MA in French

This document is intended for students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages with a concentration in French. If further information is needed or if any information contained in this document requires clarification, the student should speak with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The student is also responsible for being aware of the academic regulations described in the Graduate Catalog.

I. General Description and Program Requirements

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures offers a program leading to the Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages with a concentration in either French or Spanish.

Program Prerequisites

  1. A minimum of twenty-four upper-division semester hours in French or equivalent (i.e. native or near-native proficiency, university studies in a French-speaking country, etc.).
  2. A reasonable proficiency in the language of concentration, to be determined by the Department prior to admission.
  3. International students, i.e. applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign university, must have their credentials evaluated. The university will accept evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site http://www.naces.org. The course-by course report is required. International students must therefore:
    1. score a minimum of 94 on the web-based TOEFL and a minimum of 26 on the speaking portion of the same exam. Students who cannot take the TOEFL have the option of taking the Duolingo English test https://englishtest.duolingo.com. The minimum acceptable score is 105 for the Duolingo test.
    2. convert their educational credentials–grades and diploma—into their US equivalents with an appropriate agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation services;
    3. Ask the same agency to submit the official transcript and diploma along with their respective conversion and translation to Graduate Admissions, University of Memphis.

Program Requirements

  1. A total of thirty-three (33) semester hours.
  2. Up to twelve (12) hours may be taken in a collateral area with prior approval of the respective graduate coordinator in French or Spanish.
  3. Students interested in pursuing teaching licensure may be required to complete additional hours. 
  4. At least 23 hours must be taken in 7000 level courses (eight [8] courses in all).
  5. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of six (6) courses in the areas of literature, linguistics, grammar, stylistics, and culture taught in the department in the language of concentration.
  6. A reading knowledge of a foreign language other than that of the concentration. 
  7. A comprehensive written and oral examination after completion of 33 hours and fulfillment of the reading knowledge requirement. These examinations will be conducted in the language of the concentration. 

II. Course Offerings

Please consult the  Graduate Catalog for full list of French courses and their descriptions, and the Schedule of Classes for current offerings.

III. Completing Coursework

  • 6000 level courses are offered on a two-year rotation. 7000 level courses, for the most part, on a three-year rotation. FREN 7470-9 (Special Topics) are not offered on a regular basis. Special courses may be offered according to the needs and requests of the students.
  • In choosing which courses to take, it is the responsibility of the student to select a program that will be of assistance in improving and mastering oral and written expression, and that will aid the student in preparing for the comprehensive examinations. Close co-ordination with the student's advisor should be maintained.
  • Students may not receive credit for a 6000 level course if they have credit at the 4000 level.
  • The grade point average for graduate students is computed on all graduate courses completed within the specified time period for the degree. Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 GPA. A grade below "C" will not apply toward any graduate degree, but will be computed in the GPA. No more than seven hours of "C" will be applied towards meeting degree requirements.
  • The degree requirements must be complete within a six year period. Students should consult their advisor in case of time constraints.

IV. Teaching Assistantships

  • Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. The current stipend is approximately $10,000 per academic year plus tuition waiver.
  • Students interested in being considered for a graduate assistantship must make an official request to the graduate coordinator in French at least one semester before the beginning of the assistantship. As part of the application process, students will need to furnish two letters of recommendation, preferably from professors qualified to evaluate the candidate's proficiency in French and his/her ability to undertake graduate work. Candidates will be interviewed by members of the French faculty to determine their command of the language. Candidates may also be interviewed by the Chairman of the Department.
  • University-funded graduate assistants must register for 9 semester hours in the fall and spring terms.
  • Graduate assistants must complete eighteen graduate hours before they can teach. The normal teaching load for French assistants is two courses.
  • Students lacking the requisite hours for teaching will assume other responsibilities, such as assisting professors and undergraduate students. The responsibilities will be determined by the graduate coordinator.
  • In order to be reappointed for a second year, a graduate teaching assistant must:
  1. Show good academic performance. A minimum 3.00 GPA must be maintained.
  2. Demonstrate a pedagogical competency meeting the requirements of the TA Supervisor.
  3. Give evidence of an improved proficiency in French.

V. Activities in the French Section and in the University

Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society)

Pi Delta Phi elects new members every spring. Graduate students who are not already members may be nominated as members. The national Pi Delta Phi website has more information on requirements for qualifying as a member.

Language Fair

The Department of World Languages and Literatures sponsors a Language Fair in the spring with competitive events for area high school students. Graduate students are expected to make a contribution to the Fair in the form of judging and assisting professors.

Study Abroad

The French section coordinates a summer study abroad program in Lille, France.


VI. Comprehensive Examinations

M.A. candidates preparing for the comprehensive examinations:

  • Students are examined in several topics pertaining to French literature and language.
  • Students are responsible for all material on the reading lists. Before the comprehensive examination is taken, students must also consult with the professors responsible for testing in order to assure that they have covered all relevant material.
  • In addition to the works listed for each period, the candidate is expected to have a general knowledge of the whole period, that is, some familiarity with other important writers and works, as well as with the more important literary and intellectual movements and dates, and the major historical and cultural events of the period. Students should also possess a good working knowledge of basic literary terms in French. Students should consult the appropriate professors for suggestions for background reading.
  • As previously stated, candidates will not be permitted to take the comprehensive examination before they have established their reading knowledge of a second foreign language. Such a knowledge may be demonstrated by (a) achieving the forty-fifth percentile on the Graduate School Foreign Languages Test (ETS), (b) achieving a grade of "B" or better in a fourth-semester language course other than French (2202 or equivalent), (c) achieving a grade of "S"  in a graduate reading course (GERM 0701 or equivalent), or (d) some other manner approved by the coordinator of graduate studies.
  • Candidates will not be permitted to take the comprehensive examination before they have completed all course work and established their reading knowledge of a second foreign language.
  • The oral examination may not be scheduled until all written examinations have been completed to the satisfaction of the faculty.
  • If a student fails a part of the written examination (ie. for one period), that part of the examination must be rewritten. The timetable for doing so will be arranged by the student and the faculty member responsible for that period, keeping other members of the examination committee informed of this timetable. If the students is unsuccessful on the second attempt at the written examination, the examination committee will meet to determine what actions will be taken (either to have the student repeat the exam, or to recommend that the student abandon the program).