MA in Romance Languages, French Concentration – Comprehensive Exams

Exams take place during the final semester of coursework, which is usually the fourth semester for a full-time student.

  • In fall semester, exams are given shortly before Mid-Semester Break.
  • In spring semester, exams are given shortly before Spring Break.
  • Exams are typically scheduled on three different days spread out over the course of a week.

All candidates must consult their advisor about the specific organization and scheduling of the written and oral exams. A candidate completing and defending a thesis must schedule the defense in such a way that it does not conflict with the comprehensive exams and so that submission of results to the Graduate School can occur by the deadline. Graduate school deadlines for exam and thesis results are generally end of October during the fall semester, and mid-March during the spring semester.

Literature, both thesis and non-thesis options

Comprehensive Exams Format

  • The written exams are based on the courses taken in five of the following six fields :
    • Medieval and Renaissance
    • Early Modern (17th and 18th centuries)
    • 19th Century
    • 20th and 21st centuries
    • Francophone and French studies
    • French linguistics
  • During each exam session, the candidate has an hour to answer a question related to one field. The candidate will write no more than two answers per session.
  • Candidates may be exempted from examination in a maximum of two of the fields: by writing a thesis in a field; by presenting a research paper in a field at a professional conference; or by earning a grade of “A” or “B” in two courses in the same field.
  • An oral exam (40 minutes) takes place at the end of the written exam process, and can be based either on coursework completed, or may be drawn from the Reading List. This is to be determined in consultation with the student’s graduate adviser. The topic is assigned 48 hours in advance of the oral exam. The candidate  prepares a 20-minute exposé. All members of the examination committee participate in the oral exam, and the last 20 minutes are for questions and answers.

Linguistics, both thesis and non-thesis options

Comprehensive Exams Format

  • Three exam days, with a single three-hour exam session each day.
  • All exam questions are based on the courses taken. However, some courses, such as FR 521 (Phonetics), are usually not included.
  • At each of the three sessions, the candidate will write answers to two different questions (from a choice of three or more questions, typically from different professors, regardless of the number of courses in the mix) in all three areas:
    • Applied Linguistics
    • Linguistics (one of the two questions must be from FR 561)
    • Language