M.A. in French Studies

Academic Representative:

Marie Lathers 

Guilford 214

General Information

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (DMLL) currently offers a graduate program in French leading to the MA degree and, together with the Department of English, a program in Comparative Literature leading to the MA degree.

The Master of Arts in French

Our MA program combines the best features of a relatively small department (close contact with professors and other graduate students) with those of a major research university and a major cultural center (University Circle). Classes are small and students design their course of study in close consultation with a faculty adviser. Sufficient course options are available to meet the needs of future secondary school or community college teachers and to provide an excellent basis for the selection of fields of advanced study for students wishing to continue beyond the MA level at another university.

The MA program has a particular emphasis on Modern France (from the Revolution of 1789 to the present). Many of our faculty members conduct research on the literature and arts of the modern era and we have thus developed a particular focus on this extraordinarily rich time period. The study of modern France may be particularly valuable for teachers in secondary schools, and will also prepare students to continue studies at the Ph.D. level. We offer the study of movements, genres, and special topics, as well as chronological overviews of periods.

Integrated Graduate Studies Program

The French program participates in the Integrated Graduate Studies Program, which makes it possible to complete both a BA and an MA in French within about five years of full-time study. The department particularly recommends the program to qualified students who are interested in seeking admission to highly-competitive professional schools or Ph.D. programs. Interested students should note the general requirements and the admission procedures of Case.

University Circle and CWRU Resources

DMLL is fortunate to be adjacent to some of the most important cultural centers of the Midwest, and arguably, of the nation. University Circle is located in a 550-acre park-like setting. The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cinematheque are of particular use in certain courses offered in our MA program. Other cultural institutions in the area include Severance Hall (Cleveland Orchestra), the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the Dittrick Medical Museum, the Western Reserve Historical Society/Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum, and the Cleveland Music School Settlement. DMLL is located in lovely Guilford House, just steps away from these centers.

The Kelvin Smith Library, which contains more than 1.5 mission volumes, is a member of the Association of Research Libraries. EuclidPLUS and OhioLINK, the Online Public Access Catalogs, allow student to borrow directly from member libraries in Northeast Ohio. A leader in Information Network Services, Case is a member of the Internet II Project.

The Program

The MA in French requires 27-28 semester hours. The MA in French with a minor concentration in German, Japanese, or Spanish requires 36 hours. The MA in Comparative Literature (French and English) requires 27 hours. Full-time students are expected to complete the MA within two academic years.

Comprehensive Exam

The examination is individually prepared to reflect the coursework that each student has accomplished. A reading list is drawn up in advance of the exam and usually consists of at least fifteen works. Students are expected to take this exam in the fourth semester of full-time study, usually after completing most course and credit-hour requirements for the degree. The exam consists of an oral and a written section. During the written exam, candidates have three hours to respond to one of three general essay questions given. They are expected to write in correct French, to demonstrate their ability to synthesize the knowledge and skills they have acquired, in course work and independently, and to provide evidence of their understanding of critical issues regarding works and authors under consideration.

The Oral MA Examination, which may last up to an hour, provides a means of ascertaining a candidate’s ability to participate in a relatively sophisticated oral discussion about his or her field of study. To that effect, candidates are asked to present and defend their interpretation of a literary or cultural passage (written) prepared shortly in advance, and to answer any further questions examiners may wish to ask.


In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies for admission, candidates for graduate study in French should present an ungergraduate major in French, or a minimum of eighteen semester hours in that language beyond the intermediate level. In some cases, students may be required to make up deficiencies without receiving graduate credit for this work. DMLL requires all candidates for admission to submit scores for the aptitude section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In addition, applicants should submit an undergraduate transcript and three letters of recommendation, at least one of which comments in some detail on the language competency of the candidate. Applicants should submit, directly to DMLL, a writing sample on an academic topic (e.g., a recent undergraduate paper written in French and typed, of at least 10 pages).

