French and African American Studies

Combined Degree Program in French and African American Studies


The combined PhD in French and African American Studies is most appropriate for students who intend to concentrate in and write a dissertation on the literature of the Francophone Caribbean. Students must complete all the normal requirements for the PhD in French (except Latin, noted below) as well as those specified by the PhD program in African American Studies.

Please note that the course requirements for this combined degree have been changed (as of 1/22/2016)

Students take 16 term courses, including (in African American Studies) Theorizing Racial Formations (AFAM 505a/AMST 643a), which is a required course for all first-year graduate students in the combined program; and three other graduate-level African American Studies courses: (1) a history course, (2) a social science course, and (3) a course in African American literature or culture. Ten of the remaining twelve courses are devoted to the full spectrum of periods and fields in French and Francophone literature and culture; the two remaining courses can be in any field.

Other Requirements
Students fulfill the French Department’s language requirement by substituting for Latin either a Creole language of the Caribbean or Spanish, and by demonstrating competence in a second foreign language that is directly relevant to the study of the Caribbean.

In the third year (after the 16 courses are completed), students enroll in the African American Studies Dissertation Prospectus Workshop (AFAM 895), a two-semester course.

Qualifying Examination

Students follow the instructions for the French department oral examinations, but half of the questions are devoted to African American materials.

The student’s oral examinations normally include two topics of African American content. The dissertation prospectus must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies both in the French Department and in African American Studies, and final approval of the dissertation must come from both departments. For further details see African American Studies.