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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master of Arts in French

The terminal M.A. in French provides a flexible combination of language, literature, cultural history, and methodology course work designed to enhance the preparation of secondary school, junior college, or college teachers.

Candidates must complete a minimum of 45 units of graduate work, all courses being taken for a letter grade, with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3, as well as pass the master's examination at the end of their training. To fulfill the requirements in a single year, enrollment must be for an average of 15 units per quarter.

Candidates must take one cultural history course (to be taken either inside or outside the Department of French and Italian). All remaining units are to be taken in advanced French literature courses (200 level or above), three of which must be concerned with the pre-revolutionary period of French cultural history.

Applications for admission to the Masters of Arts program must be received by the last Friday of March in the prior academic year. Candidates for this degree are not eligible for financial aid or for teaching assistantships.


The terminal M.A. examination is normally administered two weeks before the end of the Spring Quarter by the two members of the examination committee, selected each year by the Director of Graduate Studies. It consists of two parts:

  1. The written exam (two hours) tests the candidate's general knowledge of French literature and is based on the same reading list as that for the Ph.D. qualifying exam (see below).

    The exam requires that the candidate answer two questions (out of three) in a manner that demonstrates his/her ability to synthesize and draw parallels between periods, genres, and systems of representation on the basis of the standard reading list. At least one question must be answered in French and two in English. Use of a dictionary is allowed.

    If the student's performance on the exam is deemed a 'pass' by two out of three of the members of the examining committee, the student is then permitted to go on to the oral examination (which is ordinarily taken later the same week).

    Should the candidate fail the M.A. written exam, he/she is given a second chance at the end of the Spring Quarter.

  2. The oral exam (90 minutes) assumes as its point of departure the student's answers on the written exam. It examines the candidate's knowledge and understanding of French literary history on the basis of the standard reading list.

At the conclusion of the oral exam, the examination committee meets in closed session and discusses the student's performance on the written and the oral portions of the examination. If it is judged adequate, the M.A. degree is granted. In no event may the master's written and oral exams be taken more than twice.

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