Master of Arts in French

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit Any changes will appear on our errata page.

Program Scope

The M.A. Program in French is primarily focused on the study of literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Our main objective is to offer interesting and challenging courses, based on original research and the field of specialization of the French faculty, in order to inspire and teach students to do graduate work while developing their knowledge of French and Francophone literature and culture. All graduate courses in the French Program are conducted in French and students are expected to use French in all their work, including in their Master’s thesis. We offer a variety of courses on periods, genres and themes. Courses are rotated and renewed over a period of two to three years in order to cover most areas and periods of French and Francophone literature. Students are required to take courses covering 5 different centuries from the Middle Ages to the 20th century among the 7 periods / areas offered. Courses available are listed in alphabetical order in the Bulletin (consult Index for page reference). Short descriptions of the specific courses offered for the academic year can be found on the French web site.

Admission to Program

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must demonstrate the proficiency level in French and the knowledge on language, culture and literature expected at the conclusion of a baccalaureate major in French. Consideration will also be given to students with advanced French competency who have obtained a B.A. in another field. They may be admitted as conditionally classified graduate students and are required to remediate or complete all deficiencies before attaining classified status. In order to be accepted by the Program, applicants need to send directly to the French Graduate Advisor (see Faculty page) an analytical statement of purpose of approximately 500 words written in English, and another one in French covering the same content, a sample of written work in French (such as a literary dissertation), two letters of recommendation, and make an appointment for an oral interview in French (in person or by phone).

Please note that the only upper division courses accepted for the graduate program are the elective courses (for which graduate students are the courses (for which graduate students are also expected to complete additional work) recommended and accepted by the graduate advisor. The following courses are not accepted : FR 304, FR 305, FR 306.

Written English Proficiency Requirements

All graduate students at SF State must complete Level One and Level Two English writing requirements.

Level One

Submission of a Statement of Purpose in the application for admission to the French M.A. The statement is to be written in English (500 words) and include the same or similar statement written in French.

Level Two

Level Two may be met in one for two ways:

  • Option I: Submit either a 15 - 20 page essay written in English for a graduate class (program other than the French Program), or an English translation of a 15 - 20 page essay written in French for a graduate class in the French Progam, unless the French instructor of that class accepts to receive an essay written in English.
  • Option II: Submission of a 15 page summary of the M.A. thesis written in English. This summary will be submitted for evaluation to the French faculty.

Students are advised to consult with their graduate advisor early in the program on how best to prepare for the Level Two writing requirement.

French (M.A.) — Minimum 30 units

Graduate Courses (15 units)

In French

Upper Division/Graduate Courses (6 units)

in French language, Literature, or Civilization.

One of the Following Options (9 units)

Option I

Upper division/graduate courses (9 units) in French or in related subjects, with approval of graduate advisor

and Master's Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations

Option II

Upper division/graduate courses (6 units) in French or in related subjects, with approval of graduate advisor.

  • FR 898 Master's Thesis
  • and Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination
Written and Oral Examinations Option

Students are admitted to oral examination upon passing the written examination. Both examinations may be attempted not more than two times.

Master's Thesis Option

Students must pass an oral examination at the end of the semester preceding the semester when they write their thesis.