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McMaster University Faculty of Humanities PhD program in Francophonie and Diversity
McMaster University Faculty of Humanities

PhD program in Francophonie and Diversity

Hamilton, Canada

4 Years


Full time

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Sep 2024

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It is an interdisciplinary program of four years, organized around literatures and cultures of the French-speaking world, including France. We invite candidates with a traditional master's degree in French studies, as well as candidates whose course has been less typical, provided that their file meets the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The objective of the program is to help students gain a comprehensive vision of the Francophone world through time, space and different socio-cultural discourses and practices. The program also seeks to facilitate their professional integration into an increasingly globalized world. With the help of their thesis committee, successful candidates will have the opportunity to create their own academic background.

One of the salient features of the program is the possibility of a stay of up to one year in a francophone country or region (in Europe, Canada, the United States, Africa, Asia or the Caribbean). The purpose of this scientific stay, which can be carried out in the third year, is to advance his research, enrich his professional and personal experience, and explore the diversity of the French-speaking world. While preparing students for a university career, we recognize that in the twenty-first century it is no longer the only outlet for doctoral studies in French. Other sectors of professional activity, such as international relations, the media, human resources, NGOs, business, diplomacy, the environment or the arts, are looking for highly qualified Francophone employees. program to interdisciplinarity and diversity, we want to help PhD students to fit in the profession of their choice.

Fields of study and research

The PhD program in "Francophonie and Diversity" includes the following areas:

  1. Francophone Theories, Languages and Literatures * of the 20th and 21st Centuries
  2. Colonial and Post-Colonial Contexts of the Francophone World
  3. Speeches and representations of the Ancien Régime and the nineteenth century

* NB: This name includes France and other French-speaking countries and regions.

Program requirements


All doctoral students must complete six courses of three units in the first year of the program. The French 705 course "Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory" is mandatory. Candidates who have already taken a similar course during their masters' studies may apply for a credit transfer by submitting the weekly program for this course and the reading list to the Graduate Studies Committee. If the credit is granted, they will replace the sixth compulsory course with one of the following options:

  • another course offered by the department
  • English 730 - Directed Readings
  • a course offered by another department, as long as it is relevant to the student's area of research

The former Masters of McMaster who are continuing the PhD will follow the same procedure.

The list of courses can be found in the following section of the SGS directory: Faculty of Humanities - English - French Courses . Note that not all seminars listed are offered every year.

Two additional required courses are offered by SGS: SGS 101 Academic Research Integrity and SGS 201 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This requirement must be met during the first month of study, ie by the end of September.

Summary exams

Doctoral candidates choose two areas of concentration. The first is literary. Students must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of primary sources, methods of analysis and critical issues relevant to the field. The second examination is theoretical or interdisciplinary. Students must demonstrate their knowledge of either (a) theoretical frameworks (postcolonialism, gender or socio-sexuation studies, queer theory, psychoanalytic criticism, narratology, semiotics, reception theory, etc.), or (b) ) interdisciplinary relationships between literature and other areas relevant to the research being considered (philosophy, medicine, film, arts, material culture, etc.). Full-time students must take these exams for the first 20 months of their doctoral program. Instead of a dissertation, students can write an original article that must be submitted to a recognized journal, ensuring peer review of the article. The minimum length of the article is 7,000 words.

The thesis proposal

Students prepare a 25-page dissertation project by consulting their research director. This project is then evaluated by the thesis committee. An oral defense of the project, carried out before this committee, must take place during the first 24 months of the program, before the candidates undertake an independent research and the writing of their thesis.

Third language requirement

Before the end of the program, candidates must pass a passive comprehension test in a language other than English and French. The choice of language is made by the candidates, in consultation with their committee. The exam consists of a translation into French or English of a text of about one page. With the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of French, this examination can be replaced by:

  • a language course of six undergraduate, intermediate or advanced units with a final grade of at least B
  • EDU 750/751 Principles and Practices of Teaching by the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The description of this course can be found in the following section of the SGS directory: Faculty of Humanities - English - French Courses .
  • a three-unit doctoral level course in another relevant discipline related to candidate research


During their studies, doctoral students must participate in at least four professionalization activities (the milestones). These activities are designed to foster the acquisition of transferable skills in different workplaces.

The doctoral thesis

During the third and fourth year of the program, candidates write a scholarly dissertation of about 250 pages (including notes and the bibliography), and they support it during an oral examination. This one is normally done in French.

The stages of the program

First year

  • Complete the 6 courses of three units in the first 12 months of the program
  • Successfully pass a research methods workshop
  • Choose a thesis director (at the end of the first year)
  • Identify two areas of focus by consulting committee members
  • Return the annual progress report (before 12 months)

Second year

  • Successful completion of the exams in the first 20 months of the program. Support a 25-page dissertation project by the end of the first 24 months.
  • Return the annual progress report (before the 24th month)

Third year

  • Submit the drafts of the chapters of the thesis.
  • Opportunity to study, do research or internship in a French-speaking country.
  • Return the annual progress report (before the 36th month)

Fourth year

Submit the final copy of the thesis; support; submit the final digital copy of the thesis to MacSphere.


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