French PhD

PhD in French Language and Literature

In the five-year PhD in French Language and Literature program, students complete eight 2000-level courses beyond the MA, take their PhD comprehensive exams, and research and write a doctoral dissertation on an aspect of French or Francophone literature and culture.

In addition, the candidate must present an oral explication de texte before a faculty committee, satisfy PhD language requirements, and pass written comprehensive examinations.

Upon admission to candidacy, the candidate will write and defend a doctoral dissertation. The coursework must include:

  1. At least one French graduate course that takes a linguistic perspective (e.g., History of French, Readings in Old and Middle French).
  2. FR 2710 (if not taken at the M.A. level) and an additional course in literary or cultural theory.
  3. With the adviser's consent, students are free to take some of the additional required courses in other departments. Students in French are encouraged to pursue certification in one of the various programs offered by the University (EUCE, Global Studies, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Women's Studies). However, only three exterior courses may count towards the degree in French.

Students must also complete two substantial article-length papers (20-30 pages) of publishable quality, one in French and one in English, usually based on papers written in graduate seminars.

Upon admission to candidacy, the candidate will write and defend a doctoral dissertation.

Students have the option of enrolling in our special interdepartmental PhD concentrations or departmental track:

PhD Concentrations

PhD in Film Studies with a Concentration in French

The PhD in Film Studies with a Concentration in French is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree that allows students to work at the intersection of film studies and French studies. Students will acquire a firm grounding in the disciplinary methodologies of both fields at all stages of the program. Film studies coursework stresses the history, theory, and aesthetics of international cinema, video, television, and new media. French seminars anchor students in the literary and cultural history of France and Francophone countries, while enabling students to pursue theoretical, aesthetic, and historical questions in the broader field of film studies.

While the student will earn a PhD in Film Studies (granted by the Film Studies Program), he or she will be a full member of the Department of French and Italian. French will appear as an Area of Concentration on the student’s transcript. Students will receive pedagogical training and teaching experience in both Film Studies and French. This degree thus equips students to craft a unique professional path which, given the increasing importance of visual culture in the teaching of French at all levels, will make them extremely desirable as educators and researchers.

PhD in French with a Concentration in Romance Languages and Literatures

This concentration requires a focus on the literatures of two major and one minor Romance language. Students completing this concentration are especially well prepared for teaching positions in departments of Romance and/or Modern languages.

PhD Track

PhD in French with a Track in Literature and Politics

This concentration is dedicated to studying literary representations in their political context. Students in this concentration are encouraged to choose courses and a research topic that analyze the complex interaction between literary works and social reality. This concentration has strong connections with programs in history and political science at the University of Pittsburgh.