Information for Prospective Graduate Students
Professor Claire Lyu
Director of Graduate Studies
308 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4770
T: (434) 924-1393
F: (434) 924-7157
Updated July, 2009
Important Information at a Glance
Inquiries about graduate programs in French should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Claire Lyu.
Starting August 1st, 2009, the Graduate School will no longer accept hard copy applications. Please refer to the following web pages for information about admissions:
The deadline for graduate application is December 1st, 2009. Please notify the Director of Graduate Studies by E-mail once you have submitted your application to the Graduate School.
Candidates coming from abroad are advised to contact the Admissions Office of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (437 Cabell Hall) to request current information on special rules for admission of foreign students. The present rules require admission of foreign students by April 15 preceding registration. Application for student visas and presentation of financial guarantees may require extra time. Foreign applicants are reminded that the Graduate School requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and that they should be sure to submit their scores in timely fashion.
Please note that the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required of all applicants, and that early November (at a Computer-Based Testing Site) is the final opportunity to take GRE's before the December application deadline. It is the applicant's responsibility to be certain that the application is complete by the deadline.
Tuition and fees for full-time study in the Graduate School of Arts
and Sciences can be found here:
Substantial financial aid is available (see part VIII).
Grade Point Average:
We require a minimum of B overall and B in the major; grades earned
Graduate Record Examination Scores:
We normally require minimum scores of 500 in the Verbal and 4.5 in the Analytical Writing Measure, but the typical mean scores for students who are accepted are significantly higher.
Courses in French:
Our Master's level courses presuppose some acquaintance with major texts in French literature, and with basic critical vocabulary in French. Applicants to the M.A. program must present at least five undergraduate courses in French literature and/or civilization/cultural studies. Applicants to the Ph.D. program must present at least eight graduate courses in French. Since Fall transcripts are necessarily incomplete, we urge applicants to notify us of the courses in French they are taking (or intend to take) in the year of application.
Two letters of recommendation are required from persons who are familiar with the applicant's work, preferably in advanced literature or civilization.
Each applicant must submit a writing sample as part of the application. The essay, preferably in French, may be an unedited copy of a course paper that best reflects your interests and work.
The Statement of Purpose included in the application is of considerable
importance. It should contain information on the applicant's intellectual
interests and the experiences leading to the formation of those interests.
No one knows ahead of time where graduate study may lead, and the statement
is not binding in any way, but it is essential for the admissions committee
to know an applicant's motivation for undertaking study in literature and
Online Survey :
(This survey is for applicants to the Ph.D. program who have either already obtained their M.A. degree, or are in the process of completing the M.A. at another institution.)
Please complete the following online survey, to be added to your application dossier. The survey can be submitted electronically - it will arrive in our administrative office via e-mail.
We note with pride that graduate students in the Department have a long-standing tradition of successful participation in professional activities in their respective fields of specialization. Current students have recently published articles in The French Review, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Neophilologus, and WIFStudies (Women in French). They also regularly read scholarly papers at conferences and professional meetings. Many of our graduates have received awards and fellowships such as the Phi Beta Kappa Mary Isabel Sibley Award, the Camargo Foundation Resident Fellowship, and the Chateaubriand Fellowship.
Recent graduates have obtained tenure-track positions at:
Virginia graduates hold tenured positions at:
As French Department TAs ("Graduate Instructors"), graduate students teach entire sections of elementary, intermediate, and, sometimes, advanced French, taking full responsibility for lesson plans and grading. They gain valuable administrative experience by chairing exam committees and courses, and they play an active role in textbook selection and policy decisions regarding the courses they teach.
The Department offers education and support to TAs beginning with an intensive orientation workshop, run by the Language Program Director (Professor Karen James). This program includes interactive lectures and discussions, demonstrations, and practice teaching. New TAs also take "French 704: Theories and Methods of Language Teaching." The Language Program Director consults with TAs one-on-one, in staff meetings, and via the electronic mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org. Among the numerous print, audio- visual, and electronic resources available to TAs is the website French Teaching and Learning Resources.
The professional preparation of graduate students in the Department is reinforced by programs of the university-wide Teaching Resource Center, which offers semi-annual general teaching workshops, specific workshops, and seminars.
Exchange Programs in France:The Department strongly encourages its graduate students to spend a year studying in France under one of its teaching exchange programs. These currently include exchanges with the Universities of Aix-en-Provence, Nice, and Lyon II. The University of Virginia also sponsors a one-year research exchange with the Ecole Normale Supériéure in Paris. Graduate students from those institutions teach in the Department and participate in graduate student activities. Exchange students in France receive generous teaching stipends, full health insurance and benefits, and have ample time to pursue research interests.
Alderman Library, the University's main research library, has over two million books, over six thousand periodicals, and some six million rare books and manuscripts. The Douglas H. Gordon Collection of French Books, one of the great American collections of French books dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, provides an incomparable source of primary material for doctoral students writing dissertations in literature of the French Renaissance and later periods.
Dissertation Fellowships: The department offers Ph.D. students the chance to compete for departmental dissertation fellowships. Usually given in the final year of Ph.D. study, these fellowships help support a period of concentration on research and writing. Applicants may receive the department's endorsement for the Dissertation Year Fellowships offered by the Graduate School. Several of these highly competitive awards have gone to our Ph.D. candidates in recent years. Advanced students are also encouraged to apply for such extra mural awards as the Chateaubriand Fellowship, the Javits Fellowship, the Camargo Foundation Residential Grant, or the Phi Beta Kappa Sibley Fellowship.
The Maison Française serves as a central point for most cultural activities in the department, such as lectures and small conferences. In addition to housing more than twenty undergraduates each year, the house also includes a seminar room used for classes and lectures. Graduate students in the department and native speakers of French serve as resident assistants and help to maintain the use of French in a congenial atmosphere.
Besides university housing, both apartments and houses are available in the immediate area and in the surrounding countryside. Current graduate students are occupying two-bedroom apartments ($600-$650/month), one-bedroom and studio apartments ($350-$700/month), multiple-occupancy houses ($250-$375/month), and the dependencies of local estates and farms. Prices and included utilities may vary. Questions regarding housing can be directed to email@example.com.
Financial support for graduate studies -- in the form of fellowships or graduate instructorships -- is awarded to a limited number of entering students on the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee. There is no special application procedure or form for financial aid. Every applicant is automatically considered.
Applicants to the program are considered for a number of fellowships. Stipend amounts approximately cover tuition and basic living expenses. After the first year, students in good standing may be considered for part-time teaching (three to six hours per semester) as Graduate Instructors. Tuition is waived entirely (on a semester-by-semester basis) for graduate instructors who teach full six-hour loads. These waivers apply only to courses taken to fulfill degree requirements. The department offers competitive fellowships to Ph.D. candidates in the final year, to permit a period of work on the dissertation without teaching responsibilities. A limited number of teaching appointments are also available during the summer session. Financial aid, including teaching appointments, is granted and reviewed annually and based on demonstrated teaching competence. Aid beyond the offer tendered with the letter of acceptance to the program is not guaranteed; its availability in a given semester depends on allocations from the central administration of the University.
Financial aid in other forms (such as student loans and work-study programs)
is available from sources outside the department. For information on loans
and grants not administered by the department, please contact the university's