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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 18, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

French, PhD

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Requirements for the PhD

Before students may be considered for admission to candidacy for the PhD, they must complete successfully a minimum of eight 2000-level courses (24 credits) beyond the MA level, five of which must be in French (a minimum of 72 credits). In addition, the candidates must present a précis of their emerging dissertation research area at the end of their first year, satisfy PhD language requirements, and pass written and oral comprehensive examinations. Upon admission to candidacy, the candidate will write and defend a doctoral dissertation. The course work must include:

FR 2710  (if not taken at the MA level) and an additional course in literary or cultural theory.

With the advisor’s consent students are free to take some of the additional required courses in other departments. Students in French are encouraged to pursue certification in one of the various programs offered by the University (African Studies, Cultural Studies, European Union Studies, Film Studies, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Global Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, West European Studies). However, only three exterior courses may count towards the degree in French.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee should include one faculty member with expertise in each of the two major periods/areas.

Credit Requirement: Minimum of 72 hours, including the master’s degree, earned from any suitable combination of formal course work, independent study, research, teaching or dissertation work as detailed elsewhere in this bulletin.

Preliminary Examination/Evaluation: Students in the PhD program will undergo a preliminary evaluation at the end of the first full year of residence. The written précis will serve as the preliminary evaluation. 

Comprehensive Examination: Students must take written and oral comprehensive examinations on a topic with historical coverage and an topic in the area of specialization. Candidates will work with a faculty advisor and a committee to prepare the reading list in the areas chosen. The purpose of the comprehensive examinations is to ensure that the candidate can develop a relevant and original approach to the study of French and Francophone literature, media, and culture. These examinations should be passed at least eight months (two terms) before the degree is to be awarded. Students may schedule their examinations only after passing all preliminary examinations and language and other requirements..

Prospectus Review: As soon as the comprehensive examinations have been passed, students and their advisor should agree on a dissertation committee including at least three members of the department (including the director) and one member chosen from another department in an area of expertise relevant to the dissertation topic. Usually during the third year, but in no case later than the first term of their fourth year, students must submit a prospectus to the director for circulation among the committee members. The scope, size, organization, and format of the prospectus are specified in a separate departmental document, which PhD students should receive or request as soon as they pass their comprehensive examinations.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

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