Master of Arts in French Studies


Our Master of Arts in French is designed for students with expansive and interdisciplinary academic interests, who would like to complement their work in French with coursework in other departments as part of a coherent academic plan. Our MA students pursue non-traditional outcomes reflecting the methodologies and scholarly expertise of our core faculty. Particular departmental strengths lie in Translation Studies; Francophone Studies and French as a Global Language; Cultural History of the Francophone World; Textual Studies, Book History and Digital Humanities; Gender Studies; Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition. MA projects therefore lead to such outcomes as a translation, a publishable academic research article, the creation of a digital edition or archive, a public humanities project, an online dictionary, or a bank of teaching resources.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete a Graduate Certificate in conjunction with their French MA, as part of their interdisciplinary work. Popular certificates include Textual and Digital Studies (housed in French and Italian Studies), Secondary and Foreign Language Teaching; Cinema and Media Studies; Public Humanities; Feminist Studies; and Sexuality and Queer Studies.

Almost all of our MA students support themselves with a Teaching Assistantship, through which they gain valuable experience teaching language courses under close supervision of our Second Language Acquisition faculty. Classified as Academic Student Employees, our teaching assistants enjoy generous benefits, union representation, and a tuition waiver. Incoming MA students are also automatically considered for a one-time Top Scholar Research Assistant award, payable over one summer.

Recent graduates have been accepted to PhD programs and to the UW’s Masters in Teaching program; others work in cultural outreach, as translators for Seattle’s major tech companies, and as French instructors in both K-12 and college programs. Our graduates have also secured publishing contracts for their translation work. Examples of recently-completed MA projects and post-degree outcomes can be found here.

Please browse our faculty profiles, and contact any of us with your questions.


Course Requirements

A total of 50 applicable credits are required for the Master of Arts in French. 40 of those credits (normally 8 courses) must be taken in 400- and 500-level course work.

  • at least 18 of these credits must be at the 500 level or above
  • at least 18 of these credits must be graded in courses at the 400- and 500-level, excluding 499 and transfer credits

The coursework will include:

  • FRENCH 510 "Methodology of French Language Teaching" total 5 credits or equivalent. 
  • a designated "methods" course (FRENCH 550, 551, 514, 577, 578A, 420, 590 and TXTDS 504 or another course with approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)). This can be any course focused on the methodology of a relevant humanities discipline. 
  • at least one course focused on pre-1800 content (This can be any course that contains relevant content pertaining to francophone and/or french history. Some options/examples: HSTEU 422, JSIS 488, FRENCH 448)

10 credits in FRENCH 600 will be given for the Master's Project.

In order to remain in good standing the student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.6. The minimum acceptable grade for any given course is 2.7.

MA Project

The MA Project emphasizes independent research and creative work. Possibilities include the writing of a research essay (20-25 pages); a teaching portfolio; a translation, or a digital project (eg. an online edition or database). The Project will be devised in consultation with a chosen director, from the faculty of FIS. Upon completion, it will be defended before a faculty panel of two professors: the director and a second member.

Graduate Certificates

MA students are, in addition, encouraged to complete a Graduate Certificate, which will encourage interdisciplinary work and add a further dimension to the students’ academic courses. Those of particular interest to FIS MA students include: Secondary and Foreign Language Teaching; Textual and Digital Studies; Cinema and Media Studies; Public Humanities; Feminist Studies; Queer and Sexuality Studies. Graduate Certificates typically require 15-20 credits of courses and capstone work. As of July 2022, there is no longer a limit to overlapping credits between the graduate certificate and MA degree. For more information, see the Graduate School Policy 1.2: Graduate Certificates (formerly Memo 43).

Foreign Language Requirement (under review)

Candidates for the MA in French Studies must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than French, English or their native language. Students should stipulate their choice as soon as possible, after consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator. Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  1. Passing a proficiency exam in the relevant language. Proficiency/placement exams are usually administered by the department in which the language is taught.
  2. Earning a grade of at least 3.0 in the final course of a second-year college-level sequence (equivalent to our FRENCH 203).
  3. Comparable alternatives (e.g. a summer immersion program), with the approval of the GPC.

Time Frame

The MA program should normally be completed in 5 or 6 full-time academic quarters (with a Teaching Assistantship, full-time enrollment is 10 credits per quarter). The last quarter is usually reserved for completion of the MA project. Beyond the sixth quarter, students will no longer be eligible for Teaching Assistant positions.