The graduate Program in French and Francophone Studies stresses interdisciplinary, intercultural, and transnational approaches and explores the full range of French culture and literature from the medieval period to the twenty-first century. Our Program simultaneously engages the literary and cultural production of the French-speaking world. Our research and teaching interests include the former French colonies in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, those in the Caribbean and the Americas, including Quebec; and the imprint of France on the Muslim world from Senegal to Syria.

Through the exploration of more specialized topics such as Travel Literature, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Film and Film Theory, Poetry and Architecture, Mass Culture and Media, Animals and Animality, students confront issues of genre, aesthetics, dissemination, identity, and audience, and the ways in which these are related to and reflect particular cultural and historical moments.

Core seminars are taught in French while students also have access to a number of interdisciplinary seminars taught in English.

Some recent seminar topics include Discourses of Witchcraft in French Medieval Literature; Money and Culture; Ecopoetics and Ecocriticism; Humanimals in Literature and Cinema; Postcolonial Literature, Power and Sexuality; Fashion, the Body, and Material Culture; Travelers and Libertines in the French Enlightenment; The Middle Ages at the movies; Contact Linguistics and Literary Translation.

Because the French program is located within a larger Literatures, Cultures and Languages graduate program, students have
access to an intellectual community conversant in many languages—Arabic, Catalan, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish—along with the rich diversity of literary cultures each has fostered. Our graduate students therefore have the opportunity to work and take classes with an extraordinarily varied faculty in conjunction with the French and Francophone Studies Program. A student writing a thesis on the French Jesuit presence in China during the reign of Louis XIV, for instance, might choose to include faculty from the Chinese Program on her committee, while another focusing on post-colonial North African literature might collaborate closely with faculty in the Department’s Arabic Program. Although this environment is in itself conducive to research and to fostering research informed by interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches, the number of faculty in LCL whose core work is itself interdisciplinary makes ours a particularly rich and innovative program.

Admission is competitive, and qualifying graduate students are financially supported by teaching or research assistantships.

The Department’s core strengths include Medieval Studies, Film and Film History, Literary and Cultural Theory, Digital Culture and Media Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Studies of the Mediterranean World, Islamic Cultures, Caribbean Studies, Border and Migration Studies, Critical Race Studies, and Judaic Studies.  We encourage all of our students to pursue graduate certificates in fields that will enable them to extend their teaching and/or research profiles.  Graduate certificates are available in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, Digital Culture & Media Studies, Cognitive Science, and Translation.

Our graduate students belong to a community of teachers as well as researchers.  Thus not only are they trained in the latest techniques of scholarly research, they also graduate fully equipped to teach at all levels of French and Francophone Literature, from beginning French to advanced undergraduate courses as well as graduate seminars.  Our graduates have taught or are now teaching at colleges and universities that include Brown University, Tulane University, UMass Amherst, Union College, and Wesleyan University. Finally, our graduate students also have the opportunity to gain valuable experience as editorial assistants for one of the top scholarly journals in the field, Contemporary French & Francophone Studies [], which was founded by two faculty members of our Program and is housed at the University of Connecticut


  • Anne Berthelot : Education: École Normale Supérieure; Agrégation des Lettres (Classiques: Latin et Grec); Doctorat ès Lettres, University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. Areas of Expertise: Old French and Occitan–Anglo-Norman (the medieval francophonie); Medieval Literature (Ancien Français, Middle English, Mittel Hoch Deutsch); Arthurian Studies; Fantasy in Literature; The History of Magic; Québécois Literature.
  • Roger Célestin : Education: Ph.D. Graduate Center, CUNY; D.E.A. Sorbonne, University of Paris IV; Diplôme de l’Institut, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Areas of Expertise: 20th Century French Literature and Culture, the French Enlightenment, Theory and Criticism, Travel Literature, Film
  • Ally Ladha : Education: Ph.D. Princeton University, B.A. Yale University. Areas of Expertise: Philosophy and literature; literary theory; postcolonial studies; poetry (19th and 20th century French, francophone African, American, British); Islamic studies (pre-Islamic poetry; Quranic studies; art and aesthetics; Islamic legal and political theory; African Islam).
  • Florence Marsal : Education: Ph.D. UConn. Areas of expertise: French Contemporary Literature, French Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages and in the 20th and 21st century, Oulipo, Autobiography, Poetry.
  • Valérie Saugéra : Education: Ph.D. French Linguistics. Areas of Expertise: Contact Linguistics, Lexical Borrowing, French Anglicisms, Neology, Lexicography, Language Pedagogy
  • Jennifer Terni : Education: Ph.D. Duke University. Areas of expertise: 19th Century French Literature and Culture; Realisms; Popular Theatre and Popular Genres; Information and Virtuality; Material and Mass Culture; Media and Visual Culture; Cultural History.

Doctoral Degree

Students must complete 48 credits (24 beyond the Master’s) including the 6 credits in literary theory and critical methodology taken and a course in research methods and scholarship and professionalization to be taken in the 3rd or 5th semester. (If a student has already completed the course in theory and methodology, he or she may take additional courses in comparative cultures and literatures). Courses involving cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives, and francophone literature are part of the curriculum. Students must also pass a proficiency exam in a foreign language other than French. The proficiency exam may be replaced by a grade of B or above in a foreign literature. For students specializing in the medieval or early modern period, a grade of B or above in an approved course in Latin is also required. All students must pass general qualifying exams and write a doctoral thesis.

Master’s Degree

Students are expected to complete 24 credits in French, one and a half to two years of full-time study. M.A. students must take a 3-credit Literary Theory course and a 3-credit Methods and Approaches to Second Language Acquisition course, preferably during their first year in the program. The rest of their plan of study must be designed in consultation with M.A. advisory committee, chosen by faculty in consultation with the student.

Master’s degrees may be earned under either of two plans, as laid out by the graduate school ( and as determined by the advisory committee. Either Plan A requires not fewer than 15 credits of advanced coursework and not fewer than 9 additional credits of Master’s Thesis Research (GRAD 5950 or GRAD 5960), the writing of a thesis and a defense. Plan B requires not fewer than 24 credits of advanced coursework and a final examination, but no thesis.

In either case, the advisory committees may require more than the minimum number of credits. Specific characteristics of the thesis or the exam will also be determined by the advisory committee.