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French and Francophone Studies  #frenchiseverywhere

Graduate Program


The Department of European Studies, in the College of Arts and Letters, offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree in French.

We have a state of the art research library. In addition, SDSU houses a federally-funded National Language Resource Centers, which conduct research and dissemination projects in all areas of language and culture.

An MA degree earned in the program can provide students with university-level teaching experience and access to community college level teaching positions.

Students who earn an MA in French at SDSU may also continue on to a Ph.D. program or pursue a variety of careers in areas where knowledge of French language and culture are necessary.

The student must satisfy the general requirements for admission to the university with classified standing, as described in Part Two of this bulletin. In addition, the student must satisfy the following requirements: (1) an undergraduate major in French, or its equivalent, including 30 upper division units, at least six units of which must be in a survey course in French literature; (2) a GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) in all upper division French courses.

Students applying for admission should electronically submit the university application available at the CAL State Apply site along with the application fee.

All applicants must submit admissions materials separately to SDSU Graduate Admissions and to the Department of European Studies.

Graduate Admissions

The following materials should be submitted as a complete package directly to:

Graduate Admissions Enrollment Services
San Diego State University San Diego, CA 92182-8225

  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) from all postsecondary institutions attended;
    Students who attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance.

    Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

  2. English language score, if medium of instruction was in a language other than English (http://www.ets.org SDSU institution code 4682).

Department of European Studies

The following materials should be mailed or delivered to:

Department of European Studies (Attention: Graduate Adviser) San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7704

  1. Three letters of recommendation from professors, at least two of which should be from professors of French at the institution where the degree was granted (in sealed and signed envelopes);

  2. A writing sample (your best paper written in French, preferably for a literature class);

  3. The filled out graduate teaching assistant application form if you are interested in teaching French in the program). The graduate teaching assistant form should be requested from the graduate adviser for the M.A. in French before the application deadline.

Please note that the MA Program admissions have been paused for fall 2024.

Interested applicants should contact the Graduate Advisor, Professor Anne Donadey before applying.

For all general information regarding graduate admission requirements: Graduate Admissions.

Classified Graduate Standing

The general requirements for admission to Graduate Study at SDSU are described in the Graduate Bulletin. For admission to the program leading to the M.A. in French Language and Literature the requirements include:

  • A B.A. in French Language and Literature or the equivalent.
  • A GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) in all upper-division French courses taken.
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors, at least two of which should be from professors of French at the institution where the B.A. degree was granted.

If admitted with Conditionally Classified Graduate Standing, a student should fulfill the requirements for Classified Graduate Standing as soon as possible, so as to be able to proceed in due order towards fulfillment of other requirements for completion of the M.A. degree.

Course Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 30 units which include at least 24 units in French, of which at least 18 units must be in 600- and 700-numbered courses, including French 799A, Thesis, for those following Plan A. See the list of courses below.

Advancement to Candidacy

The general requirements for Advancement to Candidacy are described in Part III of the Graduate Bulletin. For the M.A. in French Language and Literature these requirements include:

  • achieving classified graduate standing.
  • an official program approved by the Graduate Advisor of the Department and by the Graduate Division.
  • passing a 2-hour examination any time after the first semester and prior to the last 9 units of the degree. The examination consists of an analyse de texte and is designed to test a general knowledge of French literary history and a specific ability for textual analysis as well as the ability to write French clearly and accurately. If failed, this examination may be repeated one time only, at the next scheduled exam time. Students are strongly urged to take this examination during their second semester of graduate study. In all cases, this exam must be completed prior to the last 9 units of the degree.
  • completing at least 12 units of courses applicable to the M.A. degree with a 3.0 GPA.

Final Requirements

A candidate will choose one of the following two plans:

Plan A: Thesis Option

A candidate desiring to follow Plan A must have a GPA of 3.6 based on a minimum of 12 units of graduate work and have passed the Advancement to Candidacy exam. This option is subject to the approval of the graduate staff, the main consideration being, in addition to the aforementioned requirements, that the student's background be sufficiently broad to warrant beginning work in a specialized area. This will be determined by the successful completion of a 2-hour written examination on the core list.

The student following Plan A will choose a member of the department to act as chair of a committee, a thesis topic and then, in consultation with the chair, two more committee members, one from the graduate staff of the department and one from another department.

The thesis must be submitted and approved by the committee before preparing the final version.

In addition to the three copies of the thesis required by the Graduate Office, the department will require an additional copy for its own files.

Plan B: Exam Option

The examinations will be given in two parts, written and oral. The examinations will test the student's mastery of the department's core reading list and the two areas of concentration chosen by the student. The student will choose a member of the department to act as chair of the examination committee and then, in consultation with that chair, choose two more committee members, one from the graduate staff of the department and one from another department.

There are a total of three written examinations, each two hours long and written entirely in French. One examination will treat the core list. The other two will deal with the areas of concentration. The student will have a choice of one of two questions on each examination.

The oral examination is one hour long and covers the core list as well as the student's areas of concentration and is addressed primarily to ascertaining the student's ability to synthesize the knowledge acquired.

A student who fails all or part of the examination may be re-examined, one time only, at the next scheduled M.A. examination.

Goal 1.

Demonstrate superior-level (working professional) language proficiency in at least two of the four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) in French

Outcome 1.1. Demonstrate reading comprehension of texts in French, including secondary sources

Outcome 1.2. Demonstrate listening proficiency

Outcome 1.3. Demonstrate writing proficiency

Outcome 1.4. Demonstrate speaking proficiency

Goal 2.

Demonstrate extensive knowledge of French and Francophone literature, cinema, and cultures.

Outcome 2.1. Context: Analyze French and Francophone literature, cinema, and/or other cultural productions in their historical, social, political, and geographical contexts

Outcome 2.2. Themes: Discuss a specific theme or compare themes in French and/or various Francophone countries’ literature, film, and other cultural manifestations

Outcome 2.3. Diversity: Identify and elucidate the complexity of issues of ethnic, social, and gender diversity in France and Francophone nations as represented in artistic and cultural texts

Goal 3.

Demonstrate sophisticated analytical skills supported by logical argument, research, and plausible examples from the target culture and literature

Outcome 3.1. Method: Analyze and interpret literary, cinematic, and other artistic texts through close reading

Outcome 3.2. Research skills: Make effective use of appropriate secondary sources in preparing assignments

Download the curriculum map.

Teaching Assistanships

Teaching Assistantships are available for qualified students enrolled in the program for the M.A. in French and Francophone Studies. These positions are renewable for a total of four semesters. The positions may be obtained by students with conditionally Classified Status, but may be renewed for the second semester only if the student has attained Classified Status. Renewal of these positions is additionally dependent on:

  • satisfactory teaching performance.
  • maintaining a 3.0 GPA in courses applicable towards the M.A. degree.
  • removal of any Incomplete grades before the beginning of classes in a given semester's appointment.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are primarily research or technology  positions and are available on a limited basis, generally in conjunction with a faculty project.  Please contact the department for further details.

Teaching in France

Graduate and undergraduate students may apply for positions in France through a French Government sponsored program.

Information subject to change or error. For most accurate information, please see the SDSU graduate bulletin for a full list of requirements.

See our courses page for more information.  Related graduate level courses in other departments may be taken for a total of six units credit with prior approval of the graduate adviser. 


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