Global French Studies

Program Category: 
M.A. Programs

Director: Joanna Stalnaker,

Associate Director: Christine Valero,

Admissions Coordinator: Isabelle Chagnon,

Degree Programs: Full-time in Paris: fall, spring, and summer: Free-Standing M.A.

Special Admissions Requirements: See below

The M.A. in Global French Studies (formerly the M.A. in French Cultural Studies in a Global Context) is an innovative, interdisciplinary program that combines advanced language skills in French with a sophisticated theoretical appraisal of the category of the global. Students are encouraged to reflect on how various kinds of texts in French—literary, historical, philosophical or political—can be read in a global context with an eye to their cultural and linguistic specificity. The program engages critically with recent trends in French Studies and across the disciplines, giving students the tools to evaluate categories and methodologies such as Francophonie, World Literature, Distant Reading, and Global History. Students take small, seminar-style courses at Columbia’s Global Center for Europe at Reid Hall in Paris, with Columbia faculty and distinguished faculty from local institutions in Paris. They choose their remaining electives, based on their individual research interests, from a wide variety of course offerings at the program’s partner institutions: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Sciences Po, Paris I, Paris IV and Paris VII. The Associate Director of the program, Christine Valero, provides expert advice to students to help them choose the best courses at these institutions to suit their research interests. Distinguished faculty sponsors, selected for their expertise in students’ areas of research, assist students in crafting original research projects for their M.A. essays, which can be written in French or English. Students also receive advanced-level training in oral and written French and tutorial support to enhance their courses in the French university system.

The program is completed in a calendar year during consecutive fall, spring and summer terms. Classes are held in the fall and spring semesters; the latter ends at the end of June. July and August are reserved for research, travel and completion of the Master’s essay, which can be written in English or French.

Partial fellowships are available to highly qualified applicants.


M.A. Essays

(The language of the title is the language of the essay)

  • Protéger l'environnement : une comparaison entre les politiques agricoles européenne et américaine  under the direction of Sylvie Brunel, Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • L'importation de la culture universitaire à Abou Dhabi: les cas de la Sorbonne et de New York University under the direction of Philippe Boulanger, Université de Cergy-Pontoise
  • Pham Duy Khiêm: A Man Apart under the direction of Claire Tran Thi Lien, Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot / Inalco
  • Art in Decadence: Curating a Musée Imaginaire under the direction of Françoise Gaillard, Université Paris 7 - Denis Diderot
  • Les irruptions de l’irrationnel dans le XIXe siècle positiviste : trois récits fantastiques (La Morte amoureuse et Spirite de  T. Gautier , Claire Lenoir  d’ A. Villiers de L’Isle Adam)  under the direction of  Martine Lavaud, Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • American Expatriate Women in Paris: bicultural odysseys of a migratory 'elite' under the direction of Nancy Green, EHESS
  • Wagner and Politics: Appropriations and Interpretations of a Dangerous Aesthetic under the direction of Danielle Cohen Levinas, Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • Contemporary Theater and masochism under the direction of Flore Garcin- Marrou, Université Paris 3- Sorbonne nouvelle
  • Reenvisager le vers libre: Whitman et ses contemporains francaisunder the direction of Bertrand Marchal, Université Paris-Sorbonne
  • Commémoration et politique urbaine : l’exemple de la place Mohammed Bouazizi:  under the direction of Julien Blanc, université Paris Dauphine.
  • Sociologie des carrières militaires les FARDC : Le cas des Unités brassées, under the direction of Remi Bazenguissa-Ganga, Université Paris  1 Panthéon Sorbonne / EHESS
  • Innovation, Adaptation and Appropriation: The Cultural Perceptions in the paintings of Sanyu under the direction of Françoise Gaillard

French Studies in a Global Context students at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg

Quotations From Students

"The program introduces to me the very essence of France and Europe, with a focus on French history, art and philosophy. It motivates me to think of the world and its many cultures in a new and intellectual way. For me, it is definitely an enriching and fulfilling program."

"This program compels its participants to develop their French language, research, analytical and critical thinking skills in an intellectually stimulating, open environment. The insights and knowledge gained through this experience are invaluable on an academic, professional and personal level."

"Global French Studies provides the ideal theoretical and social framework for conducting interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research. In so doing, this program creates and develops meaningful cross-cultural relationships to be enriched by future global collaborations."

"The Master in Global French Studies emphasizes analytical skills that can be used as a stepping stone for any endeavor. Being passionate about making a difference in the world after leaving the military, the curriculum of this program equips me with the qualitative skills necessary to do research,  point out and provide the answer to challenges which in return will  improve the lives of people around the world."

"This program not only encourages each student to pursue research relating to his/her particular interests, but also fosters a very academically enriching environment. It's wonderful hearing my fellow classmates talk about their research with such passion and enthusiasm, as well as knowing that the professors and staff are almost always available for questions or discussion."

Special Admissions Requirements: 

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Art History, Communications, Economics, French, History, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion or Sociology and at least two years of college French or proficiency at the equivalent level.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit the following:

  • transcripts showing courses and grades for each school attended
  • a Statement of Academic Purpose 
  • three letters of recommendation from academic sources

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

Deadline for Fall Admission: 
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Resume Requirement: 
Writing Sample: 
GRE General: 
Degree Programs: 
Full Time

Deadline for Fall Admission:
Scholarship Consideration Deadline: January 31, 2015
Final Consideration Deadline: April 15, 2015

Other Columbia Programs in Paris:
M.A. in History and Literature