Program Requirements - Ph.D. in French

Graduate School Requirements for the Ph.D.

1. A minimum of 80 semester hours beyond the B.A. (GSH, VII.2).

2. Completion of the following residence requirements after the first 30 hours of graduate credit have been completed:

  • minimum of 24 graduate credit hours at this university
  • minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer session with full-time enrollment
  • minimum of six graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session after admission to candidacy (GSH, VII.14).

3. Successful completion of a Candidacy Examination no later than two semesters prior to graduation (GSH, VII.14).

4. Registration for 3 hours of graduate credit each semester (excluding May and summer sessions) following Candidacy until graduation (“continuous enrollment”) (GSH, III.1).*

Continuous Enrollment rule for post-candidacy students

Students are expected to have completed all regular coursework before their Candidacy Examination. Upon successful completion of the examination, students must enroll each semester (excluding May and summer sessions) for 3 hours of graduate credit (not taken as an audit) until they complete their degree. A minimum of 3 credit hours is considered full-time enrollment for post-candidacy students; it is also the maximum number of credit hours allowable without exceeding graduate funding. Post-candidacy students must apply to the Department for a leave of absence for any period during which they are not continuously enrolled.

Departmental Requirements


All doctoral candidates must successfully complete required coursework, pass a Qualifying Paper and oral defense, pass a Candidacy Examination (with a written and an oral component), successfully defend a dissertation prospectus, and pass a final oral examination on the dissertation and the designated special areas of research.

Third Language Requirement

Candidates are required to demonstrate at least a reading knowledge of a third language, such as Latin, German, Italian, Arabic, or any other language related to the student’s areas of study, subject to the approval of the student’s advisor. This may be done by passing a level II examination given by the pertinent department, or by passing the two Latin, German, or Spanish Reading for Research courses (see pertinent department for course numbers) or the 1101-1103 series in other languages with a grade of "B" or better (the 1000-level series may not be substituted for 5000-level Reading for Research courses in departments where the latter exist, although students are free to take any additional courses on their own). Credit hours taken to satisfy the Language Requirement cannot be counted toward those required for the degree (GSH II.3.1.4).

Graduate Minor or Interdisciplinary Specialization

In addition to their major area of study, FRIT graduate students will also organize a set of focused courses in and outside the Department to earn a Graduate Minor or GIS (Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization). Students should work with their Faculty Advisors and the Graduate Studies Director to select their minor/GIS. Once selected, students should apply for their minor/GIS through GradForms. Each minor/GIS has a specific advisor in the home Department. Students should work with their minor/GIS advisor after declaring.

Program Guidelines

While we encourage our Ph.D. students to begin thinking of their main area of specialization and even of an eventual dissertation as early as possible in their program, we also want them to keep in mind the realities of the job market they will eventually enter. To that end, they should take a broad range of courses throughout their degree program in order to establish a familiarity with areas of French, Francophone, or Italian Studies outside of their specialization. Universities hiring at the Assistant Professor level today tend to favor candidates with solid pedagogical training and teaching experience and with at least two areas of teaching expertise. Ph.D.s pursuing non-academic careers also find a broad range of coursework essential. Examples of primary or secondary areas of specialization include, among many others, comparative studies, film studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, medieval and renaissance studies, and second language acquisition.


At the beginning of the doctoral program, students are assigned to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. By Spring semester of the second year of study (or Spring of the first year for those entering with an M.A.), each student must choose a major area and two minor areas of specialization. At that time, the Graduate Advisor, in consultation with the student, will appoint a major advisor selected from departmental faculty specializing in the area. The new major advisor will chair the student’s Candidacy Examination Committee and subsequently direct his/her dissertation. The appointment of a major advisor will be formalized with the appropriate departmental form (available from the Graduate Advisor or the ASC) and signed by the new advisor, the student, and the Graduate Advisor. Students should consult with the Graduate Advisor and/or their major advisor regularly throughout the program to ensure that they are fulfilling requirements and advancing in a timely manner.

Graduate Student Grievances

When concerns arise or persist, the graduate student ombudsperson is an impartial resource that can help graduate students explore options in resolving their concerns. Generally, graduate students should aim to address and resolve concerns within their department. Graduate students are encouraged to discuss concerns with their advisor first. If concerns remain, graduate students should then reach out to the program graduate studies chair. Further unresolved concerns should be communicated to the department chair. If the concerns cannot be resolved internally within the department, the graduate student is encouraged to contact the assistant dean for graduate studies within the College of Arts and Sciences. In situations where the student believes the issue has not been resolved within the College, they can request further review from the Graduate School.