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French Certificate

Summary of Program

The Graduate Program in French offers a Certificate in French to students involved in other Ph.D. and professional degree programs at Emory University. Eligibility is contingent upon sufficient fluency in French to enroll in doctoral seminars - to be determined in one of the following three ways:
1) an oral interview and translation and reading exam with one of the members of the French Graduate Faculty selected by the DGS of French and Comparative Literature.
2) a previous BA, MA, or equivalent in French.
3) evidence of successful completion of advanced undergraduate (400 level) or graduate course work in French at Emory.

The requirements for the Certificate include: completion of five graduate courses (3 credit hours each) of which four should be listed or cross-listed with FREN. Students may elect to take 1 of these 5 required courses (3 credit hours) not cross-listed with French but dealing with French or francophone material in LGS programs other than French. Students must pass a written exam based on a reading list of French/Francophone literature available on the program website and French/Francophone materials must play a significant role in their dissertation. We also recommend that students have a member of the French Graduate Faculty serve on their dissertation committee. Students interested in the program must declare their intention before their doctoral exams by completing an application for the program and submitting it to the French graduate program coordinator.  

(Students who completed all requirements before the formal implementation of the certificate in French will be able to petition to obtain an official certificate in French before they graduate.)

Eligibility for the French Certificate

Any student working on a doctoral degree in the Laney Graduate School will be eligible to apply except students in the French doctoral program. Consideration will also be given to students in Emory’s professional schools who are interested in the Certificate program. Students interested in the certificate will have to demonstrate linguistic competency in French at fluency level by one of the following means:

  1. previous completion of B.A., MA or equivalent in French.
  2. an oral interview and reading proficiency and translation test administered by the DGS in French or by another member of the French graduate faculty chosen by the DGS.
  3. successful completion of advanced undergraduate (400) level or graduate seminars taught in French at Emory.

Requirements for the French Certificate


Students will have to complete 5 graduate courses (at least 15 credit hours) of their choice listed or cross-listed in French. Special topics courses such as FREN 770 may be repeated as long as the courses focus on a different topic.

Of these 5 graduate courses, certificate students will have the option to complete 1 graduate course (3 credit hours) not cross-listed with French but dealing with French or francophone material, in graduate programs other than French such as Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, History, Theology, or Film Studies.

We recommend but do not require that students who plan to apply for jobs in French departments or who wish to increase their qualification to teach French language or French and Francophone literatures take the Pedagogy course, FREN 505, “Problems in Foreign Language Teaching,” as one of their five courses and, additionally, that they consider teaching at least one basic French language class. Please note that FREN 505 is a requirement for anyone who wishes to teach a language class.  


Students must take a modified version of the written qualifying exam taken by the French PhD students. The exam is a written, take-home exam, which may be done in English or in French and is based on a list of French/Francophone literary works given in the French Graduate Handbook.  Students will have the equivalent of a long weekend to write it. If questions were given out on a Friday at 9:00 a.m., for example, students would have until Monday at 4:00 p.m. to return the completed exam. The DGS will choose the questions to be included on the exam from among those submitted by the French graduate faculty in their respective specialties. Certificate students select four topics out of eight (based on the reading list) and will write a 3-5 page essay per question, typed and double-spaced. Each consulting professor responsible for the preparation of the topics will grade the exam. (Note: No student having more than one incomplete for a French course will be permitted to take this exam; any student having two or more incompletes at the time he or she should normally take the exam will be expected to petition for a postponement.)

Candidates must be passed on all four questions in order to pass the written exam. If the candidate fails one question (s)he may retake that question (i.e., a different question covering the same section) at a date to be agreed upon with the responsible faculty member. If the candidate fails two or more questions, (s)he must retake the whole exam at the end of the current semester.

For the PhD exam (an oral exam in most programs) certificate students are strongly encouraged to include at least one member of the French graduate faculty on their committee.


To complete the French certificate, the dissertation must demonstrate significant involvement with French/Francophone material.

Note on Advising

Students pursuing a Certificate in French should consult initially with the Director of Graduate Studies in French. In addition, students select a certificate advisor from the French graduate faculty (willingness to serve in this role will be formalized by the Certificate Advisor’s signature on the Certificate in French Application). The DGS will also be available for consultation by the student and Certificate Advisor, as needed. We also encourage regular consultation with the advisor in the student’s home department.