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Comprehensive Exams for the M.A. in French

Comprehensive Exam Process

M.A. students take their Comprehensive Exams in three areas: one historical French literary period and two Francophone ares. You should begin planning for those areas as soon as possible. You will take your exams in your third semester of coursework if you select the Thesis option. If you select the Non-Thesis option, you may take your exam in either the third or fourth semester of coursework. The Graduate Coordinator will provide a sheet that you will use to make arrangements to take your exams.

Written Examinations are scheduled in the fourth week of the semester. Oral exams will follow two to three weeks later. Answers to the exam questions should be between six and eight pages in length.

Examinations are administered in areas in which the student has completed at minimum one course prior to the beginning of the examination period, i.e., no student may take an exam in an area in which he or she is currently taking a course, unless that area has been covered by prior coursework.

After completion of the written exam week, professors will confer to evaluate the students’ written exams prior to scheduling orals. Students will only take oral exams in areas in which they have satisfactorily answered the written component. If a student does not successfully complete a written exam in one or more areas, that student will be required to retake the area(s) with a different question the following semester, under the same conditions as all other students (4 hours). Once the student has successfully completed the written part(s) of the exam, the oral for that (those) area(s) will be scheduled. If an MA student passes only one area, he or she will not have an oral examination until the other two areas have been successfully completed.


Comprehensive Exam Areas and Preparation

As soon as possible, make an appointment to discuss the exam with each professor who will be giving you an exam. Please click on the areas listed below to access the basic reading list for each area. This is not a comprehensive list; you will need to discuss the list with your professors.

Historical Periods of French Literature
Francophone Areas
Critical and Theoretical Works