The Department of French, Francophone, and Italian Studies offers a comprehensive graduate program (M.A. and Ph.D.) in French and Francophone language, literature, and culture. Our faculty is dynamic, professionally active, and committed to excellence in scholarship and teaching. The major emphasis of teaching and research is French and Francophone literature.  The department also offers courses in literary theory, cultural studies, and film. The department offers a balanced emphasis on all periods from medieval through twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Our students represent a diverse group, and we encourage equally applicants from traditional and nontraditional backgrounds.  Excellent facilities, strong library holdings, and a faculty dedicated to both teaching and research assure students of a challenging and professional graduate preparation.  Please visit the Graduate Program page of the department website for additional information.

Departmental Funding

The department does its best to provide funding in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) appointments to all incoming graduate students.  GTA appointments are awarded for the academic year, .50 full-time equivalent (FTE) appointments come with:

  • a competitive academic year (9 month) salary
  • a 100% tuition waiver for all courses at KU
  • payment of up to 3 hours of student fees
  • optional University-subsidized group health insurance 

The appointments are guaranteed based on performance for up to 5 years for Ph.D. students and 6 years for students who receive both an M.A. and a Ph.D. at The University of Kansas.  GTAs in the department receive thorough training in language instruction, close mentoring, and the opportunity to teach French at a variety of levels, providing them with a strong base of teaching experience upon entering the job market. Additional information about teaching for the department is available on the Graduate Funding page of our departmental website.

Additional Funding

Other funding opportunities for graduate students include the Office of Study Abroad’s Springer award; the department’s Cornell, Mahieu, and Magerus fellowships; awards for research abroad; and French university exchanges.

Visit the Graduate Studies website for additional information about funding opportunities for graduate students at KU.

Financial Aid and Scholarships administers grants, loans, and need-based financial aid.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Admission to the Ph.D. Program in French

In addition to the general admission requirements from the Office of Graduate Studies, applicants should have the equivalent of the M.A. in French offered at KU.

Submit your graduate application online.  For further information regarding the application process, including department-specific deadlines and required supplemental documentation, please visit the Admissions page of the department website, or contact the department's Graduate Program Coordinator, Cari Ann Kreienhop,

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy, a student must complete the following departmental requirements:

1. 24 hours of post-M.A. work (exclusive of dissertation hours).  Ph.D. students who did not receive their MA in French at KU must complete a total of 30 post M.A. hours, including*:

FREN 704 Methods in French Language Instruction

FREN 720 Introduction to Graduate Studies in French

*Ph.D. students who have taken equivalent courses for either or both of these requirements as part of their M.A. studies elsewhere may petition the department for a waiver of FREN 704 and/or FREN 720 to reduce the total required hours.  To determine equivalency, the student must submit course materials from the previous institution. Students petitioning this requirement should first consult with the DGS.

2. 6 hours of graduate-level coursework taken outside the department as an interdisciplinary minor field of concentration. These hours will count towards the 24 to 30 hours of post-MA coursework.  Students may also apply these 6 hours of graduate-level coursework outside the department toward one of KU’s Graduate Certificates (e.g. African Studies, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, etc.).

3. During their last semester of coursework, Ph.D. students must enroll in 3 hours of FREN 995 Investigation and Conference, with the faculty member who typically will become the student’s dissertation director. These hours will count towards the 24 to 30 hours of post-MA coursework.

4. A successful written and oral comprehensive exam, which will be based on a portfolio containing the following items:

  • The 3 reading lists, highlighting which works have already been read
  • Prospectus draft and bibliography
  • Website.  The website will include a professional profile, a CV, and pedagogical materials
  • A research paper that has been published or is publishable

5. At least 1 year of teaching in the department

6. A successful dissertation defense

Research Skills & Responsible Scholarship Requirement

The university also requires that every doctoral student have training in responsible scholarship and research skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before attempting the comprehensive oral exam. For French doctoral students, this requirement is met by the following:

FREN 704Methods in French Language Instruction3
FREN 720Introduction to Graduate Studies in French3
Proficiency in a second language, which can be a second Romance language, Latin, Greek, German, Arabic, or another language pertinent to the student’s career path and approved by the faculty. (Students specializing in medieval or Renaissance literature are strongly encouraged to take Latin. Students specializing in Francophone Studies are strongly encouraged to take Arabic, Wolof, or Haitian Creole.) Proficiency may be demonstrated by completion of the fourth-semester course (or equivalent) or by examination.
Departmental new graduate student orientation, held each Fall semester during the week prior to the first instructional week of classes.

Handbook for Graduate Students

A detailed presentation of departmental processes and regulations may be found in the department’s Graduate Student Handbook.

Summer Language Institute in Paris

The department conducts a 6-week summer institute in Paris focusing on French language and culture. Students take courses in intermediate and advanced French language at L’Etoile, a private language institute in the center of Paris. Before the stay in Paris, students spend 10 days to 2 weeks touring regions such as Normandy, Brittany, and the château country along the Loire River. Some scholarship aid is available. Consult the department or the Office of Study Abroad for information.

Graduate Study Abroad

Graduate students have the opportunity to serve as program assistants for the department’s Paris Summer Language Institute. The department also has a graduate exchange agreement with the Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.