French and Romance Philology

Program Category: 
Ph.D. Programs
Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Director of Graduate Studies: 
Pierre Force

Degree Programs in French and Romance Philology at Columbia: Full-Time: M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing M.A.

Degree Program in Paris: M.A. in History and Literature

The Department of French and Romance Philology is a thriving point of contact between American, European and African scholarship in the field of French and Francophone literature and cultures. The faculty currently comprises ten professors whose specialties range from medieval literature and culture to twentieth-century literature and intellectual history. Approximately fifty graduate students are currently studying French at Columbia. Our Ph.D. program, consistently ranked in the top five programs nationally, is designed to prepare graduates for a career in productive scholarship. Students undergo rigorous and comprehensive training in literary and cultural history and theory before specializing in one area of research.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program must obtain the M.A. and M.Phil. degrees along the way.  The program is designed to permit a well-prepared student to earn the M.A. degree in four semesters, the M.Phil. degree in three years, and the Ph.D. degree in five years.  Students who enter the Ph.D. program after completion of the M.A. or its equivalent elsewhere are evaluated during the second semester of residence at which time they may be granted up to two Residence Units (equivalent to the Residence Unit requirement for the M.A.) and appropriate exemptions from certain requirements.

A comprehensive program of financial aid is available to Ph.D. students. All Ph.D. students admitted to the program receive full funding, which includes the prevailing stipend and appropriate tuition and health fees through the fifth year, provided that they remain in good academic standing. Fellowships are awarded to students in the Ph.D. program in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience is considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship.

Our student body is remarkably international: in addition to the U.S. and Canada, recent students have come from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Romania, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Switzerland.

Students in the department have the special benefit of The Maison Française of Columbia University.  The Maison Française is the oldest French cultural center established on an American university campus.  With its library and cuisine, it is the social center of the department.  Its rich program of lectures, conferences, movie showings, and informal discussions makes the Maison a meeting place for students, scholars, business leaders, policy-makers and all persons seeking a better understanding of the French-speaking world.

Recent graduates of the Ph.D. program have secured teaching positions at the British Institute in Paris, Princeton University, Ohio State University, Reed College, Spelman College, Barnard College, George Washington University, Tufts University, Tulane University, Loyola University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) awards a certificate in Comparative Literature and Society. For more information, see the ICLS website.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

Skill in reading, writing, and speaking French; a general knowledge of the literature of the French speaking world; ability to write clear and literate English; training in Latin; and preparation in another Romance language are recommended for applicants to both the Ph.D. and free-standing M.A. programs.

In addition to the stated requirements, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose, two writing samples (a course paper, term paper, etc.) and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to the Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Deadline for Fall Admission: 
Friday, January 6, 2017
Resume Requirement: 
Writing Sample: 
Writing Sample Number of Pages: 
GRE General: 
Degree Programs: 
Full Time

Writing Sample: Students must submit two writing samples (10 to 15 pages each): one in English and one in French.