French Graduate Studies

Graduate study in French includes course work in all the major periods and areas, including the Francophone literatures of Quebec, the Caribbean and the Maghreb. This structure provides the breadth needed for interdisciplinary work and required of today’s teachers. Students may also take courses in the different languages and literatures offered by our faculty and are encouraged to investigate interdisciplinary relations from a comparatist perspective. They often participate in such programs as Caribbean Literary Studies Program, and the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas.  All our students receive excellent training in the latest methodologies in second language acquisition.

The faculty has particularly strong research interests in postcolonial studies, performance studies, gender and queer studies, philosophy and esthetics, and comparative literature. Current research topics include “insularity” in the French and Spanish Caribbean, gendered spaces in the seventeenth century, colonialism and medieval studies, women’s theater in Québec, ethics and aesthetics, homotextualities in modern and contemporary literature, postcolonial and multicultural issues in contemporary France, and the commedia dell’arte.

In regional terms, the program provides excellent support for Caribbean studies and comparative Franco-Hispanic studies. Indeed, a bilingual track in Spanish or another language can be an important asset in today’s highly competitive job market.

Students beginning dissertation research have access to various international centers of scholarship, including among others, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Université de Paris (III, IV, VII, X), University of Tunis-La Manouba, Center for the Study of Rhetoric at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and Center for Mediterranean Studies at the University of Bari (Italy). 

Current students are developing a range of innovative dissertation projects, including: the imaginative roles of French Guyana in colonial and postcolonial fiction, the shared literary anthropologies of Haiti and Brazil, the role of photography in the work of Marcel Proust, and the representation of genocide.

Recent alumni hold appointments at Long Island University, California State University at Fullerton, and the University of Puerto Rico. 

Course work

Minimally, students complete at least one three-credit course in each of the traditionally defined areas of literary history, as well as introductory courses in theories of literary interpretation and foreign language teaching.  The seminars themselves, however, are not traditional surveys but rather innovative explorations of current theoretical and interdisciplinary work in their respective fields.  The recent course titles and descriptions listed below give some idea of the range of the curriculum. 

Middle Ages

FRE711 Topics In French Medieval Literature

16th century

MLL712 Topics in French Renaissance Literature

17th century

FRE713 Topics in 17th Century French Literature

18th Century

FRE714 Topics in 18th Century French Literature

19th century

FRE715 Topics in 19th Century French Literature

20th/21st Century

FRE716 Topics in 20th - 21st Century French Literature

Francophone Studies

FRE704 Antillaises en Mouvement(s):  La question du genre dans la litterature antillaise du XX siecle

FRE721 Special Stopics in French Studies

FRE775 Topics in Francophone Studies


FRE791 Writing Practicum

FRE792 Directed Readings

FRE830 Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation

FRE840 Post-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation

FRE850 Research in Residence

Additional courses may be required, depending on students’ backgrounds; students who have previously completed graduate course work may petition for a waiver of some course areas. In general, students have ample opportunity to elect additional courses according to their particular areas of interest. Recent elective offerings include:



MLL701 Intro to Second Language Teaching: Theory and Practice

MLL702 Bilingualism

MLL703 Topics in Critical Studies of Language  (no longer called 'Adv Topics in SLA')

MLL704 Sociocultural Theory and Language Development

Theory Courses

MLL711 Introduction to Literary Theory

MLL714 Readings in Literary Theory

Special Topics

MLL712 Topics in Early Modern Comparative Literature

MLL721 Special Topics in Literature

MLL726 Topics in Comparative Literature

MLL793 Teaching Practicum

Courses for Reading Knowledge

FRE725 Elementary French for Graduate Research

ITA725 Italian for Graduate Research

POR725 Portuguese for Graduate Research 

POR735 Portuguese Language Skills for Graduate Studies