PhD in French Hidden

Section 1

PhD in French at UIUC


  • Stage 1 of the doctoral program is the same as the M.A. for doctoral candidates, described above.
    • - Admission to Stage 2 must be approved by the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, acting on recommendations from the M.A. Examination Committee, evaluation of written work and of a statement of research interest submitted by the student, and consideration of the student's grade average, which should be no lower than 3.5.
    • - Students applying with M.A.s earned elsewhere will be expected to complete any requirements needed to have the equivalent of the M.A. for Ph.D. candidates at the University of Illinois, and must submit examples of past research written in French.


  • - Eight additional courses in French Studies, at least two of which must be in literature or culture prior to 1800. One of these courses may be taken outside the department.
  • Interdisciplinary field of concentration: Students choosing a field of concentration in French and Other Disciplines can, in consultation with their advisor, take more than one course in another department (history, sociology, anthropology, art history, comparative literature, etc.). “Field of concentration” may be defined here as including:
    • - the traditional, century-oriented study or
    • - some other traditionally delimited areas of research such as author (biography and/or canon), themes, genres, movements, forms and techniques, relations of literature and other disciplines such as sociology, linguistics, philosophy, art history, etc., or
    • - some coherent system of French Studies, devised by the students with their committees, which will lay the groundwork for future research.
  • - Course work must be chosen in such a way that students have fulfilled the following requirements through Stages 1 and 2:
    • - At least one course in the literature of each of the six periods of French Literature. Courses taken at the M.A. level may be counted to fulfill this requirement.
    • - Modern foreign language requirement. Students are expected to demonstrate a reading proficiency in one modern foreign language (other than French and English). The list of options may be found on page 10 of the Graduate Student Handbook. In addition, students specializing in medieval or sixteenth-century studies must demonstrate an equivalent reading knowledge of Latin.
    • - One course in French Linguistics or linguistically oriented textual theory.
  • - Preliminary examination. As soon as possible after admission to Stage 2 students will choose an advisor who will serve as the chair of their doctoral committee. The committee will consist of the chairperson, who must be a member of the graduate faculty, and three other professors, one of whom should be chosen from a different program within the department, from a different department, or from another campus. At least three of the members must be graduate faculty; at least two, tenured. The committee must be approved by the Graduate College. In consultation with the committee, the student will prepare a list of topics germane to the candidate's future thesis research.
  • Guidelines for the preliminary examination in French Studies may be downloaded by clicking here.


  • The thesis committee should normally be the same as the committee for the preliminary examination. A change in the committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and by the Graduate College. The thesis will develop some aspect of the area of research of Stage 2.

Note: Teaching Assistants are required to take FR 505 (Techniques in Teaching College and Secondary French, 4 hours) as part of their contractual obligation. Students are required to take FR 505 once (in their first year in the program) and the course does not count toward the degree.


The Department of French Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid must approve admission to the specialization in French Linguistics at the doctoral level. Students applying to the Ph.D. program to specialize in French Linguistics must have an M.A. in French Linguistics or equivalent preparation. Courses taken in any area of Linguistics (preferably French) are a prerequisite, although specific details and equivalence of previous work will be evaluated on an individual basis. In their statement of purpose, students applying for the specialization are strongly encouraged to specify desired area(s) of focused research in French Linguistics. They are required to submit at least one written sample of previous work, in French or English, preferably on French Linguistics.

In consultation with the advisor, Ph.D. candidates in French Linguistics can select the Ph.D. Concentration in Romance Linguistics starting from their first year.


  • Three courses in French or Romance Linguistics beyond the requirements of the M.A.
  • Two courses in separate areas of linguistics offered by the Department of Linguistics, including but not limited to: Phonetics, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics, Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, and Psycholinguistics. Courses taken at the M.A. level may be counted against this requirement with the approval of the adviser. Note: Ph.D. candidates in French Linguistics selecting the Concentration in Romance Linguistics are encouraged to select courses in their respective second Romance language to fulfill this requirement
  • Three courses offered by the Department of French at the 400- or 500-level in French and francophone culture, literature, and/or cinema which may be taken at Stage 1 (M.A. level) or Stage 2 (Ph.D. course work).
  • Advanced coursework in the candidate's area(s) of specialization might be taken after the Ph.D. preliminary examination. Close consultation with the thesis advisor is required.


