Show The Graduate Center Menu


The Ph.D. Program in French combines traditional training in French and Francophone Literatures with several broad curricular options. While specializing in one of the literary periods, students are able to enrich their academic experience with the curricular option that best suits their interests.

These options—Translation Studies, Comparative Studies, Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and International Human Rights in the French-Speaking World—draw from an array of courses offered either by our program or by others at the Graduate Center. In addition, students are encouraged to opt for one of the Graduate Center’s Interdisciplinary Certificates in American Studies, Critical Theory, Film Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, or Women’s Studies. These certificates are important assets for increasing students’ marketability in the academy and related professions.

First-year students take a seminar in research and scholarly writing in which they hone their interests and intellectual skills. Beyond completing our rigorous program of study, students teach French in a CUNY college where they receive training in pedagogy.

With its commitment to interdisciplinary research, our program draws an international student body from a variety of backgrounds, including, among others, art history, philosophy, journalism, and political science. Among our twenty-eight faculty members, we count Distinguished Professors Mary Ann Caws, Nancy K. Miller, and Domna C. Stanton. This scholastic diversity makes our program, located in the heart of New York City, a vibrant place to study.

General Learning Goals Ph.D. Program in French

Upon completion of the program, students should have completed or be able to do the following: Demonstrate, through course papers, qualifying written and orals examinations, taken both in French and English, a general knowledge of the field of French and Francophone literature, of its history, main problems and developments, and connections across periods. Be able to formulate and articulate, in French and English, the main concepts of French studies, both in oral and written form. Demonstrate familiarity with the most important schools of thought in the history of literary criticism, as well as theoretical and critical texts relevant to French studies today. Be skilled in critically employing methodologies based on theories of literature and concepts of French studies to literary as well as non-literary French and Francophone texts and phenomena. Identify and develop a field of specialization, as well as a sub-field and/or interdisciplinary focus. Conduct research with primary sources; be familiar with the major repositories of such sources in their field and sub-field of specialization. Research and produce an original work of scholarship in the form of a 250 page long dissertation that expands on, or challenges existing scholarship in the field. Show evidence of public scholarly activity in the form of papers presented at conferences, and publications in scientific journals. Be qualified and trained to teach French language at all levels, as well as prepared to teach, both in French and English, undergraduate content-centered courses on French and Francophone literature and culture.