This Guide is provided by the Department of French to describe the graduate program in French Literature and the Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures (with an emphasis in French). It serves as a summary of the requirements and regulations (both divisional and departmental) pertaining to the various degrees. Questions about any aspect of the procedures outlined here may be addressed to the Graduate Advisors or the Graduate Student Advisor in French.
This version of the Guide is intended for those students who were admitted Fall 2024 and after.
Students admitted Fall 2022 and before may consult the Guide to Higher Degrees in French HERE.
Students admitted Fall 2023 may consult the Guide to Higher Degrees in French HERE.
A student may be accepted for graduate study at Berkeley only through action of the Graduate Division. Admissions are recommended by the Graduate Committee of the Department of French to the Dean of the Graduate Division and are subject to a quota allotted to the Department by the Graduate Division. The Dean is ultimately responsible for approving applicants’ records and for determining whether they will be admitted. The application for admission is now completely online. Applicants must upload a pdf of their unofficial transcripts from all previous college‑level work and request three online letters of recommendation (preferably from previous instructors in French). The application requires information about prior coursework in language and literature, as well as any experience in teaching or study abroad. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all international applicants unless they have completed one year or more of fulltime coursework at an English-speaking university. The GRE is no longer required for the French program.
Writing samples are required of both French and RLL/French applicants. For French, applicants submit two writing samples: 5-8 pages (not including references), typed and double-spaced, meant to provide an example of their best French, and 7-10 pages (not including references), typed and double-spaced, in French or English, meant to provide an example of their 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 RLL (French emphasis) applicants, one or two writing samples in each of the Romance Languages in which they have advanced competency is required, maximum of 10 pages each (not including references). A writing sample could be a research paper or an excerpt of a thesis on a topic relevant to the field of Romance Languages and Literatures. Questions regarding these graduate programs should be directed to the Graduate Student Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Before embarking on graduate work in French, the student should have completed at least an undergraduate minor or major in French or the equivalent coursework. Students entering with a minor in French and/or Francophone Studies will work with the Head Graduate Advisor on a case-by-case basis to determine which courses at the graduate (and upper-division, if applicable) level will best ensure the student’s continued progress in their work on French. Students holding an M.A. degree or equivalent in French from another institution are welcome to apply for admission to the Berkeley Ph.D. program.
All students interested in pursuing graduate study in French at Berkeley should carefully read the general requirements for higher degrees outlined by the Graduate Division on its website. This website sets forth the general requirements for higher degrees, as well as the procedures for registering for classes, for filing application forms for graduate degree candidacy or completion of degree requirements and include relevant deadlines. Students are responsible for filing all applications by the announced deadlines.
Students have the option, in conjunction with their Ph.D. program, to complete a concurrent Ph.D. in Medieval Studies or a Designated Emphasis in fields such as Critical Theory; Film and Media Studies; Women, Gender and Sexuality; Folklore; European Studies or Renaissance and Early Modern Studies. Students considering this option should consult with the Graduate Student Advisor at the earliest possible opportunity.
Purpose of the Ph.D. in French. The purpose of the Ph.D. is to enable students to undertake original research, to engage in scholarly and critical writing in the field, and to prepare for careers in college/university-level teaching and various professional industries. The M.A. is the first phase of the French Department’s graduate program for students entering with a bachelor’s degree. It is thus assumed that students continuing in the Ph.D. program after completing the M.A. phase will have acquired a broad knowledge of the masterworks of French from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, including knowledge of Old French. Students arriving with an M.A. degree or equivalent from another institution will be asked to validate the comprehensiveness of their knowledge of French literature and language in ways to be determined in consultation with the Head Graduate Advisor; they may be asked to take the M.A. examination, to undertake additional coursework, or a combination of the two. Students who enter the program with a master’s degree should take their Ph.D. Qualifying Exams before or during their fifth semester in the program (seventh semester for those entering without a master’s degree).
Overview of the Ph.D. in French. To a large extent, students design their own programs of study, within guidelines set out by the Department and with the advice and assistance of faculty members. The guidelines are meant to ensure the necessary professional specialization in a field within French studies, to point toward the area of an eventual dissertation, and to prepare the student in a general way for research in that area. Throughout the program, each student will explore and develop a clear understanding of three areas of study within French literature. Each of the areas, while related to the others, obliges the student to view the discipline from a different perspective.
The areas of study for the Ph.D. in French are:
- the work of a single major author;
- a historical period in French literature; and
- the development of a genre, theme or carefully-delineated topic (CDT) extending over a period of three centuries.
Students outline their proposed program of study in these three areas by submitting a Ph.D. Program Proposal (see “Ph.D. Program Proposal”).
Study Abroad. Graduate students in French are encouraged to spend time studying in France and may apply to participate in the Department’s exchange programs with the École Normale Supérieure, the Université de Paris VII or the Université de Tours. It is expected that during this time they will pursue their program of advanced study or research.
Course Requirements. Students are expected to plan, with the aid of their Graduate Advisors and any other appropriate members of the faculty, courses of study which enable them to accomplish the goals and requirements of the Ph.D. program. All entering graduate students enroll in a 1-unit Proseminar course (French 200A) in their first year at Berkeley, regardless of whether or not the student has previously earned an M.A. from another institution. The Proseminar is designed to give new graduate students a broad view of the Department’s faculty, the courses they teach, and their fields of research, as well as institutional resources. In addition, it introduces students to practical aspects of the graduate career, issues that pertain to certain fields of research, and current debates across the profession.
Ph.D. candidates will be expected to complete at least 12 courses apart from the French 200A Proseminar—for a letter grade—at Berkeley prior to advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. (Advancement to Candidacy occurs with the constitution of a dissertation committee following the passing of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations). At least 10 of the 12 courses are to be taken at the graduate level (above 200), with the student taking at least six graduate courses in the first four semesters of the program (see also “Course Requirements for the M.A. phase”). On petition to the Head Graduate Advisor and if circumstances warrant, students may be granted permission to have an extra undergraduate course count toward the 12, for a total of 3. The 12-course requirement may be modified for students admitted with an M.A. from another university, depending on the Graduate Committee’s assessment of the work done elsewhere. It is Department policy to count a maximum of six courses from previous M.A. work toward the 12-course requirement.
Seven of the required 12 courses will be devoted to fulfilling a requirement of historical comprehensiveness. Comprehensive knowledge of French literature will be demonstrated by taking one course at the graduate level (above 200) from the Middle Ages; three courses at the graduate level from among the following four options: 16th-century, 17th-century, 18th-century, early modern studies; and three courses at the graduate level from among the following four options: 19th-century, 20th-century, Francophone studies, modern studies. A course satisfies the historical comprehensiveness requirement if it dwells centrally on various works of literature falling substantially within the given period. Courses centering on one author’s works count for this requirement. The French Ph.D. Program Requirements sheet provides a checklist of what students must complete during their time in the program.
M.A. students must take French 270 (Literary Criticism: Recent Work in French) or 274 (Traditions of Critical Thought: French Theory) as part of the M.A. degree requirements. Students who come with an M.A. degree are also expected to take French 270 or 274 before their Qualifying Exams. French 201 (History of the French Language) is also a degree requirement and may be completed at any time before the Qualifying Exams.
Upper division or graduate courses in another language may count in satisfaction of the 12‑course requirement, whether or not they are also used to fulfill part of the foreign language requirement. Courses numbered in the 300 or the 600 series will not count toward the total.
All students who wish to request an exception to the Department’s degree requirements must submit that request in writing to the Head Graduate Advisor (with a copy to the Graduate Student Advisor). The request is not officially granted until the Head Graduate Advisor assents to the request in writing and has filed that approval with the Graduate Student Advisor. Students are responsible for making sure the request has been officially granted before proceeding ahead with their course of study.
