Mar 22, 2018  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

French, Ph.D

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Ph.D. Degree


The Ph.D. Degree Program will normally be four years in length. Students will be admitted to the Ph.D. program with a completed M.A. in French literature or linguistics, or in a program deemed equivalent. Equivalence will be granted on a case by case basis in consultation with the School of Graduate Studies. Students must obtain a minimum B+ average or equivalent at the Master’s level to be considered for admission. All applicants will be required to submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a detailed statement of interest. As a rule, part-time studies will not be an option at the Ph.D. level. However, in exceptional circumstances, permission to pursue the doctorate part-time might be granted, provided the student adheres to a rigorously scheduled plan of action for completion of all degree requirements within a reasonably limited timeframe.

Note: Applicants to the French Graduate programme are exempted from the TOEFL requirement.

Fields in the program

The Ph.D. program, “Francophonie et diversité”, comprises the following three fields:

  1. Francophone* Theories, Languages and Literatures of the 20th and 21st centuries.
  2. Colonial and Post-Colonial Contexts in the Francophone World.
  3. Discourse and Representation of the Ancien Régime and 19th Century.

Note: ‘Francophone’ includes France and other French-speaking countries and regions.

Program Requirements

The program will be four years in length. By the end of their courses and/or first year of residency, students will select a thesis supervisor who will in turn recommend, for the student’s approval, at least two other colleagues - to a maximum of four - as members of the supervisory committee. The Graduate Studies Committee, normally comprised of the Graduate Chair, the Chair of the department, two faculty members and two students (one from the MA, one from the Ph.D. program), will also vet supervisory committees. During their third year of the program, students may elect to study or do research abroad, audit classes in other disciplines, at McMaster or at other universities, or participate in a field work/internship program in a Francophone region or country. To spend a period of time in a Francophone region or country, students must obtain the written approval of their committee and of the School of Graduate Studies.

Course Work

All graduate students, including part-time students, must complete the course SGS #101 Academic Research Integrity and Ethics   within the first twelve months after their admission to graduate studies at McMaster. The purpose of this course is to ensure that the standards and expectations of academic integrity and research ethics are communicated early and are understood by incoming students. A graduate student may not obtain a graduate degree at McMaster without having passed this course. In the event that a student fails this course, he/she must retake it at the earliest opportunity. The course description for SGS #101  may be found in Section 11 of the Calendar. The Ph.D. Degree Program itself includes six half-courses (three units each) of which two are required. The two required half-courses are the following: Introduction to Literary Theory and Research Methods and Professional Practices.

Language Requirement

Candidates will successfully pass a proficiency examination in a language other than English or French. The choice of language should be made by the candidate in consultation with her/his supervisory committee. Successful completion of a three-unit, doctoral-level course in another discipline more relevant to the candidate’s research topic may be substituted for the language requirement with the approval of the candidate’s supervisory committee. This requirement may be fulfilled at any time before completion of the degree.

Comprehensive Field Examinations

Ph.D. candidates in consultation with their supervisory committee will choose two areas of concentration: the first will be literary and theoretical in nature and the second interdisciplinary. Candidates will submit an extensive bibliography for each area of concentration and will be assessed by way of a written examination. Candidates will be given one week to complete a 10- to 15-page paper for each area. Full-time students will write these examinations within the first twenty months of their program, that is, before the end of April of their second year of residency, assuming the student began residency in September of the first year. These exams are intended as opening stages of the doctoral dissertation. For each examination, candidates must prove their proficiency in the French language and their competence in their selected areas of specialisation. They must display in-depth knowledge, not only of the primary texts, but also of the existing scholarship in their areas of concentration. Candidates must obtain a passing grade. In the event of a failing grade, candidates will have one opportunity to rewrite their exams; this second and final attempt should occur within three months of the date of their first examination.

Thesis Project

Students will prepare a 25-page thesis project in consultation with their thesis supervisor. This project will then be presented and examined by the candidate’s supervisory committee. An oral defence of the project, conducted by the supervisory committee, must be successfully completed before the candidate can proceed with research and preparation of the thesis manuscript. This requirement should be completed within the first 24 months of the candidate’s program.

Doctoral Thesis

During the third or fourth year of the program, candidates will write a scholarly thesis of approximately 250 pages (including notes and bibliography), and will defend it at an Oral Examination. The oral examination of the thesis will normally be conducted in French.

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