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six semester hours of transfer credit for graduate-level courses will be accepted from another institution, subject to approval by DMLL and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Such courses must have been taken within five years of matriculation at Case and passed with grades of B or better.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate fellowships (living stipends and/or tuition remission) are available. Application for financial assistance is made on the regular admission form. The continuation of a fellowship is dependent upon acceptable progress toward the degree. Some funds for student loans are normally available. Information concerning the latter may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid, Yost Hall, Case, Cleveland, OH 44106

For information on admission, financial assistance, general requirements, and courses offered by DMLL, see the current General Bulletin of the university or contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Tomlinson Hall, Cleveland, OH 44106-7027. Application forms and course descriptions are available from DMLL, Guilford House 103. Inquiries by phone or e-mail should be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Marie Lathers, mhl5@case.edu; 216-368-8983

Graduate Faculty

Cano, Christine, Ph.D. (Yale University). 19th and 20th-century literature and culture.

Doho, Gilbert, Ph.D. (University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III).

Lathers, Marie, Ph.D. (Brown University). 19th-century literature and culture; visual arts (painting, sculpture, film, photography); feminist theory; intersiciplinary studies.

Graduate Faculty in French Studies (students may take up to 6 hours towards the MA in a department other than DMLL)

Carvajal, Christa – Theater Arts
Cowart, Georgia – Music
Gaines, Atwood – Anthropology
Hengehold, Laura – Philosophy
Kim, Chin-Tai – Philosophy
Lavelle, Kathryn – Political Science
Levin, Miriam – History
HcHale, Vincent – Political Science
Rocke, Alan – History
Scallen, Catherine – Art History
Tartakoff, Laura – Political Science
Weiss, Gillian – History

(400 and 500 denote graduate level at Case)

FRCH 421. French Literature to 1600 (3)
Faith. Honor. Passion. Politics. An exploration of these issues in French literature from 900 to 1600 in the context of the development of narrative, lyric and theater and as an expression of culture and thought. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 431. Seventeenth-Century French Literature (3)
The Age of Classicism, from Descartes to Mme. de Lafayette. Emphasis on Baroque literature and Classical drama. Authors, works and topics may vary. One 300-level French course suggested prerequisite. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 441. Eighteenth-Century French Literature (3)
Le siècle des Lumières in representative texts of the Enlightenment and pre-Romanticism. Authors, works and topics vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 451. Nineteenth-Century French Literature (3)
Romanticism, realism and naturalism in the novel and the drama. Authors, works and topics vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 461. Twentieth-Century French Literature (3)
Study of representative novelists (e.g., Proust, Gide, Colette, Sartre, Beauvoir) and playwrights (e.g., Claudel, Beckett, Genet) in historical context. Authors, works and topics vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 471. Topics in French Poetry (3)
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry. Topics include French romanticism, symbolism and surrealism. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 472. Topics in French Drama (3)
A topical approach to issues and problems specific to drama. Plays, playwrights, aesthetic theories and historical periods studied in this course may vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 473. The Novel and the Novella (3)
A study of narrative fiction focused on either the analysis of a particular genre (the novel, the short story) or a particular type of novel (e.g., psychological novel, realist novel, detective novel); the tale (the fantastic tale, the fairytale) or novella. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 474. Major Writers and Literary Movements (3)
In-depth study of the work of a major writer, cineast, or intellectual figure; or of a significant literary, intellectual or artistic movement. Approaches, content, and instructor will vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 475. Francophone Literature (3)
An examination of Francophone literature focused on the problematics of identity within the colonial and post-colonial context. Writers and works may vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 476. Women Writers (3)
Examination of literary texts by French women writers; emphasizes women’s important contributions to French literature. Critical essays are also studied to address women’s relation to literature and to evaluate its importance from historical and theoretical perspectives. Prereq: Any 300- level FRCH course.

FRCH 477. Special Topics (3)
The special topics course is designed to respond to students’ and faculty’s interest in specific themes or issues not otherwise covered in the curriculum. Approaches, content and instructor will vary. Prereq: Any 300-level FRCH course.

FRCH 590. Seminar: Topics in Modern Literature and Culture (3)
French literature and culture since the Revolution of 1789. Topics vary depending on student and instructor interests; may include realism and naturalism, Proust, contemporary film, Paris, feminist theory. Prereq: Graduate standing.

FRCH 595. Independent Research (1-3)
Graded independent work on a literary topic arranged individually with the instructor. Prereq: Graduate standing.

FRCH 601. Independent Studies (1-18)
For individual students or larger groups with special interests. Prereq: Consent of department.

For current course catalogue, click HERE

Case General Bulletin