Please note also that if any student is dealing with extenuating health issues, they should consult with the Disabled Students Program to inquire if they are eligible for any academic accommodations.
Students admitted to the Ph.D. in French must fulfill the residence requirement of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate (registration for four semesters, with a minimum of 4 units each semester in a l00‑ or 200‑level course) while enrolled in at least 12 units each semester (to be considered full-time).
M.A. Phase of the Doctoral Program. During the first three semesters of the graduate program (M.A. phase), students complete a minimum of six courses—for a letter grade—at Berkeley, of which five must be undertaken at the graduate level (above 200). In addition, one of the six courses must be from the series French 270A‑B or French 274. (French 298, individual investigation under the supervision of a faculty member, does not count toward the course total.) These six courses all count for the 12-course requirement for the Ph.D.
M.A. Examination. In order to complete the M.A. phase, and for the M.A. degree to be conferred, students must complete the coursework outlined above with at least a 3.5 GPA and also successfully complete a written M.A. Exam during the ninth week of instruction of the third semester of graduate study. (The M.A. is not offered on the Graduate Division’s thesis plan).
The M.A. Examination emphasizes understanding and analysis of texts from the M.A. reading list. The answers to the M.A. Exam should be well written, in good French. In writing their M.A. Exams, students are expected to show both a knowledge of the texts on the M.A. reading list and an ability to use that knowledge toward the cogent articulation of a critical perspective on issues raised by the exam questions. Students are encouraged to consult these reference works as they prepare for the exam, some of which are available in the Department’s Library of French Thought:
The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism (available online through the Library)
Dictionnaire de rhétorique et de poétique by Michèle Aquien and Georges Molinié
A Short History of French Literature by Sarah Kay, Malcolm Bowie, and Terence Cave
La Littérature française (tomes 1-2) by Jean-Yves Tadié (dir.)
A New History of French Literature by Denis Hollier (ed.)
French Global: A New Approach to Literary History by Susan Suleiman
The Cambridge Companion to French Literature by John Lyons
The M.A. reading list is made up of two parts:
· 40 Common Works that every student reads, and
· 10 Selected Works that the student chooses.
The 10 Selected Works, all originally produced in French, can come (a) from seminars that students have taken in their first three semesters in the program, (b) from works that reflect their own interests in French studies (e.g., from discovered works through the French 200A Proseminar course), and/or (c) from within the student’s desired coverage upon consultation with the Head Graduate Advisor. Alongside poetry, short stories, plays, and novels, students are able to—but are not required to—include works from other media and genres such as philosophy and film. Students will be given guidance on the selection of the 10 works in the French 200B Advanced Proseminar course and students will submit the list of works to the Chair of the M.A. Committee (CCing the Head Graduate Advisor and French Graduate Student Advisor) for approval in the third week of instruction of their third semester in the program. The Chair of the M.A. Committee will confirm the approval of the selected works within one week.
The M.A. Exam is a 5-hour written closed-book exam taken remotely in which students write two essays in French. The M.A. Committee will write and submit the questions for the M.A. Exam by the eighth week of the semester during the semester of examination. Students will be given two pairs of questions—one oriented toward the earlier periods and one toward the later periods—and will answer one question from each pair. M.A. Exams are administered during the ninth week of instruction. The M.A. reading list is available in the French Graduate Office and on the bCourses site for French Graduate Students.
Timing and Repetition of Exams. Students are allowed two attempts at the examination. If the first attempt is unsuccessful, the student may take the exam a second time, but this must be done by the end of the immediate following semester. If a student fails the second attempt at the exam, this constitutes failure to pass the requirements for the master’s degree, thus the student will not be permitted to continue in the graduate program.
Permission to Proceed to the Ph.D. At the end of the semester in which the student completes all the requirements of the M.A. phase, the Graduate Committee reviews the student’s entire graduate record. In addition to faculty evaluations of seminar work, the Graduate Committee considers the written report of the M.A. Committee, which addresses the student’s performance on the examination. On the basis of this review, the Graduate Committee will decide whether or not to grant the student permission to proceed to the Ph.D. program in French.
Appeals Procedures. The Department’s appeals procedure is consistent with that of the Graduate Division and affords graduate students in the Department an opportunity to resolve complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission, joint-authorship matters, and other departmental decisions which terminate or limit participation in the degree program. Questions regarding this procedure should be addressed to the Graduate Student Advisor.
Foreign Language Requirement. The Ph.D. in French includes the acquisition of certain linguistic skills. Beginning in fall 2009, students may fulfill the foreign language requirement through either Option I or Option II, as specified by the Graduate Division.
Option I requires students to demonstrate reading knowledge of two languages. This can be done by either passing a translation exam in both languages or passing a translation exam in one language and completing coursework in the second language.
Option I translation exams consist of at least a 300-word passage translated into English, with the use of a dictionary, in 90 minutes.
Students who choose to demonstrate reading knowledge of their second language through coursework may either (a) complete a four-semester course sequence with an average grade of B or better or (b) complete (with a grade of B or better) an upper division foreign language course that requires a four-semester course sequence as a prerequisite.
Option II requires students to demonstrate an exceptionally thorough reading knowledge and an adequate knowledge of the grammatical structure of one language. Students can demonstrate such knowledge in one of two ways: (a) by passing a translation exam in which the student translates a passage of about 1,000 words into English, without the use of a dictionary, in three hours or (b) by earning a B or better in two upper-division foreign language courses in which the material is read in the original language.
The language(s) will be chosen after consultation with the Head Graduate Advisor and in view of the student’s intended Ph.D. Program Proposal. For example, for students intending to work in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, it would be advisable to choose Latin, or perhaps Italian. For students interested in modern philosophy or critical theory, German might be wise. Arabic might be a more useful choice for students interested in Francophone writers from North Africa. Whatever the choice, it should have an intellectual or scholarly relationship to the student’s area of specialization, or with the field of Romance languages more broadly.
The foreign language requirement should be completed by the end of the third year in the Ph.D. program (second year, in the case of students entering with an M.A.), and the Graduate Division requires that it be completed before the student may attempt the Ph.D. Qualifying Exams. Please note also that if the student is dealing with extenuating health issues, they should consult with the Disabled Students Program to inquire if they are eligible for any academic accommodations.
Ph. D. Program Proposal
During the first year of study at the Ph.D. level (or, for students who enter with an M.A., during their second year in the program), students submit the Ph.D. Program Proposal. In the Proposal, the student specifies choices for the three fields of study for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations (author, period, genre/theme/topic of their design) (see following section for details). The Program Proposal (a) names the author the student has chosen and provides a list of the author’s complete or major works; (b) provides a list of 35 titles to be read in the period specified; and (c) includes a brief description of the genre, theme, or carefully-delineated topic (CDT) extending over a period of three centuries, and provides a reading list of 35 works by different authors representing the stages of its historical development and up to 5 secondary texts relevant to the subject.
Timeline for the Submission of the Proposal
By the end of the third week of the fall semester, the graduate student should:
- ask a faculty member to serve as Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Proposal Director and as provisional Dissertation Director. In many cases the program Proposal Director will go on to become the Dissertation Director; however, this need not always be the case. The final decision about a Dissertation Director is made at the time of Advancement to Candidacy, after the successful completion of the Qualifying Examinations. If a student’s interests have evolved in the meantime, it is perfectly reasonable to select a different faculty member as Dissertation Director at this point. The Proposal Director will be working most intensively with the student to craft a coherent, helpful, and rigorous proposal for the Qualifying Examinations, and it is the Proposal Director who is ultimately responsible for approving the document.
- consult with the Proposal Director concerning members of the exam committee and communicate with those members to ensure their availability and willingness to serve.
- submit a form indicating the preliminary choice of Proposal Director and members of the exam committee.
By the end of the eighth week of the fall semester, the student should:
- consult with the Proposal Director and other committee members concerning the proposal statement exam lists.
