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Degree requirements

Research fields | PhD degree requirements | Comprehensive exams | PhD Thesis | Schedule for PhD programme of study

Research fields

The PhD program is comprised of three distinct research fields. Students may be admitted into one of the three fields.

  1. Digital archiving, editing, and publishing in a Francophone context
    This unique field includes the study of manuscript retrieval and editing, new media studies, the study of the impact of digital media on French and Francophone literatures and cultures, questions on the history of the book and the e-book, digital and multimedia teaching of French and Francophone literatures and cultures, and also the archiving of book illustrations and other cultural material such as letters, personal archives, and private texts.
  2. Early modern French literary studies and theory
    Early modern French literary studies and theory have long been a traditional strength of the Department of French Studies at the University of Waterloo. A cluster of internationally known scholars work in innovative areas in the period ranging from the early Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century. These areas include the study and publishing of texts produced by women, research and archiving of travel literature and epistolary documents, the study of early image projections in revolutionary France, and the examination of the importance of print culture in the creation a national literary institution in France.
  3. Cultural Studies in a Francophone context
    This field focuses on contemporary Francophone contexts from the nineteenth century to the present; areas of study might include such topics as contemporary North African literature, recent Franco-Ontarian literature, or women’s writing in contemporary France. In addition to considering literature as the product of conditions in a particular place and time, the cultural studies field encourages interdisciplinarity through the critical study of cultural artefacts produced in a variety of media: literary texts, para-literatures, theatre, film, music, painting, etc. This field draws upon diverse methodologies (semiotics, feminist and queer theory, poststructuralist theory, post-colonial theory, neomarxist and historical approaches, minority studies, genre and media studies, etc.) to study a variety of cultural products.

The professors of the French Studies Department are specialized in various research areas.

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<--break->PhD degree requirements

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<--break->Comprehensive examinations

During their second year of study, PhD students are required to complete a series of Comprehensive examinations (PDF):
 
Prepared under the direction of the thesis supervisor, comprehensive examinations include a set of written and oral components, and are intended to ensure breadth, to assess competence in the field of French Studies, and to prepare students for the writing of the PhD thesis.
 
  1. Students must prepare and read, under the supervision of their thesis supervisor, a list of primary texts (a “corpus”), and develop a broad critical and theoretical bibliography in areas relevant to the proposed thesis topic. This first component is followed by an oral examination. 
  2. Students then write a field exam that is submitted to the thesis committee for approval. 
  3. Finally, students must submit, under the supervision of their thesis supervisor, a dissertation proposal and outline. The bibliography, the field exam, and a dissertation proposal and outline are defended orally before the committee. 
Students must successfully complete all three components in order to proceed to the writing of the thesis.
 

<--break->The PhD thesis

During the third and fourth years of study, students conduct research and write the PhD thesis. The thesis is evaluated by a committee comprising the thesis supervisor, two additional members of the Department, one internal university reader and one external examiner. Students must also successfully defend their thesis during an oral examination, open to the public. 

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<--break->Schedule for PhD programme of study

YEAR I
Course work.
Selection of an area of research and thesis supervisor
YEAR II  Comprehensive examinations
YEAR III Thesis
YEAR IV Thesis completion, submission, and defence

Important Note : Students must plan to submit their thesis at least EIGHT WEEKS before their planned defence date. Please discuss your planned timeline with the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies. 

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