The School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures offers two Master’s of Arts programs in French, with one track in French literary and cultural studies (the MA in Romance Languages with an emphasis in French) and another track specializing in teaching French as a foreign language, the Master’s of Arts in Foreign Languages (MALT) program, administered by Dr. Dawn Heston.  In both tracks, students benefit from a variety of coursework with specialists in French cultural studies whose research and teaching focus on Francophone Africa & critical race studies; Haiti, Creole, & Caribbean studies; film; 19th-century cultural studies; gender studies; humans, cyborgs, & AI in the post-Anthropocene; and medieval Mediterranean studies.  All students take a variety of courses in cultural studies, literature, and linguistics that provide a thorough preparation for either additional academic pursuits at the PhD level, or for employment in a variety of managerial ad international posts. Students also receive pedagogical instruction and practice teaching in our program.

Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours at the graduate-level to earn their master's degree. All incoming SLLC graduate students will have the opportunity to get to know others in their cohort by taking a sequence of introductory courses together, including Intro to Grad Studies, Foreign Language Teaching Methodology and Introduction to Critical Analysis.  Students have the opportunity to partake in a vibrant Francophone community in Columbia, which is home to two French immersion preschools as well as several community and campus groups focused on nurturing connections among French speakers.   


Graduate Minors & Certificates

Students may also elect a minor field of study, which requires a minimum of 9 hours of course work completed in another department or other departments. Students interested in such minors should consult the section titled Plan of Study in the Graduate Catalog. These minor fields appear on students’ plan of study, but not on their transcript. Students electing minors must complete the requirements for the standard MA in French. Faculty in French have joint appointments and serve as affiliate faculty in many programs with graduate certificates and minors, including: Medieval & Renaissance Studies; Film Studies; Black Studies; & Women’s & Gender Studies.


Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: February 15

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in field of major
  • Masters applicants must have a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum TOEFL scores (international applicants): 80
  • Minimum IELTS scores: 6.5
  • Minimum Duolingo scores: 115

Note: Applicants must also demonstrate adequate preparation in advanced language and literature courses. This will require their having completed at least four courses equivalent to a 4000-level course for MA applicants. If the faculty determines a deficiency in coursework, they will require that the student complete remedial course work in literature during the first year of enrollment. The director of graduate studies will inform students of these additional requirements at the time of their admission.

Required Application Materials

To be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies 

  • All required Graduate Studies documents (including TOEFL scores)
  • Official Transcript 
  • Brief (no more than 12 pages) writing sample in language of desired degree program uploaded to the online application
  • 500-word Personal Statement, uploaded to the online application
  • 3 letters of recommendation (submitted via the online application)
  • Résumé or CV


Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours at the graduate-level to earn their MA degree. At least 15 hours must be in courses at the 8000-level or above. Students in the French MA program are required to enroll in seminars offered by the French section throughout their tenure at MU. 

For the MA with an emphasis in French, the total number of credit hours in special readings (7960), problems (8085) or any combination of both may not exceed twelve. The number of credit hours in special readings (7960) within the student’s major field may not exceed three per semester. 

Graduate Instructors with no pedagogical experience or those who have not completed a no graduate course in foreign language teaching methodology will be required to take FRENCH 7120 Foreign Language Teaching Methodology.  Non-native speakers will be required to complete an online proficiency assessment with the appropriate course coordinator before a decision on their admission status is finalized by the department. 

Choosing an Advisor

At the start of their first semester of graduate study, aAll graduate students in the department may choose, or the director of graduate studies will assign for them, an academic advisor at the start of their first semester of graduate study. Students must choose an academic advisor by the end of their first semester of graduate study.

Submitting Your Plan of Study to the Graduate School Office

MA candidates must submit a completed M-1 Plan of Study form to the Graduate School at least one semester before taking their MA examinations or submitting their MA thesis.

Financial Support and Teaching Assistantships

Most incoming graduate students are offered paid positions as Teaching Assistants, with the initial one-year appointment renewable for a second academic year. As a form of financial support, the TA-ship is subject to guidelines established by the university: each student holding a TA-ship must be actively pursuing a graduate degree, must be in good standing, and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. 

Minimum salaries for 0.5 TA appointments are listed at the Graduate School  website. In addition to an insurance premium subsidy, TA-ships at .5 FTE (half-time) carry with them a tuition waiver (i.e., meaning that students do not pay tuition for courses taken toward the MA). In addition, the TA-ship provides a monthly stipend during the regular academic year (September to May), which most students find is enoughadequate to cover cover their costs while living in Columbia. Finally, the department offers competitive grants for travel and research materials, in order to support graduate students’ professional development. 

