Graduate Program in French Studies

The Graduate Program in the Department of French Studies offers a lively intellectual environment where students explore French and Francophone literature and culture across a broad chronological and topical range and through a wide variety of critical approaches.  Our goal is to train scholars and teachers who have a solid grounding in all periods of French and Francophone literatures and who think, write, and teach creatively as both generalists and specialists.  Students work with faculty who are noted experts in periods from the 16th through the 21st centuries and in critical approaches such as anthropology, creative writing, cultural studies, the history of ideas, gender and sexuality studies, film studies, postcolonial studies, poststructuralist thought, second language acquisition, and translation. 

In addition to teaching seminars and serving as prelim and dissertation directors, faculty are able to provide individualized attention to each and every student, thanks especially to the modest size of our graduate student cohort (professor-student ratio of 1:1.18). During the first two years of the program, students are paired with a faculty mentor, who provides support and advice on an informal basis before the prelims and dissertation. Faculty also assist students in preparing conference papers and articles for publication and give careful guidance during the job search.

Students admitted into our program are guaranteed a competitive package of six years of academic year funding and financial support for four summers, with full tuition remission and health and dental insurance coverage.  During their first year, students are on fellowship, and take four courses each semester.  During their second, third, and fourth years, students continue to work toward their PhD (completing required coursework, taking preliminary exams, and writing the dissertation) while serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants in our language program, teaching one section per semester.  A year-long dissertation fellowship is offered during the fifth or sixth year in the program.  Students receive additional summer funding while preparing for their preliminary exam and a stipend for research travel during their dissertation fellowship year.  Funding from both the Graduate School and the Department is also available for conference travel every year. 

Students may choose to participate in a year-long teaching exchange with either the Université de Bourgogne (Dijon) or the Université de Lyon II-Louis Lumière, which does not count against the six-year funding guarantee. 

Each year, French Studies graduate students collaborate on the annual graduate-student conference, Équinoxes, and the online journal of selected conference proceedings.

Graduate studies at Brown benefit from the comparatively small size of the university, on the one hand, and the vitality of the humanities, on the other. Faculty are exceedingly accessible across the campus, and every year humanities departments organize many stimulating events thanks in part to the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, both of which offer fellowships for graduate students.

 The Department of French Studies is housed in beautiful Rochambeau House, a historic home built in the style of an 18th-century French hôtel particulier, where the Department hosts lectures and conferences.  Shared with the Department of Hispanic Studies, Rochambeau House affords graduate students dedicated study space with computers, printers, and scanners.  

Our program has a strong record of job placement for our recent graduates.  A notable strength of our program is the in-depth training and experience students gain in language teaching, under the expert guidance of our Department’s language acquisition specialists.  Our TAs are fortunate to work with some of the very best undergraduates in the country and to avail themselves of the certificate programs offered by the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning

Providence, Rhode Island is an affordable city with a vibrant cultural scene and an excellent quality of life.

More details about our graduate program may be found at: or by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies, David Wills, (401) 863-2741, Room 230, Rochambeau House.