Study at BGSU

Surrounded by fields of corn and soy, Bowling Green (population 30,000) boasts a charming Main Street with coffee shops, restaurants, book and music stores, and bars with live music. Offering the advantages of convenient small-town living, Bowling Green is also situated close to several major urban areas: Toledo is 30 minutes away, Ann Arbor 75 minutes, Cleveland 2 hours, and Chicago 4 hours by car.


The focus of the town is the university, which includes the Moore Musical Arts Center with its two concert halls, the Lillian Gish Film Theater that hosts an international film series, the Student Recreation Center with its state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and the multiple galleries in the School of Art. The new Wolfe Center for the Arts, new home of the Department of Theatre and Film, opened in fall 2011.

The cultural life of the French program centers around La Maison Française, a living-learning community for undergraduates that offers numerous cultural activities. Graduate students regularly participate in the weekly café-conversation hour, which often draws native speakers from both on and off campus. There are special lectures by francophone speakers, an annual brunch with a Québecois writer or filmmaker, made posssible through the generosity of the late Dr. Janis Pallister's French-Canadian Lecture Series and various soirées each semester. In recent years a graduate student, an exchange student from Tours, has lived in the Maison and served as Assistant to the Faculty.

Courses and Requirements

The Masters of Arts in French program is a two-year commitment culminating in a significant research project or thesis in literature, cultural studies or linguistics. The second year on the BGSU campus builds on the linguistic and intercultural competency developed during the first year. In the fall semester, M.A. candidates all enroll in the course on critical approaches (FREN 6320), an overview of contemporary literary and cultural methods most common in French Studies. This course marks the first stage to help students identify an area of specialization in relation to their research project and the choice of methodological tools to be used. In the spring semester, students, having opted for a Plan II project, enroll in “Reading for the Final Project (FREN 6980) in order to be mentored step by step through the research project. M.A. candidates who are preparing for doctoral studies generally choose to write a thesis (Plan I), and work closely with their advisor over two semesters.

For students interested in a teaching career, the year at BGSU makes possible the exploration of contemporary approaches to teaching, "Second-Language Teaching Methods" (FREN 6010) and, on a competitive basis, the opportunity to teach over two semesters one’s own elementary French course while being supervised by a faculty member serving as T.A. Coordinator.

Candidates pursue graduate studies under one of the following two plans:

  • Plan I (thesis option): Candidates must complete 36 semester hours of graduate credit including a minimum of 30 hours of regular course work plus a thesis for which 6 semester hours of credit are granted. Plan I is recommended for those who expect to pursue a Ph.D. degree.
  • Plan II (non-thesis option): Candidates must complete 36 semester hours of graduate credit including a minimum of 33 hours of regular course work plus a final research project (involving a paper and an oral presentation) for which 3 semester hours of credit are granted.

Students under both plans must also demonstrate proficiency in the language.

Required courses:

FREN 6320: Critical Approaches to Literary and Cultural Studies, an applied overview of key literary theories; required for MA students

FREN 6010: Second-Language Teaching Methods, required for teaching assistants

FREN 6980: Readings for Final Project; required of all Plan II (non-thesis) students, or FREN 6990: Thesis Research in which Plan I (thesis) students will enroll.

Elective courses: Courses offered in recent years include: Le Québec et la quête d’identité, Fictions de l’Arabe: l’enjeu politique de la représentation, Sociolinguistics, Le Réalisme: de l’écrit à l’écran, French Cinema, Women in African Society, Women Writing/Writing Women, and Business French.* See complete course listing.

*BGSU is now a Centre de formation et d’examens for the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris. Students enrolled in the Business French course can prepare for the exam leading to the DFA (Diplôme de français professionnel), Affaires B2 (formerly the DFA-1: Diplôme de français des affaires, premier degré).

+ The Graduate College requires that all Graduate Assistants be enrolled in 9 graduate-level credit hours per semester; all courses must be graduate-level French courses offered by ROCS (Romance and Classical Studies). The single exception to this rule concerns native French speakers who may be required by the Graduate College to take ESL (English as a Second Language) courses. In that case, one ESL course per semester can be counted as part of the required 9-hour course load.