Indiana University Bloomington
Department of French and Italian

Exams - French Linguistics

The M.A. Exam

I. Written Exams (new format beginning in 2011-12)

Candidates for the M.A. degree must sit for two written exams. Students must select one area from Group A below and one area from Group B:

GroupArea
AApplied Linguistics, History of the Language, Pedagogy/Second Language Acquisition
BPhonology, Syntax

To be admitted to the Ph.D. program, the student must select from the first two areas in Group A, that is, excluding Pedagogy/Second Language Acquisition.

To qualify for the Master's exams, students must have completed all courses previously taken. Specifically, students with incompletes will not be allowed to sit for the exams. The departmental office maintains and makes accessible a file of the exams given at the three most recent sittings. One essay of one exam must be written in French. For native speakers of French, one essay of one exam must be written in English. The exams are given twice yearly, upon request, in September and in January.

All students must take their exams no later than the spring semester of their second full academic year on campus, although rare exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. AIships cannot be renewed for the following year unless the student has been admitted to the Ph.D. program (see below). Students must signal their intent to sit for the exam and the fields in which they wish to be examined with the graduate secretary in the departmental office no later than 60 days prior to the exam. When indicating their choice of fields, MA candidates should also indicate in which field they will write their French essay. The exam is given in two parts, each 2.5 hours in length, on the first or second Saturday after the first day of classes of the semester. In order to pass the exam, the candidate must attain a grade no lower than B- in any field. Should a candidate fail any part of the exam and wish second consideration for the degree, s/he must retake that (those) part(s) during the following academic year at a regularly scheduled exam time; the exam may not be retaken more than once. No MA degree can be awarded unless a passing grade is achieved on the exam. After the results are announced, the candidates are entitled to a personal copy of their exam answers.

Once you pass the M.A. exam and fulfill all requirements presented above, please contact the Graduate Secretary to apply for the M.A. degree. It is not automatically awarded to you.

II. Admission to the Ph.D. program

Admission to the PhD program is based on the student's performance in three areas: (1) the first three semesters of MA coursework, (2) an appropriate level of performance on the written MA exams demonstrated by an average of at least B and no grade lower than B-, and (3) faculty's assessment of the student's research preparedness based on the research statement and the PhD admission interview.

Thus any student who seeks admission into the PhD program in French Linguistics must submit a two-page research statement. This document is due at the beginning of the M.A. written exams. The document submitted will include the following elements:

  • a description of an interesting research question (e.g., linguistic data that challenge well-established generalizations, new data that raise questions about previous analyses, interesting data that have never been analyzed, etc.), including a clear statement about what makes the issue in question interesting
  • a brief review of the literature on the question
  • ideas about how the student may proceed to investigate the question and develop an analysis
  • an optional third page for bibliographic references

This research statement does NOT constitute a draft of a dissertation proposal and does NOT bind a student to the specific research topic described.

The research statement will be evaluated by the French Linguistics Faculty. The student's preparedness for conducting the type of research that is expected of doctoral students in French linguistics will be determined. If the Faculty determine that sufficient promise for doctoral studies has been demonstrated, the student will be invited to discuss the research document and his/her research interests at an oral interview that will take place within a month following the M.A. exams. The interview will last approximately 45 minutes. After the interview, the faculty will confer to determine whether the student will be invited to continue to the Ph.D. Please note that there is no possibility of resubmitting a research statement in case the faculty decide not to invite a student to the oral interview and that the admission decision made by the faculty at the outcome of the oral interview is final.

After the invitation to continue to the Ph.D. is extended, all students are strongly encouraged to meet with the individual faculty members to discuss their performance on the written and oral exams and to plan future work.

The Ph.D. Exam

The Ph.D. qualifying examination is normally taken after fulfilling all course requirements and prior to beginning work on the dissertation. To qualify for the Ph.D. exams, students must have completed all courses previously taken. Specifically, students with incompletes will not be allowed to sit for the exams.

It is made up of two (2) cloistered General Exams, three hours each in length, and one (1) Research Exam, to be completed over a period of one week with access to research materials. Selection of the examination areas will be made in consultation with the student's Advisory Committee. The exams will normally be taken during the second semester of the fourth year of study. The General Exams (cloistered) may be taken in January or September; the Research Exam requirement must be satisfied during the same semester as the General Exams.

i. General exams

Students select one area from Group A below and one area from Group B. (Romance Linguistics remains a potential additional area, depending on future course offerings.)

GroupArea
ALexicology/Lexicography, Language Contact, History of French, Sociolinguistics and Dialectology
BPhonology, Morphology, Syntax, Second language acquisition

ii. Research exam

This exam is designed to demonstrate that students have developed sufficient depth in a particular constellation of research questions that they are ready to begin work on their dissertations. The area of this exam corresponds to the area of the student's projected dissertation topic and will be distinct from those of the two general exams. The particular question to be addressed, which will reflect the student's research interests, will be assigned at the beginning of the one-week period during which students write the exam.

Students are advised to review coursework and course bibliographies (including background and enrichment material) and to consult faculty members in each of the chosen fields. The departmental office maintains and makes available to students a file of the exams given at the three most recent sittings. The exam is given twice yearly, upon request, in September and January (times and dates). Students must signal their intent to sit for the exam and the fields in which they wish to be examined with the graduate secretary in the departmental office no later than 60 days prior to the exam.

In order to pass the cloistered PhD qualifying exam, the candidate must attain an average grade of B+ with no grade lower than a B. Should a candidate not meet all of these conditions, s/he has failed the exam. In this case, the candidate wishing reconsideration for the PhD degree must retake all parts of the cloistered exam graded B or below within 12 months at a regularly scheduled exam session; the exam may not be retaken more than once. A research exam that has not received a passing grade can be retaken once, either during the same semester or during the following semester. A student who fails the PhD exam will have his/her funding continued (up to the limit of his/her funding commitment) if he/she retakes the exam within the prescribed time frame.

After the results are announced, the candidates are entitled to a personal copy of their exam answers.

Times, Dates, and Locations

The spring exam dates have been set and are listed below. To register, please e-mail Professor Kevin Rottet (krottet@indiana.edu) and copy the Graduate Secretary (fritgs@indiana.edu).

  • Saturday, August 31
  • 9:00-3:00