- submit the working draft of the proposal to the Proposal Director and all members of the committee.
- schedule a 1-hour meeting with program proposal committee in week 11 or 12 to discuss your program proposal. If the student and committee members wish to meet in person rather than virtually, the Graduate Student Advisor will help with space reservation.
By the end of the twelfth week of the fall semester, the student should:
- ensure that the CDT description and lists have been finalized and reviewed by relevant members of the exam committee.
- attend meeting of program proposal committee members. Write a synopsis of the meeting and distribute to committee for comment. E-mail final version of the synopsis to the Graduate Student Advisor.
- submit the approved proposal to the Graduate Student Advisor and the Head Graduate Advisor.
By the end of the fifteenth week of the Fall semester:
- students will be notified when the exam committee has accepted the proposal. In some cases, the committee may request specific changes before final approval.
During the semester in which the exam is to be taken, the Head Graduate Advisor will finalize the Qualifying Exam committee according to the requests of the student, unless there is some reason why a substitution is deemed necessary (e.g., leaves of absence). In this case, the Head Graduate Advisor will inform the student of this change and the reason for it.
The Program Proposal is a concise explanation of the three fields of study that the student has selected to prepare for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination. Although the Program Proposal is not a Dissertation Prospectus, there is often a connection between the Program Proposal and the Dissertation, especially through the CDT. Reference copies of previously approved Ph.D. Program Proposals are on the bCourses site for French Graduate Students. It is to the student’s advantage to carefully consider their options for study while they are working with faculty members on formalizing their Program Proposal, so as to avoid major shifts of emphasis and consequent delays in preparation for the Ph.D. exams. Evolution in the description of the genre/theme/topic is considered a normal and intellectually healthy part of the Proposal process; however, no changes should be made in the Program Proposal after filing the departmental “Application for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations” at the start of the semester of the exams. Any major change in the Ph.D. Program Proposal must, in all cases, be approved by the student’s Program Proposal Director (see “Qualifying Examination Procedures”).
Areas of Study for the Ph.D.
The following is a schematic presentation of the three parts of the Qualifying Examination Program Proposal. For admitted students seeking more detailed information on preparing the document, please consult the “Informal Guide to the Program Proposal” available on bCourses.
1) The work of a single major author. Students choose an author whose works, in most cases, are to be read in their entirety. If voluminous authors such as Voltaire, Balzac or Hugo are chosen, the student reads an extensive selection of texts representing all important aspects of the author’s literary production. While it is occasionally difficult to classify an author as “major” or “minor,” the distinction is in most cases clear; in any event, the final decision rests with the Program Proposal Director. It should be noted that the author whose works are read for this part of the Qualifying Examinations need not necessarily be the subject of the future dissertation.
2) A historical period in French literature. In consultation with the Program Proposal Director, the student selects a coherent period of significance to the understanding of the works of the author chosen for study. Students’ knowledge of their historical period should include a knowledge of the general cultural history of the period, including but not limited to knowledge of all literary genres in the period. As part of the Ph.D. Program Proposal, students submit a list of approximately 35 titles to be read (novels, theatre, poetry, critical prose, etc.) and viewed (films, if applicable) as part of the preparation for the historical period. The length of the historical period may, in the case of a medieval author, extend for two centuries, or in the case of a contemporary writer, encompass only one or two generations. The following are examples of periods of study chosen in connection with various authors of specialization:
- For Chrétien: literary history of the period 1090-1300
- For Villon: 1300-1500
- Lafayette: 1600-1690
- For Voltaire: 1727-1778
- For Baudelaire: 1820 (date of Les Méditations poétiques) to 1875 (last version of Les Illuminations)
- For Sartre: 1920-present
- Assia Djebar: 1945-present
- Marie NDiaye: 1970s-present
3) A genre, theme, or carefully-delineated topic (CDT) which lends itself to being studied in its development throughout the periods of French literary history appropriate to the topic. The genre/theme/CDT should cover at least three of the six historical periods; in most cases, it intersects with the author chosen, but need not. In the Ph.D. Program Proposal, the student defines this area of their program of study in consultation with their Program Proposal Director. The description of the genre, theme or CDT should be a concise explanation of the issues to be studied, including a rationale for the inclusion of the texts and media on the reading list. The reading list contains approximately 35 primary works by different authors representing the stages in the historical development of the chosen genre, theme, or CDT, as well as up to five secondary (critical/theoretical) texts relevant to the subject. Recent topics selected for this section of the exam have included:
- ‘Les enfants passibles’: Racialized Youth from Rousseau to #Adama (major author: Marie NDiaye)
- ‘Gestures’: Body Language and Expression from Louis XIV to Today (major author: Diderot);
- Knowing Climates (major author: Proust);
- Social, Cultural and Political representations of Paris from the 17th to the 19th century” (major author: Zola);
- Sacrifice and Martyrdom in French writing from the 16th to the 20th century (major author: Corneille);
- Querelles des Femmes in Pre-Revolutionary France (major author: Christine de Pizan); and
- Poetry and Subjectivity: the Pleiade and the Modern Tradition (19th- 20th centuries) (major author: Henri Michaux).
Works by each author must be specified. Single brief poems cannot be counted as “works”; rather, a group of such texts by a single author may constitute an item on the list.
Ph.D. Qualifying Examination Procedures
Students who enter the program with a master’s degree from another institution should take their Ph.D. Qualifying Exams before or during their fifth semester in the program (seventh semester for those completing the master’s degree in the Berkeley French Department). By the end of the second week of classes of the semester in which students intend to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations, they file the Department’s “Application for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations” with the French Graduate Student Advisor, along with a copy of the Ph.D. Program Proposal. Ph.D. Examinations are given during the tenth week of classes, and the student must be registered at full-time status (12 units) during any semester in which Ph.D. Examinations are attempted. Students must remove any Incomplete grades by the beginning of the semester in which they take the qualifying exams, as well as satisfy program language requirements by the end of the semester in which they attempt the Ph.D. Examinations.
The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination Committee comprises five members in total. Four committee members are from the French Department who examine the candidate on the major author, period of specialization, and genre/theme/CDT. A fifth member is typically from outside the Department, serving as the Academic Senate Representative. In exceptional circumstances and with approval, the Academic Senate Representative can also be from the French Department.
The Chair and the four members of the Qualifying Examination Committee must be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. The Chair of the Qualifying Exam may not subsequently become the Dissertation Director. In preparing for their Qualifying Exams, students are encouraged to frequently consult with their Program Proposal Director as well as other proposed members of the Committee for the examination. The Program Proposal Director of the Qualifying Examinations may serve as the student’s Dissertation Chair upon successful completion of the examination.
Ph.D. Qualifying Exams are given in two parts: written and oral. The student must pass all portions of the written exams before proceeding to the oral exam, which is scheduled to occur approximately three weeks after the end of the written exams. The Ph.D. Examinations test the student’s mastery of the three fields of study presented in their Program Proposal; the Ph.D. Examinations are not intended as a prospectus exam for a dissertation; however, students may use their Program Proposal as a stepping stone toward their dissertation research. The candidate’s knowledge of their chosen fields of study is expected to be both extensive and intensive. The written portion of the Qualifying Exam takes place over three days and tests the student’s knowledge of the selected author, period, and genre/theme/CDT. For each of the three essays, students will have a choice between two questions.
The French Department Qualifying Written Exam is taken in three parts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 12 hours each day, with a start time to be agreed with the Graduate Student Advisor, during the tenth week of the semester. The student will receive the examination via e-mail from the Graduate Student Advisor and return the completed examination electronically to the five committee members and the Graduate Student Advisor by the end of the 12-hour writing window (in Pacific Time). The exam is open-book, and students should write as many pages as they need to cogently answer the questions asked while not exhausting themselves or digressing. In some cases, 10 pages (Courier type, around 3,000 words) may be sufficient for thorough treatment; in others, 15-16 pages (about 4,500 words) are justified; the Department considers 12-13 pages as typical. Much depends on the question itself, as well as on the concision that students are able to bring to their answers. In no case should a student write more than 16 pages. Students should meet with their Committee members often from the semester in which they write the Program Proposal onwards. These discussions are an important part of students’ preparation for the exam and they typically inform the questions that are set.
The two parts of the genre/theme/CDT written examination consist of (1) a critical analysis of a passage chosen from a work on the student’s genre reading list and (2) an essay on the historical development of the chosen genre/theme/topic. The written exam on the author may also include textual commentary and analysis, as well as other types of questions. The author and the genre/theme/CDT portions of the student’s program will also be covered on the oral portion of the exam, as will the historical period of specialization (the latter is tested only at the oral exam).
In accordance with Graduate Division directives, the oral examination, which covers the student’s entire program of study, is addressed primarily to ascertain the candidate’s ability to synthesize the knowledge acquired. All three portions of the student’s program of study are examined in the oral exam. The oral exam lasts from two to three hours; it must in all cases be of sufficient length for the student to demonstrate mastery of the three areas of study while engaged with the Committee members. Since the written exams do not cover the period of specialization, there will generally be more time devoted at the oral examination to testing knowledge in the period than to the sections of the program covered on the written exams.
Please note also that if you are dealing with extenuating health issues, you should consult with the Disabled Students Program to inquire if you are eligible for any academic accommodations.
Timing and Repetition of Exams. Students are allowed two attempts at any one section of the Qualifying Written Exam. If the first attempt at the examination is unsuccessful, the student may take the exam a second time, but this must be done in the immediate following semester. If a student fails the second attempt at the written exam, this constitutes failure to pass the requirements for the doctoral degree, and the student will be dismissed from the graduate program. In the case of a failed oral examination, the committee may elect not to recommend a re-examination. Doctoral students should be Advanced to Candidacy as soon as possible following successful completion of the Qualifying Examinations (see “Academic Progress and the Normative Time Program”).
Advancement to Candidacy. After completing the written and oral Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations, the student chooses a dissertation topic and forms their Dissertation Committee consisting of a Director and two other committee members. At this point, the student initiates and completes the “Application for Advancement to Candidacy for the Ph.D.” eForm through CalCentral, normally, by the end of the semester in which the Qualifying Exam is taken. (The French Department Ph.D. is under Plan B.) This eForm is routed through required advisors and ultimately submitted to the Graduate Division for review and approval. The Dissertation Director must be a Berkeley faculty member in the French Department. Of the two other committee members, one must be a Berkeley faculty member from a department other than French, otherwise identified as the Academic Senate Representative. In exceptional circumstances, the Academic Senate Representative can also be from the French Department. The professor who served as Chair of the Qualifying Exam Committee cannot direct the dissertation. Following advancement to candidacy, the dissertation should be completed within four semesters.
The Dissertation Prospectus consists of an 8-10-page essay, accompanied by a bibliography of approximately five pages. It is developed in consultation with the Dissertation Director and must be approved by the Director prior to submission to the Dissertation Committee. The prospectus is due by the end of the 12th week of classes of the semester following the passing of the Qualifying Examinations.
The Prospectus sets forth the nature of the research project; its relation to existing scholarship and criticism on the subject; and its anticipated value. The essay serves as an introductory “working paper” that articulates the issues to be addressed in the dissertation, the approach and methodology the candidate expects to adopt, and an outline indicating how the candidate plans to structure the dissertation. The accompanying bibliography represents a preliminary survey of the pertinent primary and secondary literature. Dissertation prospectuses from prior years are available to view with the Graduate Student Advisor of the French Department.
Once the Dissertation Prospectus has been approved by the Dissertation Director, a 1-hour Prospectus conference is scheduled with all the members of the Dissertation Committee, taking place no later than the last week of classes in the same semester of the Prospectus submission. At the Prospectus conference, the committee explores with the candidate the issues outlined in the Prospectus. This conference enables the candidate to begin working on the dissertation having benefited from a full and detailed discussion with all the dissertation committee members present.
Immediately after the Prospectus conference, the candidate writes a memorandum summarizing the discussion and submits copies to each member of the dissertation committee. The Prospectus conference memorandum serves as a baseline of expectations and will be useful as a point of reference during these meetings.
The Graduate Division mandates that doctoral candidates meet with the members of their committee each year. The student, in coordination with the Graduate Student Advisor, is responsible for setting up the annual meeting which should take place no later than the end of January. After the meeting, the student should circulate a paragraph of notes to the members of the committee, the Graduate Student Advisor and the Head Graduate Advisor. At the end of each year at the doctoral stage, the student and Chair of the Ph.D. Committee fill out the annual report of progress toward completion of the dissertation (the Dissertation Candidacy Review; DCR).
Writing the Dissertation. The subject of the dissertation normally falls in the general area focused on in the student’s Qualifying Examinations, although neither the approach nor the scope need be limited by the fields of the Qualifying Examinations. The study should represent a contribution to knowledge of enough importance and originality to warrant publication, at least potentially, either in whole or in part. The members of the Dissertation Committee can be changed, if necessary, during the course of the student’s work on the project; students contemplating a change in Committee membership should contact the Graduate Student Advisor.
The French Department follows the Graduate Division’s Plan B for granting of the doctoral degree. The dissertation is considered accepted when the members of the candidate’s Dissertation Committee approve it in its final form. There is no formal oral examination or defense of the dissertation. A pdf of the dissertation is uploaded to ProQuest/UMI while the approval page and accompanying materials are submitted to the Graduate Division. Students must be registered in the semester they file their dissertation (unless they are on approved filing fee status). Doctoral degrees are awarded in December, May and August. Well before students plan to file, the student should review the Graduate Division Dissertation Writing and Filing guidelines.
Dissertations in a Language Other than English. Approval from the Graduate Division, acting for the Graduate Council, is required for submission of a dissertation in a language other than English. If approval is given, an abstract in English must be included with the finished work.
Length of Time in Candidacy:
Normative Time Program for Ph.D. candidates in French
Academic Progress. The timetable for completion of degree requirements is as follows: the M.A. phase is completed in four semesters or less. Within two semesters after being granted permission to proceed in the doctoral program (or, for students entering with an M.A. in French, within four semesters after entering the graduate program) students submit the Ph.D. Program Proposal and complete the foreign language requirement. Over the course of the following summer and fall semester, students prepare for and take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations and apply for advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Doctoral candidacy lasts for two years after advancement, although students are eligible for an additional two-year grace period before candidacy lapses (see “Length of Time in Advanced-to-Candidacy Status”).
Formal Reviews of Academic Progress and Mentoring. A review of each student’s work and progress is conducted annually by the French Department Faculty, and each student is informed by the Graduate Student Advisor of the results of this review. In addition, students’ records are reviewed before the Graduate Committee determines whether or not to issue invitations to proceed to the Ph.D. program after completion of the M.A. phase (see “Permission to Proceed”). After a student has advanced to candidacy, the annual review of progress is conducted with the student’s Dissertation Director as part of the online Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR).
Students are encouraged to meet regularly with the Head Graduate Advisor to discuss their progress in all phases of the program. In addition to consulting with the Head Graduate Advisor, students will be assigned a faculty mentor for their first year upon entry into the graduate program. While program requirements, course choices, and the other official aspects pertaining to satisfactory progress in the program are discussed during regular meetings with the Head Graduate Advisor, the faculty mentor provides a more informal introduction to the Department’s professional culture by attending to the student’s intellectual guidance.
Normative Time to Degree (NTD) refers to the elapsed time that students would need to complete all requirements for the doctorate, assuming that they are engaged in full-time study and making satisfactory progress toward their degrees. NTD has two components: (1) time from the beginning of the student’s graduate work to advancement to doctoral candidacy, and (2) time in candidacy until the dissertation is filed.
Normative time to advance to doctoral candidacy is eight semesters (four years), unless a student enters the graduate program with a master’s degree, in which case normative time to advance to doctoral candidacy is six semesters (three years). For normative time in candidacy, see “Length of Time in Advanced-to-Candidacy Status.”
Students may be eligible for an extension of normative time in certain circumstances, such as when the student has a letter of accommodation from the Disabled Students Program or when a student has withdrawn from Berkeley for medical reasons. Consult with the Head Graduate Advisor or with the Graduate Student Advisor for more information on normative time extensions.
Doctoral Completion Fellowships (DCF). Students who advance to doctoral candidacy are eligible for the DCF from the Graduate Division, which provides a stipend of $30,000 ($15,000/semester) and covers all fees for two semesters. Students are highly encouraged to apply for the DCF and the Department will supplement the stipend level up to $34,000 ($17,000/semester) for those who do not already have fellowship support for that year.
Students who—for reasons relating to their professional training—would like to teach for one semester during their DCF year need the permission of their Dissertation Director and the Head Graduate Advisor. In these cases, the Department will not supplement the DCF stipend paid by the Graduate Division.
The DCF must be used within Normative Time to Degree plus one year (NTD+1). NTD is the amount of time set for each program from first enrollment to filing the dissertation. NTD+1 for French and for Romance Languages & Literature (RLL) is 12 semesters (7 years). For those entering the French doctoral program with an M.A. in French, NTD+1 is 10 semesters (6 years).
Students taking the DCF who remain beyond NTD plus a one-year grace period are no longer eligible for fellowship funding from the Graduate Division including Block Grant, the Marcel Lemer Fellowship (French) or the Rodriguez Memorial Fellowship (RLL). Students who are within their 12-semester teaching limit may continue as a teaching assistant, otherwise titled at Berkeley as a Teaching Assistant (TA). Students having taken the DCF may also be considered for Continuing Fellowship and the Graduate Student Research (GSR) Library position.
Flexibility in Qualifying Exams Deadlines for Graduate Student Parents. According to Graduate Division policy, graduate students who have taken the time to accommodate childbirth or other serious parental demands may receive an extension of up to one extra year for passing the Qualifying Exam. Following the Qualifying Exams, an extension of one extra year toward NTD completion may also be granted. The total additional time granted by this policy may not exceed two years, regardless of the number of children involved.
Expectations Regarding the “Dissertation Phase” of the Program. The French Department holds these expectations of advanced students who are writing their dissertations:
— We expect that, barring rare special circumstances, students will advance to candidacy (that is, complete the PhD Qualifying Exam and file the paperwork establishing their dissertation committee) in normative time. Normative time to candidacy is three years for those arriving with a master’s degree and four years for those arriving without a master’s degree.
— We expect that students will complete a dissertation prospectus and meet with their committee to discuss it within a semester of passing the qualifying oral examination. More specifically, the dissertation prospectus (which consists of an 8-10-page essay, accompanied by a bibliography of approximately five pages and is developed in consultation with the Dissertation Director) is due by the end of the 12th week of classes in the following semester for those students taking the Qualifying Exams during the fall semester.
— We expect that students will produce a complete draft of at least one dissertation chapter within a year of advancing to candidacy and produce at least two more chapter drafts in the year following.
— We expect that students in the dissertation phase who are in residence will be meeting with their Dissertation Director(s) roughly once a month (at a minimum) to discuss their work. We expect students who are away from campus to be in touch with their directors (via e-mail or Skype) with similar frequency.
— We encourage students to present their work at least a couple of professional conferences during their graduate career, but not too many. Two (or perhaps three) conference presentations are more than sufficient, and we strongly suggest that no more than one of those conferences be a graduate student organized conference.
— We encourage students to submit written work for publication. We recommend one or two submissions over a student’s time in the graduate program. In the majority of cases, the work submitted will be from the dissertation, although sometimes faculty members may suggest rewriting a seminar paper for publication. Students should be proactive about consulting with faculty members about publication, but should remember that neither publication nor attendance at conferences should be allowed to slow progress on the dissertation. The primary concern is progress on the dissertation. Note that the department’s proseminar addresses fundamentals on graduate-level writing, how to create and publish research, and engaging in professional socialization (e.g., conferences) and conferences for graduate students. All graduate students are welcome to attend these sessions as many times as they wish.
— The Department organizes around six works-in-progress meetings throughout the year, hosted by the Head Graduate Advisor. These meeting are primarily intended to provide a forum for graduate students in the dissertation phase to present their work. They may also feature the work of faculty or graduate students at an earlier phase in the program.
— The Department supports writing and accountability groups according to students’ personal, professional, and intellectual needs and interests (addressing, for example, writing blocks and writing in different genres such as abstracts, dissertation chapters, and articles).
— The department circulates the biannual National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) 14-day writing challenge in Spring and Fall. This free online resource to UC Berkeley students helps to jumpstart the writing process and develop daily habits. All graduate students are encouraged to sign up for this challenge at least once, and as many times as they can.
— The Head Graduate Advisor and Graduate Student Advisor are available to discuss time management, writing strategies, and funding opportunities.
Length of Time in Advanced-to-Candidacy Status. The University limits graduate degree candidates’ time in Advanced‑to‑Candidacy status for the doctoral degree. French Department students are maintained in candidacy for up to two years after advancement and may be eligible for an additional two‑year grace period before candidacy lapses.
In the case of a Ph.D. candidate whose candidacy has been lapsed, a completed, near‑final draft of the dissertation must be received from the student, and the Dissertation Committee Chair must confirm its impending approval before the Graduate Division reviews a departmental request that candidacy for the Ph.D. be reinstated. Students may be asked to revalidate the comprehensiveness of their knowledge of French language and literature by examination, by additional coursework, or by a combination of the two. Once Ph.D. candidacy is reinstated, the student pays full registration fees (and non‑resident tuition fees, where applicable) in order to file the dissertation. If no request is made for reinstatement within two years of the lapsing of doctoral candidacy status, the student’s candidacy is terminated. Graduate Division policy states that, once terminated, a student’s candidacy may be reinstated only by the student’s retaking the Qualifying Examination and being advanced to candidacy again. The Graduate Division places a four‑year limit on the application of coursework toward M.A. degree requirements. In addition, a lapse of five years since completion of any Ph.D. program requirement, including the Qualifying Examination, can necessitate revalidation of the student’s candidacy before a dissertation can be filed.
Appeals Procedures. The Department’s appeals procedure is consistent with that of the Graduate Division and affords graduate students in the Department an opportunity to resolve complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission, joint-authorship matters, and other departmental decisions which terminate or limit participation in the degree program. Questions regarding this procedure should be addressed to the Graduate Student Advisor.
Disabilities and Accommodations. The Berkeley campus has an active Disabled Students Program (DSP). One of its important responsibilities is to arrange accommodations for students whose disabilities interfere with their ability to function optimally within usual program customs. The important thing to remember is that all requests for accommodation must come to the Department by way of the DSP, not from the student directly. Students who would like to request an accommodation must first visit the DSP, so that their request can be evaluated and formally presented to the Department.
The Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) is a doctorate in three Romance languages and literatures taught in the Departments of French, Italian, and Spanish and Portuguese, prepared with emphasis in one of the three. Students have furthermore the choice of a sub-emphasis in literature (“Literature track”) or in linguistics (“Linguistics track”).
The mission of the RLL program is:
— To take a multilingual approach to language and literature
— To combine literary and linguistic study
— To offer flexibility in the design of students’ programs: the unity of a common heritage and common evolution of the Romance family allows diversity in topics and approaches
— To train Romance scholars of linguistics, literature and culture who can take jobs in Romance language departments, single language departments, or linguistics departments.
Overview of Course of Study:
Students present a combination of courses and personal study to satisfy the requirements of the particular track to which they have been admitted. Although there are some explicit requirements (see below), there is no minimum number of courses required to sit for the Qualifying Examination. Instead, each student’s precise course of study is developed in close consultation with the RLL Graduate Advisor for French.
In the Literature track, students will gain a detailed knowledge of French literature generally. They will also develop sufficient familiarity with Italian literature and a literature taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese so as to allow them to do the focused comparative work necessary for the preparation of the Qualifying Examination. Moreover, students will develop both historical and practical expertise in both Latin and in two Romance languages other than French.
In the Linguistics track, students will gain in-depth knowledge of the structure and history (internal and external) of French. They will also develop expertise in the linguistics of two other Romance languages and specialize in an area of general or applied linguistics. This, together with some basic training in Latin, will prepare them for the comparative Romance linguistic work that is required for the Qualifying Examination.
Requirement for Admission, emphasis French:
Literature Track: B.A. degree or equivalent with studies in French approximately corresponding to the undergraduate major at Berkeley. In addition, we expect of applicants to the Literature track either a) advanced competency in two of the languages the applicant intends to study in the RLL doctoral program, or b) advanced competency in one such language and reasonable preparation in two others. By reasonable preparation we mean either one year’s study of Latin or two years’ study of a modern language. By advanced competency we mean ability to participate fully in a graduate seminar conducted in the modern language in question. Writing samples will be requested of languages in which advanced competency is claimed, and a telephone interview may also be required. Transcripts will provide evidence of reasonable preparation.
Linguistics Track : B.A. degree or equivalent with studies in French or Linguistics approximately corresponding to the undergraduate major at Berkeley. In addition, we expect of applicants to the Linguistics track either a) advanced competency in French and in linguistics or b) advanced competency in French, reasonable preparation in linguistics and in one other Romance language. Note that for the purposes of admission to the linguistics track, this other Romance language may be one of the languages represented by the departments of Italian, and Spanish and Portuguese, or it may come from the broader Romance family (e.g., Catalan, Sardinian, Rumanian, Latin etc.). By advanced competency in linguistics we mean ability to participate fully in a graduate seminar in the linguistics department. By reasonable preparation we mean either one year’s study of Latin or linguistics, or two years’ study of a modern Romance language. Writing samples will be requested of areas in which advanced competency is claimed, and a telephone interview may also be required. Transcripts will provide evidence of reasonable preparation. .
General Requirements and Study Program (both tracks):
1) Screening Interview. Early in their first semester of enrollment, students will meet with the RLL Executive Committee to evaluate their previous preparation, to familiarize themselves with the program, and to determine an appropriate plan of study for completion of the degree requirements. The Committee will then prepare a brief record of the interview for delivery to the RLL Graduate Advisor for French, indicating any special provisions or studies that must be completed before the student’s admission to the Qualifying Examination.
2) Advanced Language Competency Timetable. Because of the nature of the RLL program, students are required to achieve language competency above and beyond that attested by passing the standard Graduate Division language requirements (see section 3, below). The following timetables will assure that students will be able to do advanced work in the three Romance Languages. Note that most entering students will fulfill some if not all of these requirements upon arrival. The timeline represents the last possible date by which languages must be acquired.
— By the end of semester 5 the student will have finished 1 year of Latin and will have the necessary competency to participate fully in graduate seminars taught in French, Spanish, or Italian. The student will have made substantial progress towards acquiring competency in their remaining Romance Language, Spansih or Italian. This will be established by the 5th semester review (see section 5 below).
— By the end of semester 7, the student will either have taken two upper division undergraduate courses in their last Romance Language, or will have taken a graduate seminar covering literature that the student reads in the original language (although the seminar does not need to be taught in the language in question.)
— By the end of semester 5 the student will have finished 1 year of Latin and will have the necessary competency to participate fully in graduate seminars taught in French and in linguistics. In addition, the student will have made good progress in another Romance language and begun study of a third. Again, these can be any member of the wider family of Romance languages including for example Occitan, Sardinian and Neo-Latin. By good progress we mean good reading knowledge and this is to be established at the 5th semester review (see section 5 below).
— By semester 7, the student will have acquired sufficient knowledge of the first Romance language in order to use it for graduate-level linguistic analysis. This may be done as part of a graduate seminar in a language department, as an independent study with a faculty member, or by making significant use of the language in a linguistics seminar. (Please note that analyzing the language in the RLL C201/202 seminar will not be considered sufficient.) The student will also have attained good reading knowledge in the second Romance language by this point, that is, sufficient for graduate-level linguistic analysis by the time of the qualifying exam.
3) Foreign Language Requirements. The Graduate Divison requires that foreign language skills be demonstrated in one of two ways. (RLL students may choose which of their Romance Languages they would like to use for the completion of this requirement. The language requirements of the RLL program exceed that of the Graduate Division.) The requirements should be satisfied as early as possible in the student’s doctoral career, following first registration, and must be completed prior to the term proposed for the Qualifying Examination. All language courses taken to fulfill a language requirement must be taken for a letter grade.
Option I Option I requires students to demonstrate reading knowledge of two languages. This can be done be either passing a translation exam in both languages or passing a translation exam in one language and completing coursework in the second language. Option I translation exams consist of at least a 300-word passage translated into English with the use of a dictionary. Students who choose to demonstrate reading knowledge of their second language through coursework may either (a) complete a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence with an average grade of B or better or (b) complete (with a grade of B or better) an upper division foreign language course that requires a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence as a prerequisite.
Option II Option II requires students to demonstrate an exceptionally thorough reading knowledge and an adequate knowledge of the grammatical structure of one language. Students can demonstrate such knowledge in one of two ways: (1) By passing a translation exam in which the student translates a passage of about 1,000 words into English without the use of a dictionary; (2) By earning a B or better in two upper-division foreign language courses in which the material is read in the original language.
4) Core courses. All RLL students must pass, with a grade of B or better, two core courses: 1) Linguistic History of Romance Languages (RLL C201/202); and 2) Comparative Studies in Romance Literatures and Cultures (RLL C203). Students should satisfy these requirements as early as possible in their doctoral career, bearing in mind that they are unlikely to be offered every year.
5) Progress Report. Early in the fifth semester, the Executive Committee will evaluate the student’s progress and advise him/her regarding future courses, preparation for the Qualifying Exam, and possible composition of the Qualifying Exam Committee. Students will prepare the following for the progress report meeting:
a) A three-page self-review of the first two years (courses taken, requirements completed, papers written, new areas explored, etc.);
b) A statement of developing research interests;
c) A major research paper, preferably written in English.
6) Qualifying Examination Fields, Topics, and Reading Lists. Following the 5th semester review, students should start meeting with the anticipated members of the Qualifying Examination Committee in order to define the fields and topics they wish to cover on their Exam. In the course of these meetings, students will develop field and topic statements and reading lists, which must be submitted to the Executive Committee no later than the twelfth week of the sixth semester.
7) Qualifying Examination. When the student and his/her advisor agree that preparation is sufficient for the Qualifying Examination, the advisor and the Graduate Student Services Advisor of the department concerned, with suggestions from the student, will determine the Qualifying Examination Committee and inform the Chair of the RLL Executive Committee of its formation.
The Qualifying Examination committee is composed of five members: three representing the main field of focus, a designated “outside” member representing a Romance language besides French (and who may also be a member of the Romance Languages and Literature program), and one other member appropriate to the topics on the exam. All five members of the Qualifying Examination committee must be present and voting at the oral examination. All members of the committee, including the chair and Academic Senate Representative (the person who represents the Graduate Dean and Graduate Council) must be Academic Senate members.
The Qualifying Examination has a written and an oral component. The written section, normally administered in the tenth week of the eighth semester, consists of three 8-hour exams. Please consult RLL website for more details.
Literature track: One exam will cover a major field in Romance Literatures and involve at least two languages. (Examples might be: the development of the novel; the lyric tradition; literary modernism; etc.) The other two exams should be on topics individually formulated by each student. The combined reading lists for these two topics should cover all three languages in the student’s program. This structure leaves open the possibility that one topic might be focused on a single literature. (Examples of topics might be the work of a single major author; literary relations between France and Latin America in the twentieth century; immigrant literature; baroque theater.) Historical coverage is highly recommended.
Linguistics track: One exam will cover a major field in Romance Linguistics and involve three languages. (Examples might be word order in Romance, sound change in Romance, or the classification of the Romance languages). A second exam will cover an area in general linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics), applied linguistics (second language acquisition, the application of linguistics to literature, translation studies), or an appropriate topic in Romance philology. A third exam will cover a specialized topic involving one, two, or three languages (e.g., borrowing from Latin into French in the late Middle Ages, the tu and vous address forms in contemporary French, regional variation in contemporary Italian). The three examination fields and topics should fit together coherently, will display emphasis on French, and will very preferably contain a historical component.
8) Dissertation. Once the Qualifying Examination is successfully completed, the student will arrange with a faculty member to direct the dissertation and, by consultation with him/her, propose the remaining members. The Chair and designated “outside” member (representing a Romance language other than French) must be members of the Academic Senate. The dissertation will embody the results of original research on a subject chosen in consultation with the director. The Chair of the Qualifying Examination Committee cannot direct the dissertation.
After obtaining the dissertation director’s approval of the proposed topic, the student completes the eForm “Application for Advancement to Candidacy for the Ph.D.” on CalCentral for approval by the Graduate Division on behalf of the Graduate Council. Doctoral students should bear in mind that it is to their advantage to be “Advanced to Candidacy” as soon as possible following completion of the Qualifying Examination (see Normal Progress Schedule).
Prospectus: Students are required to complete a fifteen- to twenty-page dissertation prospectus (including bibliography), to be presented to the student’s dissertation committee by the end of Week 12 of the semester following that in which the QE takes place.
It should be remembered that the prospectus is not intended to be a dissertation in miniature, so that there is normally no compelling reason why its completion should be delayed beyond the appointed deadline. Rather, it should be a concise (15-18 pages) preliminary description of the dissertation project, including: the primary materials to be investigated; the descriptive or analytical approach to be taken to those materials; the project’s relation to existing scholarly work. The prospectus should be accompanied by references and/or bibliography.
Should the need for a change in membership of the committee arise, students should speak both with their dissertation director and the Head Graduate Advisor in their Department. To effect a change, the student must initiate the eForm on CalCentral: “Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee”. This eForm is routed through required advisors and ultimately submitted to the Graduate Division for review and approval.
9) Dissertations in a Language other than English. Special approval from the Graduate Division, acting for the Graduate Council, is required to submit a dissertation in a language other than English. If approval is given, an abstract in English must be included with the finished work.
10) Academic Progress (both tracks). The timetable for completion of degree requirements is as follows: By the end of the sixth semester, students will have submitted field and topic statements and reading lists for Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations. Over the course of the next two semesters, students prepare for and take the Qualifying Examinations and apply for advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree. (Note as well that all languages requirements must be fulfilled before the beginning of the semester in which the Qualifying Examinations are taken.) Doctoral candidacy lasts for two years after advancement, although students are eligible for an additional two year grace period before candidacy lapses (see Length of Time in Advanced-to-Candidacy Status).
For more information on funding opportunities (including some extramural fellowships), visit bCourses and the Graduate Division website.
Doctoral Completion Fellowships (DCF). Students who advance to doctoral candidacy are eligible for the DCF from the Graduate Division, which provides a stipend of $30,000 and covers all fees for two semesters. Students are highly encouraged to apply for the DCF and the department will supplement the stipend level up to $34,000 for those who do not already have fellowship support for that year.
Students who—for reasons relating to their professional training—would like to teach for one semester during their DCF year need the permission of their Dissertation Director and the Head Graduate Advisor. In these cases, the Department will not supplement the DCF stipend paid by the Graduate Division.
The DCF must be used within Normative Time to Degree plus one year. NTD is the amount of time set for each program from first enrollment to filing the dissertation. NTD for French and for Romance Languages & Literature (RLL) is 12 semesters. For those entering the French doctoral program with an M.A. in French, NTD is 10 semesters.
Students taking the DCF who remain beyond NTD plus a one-year grace period) are no longer eligible for fellowship funding from the Graduate Division including Block Grant, the Marcel Lemer Fellowship (French) or the Rodriguez Memorial Fellowship (RLL). Students who are within their 12-semester teaching limit may continue as a teaching assistant, otherwise known identified at Berkeley as a Teaching Assistant (TA). Students having taken the DCF may also be considered for Continuing Fellowship and the Graduate Student Research (GSR) Library position.
Continuing Student Fellowships. Departmental awards are made on the basis of students’ overall academic achievement and evidence of substantial progress in their degree programs. Eligible students include those prior to the Qualifying Examinations stage and those who are completing the dissertation who have taken the DCF. Students currently eligible for a DCF will not be considered for Continuing Fellowship. For students at the dissertation stage, priority will go to those who have applied for other sources of funding (e.g., Townsend, Chateaubriand, Lurcy, and other outside fellowships such as those listed on the French Department’s bCourses, accessible to admitted students.) Applicants should outline their academic goals and progress in the doctoral program, and describe the importance of fellowship support at this juncture in their studies. In addition, students at the dissertation stage should demonstrate clarity about the direction of the proposed research project, the current state of the project, the progress expected during the fellowship year, and the project’s significance within the discipline.
ENS Fellowships. One student may be selected for the academic year for the Department’s exchange program with the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). The ENS position will require the student selected to use their DCF during that year. Since the ENS exchange includes free housing, the DCF Fellowship stipend will not be supplemented by the department. Students who have already utilized the DCF will not be eligible for the ENS fellowship.
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. FLAS Fellowships enable students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents to acquire a high level of competence in one or more foreign languages. Fellowships are awarded to students in modern foreign language and area studies and are available for the study of languages in eight world areas: Africa, East Asia, East Europe, Latin America, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Europe. Lowest consideration will be given to students who are taking the first 12 semester hours or the equivalent in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Students may apply for FLAS fellowships for the academic year and summer.
Maintaining an Accurate Financial Record with Financial Aid and Scholarships Office (FASO). It is vital that you update your financial information with FASO every time there is a change in your financial situation, such as when you accept a reader position, you receive a stipend to travel to a conference, and so on. Unreported changes to your financial record can have very negative consequences on your fellowship or student loans.
Application and Appointment. A teaching assistantship (TA) is a half time appointment for lower division instruction available to qualified, registered graduate students in French or related departments (generally Comparative Literature, the School of Education, or Linguistics). These appointments are made by the Department Chair in consultation with the Graduate Committee of the Department and with the Director of the Lower Division. To be eligible to hold a TA position, the student must be enrolled in regular graduate status at UC Berkeley. A minimum 3.0 grade point average in the preceding two years of studies is required by the Graduate Division for all TAs, but the Department generally requires a higher GPA and will, of course, select the most qualified applicants for these positions. Appointments of graduate students from related departments, when available, are normally limited to three years.
Applications for TA positions are available on bSpace (French Graduate Students) and are due early in the spring semester. If a new TA has college level teaching experience in French or a related discipline, evidence of that employment should also be submitted in order for the Department to assess the instructor's placement in the TA title series.
For those applying for a TA position from outside of the French department, an application is required along with two letters of recommendation. To maximize the possibility of securing a position, it’s best to submit your application by February 1 for the following academic year. For those who are unable to submit an application at that time, consult with the French Graduate Student Advisor about possible openings and applying off-cycle.
The TA title series at Berkeley comprises three "steps," with different salary levels. Beginning TAs serve two semesters as TA 1, and are eligible for advancement to TA 2, then to TA 3 after having taught four semesters at UC Berkeley.
TA positions are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the University of California and the UAW. TAsare entitled to a GSHIP premium remission, an educational and registration fee remission, and other applicable benefits as set forth in the Agreement. The Agreement sets forth the specific eligibility requirements and amount of each remission. The full text of the Agreement is available online. In accordance with the Agreement, TAs’ names and departmental addresses are released by the University to the UAW in each term of employment in the bargaining unit.
Academic Progress Requirements for TAs. Effective Fall 2007, the Graduate Division requires all students, including TAs, to enroll in at least 12 units per semester. In addition, to retain eligibility for TA positions, the student must have no more than two incompletes on record. Appointment as a TA requires that the student's time be devoted wholly to the pursuit of studies and instruction within the University; no other appointment in the University or elsewhere is permitted.
Duties and Stipend. TAs are normally assigned by the Director of the French Language Program to teach language courses, which include five hours of classroom instruction, correction (outside the classroom) of all written exercises in the textbook and workbook; correction of written compositions and laboratory exercises and regular attendance at a pilot section for new TAs. Other duties include holding office hours and assisting in the preparation of quizzes and exams. These activities are carried out under the active direction of a regular member of the faculty to whom responsibility for course instruction, students’ grades, and the performance of TAs, is assigned. TAs are responsible for reporting any anticipated absences from campus (as well as any missed work), to the faculty member in charge of the course they are teaching. If the absence is for an extended period of time, a substitute teacher may be assigned. The Standing Orders of the Regents of the University of California state that no compensation shall be paid to those holding University appointments unless they are actively engaged in the service of the University. Teaching duties are complete each term when the instructor's final exams have been graded, course grades computed, and all materials turned in to and reviewed by the course director.
The French Department also offers a limited number of Reading and Composition courses in English (French R1A and R1B). Students must normally have taught the entire French language sequence before they are eligible to teach these courses. These courses require native or near-native competency in English and evidence of superior writing skills from the instructor. It is also not guaranteed that these courses will be offered in French every semester.
TAs are paid on the University's monthly payroll schedule beginning September 1 (for the fall semester) and February 1 (for the spring semester). The University requires that all TAs be registered graduate students, and the Graduate Division verifies instructors' current registration during the course of each semester. TA salaries are subject to all state and federal taxes.
Review and Reappointment of TAs. The Department employs graduate students who perform well in their courses, show steady and satisfactory progress toward their graduate degrees, and are good teachers. Reappointment as a TA is not automatic. All TAs seeking reappointment for the following academic year should submit a TA Application by the announced deadline.
Records considered in the reappointment of TAs include course evaluations, the reports on classroom visits filed by members of the Lower Division Instructor Visiting Committee, TA academic records, seminar evaluations and M.A. Exam results. The Department does its utmost to offer teaching positions to all eligible graduate students within the department.
Reappointment as a TA may be for a full year, or for one semester, with continued reappointment contingent on the student's fulfilling special requirements (for example, removal of Incomplete grades, completion of M.A. or Ph.D. exam or submission of a Ph.D. Program Proposal, or improvement in teaching performance).
Pedagogical Training of TAs. Training for instructors in first-year French consists of a required two-semester course sequence in methodology (French 375A and 375B) in which a pilot teacher provides TAs with an analysis of each lesson to be presented the following week, points to be emphasized and ways to present grammatical structures simply and concretely. French 301 and 302, (as well as the second-year methodology course, French 375C), cover Second Language Acquisition theory, general scholarship in Applied Linguistics, and look at best practices and teaching effectiveness examples not only in the Humanities, but in the Sciences as well. The use of technology for language instruction is also covered, as are other aspects of professional preparation in language instruction and writing instruction. Enrollment in French 30l 302, and attendance at its weekly meetings with the Director of Lower Division, are required of TAs who are teaching French l or French 2 for the first time at Berkeley. Four units of credit are awarded each semester (graded on an S/U basis). New instructors also attend a pilot class the first time they teach French l and French 2 in the French Department at Berkeley.
Instructors teaching French 3 for the first time enroll in French 303 and attend weekly meetings with the Coordinator of the Second Year Program. In addition, the training programs for all TAs include periodic visits to teaching assistants' classes by the pilot teacher, the Director of the Lower Division, the Coordinator of the Second Year Program, and other members of the faculty Lower Division Instructor Visiting Committee on an annual basis. TAs are expected to consult each faculty visitor following the visit to discuss the class observed.
Eligibility for Service as TA. Appointments as a TA may be made for a maximum of two semesters at a time; University regulations governing the appointment of TAs state that graduate students may hold these positions for up to four years (eight semesters). Exceptions to the four-year limit on teaching as a TA may, in individual cases, be requested by the Department, and granted by the administration. In any case, service in these titles cannot exceed a total of six years under the terms of the University's Academic Personnel Manual 400 17. Service as a TA on another UC campus counts toward this six-year total. Reappointment in the TA titles is governed by the Graduate Division. TAs must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, be enrolled in 12 units in each semester in which they hold this appointment, and have no more than 2 incompletes on the record.
Outstanding TA Annual Award Program. Under the terms of the Graduate Division GSI Teaching and Resource Center’s annual Outstanding GSI Award Program, the Department of French can nominate for this honor one TA for every ten appointed during the current academic year. TAs in French are considered for nomination after a minimum of two years of teaching, and are eligible to receive Outstanding TA honors only once. In selecting each year’s Outstanding TA nominee, the Director of the French Language Program and the Coordinator of Second-Year French review eligible candidates’ Lower Division Visiting Committee evaluations, as well as student evaluation ratings for the two most recent semesters taught. The GSI Teaching & Resource Center hosts a reception near the end of the Spring term to honor recipients, and sponsors a Teaching Effectiveness Award program to which recipients may submit applications.
Summer Session Teaching Appointments. The Department operates a small Summer Session program. The Department Chair, in consultation with the Director of the French Language Program, and the Graduate Committee, appoints TAs for this program based on the following criteria:
- Only French Department graduate student TAs enrolled during the preceding Spring or following Fall semester are eligible.
- First‑year TAs, and graduate students who will not be continuing in the graduate program in French, are not normally eligible for on-campus Summer Session appointments.
- The candidacies of TAs who have never taught in Summer Session are given priority over those who already have taught.
- Successful applicant(s) for Summer Session appointment will (a) possess a record of prior teaching competence, as evidenced in annual classroom‑visit reports and student evaluations, which will be reviewed by those making the Summer Session appointments and (b) be making reasonable academic progress toward their degrees.
Application forms for 8‑week Summer Session TAs are distributed during the fall semester every year. Courses offered in the 8‑week Summer Session usually include Elementary French 1 and 2; Intermediate French 3 and 4; and affiliated Reading and Composition courses (R1A and/or R1B).
The French Department also offers an intensive elementary French Summer Workshop in the 10‑week Summer Session, and it sometimes offers a summer travel study program in Paris. Students may apply to any programs for which they are eligible. Eligibility requirements for the intensive workshop are the same as for other on-campus summer teaching. While first-year TAs are normally not eligible for on-campus teaching, they may apply to the travel study program when it is being offered. An interview will be required of those students being considered for an appointment with the travel study program. The department’s priority will be to staff all the on-campus courses on its summer schedule with qualified instructors. This priority will necessarily take precedence over any preferences applicants may have regarding teaching assignments. Both the Workshop and the travel study program may involve the appointment of instructors other than TAs. The pool of instructors for the French Summer Workshop and for the travel study program thus includes, but is not limited to, interested French Department TAs.