The oral presentation, required of all first-year students at the end of the first term, consists of a brief critical reading of a literary text in French, followed by questioning related to the text. Students are allowed a choice from three texts. The presentation is given in French and questions are answered in the language in which they are formulated.
The purpose of the examination is to test students’ knowledge and capacity to conduct research across the six periods taught in the department (Middle Ages, Renaissance, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th-21st centuries) as well as francophone literature.
Students study a common list of literary and theoretical works. A written exam takes place in the spring semester of the second year, consisting of two essay questions, one written in French and one in English.
In consultation with the adviser and faculty in the relevant fields, students formulate an individual topic and develop an accompanying reading list. The topic is broadly conceived and can center on an author, period, genre, problem, or movement. A two-page statement of the topic is accompanied by a reading list of approximately 70 items divided into three sections: (i) primary literary works; (ii) scholarship providing context (historical, literary, or cultural); (iii) theoretical works.
The written exam takes place in the fifth semester and consists of two essay questions. The oral exam takes place two days after submission of the written part and consists of discussion with a committee composed of the adviser and two other faculty members.
A dissertation proposal takes place in the sixth semester and consists of three parts:
(i) A written prospectus submitted to the faculty one week before the oral presentation. This document must not exceed 3500 words, excluding a basic bibliography. It may take the form of an explanatory essay, a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, or a combination of the two.
(ii) A twenty-minute oral presentation in the language in which the student expects to write the dissertation.
(iii) A discussion of the project with departmental faculty.
Final Public Oral Examination
Once the completed dissertation has been recommended for acceptance by the two appointed readers, there is an examination consisting of a formal public lecture of thirty minutes describing the work undertaken and achieved in the writing of the dissertation as well as questions from the examining committee and other faculty.