The MA program in French offers students the opportunity to pursue their interest in literature and culture, working with faculty members who produce distinguished scholarship in a broad variety of fields. Students are encouraged to take courses in many of those fields and to become acquainted with a diversity of critical and theoretical approaches. The program consists of coursework and a comprehensive examination.

Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's Degree Program

Students may earn this degree as part of the Bachelor's–Accelerated Master's (BAM) degree program, which allows currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in a shorter period of time.

For more information, see the Accelerated Master's tab for the associated bachelor's degree(s): French - Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Admission Requirements

Prerequisites for admission to the French MA studies:

  • A strong background in French and/or BA in French or equivalent.
  • Good pronunciation in French as evidenced by a recording submitted with the application.
  • Students are required to submit a statement of purpose and one paper of their choice done for an undergraduate French course.
  • Recommendations from three professors with whom the student has worked.

Course Requirements

Degree requirements are subject to change. Students wishing to pursue graduate work in French should visit the department's MA Guidelines for the most up-to-date degree requirements.

The following summary of minimum requirements is expressed in terms of courses. Each course represents a graduate seminar carrying two or three credit hours. Additional coursework may be required by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

Students and their administrators are equally responsible for making certain that their graduate curriculum satisfies all graduation requirements, both those of the department and those of the Graduate School. Every student should accordingly become thoroughly familiar with the Master's Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

Master's students are not normally permitted to take independent study courses. However, in exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, they may register for one and at the very most two such courses.

Required Courses
French and Francophone Literature and Culture Courses
At least eight courses (5000-level or above) in French literature and culture. Provided that such courses are taught, students must take at least one course in seven of the eight major historical fields of French and Francophone literature and culture. Options include:24
French Special Topics
French Special Topics
Francophone African Literature
Medieval and Renaissance Readings
17th Century French Tragedy and Poetry
17th Century French Prose
Moliere and 17th Century French Comedy
French Enlightenment
18th Century French Literature
19th Century French Literature
Topics in 19th Century French Prose, Poetry, and Theatre
Literary Ludics
Literary Theory, Part I
Proust and Modernity
20th Century French Theatre and Poetry
Related Field Courses
Up to two courses (4000-level or above) in a related field (e.g., English, Spanish, Classics, Linguistics, Film Studies, History, Fine Arts, Education) to be determined in consultation with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. 16
Additional Coursework
FREN 5770Methods of Teaching French as a Foreign Language3
Total Credit Hours33

Language Requirement

All MA candidates must acquire a reading knowledge of a language other than French and English. The language should be related to the student's academic program. The requirement may be fulfilled by taking a translation exam offered by the department in the language in question or by passing coursework either at CU or prior to arrival on campus equivalent to a fourth semester (2120 at CU) college course.

Early in their first semester in the MA program, each student should meet individually with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies to discuss their overall plan of study, including the ways in which they will satisfy the language requirement.

MA Comprehensive Examination

This examination will be based on a reading list in literature, culture, and theory prepared by the Graduate Faculty. It will be administered by an Examination Committee composed of the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and two other members of the Graduate Faculty, appointed by the Chair. The examination will consist of three essays of three hours each, based on questions formulated by the Examination Committee, and a one-hour oral examination designed to test the student's overall knowledge of the reading list. Normally the three essays will be written within a six-day period, and the one-hour oral exam will normally follow within two weeks. Two of the three essays must be written in French, but should students decide to exercise the option of writing one in English, they are entirely free to choose which one it shall be. The Comprehensive Examination must be taken during the fourth semester of the MA program.

Two-Year Plan of Study

The MA degree is intended to be completed in two years. The normal pattern of courses would be as follows:

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall SemesterCredit Hours
Two seminars 6
FREN 5770 Methods of Teaching French as a Foreign Language 3
 Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
Three seminars 9
 Credit Hours9
Year Two
Fall Semester
Three seminars 9
 Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
Two seminars 6
 Credit Hours6
 Total Credit Hours33