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Prospective Applicants

The Department of French welcomes applications from all students eager to pursue advanced study in French-language literature and culture.  We are deeply committed to fostering a dynamic and supportive community for scholars from a diverse array of backgrounds. 

General Admissions Information

General admissions information and on-line graduate application form available here
Note that an application fee waiver is available for applicants from Minority Serving Institutions or who meet other criteria.

The Application Packet

For the PhD program, applications must be submitted online by January 15th. For the MA as a "Stand-alone degree", we accept applications through May 1, with priority review of applications and admission decisions beginning on January 15. For more information about application deadlines see here

Applications must contain the following items:

  1. The online admissions application. Our online application system asks you to identify whether you are applying to the MA or PhD program.  Please check the MA box ONLY if you are interested in the MA as a “stand-alone degree”.  If you currently hold the BA degree and are interested in the combined MA+ PhD, OR if you currently hold an MA in French from another institution and would like to pursue doctoral studies at UVA, please check the PhD box on the application.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic work, preferably in advanced literature or civilization courses.
  3. A writing sample in French, preferably an academic research paper or an excerpt of an undergraduate thesis that suggests the applicant's research interests. The sample should give readers an indication of the applicant's capacity for critical thinking and scholarly writing. It should reflect the skill level of the author and should not have been systematically corrected by a native speaker or professor. Applicants may choose to send one or two writing samples, but the total should not exceed 25 pages.
  4. A personal statement of the applicant's intellectual interests, academic preparation, and motivation for undertaking graduate studies in French and Francophone Studies. Applicants to the MA program who wish to pursue the pedagogy option must indicate this intention and explain their relevant experience.This is your opportunity to convey to the admissions committee what experiences in the past and hopes for the future motivate your desire to take courses and, for applicants to the doctoral program, pursue research in the Department of French at UVA.  How would the strengths of our department and university support your intellectual and professional goals?  An effective statement highlights connections among the application packet pieces and between the application and resources at UVA to argue persuasively that the candidate is prepared and committed to engage fully in our graduate program and will benefit from what we have to offer.
  5. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required for applicants who are not native English speakers.  Students who have completed an undergraduate degree at an institution where the primary language of instruction is English are exempt from the TOEFL requirement, but must write to the Director of Graduate Studies to inform her/him of this.

Applicants from abroad should contact the Admissions Office of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences to request current information regarding any special rules for the admission of foreign students. The present rules require admission of foreign students by April 15 preceding registration. Foreign students should also consider that applying for student visas and presenting financial guarantees may require extra time.
All applicants should notify the Director of Graduate Studies by email (see contact information below) after submitting their application to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Also, since their transcripts may not be complete when they submit their application in December, they should notify the Director of Graduate Studies of any French courses they are taking (or intend to take) during the year in which they apply.

TAPIF Fellowship

The Department of French at the University of Virginia welcomes applications from former and current TAPIF participants. In addition to our regular funding package, which is offered to all applicants admitted to our PhD program, a $5,000 start-up fellowship may be awarded to one qualified TAPIF alumnus/a who is accepted.

Additionally, TAPIF alumni are eligible for an application fee waiver. To receive the waiver:

1) Begin your application (but don’t submit it!) at;
2) Send an email message, with your CV attached, to  indicating that you are a TAPIF participant or aluma/i who is applying to the graduate programs in French;
3) Go to, select “Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Fee Waiver” and use the same login credentials that you used for your application (for your fee waiver basis, select “Department Code” and enter “TAPIF”).

DEADLINE: You must complete all three steps by January 1.

You should receive an email by January 10 letting you know that your fee waiver has been approved and then you will be able to submit your application without being prompted to pay the fee.

General Requirements for Admission

  1. To be considered for admission, an applicant must have at least a 3.0 both for their general GPA and for their major GPA; grades earned in advanced literature courses and during the final two years of undergraduate study will receive special attention.
  2. Since our graduate courses presuppose some acquaintance with major texts in French literature and with critical vocabulary in French, applicants to the MA program must have completed at least five undergraduate courses in French literature or French civilization/cultural studies, while applicants to the PhD program must have completed at least five undergraduate courses in French literature or French civilization/cultural studies (for those entering without an MA from another institution) and at least eight graduate courses in French (for those entering with an MA from another institution).

Contact Information

Applicants should first read the information above and then address any questions they have to:  

Claire Lyu 
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of French
University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA 22904