BA/MA Program

Do you love your French courses?  Are you beginning to fear the day when they come to an end?  Do you dream of a career in which you use French regularly and/or travel to French-speaking lands?  The French BA/MA (4+1) might be in your future…

Program Description

The BA/MA program is designed to equip future graduates with exceptional cross-cultural understanding, keen analytical capacities, excellent, multi-lingual writing skills, and near-native fluency.

Over three semesters, beginning in the spring of their fourth year at UVA, students in the program enroll in 5000-level courses and complete a final exam.

The UVA French department offers a wide range of courses on the relationship between French culture, society and expression of the human condition (in literature, in language, in visual media). Intrinsic to these courses is the development of skills that will serve students in a variety of professional fields: analytical, creative and critical thinking; problem-solving (individually and collaboratively); the capacity to recognize and transcend one's own cultural perspective in order to better understand other points of view; the ability to make connections to other times and places.

The final exam allows students to develop a small independent project, merging their interests and goals with the readings they do in class and for the exam.

Program Requirements

After successful completion of the UVA BA in French (totaling 30 credit hours), 10 additional graduate courses at the 5000 level are required for the MA (30 credit hours). Nine of those courses must be taken in the French department.  A final MA Exam is also required.


Students accepted into the program will enroll in two 5000-level courses in their fourth year of undergraduate study, after which they will matriculate fully into the MA.  Note that these two 5000-level courses will not count towards the 120 credits needed to graduate with a BA from the College, nor do they count toward the major in French.

Students are strongly encouraged to enquire with the directors of the Lyon and Rabat Summer Abroad programs as to the availability of graduate-level courses during the summer between their fourth and fifth years, and to participate in one of these programs if possible, taking two courses during the summer.

During the fifth year, BA/MA students will enroll in eight 5000-level courses (or six if they have taken two graduate courses on the Lyon or Rabat program).  They may enroll in one of these courses as a reading course, for which they will do all the reading and participate actively in class, but not complete the written work.

Of the ten required courses, nine must be taken in the French department; three of these nine must focus on the period before 1800 and three on the period after 1750.  Students wishing to enroll in a course offered by another department must first petition the Director of Graduate Studies, with an explanation of the relevance of the course for their studies or career goals.

By GSAS regulation, B- is the lowest grade for which a student will receive credit for these courses, and students must maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 (B) to make satisfactory progress.

MA Examination

The final one-hour MA exam, conducted entirely in French with two examiners, will consist of a twenty-minute presentation of work not already graded in a course and forty minutes of questioning on the presentation and on a reading list. 

Students are encouraged to develop a small project (the presentation) linking their interests and career goals to their course readings and to a broader field of French-language literature and culture. 

The reading list will be composed of two parts:

  1. a list, in chronological order, of all the readings for all the courses that the candidate has taken at UVA in the French department, and
  2. a set list which the student chooses from three options: a) Medieval-16th century OR b) 17th-18th century OR c) 19th-21st century.The latter lists will consist of ten primary texts AND two to three works that provide an overview of all French-language literary or cultural history and that will be the same on all the field lists.

Eligibility and Application Procedures

Eligibility: French majors in their third year who will have completed at least one 4000-level course by May, and who have at least a 3.5 GPA in the major at the time of application are eligible to apply.

Fourth-Year students who are on track to complete all the requirements for the major, but who missed the preceding year’s application deadline, should contact the Director of Graduate Studies in French to request expedited admission.

Applications should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies by April 15. 

Required application documents:

1) a single PDF, including the applicant’s last name in the title, with

  • the application form (click here);
  • a 1-2 page statement of purpose outlining your interests in French Studies and motivation for pursuing the MA;
  • a transcript of your undergraduate work so far at UVA;
  • a writing sample, in French, such as an academic paper (or two) that reflects your intellectual interests (10-15 pages total);

2) Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic work in advanced French literature and culture courses at UVA. These should be sent directly from the recommender to the DGS.