The French and Francophone Studies Program offers three degree options at the graduate level for students with a variety of backgrounds and career objectives: the Master of Arts, the Master of Arts Portfolio (an option under the MA), and the Master of Arts in Teaching.
The MA program has an excellent record in preparing students for admission to some of the top PhD programs in the country, sending students just since 2009 to doctoral programs at Yale, Princeton, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Northwestern, Penn State, Tulane, University of Connecticut and UMass Amherst. And because of the flexible, interdisciplinary nature of our programs, we have prepared students for doctoral programs not only in French, but also in history, applied linguistics, education, comparative literature and political science, as well as for careers in translation and interpretation. Likewise, our MAT program has prepared students for positions at some of the best public and private secondary schools throughout the region, as well as for doctoral programs in education.
Master of Arts
The Master of Arts (MA) in French and Francophone Studies is a two-year, 30-credit program that serves students who have a strong preparation in French at the undergraduate level (a major or possibly a minor) and who seek to undertake more advanced work in a humanistic discipline and gain a more thorough knowledge of the broad French intellectual tradition, including French language and linguistics, French and Francophone literatures and cultures, and literary and cultural theory. The program is designed to offer a rigorous educational experience not only to students intending to pursue a PhD program, but also to those interested in careers in fields in which expertise in French is directly relevant or a valuable complement: government and public service, communications, research, public health, the hospitality industry, fashion, business and international relations, translation and interpretation, as well as high-school and community-college teaching. The program includes both thesis and non-thesis options.
Master of Arts Portfolio
The Master of Arts Portfolio (an option under the MA) is a two-year, 33-credit program that enables students with particularly well-defined objectives to construct a flexible, individualized course of study under the guidance and supervision of a faculty committee. It is especially appropriate for those who are interested in designing a program with an interdisciplinary emphasis, those who would like to pursue advanced research on a particular topic or area in preparation for a PhD program, those who have a specific professional goal or career objective that combines French with one or more other fields of study, or those who have an unusual background in French, such as extensive residence and work experience in a French-speaking country, and who would like to integrate this experience with the intellectual discipline of graduate study. The MA Portfolio culminates in a thesis project.
Master of Arts in Teaching
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in French is a two-year, 47-credit program designed to provide graduate study in French and to prepare students to earn a teaching license in French for grades 5-12. The MAT program leads to a professional degree that combines essential aspects of the field of education studies with the academic tradition of the Master of Arts degree. It aims for balanced competence in the fields of French studies and the teaching of foreign languages, culminating in a student teaching practicum during the last semester of the program. Those seeking admission to the program should normally possess a BA degree with a strong major in French, although candidates with different but equivalent preparation will be considered. The program requires students to pass all parts of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) during the first semester of the program, as well as the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview with a rating of at least “advanced low.” Note that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which facilitates licensure reciprocity in all member states. However, the College of Education at UMass Amherst makes no guarantees that this program meets teacher licensure requirements in any state other than Massachusetts.
The program offers financial aid in the form of Teaching Assistantships that cover the full four-semester length of both the MA and MAT programs. No separate application is required to apply for a Teaching Assistantship; simply check the appropriate box on the Graduate School application. In exchange for teaching in our first- and second-year undergraduate French language program, Teaching Assistants receive a full tuition credit as well as a living stipend, which makes the MA and MAT programs financially accessible to students of virtually all backgrounds. In addition, the Assistantship covers 95% of the cost of the graduate student health insurance premium (or 95% for the family plan) and includes excellent dental, vision and wellness benefits. Teaching Assistants are responsible for paying other mandatory fees for graduate students, currently totaling approximately $768 per semester, in addition to a one-time Graduate Entering Fee of approximately $507, which is due the first semester. The program also offers the possibility of teaching in our summer online French language courses, which provides an opportunity to earn additional financial support while learning how to build and teach courses in the fast-growing field of online education.
The French and Francophone Studies program has maintained a graduate student exchange program with the Université de Toulouse since the early 1980s. Each year, we send one of our MA or MAT students, chosen on a competitive basis, to teach English and take courses in Toulouse, and one student from the graduate program in English in Toulouse comes to study and teach French in Amherst.
To receive an electronic copy of our French Graduate Handbook, which contains detailed information about admissions and requirements for each of our programs, please contact the Graduate Program Director:
Prof. Luke Bouvier
(Note to Gmail users: Gmail accounts frequently filter out email messages from many UMass addresses and mark them as spam. If you write to request the French Graduate Handbook, please check your spam folder for a response.)
If you are interested in applying, you can do so through the UMass Amherst Graduate School’s online admissions page. The application deadline for fall admissions is February 1, but we will consider late applications at our discretion.