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PhD in Francophone Studies Application Process


Applicants to the doctoral program in Francophone Studies should normally possess the M.A. degree in French, but we do consider highly-qualified applicants who hold a B.A. in French for direct admission to the doctoral program. Foreign degrees will be evaluated individually for equivalency. You must remedy any content deficiencies before taking the comprehensive examinations.

Applicants must submit a dossier including:

  • A substantial writing sample, preferably your master's thesis in French or two research papers in French dealing with critical interpretations of literary, linguistic or ethnological issues. The dossier should include a list of special certifications or diplomas obtained, articles published and papers presented.
  • A statement of academic purpose outlining your proposed research project,
  • A sound recording demonstrating oral proficiency in French from non-native speakers,
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts demonstrating solid academic preparation for advanced work, and
  • Three letters of recommendation.

For non-native speakers of French, a Skype or phone interview will be conducted to evaluate spoken French.

International applicants must submit additional application materials. Visit the Graduate School's International Applicant Information to learn more.

Students lacking adequate preparation in literature or language may be admitted conditionally until they remedy any deficiencies.

Program Requirements


  • The PhD in Francophone Studies requires 78 credit hours of coursework and dissertation hours.
  • At least 54 of those credits must be in coursework at the graduate level. Please note that UL recognizes only coursework completed in the fifth year of university study and beyond as graduate level. This is important to consider if you hold degrees from international institutions. Please note that credits earned at international institutions must be transferred to UL. The student must initiate the transfer process. We advise students to make the transfer request as early as possible in order to ascertain the exact number of credits that will be transferred. Credits earned for thesis work cannot be transferred.
  • At least 30 of the 54 hours of coursework must be completed at UL Lafayette.
  • At least half of the hours of coursework must be earned at the 500 and 600 levels.
  • A maximum of 27 hours of coursework may be transferred from another institution.
  • At least 24 of the 72 hours must be in FREN 699 - Dissertation hours.
  • All students are required to take FREN 540 - Critique Littéraire (3 credits) during their first year.
  • All Graduate Assistants are required to take FREN 501 - Préparation pédagogique during their first year.

Language Requirement

In addition to a command of French and English, you must demonstrate reading proficiency in two other languages or advanced proficiency in one other language.

Comprehensive Exams

All PhD students take Comprehensive Exams (examens de synthèse) after completion of all coursework. The exams will be based on your coursework and Graduate Reading List in consultation with your advisor. It is important to plan for your comprehensive exams from the beginning of your studies.

The exams are composed of two parts:

  • A written exam, given during the fourth week of the semester, and
  • An oral exam, given two to three weeks after the written exam.

If you completed your M.A. in French at UL, you must take your exams in three areas, including two Francophone areas, of which one may be repeated from your M.A. exam, and one historical period of French literature that is different from the one you took for your M.A. exams. If you completed your master's degree elsewhere, you must take your comprehensive exams in five areas: three Francophone areas and two historical periods of French literature.

Current students can find information about the exam process and the reading lists here.


The last portion of the PhD comprehensive exam process is the Prospectus of the Dissertation.

The Prospectus must include at minimum:

  • A workable topic for the scope of the dissertation,
  • A clearly defined thesis to be examined,
  • An explanation of the critical approach(es) that will be used, and
  • A bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

You must be ready to present and defend your Prospectus within one month of completing your oral exam. The dissertation committee, and not the examination committee, will attend the Prospectus defense and either accept the Prospectus or require revision to the Prospectus before acceptance.


After the Prospectus has been approved by the Dissertation Committee, you and your dissertation director will produce a workable plan for the submission of chapters or sections. Most dissertations in Francophone Studies are in French, but in certain cases and in consultation with the dissertation director, a student may instead write in English.

It is your responsibility to meet deadlines set by the committee and Graduate School. Satisfactory progress toward the completion of the dissertation is a requirement for eligibility for continued enrollment in the Graduate Program and for retention of assistantships.

Current students can find information about the dissertation process here.

Access the Graduate School's Guidelines for Dissertations.