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. Discuss the works of authors from the French-speaking islands of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Mauritius, the Caribbean, and more with Julia Frengs, or examine gender and queer theory, cultural history, and French literature from the Revolution to WWI with Erica Schauer. Plus, develop your teaching skills and work closely with Catherine Johnson, lecturer, teaching mentor, and coordinator of the French language program. Françoise Agena (M.A. UNL) teaches French and Spanish language courses, and directs our undergraduate summer study-abroad program in Angers. Our program covers the range of literary culture from medieval to contemporary fiction, from New Caledonia to Canada, from body language in the sixteenth century to prostitution and the body in the nineteenth century to bodily inscriptions such as tattooing practices in the Oceanian region, with, of course, a focus on France.  

You can add a minor in another language (German or Spanish), and in fields like English, History, Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education, 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 cutting-edge, team-taught courses, creative writing, and courses in cultural studies. Recent course offerings include graduate seminars on humor, French women writers, Oceanian literature and culture, and other advanced classes including the French fairy tale genre, ecological fiction in the Francophone world, “Revolution: Before & After,” literary translation, and autofiction.

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

Through an agreement with the Université Gustave Eiffel 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.

Graduate teaching assistantships (TAships) cover full tuition remission and include a stipend. Additional funding is available through fellowships that are awarded to recognize merit, to support presenting 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, stormwater inspectors at engineering companies, program supervisors at public health departments, marketing managers at academic publishing companies, computer programmers, chocolatiers, and lecturers at UNL.

Students considering the Ph.D should consult the graduate advisor, Julia Frengs, at 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, language, and culture, 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 Theory (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 coursework has been completed elsewhere.

MA Options

The French MA program offers a certain flexibility which allows students the options of either writing a thesis, pursuing a minor or taking more graduate-only courses. 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.

All MA options require 36 hours of graduate coursework and successful completion of comprehensive examinations.

  • Option I requires writing a MA thesis.
  • Option II requires completing a graduate minor (usually between 9-12 credit hours). 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 Women’s and Gender Studies, Teaching or English. Undergraduate programs cannot be selected as a minor. 
  • Option III requires more graduate courses in your major, French. MA TimelineWhen 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, and scholarship opportunities. 

MA Timeline

Beginning in the second semester, as you proceed with your coursework, the faculty member you choose as Chair of your committee becomes your primary advisor with regard to the content and completion of your program, which includes coursework, comprehensive exams, and with Option I, your thesis. At the end of your second semester, you also file your Memorandum of Courses with the Office of Graduate Studies.

The MA degree culminates in a set of comprehensive exams at the end of the second year. Unless other arrangements are made, students should plan to graduate from our program in the August following their comprehensive exams.

PhD Degree

The doctoral degree is given primarily for high attainment in a particular field of scholarship and for demonstrated power of independent research. The PhD is usually completed in four years following the MA. The doctoral student is expected to be capable of critical thinking encompassing the information obtained in courses and from the works in his/her specialization. PhD students should also be familiar with critical works of major scholars, diverse theoretical approaches, and the journals and trends in their areas of specialization.

The PhD requires a minimum of 90 hours of graduate credits. Up to 45 hours of graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited institution or your MA program. PhD students are required to take between 27 to 36 hours of coursework (three or four semesters). Students can pursue a graduate minor or take courses in other departments and programs such as Women’s and Gender Studies, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, and Ethnic Studies. At the end of their second semester, PhD students choose a faculty member as dissertation director, who also serves as chair of their committee. They also complete the PhD Supervisory Committee form and Program of Studies form with the Office of Graduate Studies.

After their coursework, starting in their fourth or fifth semester, PhD students will take four written exams. They will also defend the prospectus of their dissertation to become doctoral candidates.

French Graduate Advisor
Prof. Julia Frengs
1128 Oldfather Hall

Graduate Studies MA information

Graduate Studies PhD information

Graduate application