MA & MALT in Romance languages with an emphasis in French

The School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures offers two Master’s of Arts programs in French, with one track in French 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 the SLLC Director of Language Education, 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 cultural studies, literary, and linguistics coursework to offer thorough preparation for the job market, and students receive 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 standard MA examination in their major field of emphasis (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

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 masters applicants. At a minimum, three of these courses must be in literature. If the faculty determines a deficiency, 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 
  • 10-15 page writing sample in language of desired degree program, must be uploaded to the online application
  • 500-word Personal Statement, uploaded to the online application
  • 3 letters of recommendation (submitted through Apply Yourself or mailed to the Romance Languages Department, 143 Arts & Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211)
  • 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.  

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 completed 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

All graduate students in the department may choose, or the director of graduate studies will assign 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.

Financial Support and Teaching Assistantships

Some 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, 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 enough to 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. 

Possible Fifth Semester of Support

In exceptional cases, students in good standing — with no grades of Incomplete and unproblematic teaching — may receive a fifth semester of support, at the discretion of the faculty and depending on budgetary and teaching needs. Students must submit all requests for a fifth semester of support in writing to the director of graduate studies. No student will receive more than five semesters of support.

Normal Teaching Load vs. Course Load

The minimum teaching assignment for MA candidates holding instructorships is 2 courses per semester. 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 that grade of Incomplete remains on their academic record.

Master’s Thesis

The writing of a thesis 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

Students 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, one of whom should be from a department other than SLLC.

Comprehensive Examination for the MA degree

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

Dr. Dawn Heston
Director of Language Education & MALT program