The French department offers a graduate program with a strong critical, cultural, and historical orientation. In addition to their respective specialties in French and Francophone literature, faculty members pursue research in related disciplines such as philosophy, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, rhetoric, intellectual history, and post-colonial studies. Such a cross-disciplinary approach to literature is necessitated by both the divergence of disciplines (the multiplication and diversification of the various fields of knowledge and the increasing specialization of the languages developed in their study), and their tendency to converge (virtually any work is informed by a range of concepts exceeding the boundaries of its declared discipline).
While mastery of all areas of knowledge is not within the reach of a single individual, the ability to analyze the discursive strategies of the various fields - their vocabularies, their structures, their presuppositions, and their goals - can be. Criticism, or critical theory, is the discipline that takes as its object of study discourse itself, in an attempt to recognize and evaluate the functions of the different languages of knowledge when they are deployed in various texts and also to understand when it is feasible and productive to mobilize them in one's own analyzes.
Thus we have designed an interdisciplinary curriculum to help the student (1) understand both the nature of French and Francophone literature and of the theoretical idioms that inform and shape our understanding of that literature; (2) become acquainted with the critical tradition, and especially, the main currents of continental theory that have in recent decades oriented literary critical studies in America; (3) gain some familiarity with current developments in the field of criticism; and (4) learn the fundamentals of second language acquisition and technology-aided instruction.
In keeping with this orientation, graduate courses reflect the faculty's interest in viewing French literature from multi-disciplinary critical approaches. Courses emphasize the close reading of texts as well as modern theories of interpretation. Moreover, through inter-departmental cooperation with programs in Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Women's Studies and Film Studies, students can readily incorporate an interdisciplinary focus into their course work and dissertation.
The Doctor of Philosophy
In addition to the minimum requirements for the doctoral degree set by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a student is expected, with the approval of his or her advisor, to take courses and engage in independent studies leading to: a comprehensive knowledge of the whole body of French literature; the capacity to use specific critical methods; a mastery of the chosen field of concentration; and a mastery of the language itself.
A normal graduate timetable would entail the following responsibilities:
For students admitted in full standing, there are seventeen courses required for the Ph.D.: eight to be taken the first year, six in the second, and three to be taken in the fall semester of the third year. The doctoral qualifying exam will be taken just prior to the beginning of the student's fifth semester, while the Ph.D. orals will be taken in the semester following the completion of course work. Students admitted in advanced standing are required to take fourteen courses: eight the first year and six the second; the doctoral qualifying exam will be taken at the beginning of the third semester. Shortly after the Ph.D. orals, the student will present a thesis proposal before the dissertation committee. The dissertation will be read by three readers from the department. A fourth reader from outside the department is optional.
Students may choose to spend the fourth year, or a portion of that year, in Paris. This experience will familiarize students with French cultural and critical events, as well as provide an expanse of time in which to undertake specialized research for the dissertation project.
The department offers the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in French. A certificate in Comparative Literature, Women's Studies, Psychoanalytic Studies or Film Studies is available for students who seek to combine their Ph.D. in French with literary and theoretical issues outside the historic or generic boundaries of French literature.
Awards and Stipends
Full time students admitted to graduate programs at Emory are offered either tuition and stipend awards by the university, or have individual fellowships from outside funding sources. Three types of special fellowships, which either supplement the base stipend provided by the Graduate School or provide full stipend support at a higher stipend level than the base stipends, are also offered on a competitive basis.
Applicants do not apply directly for these fellowships. Faculty in departments or programs nominate accepted students for these fellowships based on their qualifications and nominees are reviewed by faculty committees. Awards are announced to students at the time they are accepted for admission. All fellowship awards are made on the basis of merit and are renewed annually contingent upon satisfactory academic performance.
For detailed information on awards and stipends offered by Emory University, the Graduate School, and the Department of French and Italian, visit the Resources page.
Director of Graduate Studies
Academic Degree Program Coordinator
Leslie Church Hartness