French and Film and Media Studies

Combined Degree Program in French and Film and Media Studies


Application to the Combined Degree Program is done through the Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Admissions.  To apply online, please visit the website at  Interested students must designate both French and Film and Media Studies on their applications.  All applicants should make sure that the material they submit with the application clearly addresses the expectations and missions of both graduate programs. As concerns the writing samples, this means at least part of the writing samples must be in French.  All applications, including the writing samples, are read by the admissions committees of both French and Film and Media Studies. 


In years one and two the student should complete 16 courses.  Eight of the seminars should be in French, one of which would be Introduction to Old French; and seven of the seminars would be in Film and Media, including the two core curriculum courses required by Film and Media. The remaining seminar can be in any field or department.  Cross-listed seminars may count towards fulfillment of the requirements in both French and Film and Media, but would not reduce the total of 16 necessary for preparation for professional work in both disciplines. The student’s precise plan of study will be worked out in consultation with the Directors of Graduate Studies (DGS) of French and Film and Media Studies.

Language Requirement

Students in the Combined French and Film and Media Studies Ph.D. program are required to have near-native French and English proficiency at admission.  Proficiency (equivalent to one year of college study) in a third language approved by the DGSs as relevant to the student’s research is required. This requirement is to be satisfied before the prospectus is presented in one of these ways:

1.     a transcript from undergraduate or summer study, showing two semesters or equivalent with grades of B or better (work must have been completed no more than 3 years earlier). The DGS may require detailed information about the coursework.

2.     passing a reading/translation exam administered by a language department at Yale (Spanish, German, etc.)

3.     passing, with a grade of B or HP or better, a language-for-reading course given at Yale at the graduate level (e.g. German for Reading)

4.     passing, with a grade of B or HP or better, a seminar at Yale conducted in the target language (undergraduate courses included)

5.     in Creole and other languages as appropriate: passing an oral proficiency test administered by the Yale Center for Language Study

6.     the DGS in French, at his/her discretion, may accept other evidence of language competence, such as (but not limited to) completion of secondary education at a school that principally uses the target language. 


In the years the student is required to assist in teaching, the student divides his or her training between the French Department and Film and Media Studies, teaching one class of first- or second year French in one of the years of teacher training, and assisting as a teaching fellow in Film and Media in two film courses such as Introduction to Film, Film Theory, or World Cinema.  The student is free to choose the order of his or her teaching in French or Film and Media, but may not mix the teaching in the two programs in a single year.

Qualifying Examinations

During the third year, two exams must be taken: A) one-hour Film and Media Studies canon examination covering key primary and secondary texts in Film and Media Studies, and administered by two members of the Film and Media Studies graduate committee; B) A two-hour joint French and Film and Media Studies oral qualifying exam to be held no later than the spring break. For this exam, the candidate will meet with the DGSs of French and Film and Media Studies by the outset of the fourth semester to agree on the five topics to be prepared during the following year, paying attention to historical and geographical range as well as to methodological and theoretical approaches. Of the five questions making up the oral, one must emphasize Film and Media Studies and one must include both films and literary texts. These questions would ordinarily be related to the topic of the dissertation. The other questions should emphasize French literary issues. The exam also includes a fifteen minute close analysis of a literary text which will be communicated to the student twenty-four hours before the exam.


No later than 2 weeks before the end of the sixth semester (end of the third year), the student should submit a draft of the dissertation prospectus to a committee composed of the dissertation director(s), and at least two other professors. The prospectus committee will consist of three faculty members, including the dissertation director(s) and at least one member each from French and Film and Media Studies. The professors on the dissertation committee need not be the same as those on the Oral Exam committee.  The dissertation prospectus (not including the bibliography) should not exceed 10 pages. A formal prospectus defense must take place no later than two weeks before the end of the sixth semester (third year) of study.   Once approved by the prospectus committee, the prospectus will be submitted through the DGS to the graduate faculty of the Departments of French and of Film and Media Studies for a vote on final approval and advancement to candidacy.


More than one dissertation adviser is permitted and indeed encouraged, most usually one co-director from French and one from Film and Media Studies. The official readers of the finished dissertation need not be members of the original ad hoc prospectus committee, but will include at least one member of the Department of French and at least one member of Film and Media Studies. In the semester before final submission of the dissertation, a “defense of method” is held; for details see the web site of Film and Media Studies.