French Graduate Program

French Graduate Advisor
Jordan Stump

1137 Oldfather Hall
jstump2@unl.edu
402-472-6068

Read the latest experimental fiction with; Jordan Stump, award-winning translator of contemporary French writing, or study medieval and early modern culture with Nora Peterson, author of Involuntary Confessions of the Flesh in Early Modern France (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2016), or discuss the works of authors from the French-speaking islands of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Mauritius, the Caribbean, and more with Julia Frengs. Our core program covers the range of literary culture from medieval romances to contemporary fiction, from Africa to Canada, from body language in the sixteenth century to bodily inscriptions such as tattooing practices in the Oceanic region, with, of course, a focus on France.  Courses in second language acquisition and literary criticism round off this core.

You can add a minor in another language (German or Spanish), and in fields like Second Language Acquisition, English, History, Human Rights, and Medieval and Renaissance studies. Or you can deepen your command of French culture with more French courses. You will also have the opportunity to take courses such as Writing the Environment: Ecological Fiction in the Francophone World.

The professorial staff is augmented by a group of experienced lecturers: Catherine Johnson (M.A. UNL) trains and mentors our six graduate teaching assistants; Erica Schauer (Ph.D. Virginia) whose courses include "Historical Highlights of French Queerness," “The Revolution: Before and After,” and "Moving Through the Nineteenth Century," specializes in gender and queer theory, cultural history and French literature from the Revolution to WWI; Françoise Agena  (M.A. UNL) teaches French and Spanish language courses, and directs our summer study-abroad program in Angers. 

Ours is a cosmopolitan department. Current and recent French students hail from Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and France. You'll also get to know students in the Spanish and German graduate programs from Spain, Germany, and Latin America.

Through an agreement with the Université de Marne-la-Vallée in the Paris suburbs, UNL graduate students in French are eligible to apply to spend a year living in Paris or the environs and teaching English at the university level. 

Funding is available as graduate teaching assistantships, augmented by fellowships that are awarded to recognize merit, to support reading papers at academic conferences, and to reward scholarly publications.

Applicants to the M.A. program should have roughly the equivalent of a UNL undergraduate French major, including at least four courses in literature along with strong oral and writing skills in French. Graduate Teaching assistants have usually studied or taught in a French-speaking country.

Recent M.A. graduates in French are now doctoral students at other universities, high school teachers, computer programmers, chocolatiers, and lecturers at UNL.

Students considering the Ph.D should consult the graduate advisor before applying.

French MA Degree

The program of study leading to an MA degree in French takes two years and includes courses in French literature and language, with the possibility of collateral work in other fields. All work required for an MA must be completed within six consecutive calendar years. The degree is excellent preparation for further graduate study at the doctoral level. Two courses are required of every person enrolled in a graduate program of study leading to either the MA or PhD degree. These courses, Introduction to Literary Criticism (MODL 870) and Applied Linguistics and Methodology (MODL 880), provide an essential foundation in the intellectual context and the practical application of knowledge in teaching a foreign language. A waiver may be obtained if similar course work has been completed elsewhere.

MA Options

The following options are available for studies leading to an MA in French. You will want to discuss these options with your advisor to determine which option best fulfills your professional objectives. Once you file your Memorandum of Courses, you may not change the option you have chosen. Option I requires a minimum of 36 credit hours that culminate in a set of comprehensive exams. Six to ten of these hours are devoted to researching and writing a THESIS. At least eight of these 36 hours must be taken in seminars (900-level courses). Option I also provides the opportunity to take a minor of at least nine hours in a related field. If you have a minor, one member of your committee must be from the department offering the minor. The minor should be in an area offering a graduate degree at UNL, such as History, Psychology, Sociology, English, or another language. Undergraduate programs not offered as an MA Program cannot be selected as a minor. At least 10-12 hours of required credit must be in regularly scheduled campus courses. Option II requires a minimum of 36 credit hours that culminate in a set of comprehensive exams. No thesis is included; rather Option II allows you to pursue more course hours in related studies. Your 36 hours may include 18 hours in the major and 9 hours in one MINOR or your 36 hour total may include at least 15 hours in the major and 9 hours in each of two MINORS. At least one member of your committee must be from the department offering the minor. The minor should be in an area offering a graduate degree at UNL, such as History, Psychology, Sociology, English, or another language. Undergraduate programs not offered as an MA program cannot be selected as a minor. The overall total of 36 credit hours must include at least 12 hours of work in seminars (900-level courses). Option III requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. Option III does not require a thesis or a minor but instead calls for increased work at the seminar level. No less than 18 hours of the 36 hour total are required at the 900 level. At least 18 hours must be completed in regularly scheduled campus courses. Like Options I and II, Option III also calls for a set of comprehensive exams.

MA advisor

When you enter the MA program, the first person to contact is the graduate advisor for French. The French Graduate advisor will discuss your interests, previous experience, the various options available to you, requirements, deadlines, scholarship opportunities, and will advise you concerning your program of studies. In addition to this introduction to the program, the graduate advisor for French monitors your progress and keeps you informed about deadlines in order to file your Memorandum of Courses with the Office of Graduate Studies at the appropriate time.

PhD Degree

The doctoral degree is given primarily for high attainment in a particular field of scholarship and for demonstrated power of independent research within this field. The doctoral student is expected to be capable of intelligently synthesizing the information obtained in courses and from the works on the PhD Reading List on a level significantly higher than the MA candidate. He/she should also be familiar with the principal critical works of major scholars, and with the journals and critical approaches in each of the areas listed on the PhD Reading List.

Requirements

At least three full years of graduate study are normally required to complete the PhD in French. A minimum of 90 hours of graduate credits comprise the program of study including course work and the research necessary to complete your dissertation. To fulfill these 90 hours several guidelines pertain:

  • At least 21 hours of course work should be completed beyond the M.A. level. This means that as many as 45 hours earned in your MA program may apply toward the PhD
  • Up to 45 hours of graduate course credits may be transferred from another accredited institution. Any transfer credits must be approved by your committee.
  • At least 45 of the 90-hour total must be completed at the University of Nebraska. Of these 45 hours, at least 27 hours of graduate work must be taken at UNL within a consecutive 18-month period or less.
  • At least 12 hours must be taken in seminars (900 level).
  • On the average, 20-24 hours of the required minimum (90) are devoted to your dissertation.

You must finish your course work and all other requirements, including the dissertation, within eight years of the time you file your Program of Studies with the Office of Graduate Studies. Going beyond the eight-year limit requires special permission from the Graduate College.

PhD advisor

When you enter the PhD program, the first person to contact is the Graduate advisor for French, who will discuss your interests, previous experience, the various options and specializations available to you, requirements, deadlines, and scholarship opportunities. After your initial contact with the advisor, the next step is to set up your PhD Supervisory Committee, normally by the end of your first semester.