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The Master of Arts in French

French M.A. Degree Program Structure:

The Master of Arts in French has a core literary emphasis. However, students who have interests in other fields can incorporate them into the M.A., by doing course work in one the following areas: Cinema, Linguistics or Applied Linguistics, and Theater.

In addition to completing all course requirements and final examinations, students are expected to carry out research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in French. It is possible to choose either the thesis option or the non-thesis option. Students planning to continue to a Ph.D. program will gain practice writing a thesis with the first option. However, students pursuing a terminal M.A. degree normally select the non-thesis option.

Plan A (Thesis Option):

This option requires completion of the following components : 

1.  A minimum of 24 semester hours of course work, plus at least 6 hours of French 500 (Thesis) for a total of 30 hours. French 501,
Techniques in Literary Analysis (3), is required as early as possible in the program. French 512, Teaching a Foreign Language (3), is also required of all new GTAs, and credit for this course can be applied to the hours needed for the traditional M.A. degree itself ; it may also count towards completion of a minor in applied linguistics. A maximum of six hours may be taken at the 400 level of courses approved for graduate credit, the rest at the 500 level, and, with authorization, a 600-level seminars. 

2.  Completion of a thesis, with a minimum of six hours in French 500 (Thesis). A student usually begins work on the thesis, (which may be written in English, but preferably in French, and be approximately 70-100 pages in length), during the Fall semester of the second year. The usual number of hours taken in thesis credit
during a semester is three. Exceptions can be made with permission of both the thesis director and the French Graduate Director for the semester in which a student plans to graduate. At the beginning of each semester, students taking thesis credit should give to their thesis director and the French Graduate Director a brief outline of the work they plan to do that semester so that it can be properly evaluated at the end of the semester. 

Plan B (Non-Thesis Option): 

This option requires completion of the following components : 

1.  Completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours in course work, with a maximum of nine at the 400 level. French 501, Techniques in Literary Analysis (3), is required as early as possible in the program. French 512, Teaching a Foreign Language (3), is required of all new GTA’s, and credit for this course can be applied to the hours needed for the degree. Under certain circumstances, a student may take 600-level seminars. 

2.  A research paper from a course developed to approximately twenty-five pages in length that has been approved by your committee. 

Examinations:

The MA written exam will consist of two parts to be taken on two different days--usually with one day intervening between the two sections. 

Part A will normally cover three of the seven following areas of study: Linguistics or Applied Linguistics; Film; Theater; Medieval literature and culture; sixteenth and/or seventeenth century literature and culture; eighteenth and/or nineteenth century literature and culture; twentieth-century/contemporary French and Francophone literature and culture. For each of the three selected areas, students will be given a choice of two questions, from which they will pick one. 

The following exceptions to this procedure will be allowed: 1) With the approval of the preliminary M.A. committee (two faculty members representing two of the seven primary areas of study) and in consulation with the graduate director, one, but not two, of the three areas covered on the exam may focus on women writers or Québécois literature; and 2) Where appropriate and in consultation with the M.A. committee and graduate director, students may prepare for one question covering two areas, or even all three areas, with the understanding that each area covered is allowed two hours of exam time.  In the case where two or more areas are integrated, students will be given the choice of two questions.

Students will have two hours for each question, with a maximum of six hours total. Students will be allowed to bring a dictionary and a copy of the appropriate reading lists. Reading Lists will be prepared in consultation with the student's three-person committee (representing the three areas selected) from general lists provided in the Department office, modified to take into consideration course work and the student's individual interests and needs. 

Part B will consist of a textual analysis of a passage chosen from among five texts presented by the MA candidate. At least 2 genres must be included. Students will have a maximum of two hours to complete this portion of the exam.

The MA oral exam will last approximately one hour. It will consist of a defense of the MA thesis or, for non-thesis option candidates, of a research paper from a course developed to approximately twenty-five pages in length. In the latter case, the student's three-person committee will approve the paper prior to the oral. The oral will be followed by a discussion of the student's MA experience as a whole, including the experience of classroom teaching where appropriate.

N.B. Successful completion of the exam will be determined by the unanimous vote of the three committee members. If a committee member determines that the candidate has not successfully mastered his/her area of specialty, the candidate may retake once an exam focusing on that area. If the candidate fails the retake, he/she then has the option to replace the area with another area specialty and take the written and oral exams for that area. If the candidate fails the substitute area, no degree will be awarded.