TAPIF Partner Program

We offer two TAPIF Fellowships of $5000 for entry into our Master's program. In addition to the award, graduate instructors in our program teach one course per semester. Benefits include a full tuition waiver, health insurance, and salary (currently around $19,000/year). As members of a vibrant, multi-cultural community, you will also have the opportunity to work with faculty and graduate cohort in our ground-breaking Afro-Romance Institute and newly formed Interdisciplinary Migration Studies Institute. We offer two degree tracks in French: 1) MALT (Masters in Language Teaching) and, 2) Culture and Literature track. Applications are due by January 31. Application fee waived for TAPIF alumni. For more information, contact

Normal Teaching Load vs. Course Load

The regular minimum teaching assignment for MA candidates holding instructorships is one five-credit2 courses per semester. On occasion, advanced students have the opportunity to teach two three credit courses which comes with a proportionally larger TA stipend. International students may never teach more than 2 courses per semester owing to visa restrictions. All MA candidates must be registered in a minimum of 6 hours of course work for each semester in which they hold an instructorship. Students may enroll in up to 6 hours per semester of 8080 (Readings) if they have completed all their course work and are preparing for their MA exams.

Annual Review

The Section Directors of Graduate Studies meet with faculty during the fall and spring semesters to evaluate the teaching and academic performance of all graduate students. The Director of Graduate Studies informs all students in writing of their status at the end of each semester. Students who fail to remove a grade of Incomplete will be limited to teaching one course per semester for as long as that grade ofthe Incomplete remains on their academic record.


Requirements for the MALT in Romance Languages can be found in the University course catalog. A description of the MALT program can be found on the SLLC webpage.

MA in Romance Languages (French): Master’s Thesis

Students pursuing an MA in Romance Languages (French) will complete a Master’s The writing of a thesis. A minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours of 8090 Research will be allowed for the thesis. Students are urged to obtain the Graduate School’s guidelines for thesis/dissertation writing as the thesis must conform to the Office of Graduate Studies' formatting and style specifications.

The thesis must meet the following requirements: 

  • Students must submit a written proposal for their thesis topic for approval by their Thesis Committee (see below) in the semester before graduationin the third semester of the MA program.
  • The Master's thesis is based on coursework taken at MU and should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of French  and Francophone language, literature, or culture.
  • The thesis topic should be chosen in consultation with your assigned advisor.
  • The thesis must follow the appropriate formatting guidelines and adhere to academic standards; 
  • MA  is optional. A minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours of 8090 Research will be allowed for the thesis. Students are urged to obtain the Graduate School’s guidelines for thesis/dissertation writing as the thesis must conform to the Office of Graduate Studies' formatting and style specifications.

Thesis Committee

During their second semester, sStudents choosing to write a thesis must name a thesis committee consisting of no fewer than three members of the doctoral faculty at the University of Missouri. The committee will be composed of their academic advisor (Chair), a faculty member from any SLLC language group, and an additional faculty member who may be from , one of whom should be from a department other than SLLC.

Guidelines for the length, content, and scope of an MA thesis in French. 


  • The length of an MA thesis can vary, but it is typically between 50 to 100 pages, excluding references and appendices.


  • The thesis is an original, self-authored scholary work.
  • It should demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and understanding of a specific topic within the field of French and Francophone language, literature, or culture.
  • It should showcase your ability to conduct independent research, analyze primary and secondary sources, and present a coherent argument.
  • The content should be original and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field.
  • Consider including relevant theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and critical analysis of primary texts or cultural phenomena.
  • Include sources and critical perspectives drawn from your coursework.


  • The scope of the thesis should be manageable within the timeframe and resources available to you.
  • Select a topic that is specific enough to be explored thoroughly but broad enough to allow for meaningful analysis and discussion.
  • Discuss your thesis topic with your faculty advisor to ensure it is appropriate and achievable within the given timeframe.

Language and Style:

  • Write the thesis in academic French and adhere to grammatical rules, vocabulary, and conventions of scholarly writing. Native speakers of French may choose to write their thesis in English.
  • Maintain a formal and objective tone throughout the thesis.
  • Ensure that your arguments are logical, well-structured, and supported by evidence.
  • Cite and reference your sources accurately using an appropriate citation style (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).

Research Process:

  • You should conduct a thorough literature review to familiarize yourself with existing scholarship on your chosen topic. Use your coursework as a starting point.
  • Develop a clear research question or thesis statement that will guide your investigation.
  • Collect and analyze relevant primary and secondary sources, such as literary texts, critical works, historical documents, or cultural artifacts.
  • Organize your research findings and develop a coherent argument that answers your research question or supports your thesis statement.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it is crucial to consult with your faculty advisor or thesis committee for specific guidelines and expectations. 

Degree requirements for the MALT in Romance Languages 

All candidates for the Master of Arts degree must pass a 6-hour written examination based on the MA reading list. The examination is given twice a year, generally in late October and late March.

The French Master’s examination consists of six 1-hour parts covering literature of the Middle Ages/Renaissance, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and two of the following three periods in the contemporary period: twentieth century French Literature, twentieth century Francophone Literature, contemporary literary theory.

At least half the examination must be written in the candidate’s language of specialization.

Grading of the Comprehensive Exam

The MA examination is graded as follows: High Pass, Pass, and Fail. In order to receive a passing grade on any section of the examination, a student must receive passing grades from two thirds of the examining committee. To pass the entire examination, students must receive passing grades on all sections. With permission from the examining committee, students who fail part of the examination may retake only the failed section or sections of the examination. Two failures of the examination, in whole or in part, will terminate candidacy for the degree and result in dismissal from the program.


Prof. Mary Jo Muratore
Director of Graduate Studies & Section Director of Graduate Studies in French