Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 18, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

French, PhD

Return to Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Return to: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

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 (a minimum of 72 credits). In addition, the candidates must present an oral explication de texte before a faculty committee, 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 advisors 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.

With the adviser’s consent,

PhD in French with a Concentration in Romance Languages and Literatures

Candidates for this concentration will typically already hold an MA in one of the Romance languages and literatures or the equivalent, and will, upon entering the program, choose two major and one minor linguistic areas from among the four language areas (French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish). Portuguese may not be used as one of the major areas, and one of the major areas must be French.

Field of Study

The student will also choose a major and a minor period from among the following four periods: (1) Middle Ages; (2) Renaissance and Baroque; (3) Enlightenment, Romanticism and Realism (18th and 19th centuries to 1848); (4) Modern/Postmodern. If Spanish is one of the major linguistic areas, the student will also choose, as appropriate, between the peninsular and Latin American areas.

Course Work

The candidate will then take at least four 2000-level courses in each of the two major linguistic areas, and at least two 1000-level courses in the third area. At least one of these courses will be a 2000-level course in linguistics in one of the major fields (a course in the history of the language or in comparative Romance linguistics is recommended). At least three of these courses should involve the writing of a long (or seminar-type) paper of 20-30 pages, and one of these papers must be written in English.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee should include one faculty member with expertise in each of the three major periods/areas. In all cases, the choice of linguistic areas and periods will be limited by the availability of faculty and course offerings in the concerned departments.

It is expected that candidates will teach at least one language course in each of their major linguistic areas before completing the degree.

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.

Explication de Texte: Before taking their comprehensive examinations, PhD students must present an oral explication de texte in French before a jury comprising members of the faculty.

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 is able to develop a relevant and original approach to the study of French and Francophone literature 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 Presentation: 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.

Return to Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Return to: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Catalog Navigation