culture. In recent years, dissertations have focused on Rabelais, 17th-century Theater, 20th-century holocaust writings, francophone children literature, the language in the banlieue, and the effect of text genre on reading comprehension. Our recent Ph.D. graduates have successfully been placed in tenure-track or temporary positions in colleges and universities, as well as in the professional world. 

Requirements for Completion of the Doctoral Degree 

General Requirements 

  • Candidates for the Ph. D. degree must be in residence for at least four semesters. 
  • Students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 in all coursescounting toward the Ph.D. degree. Please see Acceptable Academic Standing” and Adequate Progress Toward Degree on page 37. No more than 9 credits of independent studies can beearned in the program. 
  • Students who have been awarded a teaching assistantship and who have not already completed asimilar course as determined by the Director of Language Instruction must complete ROM 803, or equivalent, the first time it is offered. 
  • The candidate must demonstrate reading proficiency in two languages other than French orEnglish that are relevant to the student’s area of specialization, as determined by the student’s advisor.  The language proficiency requirement may be met by a grade of 3.0 or above in a fourth semester (or higher) course, as approved by the advisor, by taking a reading class in the language, or by examination. The proficiency requirement must be completed at least one month before the Ph.D. exams
  • Candidates for the Ph.D. must teach at least one college-level course in French in the department. 
  • The candidate must pass a set of Ph.D. Examinations. The examination is based on the student’s course work on the reading lists worked out with members of the committee, and on the candidate’s dissertation prospectus document submitted at least three weeks before the Ph.D. exam
  • All students must be registered as full-time students at the time, they take their Ph.D. exams. A variance is permitted for taking comprehensive exams in the summer when a student is enrolled in the Spring prior and/or Fall afterward. Doctoral students who have passed their Ph.D. exams only need to register for one credit to be considered full-time students. 

Program Requirements 

Complete one of the following concentrations. Up to 9 credits for courses that were completed prior to enrollment in the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in French and Francophone Studies may be used to satisfy this requirement.   

  • Interdisciplinary Studies concentration 
    • ROM 803 or equivalent (3 credits)
    • 12 credits in FRN at the 800 level
    • 12 credits in a related area including 1 required class on research methods  
    • 3 credits of FRN 896 (Ph.D. exam preparation). This course is designed to be taken the semester before Ph.D. exams to give students the opportunity to prepare in-depth and with more time before they write a publishable-quality article, and to enable students to present an article proposal and receive feedback from their committee. The purpose of this exam is the following: To prepare for their Ph.D. exams, students in FRN 896 will be asked to write an article proposal clearly stating the research question(s), outlining the theoretical framework and previous research, and giving a preliminary analysis or hypotheses regarding results. In addition, they will develop an extensive bibliography that will be used for their dissertation proposal.  
  • Literary and Cultural Studies concentration  
    • ROM 803 or equivalent (3 credits)  
    • 21 credits in FRN, with at least 3 credits in each of the 5 codes offered  
    • 3 credits for a class on research methods and/or critical theory  
    • 3 credits of FRN 896 (Ph.D. exam preparation). This course is designed to be taken the semester before Ph.D. exams to give students the opportunity to prepare in-depth and with more time before they write a publishable-quality article, and to enable students to present an article proposal and receive feedback from their committee. To prepare for their Ph.D. exams, students in FRN 896 will be asked to write an article proposal clearly stating the research question(s), outlining the theoretical framework and previous research, and giving a preliminary analysis or hypotheses regarding results. In addition, they will develop an extensive bibliography that will be used for their dissertation proposal.  
    • 3 credits for a class on research methods and/or critical theory  
    • 3 credits of FRN 896 (Ph.D. exam preparation). This course is designed to be taken the semester before Ph.D. exams to give students the opportunity to prepare in-depth and with more time before they write a publishable-quality article, and to enable students to present an article proposal and receive feedback from their committee. To prepare for their Ph.D. exams, students in FRN 896 will be asked to write an article proposal clearly stating the research question(s), outlining the theoretical framework and previous research, and giving a preliminary analysis or hypotheses regarding results. In addition, they will develop an extensive bibliography that will be used for their dissertation proposal.  
      • FRN 896 is a class designed to prepare Ph.D. candidates for their Ph.D. examination. By the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in FRN 896, students will have developed and defended a project for a publishable-quality article, prepared an extensive bibliography, and will be prepared to take their Ph.D. exams the following semester. It is expected that the project developed in FRN 896 will not only be used for the publishable-quality article of the Ph.D. examination, but will also feed into the dissertation. After the oral defense, the committee will discuss the results with 3 options: Pass, Revise within 3 weeks within the same semester, No-Pass. The majority decision of the committee will determine the Pass, Revise, or Non-Pass. Only one revision is allowed.
    • Pass a four-part Ph.D. examination that corresponds to the student’s concentrations. The four parts include:
      • A publishable quality article
      • A take-home exam on an area other than that of the article and based on an extensive reading list
      • A dissertation proposal
      • An oral exam on all three elements
        • A student who fails any part of the Ph.D. examination may retake that examination only once.  
    • Submit a dissertation or equivalent research project as applicable or relevant to the field (multi-media, digital humanities, etc.) which demonstrates mastery of subject matter in the field of inquiry, sound critical judgment, and a contribution of original thought and research to the topic.