Applying to The Graduate Program

Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Program. You'll find below all the information you should need about applications.

Before embarking on graduate work in French, applicants should have completed an undergraduate major in French literature or the equivalent coursework. Students with an M.A. in French from another institution are also welcome to apply for admission to the Berkeley Ph.D. program in French. Students who would like to apply to the Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) with a French emphasis must meet separate admission requirements. Applicants from foreign countries should be aware that the department’s resources for supporting them with nonresident tuition are limited; admission of such students is therefore particularly difficult.

Please note that the French Department does not admit applicants whose ultimate goal is the M.A. degree.

The application deadline for the Ph.D. in French is January 8, 8:59 p.m. PST, for the Ph.D. in French. For the Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures, French emphasis, the deadline is January 8, 8:59 p.m. PST. The departmental Graduate Admissions Committee examines all completed applications soon after and makes its recommendations for admission to the Graduate Division. The committee also recommends awards of Graduate Student Instructorships (GSI) and/or fellowships. The department notifies all applicants recommended for admission before the end of February each year. We only admit applicants for the fall term for both French and Romance Languages and Literatures.

Criteria for the selection of applicants for graduate study in French include the following: academic background (including grades) and interests, professional promise, evidence of intellectual initiative and commitment, potential for a successful teaching career at the university or college level or contributor to industry development, and language proficiency in French. The assessment of the applicant’s potential is based primarily on the statement of purpose (which should focus on the candidate’s intellectual interests), past record, recommendations, and a writing sample. The writing sample (in French) should show the applicant’s thought process and style of argument.

Questions regarding the application procedure as well as general questions regarding the graduate program can be addressed to:

Graduate Student Services Advisor

There are a variety of ways to finance graduate study at UC Berkeley. Most support packages are composed of a combination of fellowship and teaching opportunities. US citizens and permanent residents who are not California residents for tuition purposes are usually provided with a non-resident tuition scholarship in their first year of the program. These students are expected to establish California residency for tuition purposes by the start of their second year in the program.

The following materials are required of all applicants for both the Ph.D. French literature program and the Ph.D. program in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL), French emphasis.

Graduate Division Admissions Application including the Statement of Purpose, which should focus on what the applicant plans to study in graduate school and beyond. This application is available online and is submitted electronically. Be sure to indicate whether you are applying for French or for Romance Languages and Literatures. If you select Romance Languages and Literatures, be sure to indicate “French” as your first emphasis. All applicants are automatically considered for most university and department fellowships, but those applicants who would like to be considered for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship must indicate this on the Graduate Admissions online application and submit a separate statement. (Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible). This statement should convey the applicant’s strong commitment to studying the language and world area they have selected as well the importance of that language to what they plan to study in graduate school. Applicants may select advanced French or any other language they would like to study. If you have questions about the FLAS application or terms of the fellowship, please contact the French Graduate Student Services Advisor ( Graduate Division provides some information designed to help with applying to graduate school, including tips on writing the statement of purpose.

A pdf of unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work (covering each college-level course taken, whether in the U.S. or abroad, during the regular academic year or in summer session). A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution with a satisfactory scholastic average–usually a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B)—is required. All scans of transcripts will be uploaded to your on-line application. An official paper transcript will be required of those who are offered and accept admission to Berkeley.

Three letters of recommendation in English, preferably from previous instructors in the field of French. Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically as part of the online application. Applicants are advised to request letters from their recommenders well in advance of the deadline. Please contact the Graduate Student Services Advisor if one of your recommenders is unable to submit an on-line letter and is only able to provide a paper letter (

TOEFL scores for international students. International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have completed one year or more of full-time course-work at an English speaking university. Note to native English speakers: If you have not completed one year or more of full-time course-work at an English speaking university, you are also required to take the TOEFL. Applicants are advised to begin making exam arrangements in the late summer or early fall, as exam dates may fill up quickly. Applicants are also advised to take the exam well in advance of the application deadline so that the scores arrive in time. For test registration information, please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) . Applicants must authorize ETS to send an official score report to Berkeley. Berkeley’s institution code is 4833.

GRE scores are not required for the French program.

For the French graduate application, two samples of writing:5-8 pages, typed and double-spaced, meant to provide an example of your best French.7-10 pages, typed and double-spaced, in French or English, meant to provide an example of your best thinking. If both samples are the same piece of work (in French, 7-10 pages), there is no need to submit two samples.

For the RLL/French emphasis program application, submit one or two writing samples in each of the Romance Languages in which you have advanced competency, maximum of 10 pages each. A writing sample could be a research paper or an excerpt of a thesis on a topic relevant to the field of Romance Languages.

The application deadline for both French and RLL is January 8, 8:59 p.m. PST.
The Graduate Division Admissions Application must be electronically submitted by the appropriate deadline.

UC Berkeley requires all applicants who are admitted to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications are available online at The school code for Berkeley is 001312.

For questions regarding the graduate application process,
please contact the Graduate Student Services Advisor.
Office: 4207 Dwinelle Hall