As soon as possible after admission to Stage 2, the Ph.D. candidate will choose an advisor who will serve as the chair of the doctoral committee. The student may be directed by any of the affiliated faculty. The committee will consist of the chair and three other professors, with at least half the members being faculty in the Department of French. Individual members of the committee, three of whom must be Graduate faculty, will be chosen in consultation with the advisor. The candidate is strongly encouraged to consult regularly with committee members about the advancement of his/her project.

Further information for Preliminary Examination


Graduate students are encouraged to consider the completion of a concentration, minor, or certificate during their course of study. Before pursuing any of these additional qualifications, a student should consult with his or her academic advisor about its usefulness and feasibility.


The interdisciplinary Ph.D. SLATE program combines advanced French studies with a research focus on some aspect of second language learning/ teaching. This concentration has the combined support of faculty members in a wide range of disciplines related to second language learning and teaching, enabling the candidate to draw on resources in various departments in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Education.

This interdisciplinary SLATE concentration is available to qualified candidates as one of the options in the Ph.D. program in French. To qualify for admission a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • an M.A. or M.A.T. degree in French
  • a minimum 3.5/5 or equivalent average in previous graduate work
  • at least one year of experience in teaching French as a second/foreign language
  • approval by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee acting on recommendations of an M.A. Examination Committee and evaluation of written work submitted by the candidate, and the candidate's academic record. Candidates applying with a Master's degree earned elsewhere must submit examples of past research, and, upon admission, will be expected to fulfill in the course of their program any requirements needed to have the equivalent of an M.A. in French at the University of Illinois.

Upon admission to the Department of French Ph.D. Program, a student in the SLATE option will select, with the consent of an advisor, courses in the general areas available here. Courses should carry at least 3 hours of credit, with the exception of Linguistics 400, which is presently offered for 2 hours. Any other exceptions must be approved by the student's advisor.

Candidates interested in obtaining a SLATE Certificate in addition to the Ph.D. in French should review the requirements for the certificate as they choose their coursework.Click here for the SLATE Program website.

Preliminary examination

As soon as possible after admission to Stage 2, the student will choose an advisor who will serve as the chairperson of the doctoral committee. The committee will consist of the chairperson and at least three other professors, two of whom may be from a different department. (The chairperson must be a member of the French department; however, the dissertation director may be a member of another department.) At least three voting members of the committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The entire committee must be authorized by the Graduate College.

The preliminary examination for this option will consist of the following:

  • The submission of a written document comprised of the following components:
    • a description of the proposed thesis, including a rationale for the study, a delineation of the research questions and hypotheses, and definitions of terms
    • a review and synthesis of the relevant research literature
    • a detailed design and plan of analysis for the study, including instrumentation and statistical and/or qualitative analyses to be used, as appropriate.
  • An oral examination based upon, but not limited to, the written document.

The preliminary examination should normally be taken during the semester following that in which the student finishes coursework. If the preliminary examination is not scheduled in a timely manner, preference will not be given for continuing financial aid. Candidates may enroll in 4 hours of French 599 for the semester in which they take their preliminary examination. After the preliminary examination it is recommended that candidates enroll in the maximum number of hours of 599 allowed in each semester until the required number is reached.


The thesis defense committee should normally be the same as the committee for the preliminary examination. If a change in the committee is necessary it must be approved by the Graduate College.

Application forms and all information regarding admission should be requested from the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of French and Italian, 2090 Foreign Languages Building, 707 S. Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801.


A graduate minor is an approved program in a secondary area of study that relates to but is outside of a student's chosen major and may be included on an academic transcript. The following minors might be of particular interest to graduate students in French: