Degree Requirements

Students should complete a Plan of Study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and file the form via GradPath no later than their second semester in residence. The Plan of Study should list all courses that you have taken, are taking, and plan to take as part of your Masters program curriculum. Students complete the form online and pay the fee. The Graduate College requires that the Plan of Study be submitted during the second semester in residence. The Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Service Coordinator for SILLC will assist in revising the POS, as needed, if the planned curriculum changes. 

Independent Study: When a student is interested in a topic/area that is not addressed at all by regular course offerings, up to three credits of Independent Study (FREN 599) may be counted toward the degree, pending faculty availability and DGS approval. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress: Satisfactory progress is determined by the Department Head in consultation with the faculty, the Graduate Studies Committee, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Basic Languages (for GATs), and the Graduate College. To demonstrate satisfactory progress, students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA as assessed at the end of every semester, and must be making normal progress toward the degree. This typically involves completing at least 6 units per semester with at least a B average.

Completing your Masters

Preparing for your Exams

The candidate is responsible for:

  • Verifying Graduate College deadlines and submitting the Master/s/Specialist Committee Appointment Form through GradPath
  • Meeting with the Exam Committee members and providing them and the DGS with all documents relative to the exam process (syllabi, reading lists, forms);
  • Alerting the Exam Committee members to the proposed date of the written examination, ascertaining their times and dates of availability for the Oral Exam, and communicating these times and dates to the DGS, who will schedule a provisional time, date, and classroom for the Oral Exam; 
  • Clearing all fees with the Bursar's Office.

Graduate Exams in French: Written and Oral Formats

Timeline and Instructions

These steps outline preparation for the semester during which candidate sits exam. 

For MA students in the French Linguistics & Second Language Learning and Teaching option, the Examination Committee will be composed of two members from the Pedagogy, SLA, Linguistics and Technology faculty, and one member from the French Studies faculty. For PhD Minor students, the committee will normally include two faculty from the French department and one faculty from the candidate's major area.

  • Week 1: Candidate will finalize committee of three; including one chair, in conversation with DGS. Candidates are discouraged from choosing faculty with whom they have not already completed course work. Candidate will provide the chair and DGS with syllabi from courses taken with faculty on committee.

  • Weeks 2-4: Candidate will provide the chair and DGS with syllabi from courses taken with faculty on the committee. Candidate and chair will compile a research bibliography based primarily on previous course work. The bibliography will include four texts per subject area and one of these texts will be new. The selection of new, additional resources should help fill in gaps and create bridges between courses and areas of interest. It is understood that the other works listed on the bibliography will have been studied in class. The research bibliography will be submitted to the DGS by the end of week 4.

  • Week 5: Chair will coordinate with exam committee members and facilitate drafting three questions for the written portion of the exam. End of week 5, candidate is given general subject areas and a finalized research bibliography, approved by chair and DGS, to prepare in advance for the written portion of the exam.

    • Language. For French and Francophone Studies Option I essays will be in French if instruction was; 1 exam may be in English to cover electives and course work in English. For Linguistics and SLAT Option II, at least 1 essay must be in French to cover French and Francophone Studies course work. For Secondary Teaching Certification Option III, essays must be in French unless they mirror the language of instruction. For the professional Masters tracks, the language of exam questions will mirror the language of instruction.

    • Content. The three written questions will require the student to think analytically and do some synthesis. Ideally, the questions will have some overlap. For instance, a student could be given a topic asking them to interpret some aspect of Abderrahmane Sissako’s film Bamako and another question could be asking them to develop a plan to teach the film in a 300-level class using specific methods or technologies. Where this is not possible, committee members will craft their own stand-alone questions.

  • Weeks 10-11: Candidate takes written exams. On the day(s) of the exam, candidate is given two hours to answer each question for a total of up to 6 hours. There is no minimum or maximum word limit, but each question should be answered as fully and completely as possible in time allowed.

    • Written exam is conducted in person on COH-authorized computer with no access to the Internet or any online resources not provided by committee. No notes are allowed but a printed bilingual French-English dictionary will be provided. Candidates will be given a copy of their research bibliography to facilitate citation of sources and committee may provide quotes, clips and/or other works (i.e., PDFs) where appropriate. Faculty who wish to share materials with candidates for the written exam process will be asked to upload them to BOX. They will be made available to students on the COH computer. 

  • Week 12: Written exams will be forwarded to committee members for evaluation and then followed by an oral exam, if the written portion was passed successfully. Committee members have one week to grade the written exams and report results to committee chair and DGS by the end of week 12.

  • Weeks 13-15: Oral exams will be conducted during the last two weeks of the semester. The oral exam will follow up on the written and cover any relevant questions related to course work. Oral portion is scheduled in person and lasts 90-120 minutes including deliberation, paper work and feedback. Results must be reported to DGS before the last day of classes so that they can be forwarded to Grad College and recorded. Exam chairs are required to upload all evaluation forms and test reporting documents to the BOX folder. These documents are essential to our outcomes assessment process and will eventually be reported on Task Stream.

The M.A. Oral Examination

The candidate is not permitted to undertake the oral component of the MA Examination until s/he has performed satisfactorily on the written part. (Satisfactorily is defined as a passing grade on the written part from at least two of the three committee members). A student required to retake one or more parts of the written examination (normally in the semester following the one in which the original attempt was made, but not sooner) must do so before proceeding to the oral examination. The Oral Examination (1-2 hours maximum) will cover works on the candidate’s course syllabi as well as areas considered in the written examination. The M.A. oral examination is usually scheduled within a week to ten days of the written examination. The Graduate College sets deadlines each semester for the completion of this examination; students are responsible for knowing these deadlines and scheduling their exams accordingly. The examination committee shall be composed of the three committee members for the written examinations. The examination committee shall meet prior to the oral examination to determine time limits and questioning sequences. It shall meet once more after the completion of the oral examination to determine if the candidate has:

  1. Passed.
  2. Failed (in which case the student must wait until the following semester before retaking the oral examination). A second oral examination will take place no sooner than four months after the initial one.

Note: Two adverse votes result in failure. An abstention counts as a vote for failure. Results are tallied by the committee chair, who informs the candidate only as to whether the vote was Pass or Fail.

The Thesis

Masters Thesis Guidelines

In lieu of the written and oral exams students may present a Masters thesis written in French that demonstrates proficiency in concepts and methods of literary and cultural studies, applied linguistics, second-language acquisition and pedagogy. As part of the thesis option students will have an oral component that consists of 1) a formal defense of the thesis; and 2) questions from the committee on works and topics covered in the candidate’s thesis and related course work.

Enrolling in thesis-writing credits: The candidate normally completes six thesis-writing credits enrolled in FREN 910 with 3 credits in the fall and 3 credits in the spring of the second year. Students writing a thesis must consult with the DGS, submit a Plan of Study reflecting these units and communicate with the thesis director, committee members and the Graduate Program coordinator to complete registration and the necessary administrative steps. 

Suggested length of thesis: A thesis can vary in length depending on several factors (topic or field of study, structure, collection of data) but generally ranges from 50 to 70 pages.  

Committee selection: Students should have a topic in mind by the end of their first year of study and begin researching it over the summer between years 1 and 2. The candidate should present a written proposal to the DGS in September of year 2.  In consultation with the DGS, the student will also finalize a committee no later than September of year 2.

Components of the proposal: Students develop a two- to three-page proposal that includes: (1) project title, main question of investigation and hypothesis, literature review, proposed methodology and analysis; (2) one- to two-page bibliography; (3) table of contents and one-page timeline for completion of each part. 

IRB approval and research protocol: If the candidate plans to collect primary data from a classroom or field site, IRB approval is required. The IRB protocol must be submitted prior to the collection of data. For this reason, students should prepare their IRB application during the summer between years 1 and 2 and secure approval by the end of September. Anticipate 4 weeks for the approval process.
IRB application hereCITI training requirement here.

  • End of year 1: student should decide whether to write a thesis or take the exams; if writing the thesis, the student should identify a thesis director before the summer and begin thinking about how to define the research project.
  • September of year 2: student should finalized their topic; select committee members (3 including director); submit their proposal to the DGS and thesis director for approval.
  • December of year 2: student should have completed 50% of the thesis (i.e., literature review; discussion of methodology; data collection; selection of primary documents); and have a table of contents, conceptual outline and research bibliography in MLA or APA format. The thesis director and student should work together to establish deadlines for completing the first draft of each chapter. 
  • Mid-March of year 2: student should have a complete draft of the thesis. The penultimate draft will be circulated with committee members upon approval by the thesis director. The thesis director serves as the committee chair and provides feedback to the student during the writing process. Committee members subsequently give feedback during the oral defense. 

Oral defense: Typically the oral defense of the thesis is set for first week of April. Submission of the fully revised thesis is due at the end of April. 

Final Draft Preparation and Submission

Students must allow time for committee to review revisions and approve them in advance of the Graduate College deadline for submission which is the last day of instruction for the semester. Students should take great care in revising the thesis and proof-reading the final version, which is expected to be as error-free as possible. Submitted to Grad College on last day of instruction. 
Checklist with required components of final draft for submission here.
Graduate College guidelines and submission information here.