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Master of Arts in French Studies

Overview

Our Master of Arts in French is a particularly good fit for students whose academic interests are interdisciplinary, and who are interested in taking multiple courses in other departments as part of a coherent academic plan. Instead of a final exam, we encourage our MA students to pursue non-traditional outcomes which reflect the approaches of our core faculty, for example: a translation, a digital humanities archive, a public humanities project, an online dictionary, or a bank of teaching resources. Students are also welcome to write targeted academic research papers, with a view to possible publication, rather than the typical MA thesis: students wishing to apply to Ph.D. programs may be best served by this option.

Students are also strongly encouraged to complete an area studies certificate in conjunction with their French MA. Popular certificates include : Translation Studies (starting in Fall 2023), Textual and Digital Studies, Secondary and Foreign Language Teaching; Cinema and Media Studies; Public Humanities; Feminist Studies; Queer and Sexuality Studies. The first two of these are housed in our department and provide particularly accessible pathways.

Almost all of our MA students support themselves through our 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.

Our MA graduates continue to PhD programs, professional Masters degrees, and to successful academic-adjacent or other careers. Recent graduates have been accepted to PhD programs, to the UW’s Masters in Teaching program, have secured publishing contracts for translation projects, or have quickly found work translating for one of Seattle's many tech companies, teaching French in both K-12 and college programs, or doing cultural outreach. 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 Work Requirements

Effective Summer 2016:

A total of 50 applicable credits are required for the Master in Arts of 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 department approved 400-level courses accepted as part of the major, and in 500-level courses. This excludes 499 and transfer credits

The coursework will include:

  • FRENCH 510 "Methodology of French Language Teaching" and FRENCH 590: total 5 credits or equivalent
  • a designated "methods" course (FRENCH 550, 551, 577) or another course with approval of the GPC
  • at least one course whose content is largely drawn from pre-1800

10 credits in FRENCH 600 will be given for a Master's Project. The MA Project emphasizes independent research and creative projects. Possibilities include the writing of a publishable research essay (20-25 pages); a teaching portfolio; 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.

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, of which 6 can overlap with the credits applied to the MA in French or Italian.

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.

The M.A. 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 study and exam preparation.

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

Students are expected to complete ALL requirements for the MA in six quarters. Beyond the sixth quarter, students will no longer be eligible for Teaching Assistant positions.

The MA Final Project

The MA Project emphasizes independent research and creative projects. Possibilities include the writing of a publishable research essay (20-25 pages); a teaching portfolio; or a digital project (e.g. an online edition or database). The Project will be devised and undertaken in consultation with a chosen director, selected from the faculty of FIS. The student will, upon completion of the Project, defend it before a faculty panel consisting of the director and a second member.

 

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