Yale’s Department of French offers the Ph.D. in French literature, criticism, theory, and culture from the early Middle Ages to the present as well as in the French-language literatures of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Maghreb. With leading scholars in all fields of French and Francophone literature, Yale was ranked by the 2010 NRC survey (R ranking) as the top North American graduate program in French.
At the undergraduate level, the Department of French has two distinct but complementary missions: to provide instruction in the French language at all levels of competence, and to lead students to a broad appreciation and deep understanding of the literatures and cultures of France and other French-speaking countries.
The major in French is a liberal arts major, designed for those who wish to study one of the world’s greatest and richest literatures in depth. The department offers courses devoted to authors, works, and literary and cultural movements that span ten centuries and four continents. The curriculum also includes interdisciplinary courses on relations between literature and other areas of study such as history, law, religion, politics, and the arts. Majors are encouraged to explore all periods and genres of literature in French, as well as a wide variety of critical approaches.