Admissions and Aid

The ideal applicant to the Ph.D. program in French will have a strong undergraduate academic background and record of research accomplishments in French. Applicants should have a strong commitment to academic performance and to contributing to the advancement of knowledge through research, and should be excited and eager to explore opportunities and benefits of living, working and learning in New York City.

Learn more or Apply Online

Admissions Overview

Application deadline:

January 1 for fall enrollment
(no spring enrollment)

Candidates complete the Graduate Center’s Application for Admission and provide appropriate supplemental materials including transcripts and letters of recommendation. 

  • Students may apply with either a B.A. or an M.A. degree.
  • Applicants to the Ph.D. program in French must also a submit a writing sample, usually an academic essay in which the student demonstrates his/her critical and analytical skills, which must be at least 10 pages written in French. One sample is required for applicants entering with a B.A. and two samples or a masters thesis are required for students entering with an M.A.
  • Applicants must also submit a recent GRE score (within the last five years).*

*Please note that this requirement is currently suspended.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for doctoral programs at The Graduate Center are based on a student's “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the student's degree program and the Registrar) and specific academic accomplishments. 

The fee structure is also affected by a student’s resident status.

See current doctoral tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Every applicant to The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs will automatically be considered for five-year institutional funding packages. The aid we offer — including fellowships, tuition awards, and assistantships — is based on merit. 

Learn more about institutional aid for doctoral students »

Federal aid for doctoral students includes:

New York State also provides the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible graduate students who are New York State residents.

Admissions FAQ

No, students with a B.A. are also welcome to apply.

Not necessarily. A number of our students hold degrees in fields such as Philosophy, Theatre, History, Music, and Religion. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of many of our courses and our four curricular options, many students find that their prior training helps them in their current fields of study and research projects. However, most of our students have pursued “traditional” French Literature or French Studies degrees.

We ask that the writing sample, usually an academic essay in which the student demonstrates his/her critical and analytical skills, be at least 10 pages written in French. One sample is required for applicants with BAs and two samples or MA thesis are required for students with MA degrees.

Yes, the GRE is an admissions requirement* and the score is considered along with other academic factors. Our admissions candidates have competitive scores. Scores more than five years old are generally not accepted.

Please note that this requirement is currently suspended.

Two academic letters of recommendation should be written by a professor who not only knows the candidate well, but can attest to his/ her academic achievements and intellectual abilities. If it has been some time since the applicant was enrolled in college, we may accept letters written by professional acquaintances who can attest to the applicant's ability to complete graduate study, in addition to two academic letters of reference.

 If you are an international student who earned your degree in an English-speaking country, it is likely you will be exempt from taking the TOEFL. The exam is required for all other international students.

More information about the TOEFL can be found at the test administration website.

Transfer credits will be individually evaluated once the student has entered the program, but up to 30 credits may be awarded to the student. Students with 27 or more credits must take at least 18 credits in the Program. Please see the French Program Student Handbook for further information.

Students are encouraged to pursue their intellectual interests as they enrich their own understanding of French literature. Many of our students are interested in cinema, theatre, international human rights, and performance studies. In addition, it is possible to enroll in one of the Graduate Center's certificate programs.

Each semester, generally one class is offered in English, and any final paper must be written in the language of the class. In cross-listed fields, it is up to the instructor. Because of the nature of the profession, and the demands of publishers and conferences, students will be required to speak and write fluently in both French and English. In addition, some of our courses are cross-listed with other departments and programs, such as Comparative Literature and Women's Studies; thus, the course will be conducted in English.

Please see the French Program Student Handbook for more information on examinations and other requirements.

Undergraduate and graduate students may participate in the CUNY/Paris exchange program.

Learn more about the CUNY/Paris exchange program »

Because of the structure of the first-year curriculum, French Program students find a sense of intellectual and social cohesiveness and quickly become mentors for each other in a truly international atmosphere. In addition, the Program arranges several colloquia, conferences, and lectures each year, including an annual Student Conference run by our own graduate students. 

The CUNY Doctoral and Graduate Students' Council is the main political and social presence of the student body on the Graduate Center campus, and French department students participate in their events and activities. Their website is

Likewise, French departments students have an active presence in the many chartered organizations at the GC, such as the Africa Research Group, L'Atelier, the French 17th-Century Interdisciplinary Group, and the Middle East Research Group.

Please visit the GC housing Website for information about student housing. In addition, websites like Craigslist and the Village Voice are popular places to find housing information.

It is almost financially impossible to live alone, especially in Manhattan. Most of our students live with roommates in Brooklyn, Queens, or Upper Manhattan. Since our campus is centrally located off of express subway lines, few students have to travel more than 30 minutes to get to class.

Matriculated doctoral students at the Graduate Center who are employed as either Graduate Assistants or in one of the eligible Adjunct titles and meet specific income levels in those titles are eligible for health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents. 

Learn more about student health insurance options »

Students may also obtain mental health support and seek physical health advice and referrals via the Wellness Center.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in French will automatically be considered for five-year institutional fellowships

Learn more about doctoral funding »

Students who receive the Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) and/or Graduate Assistant A/B (GAA, GAB) packages will be required to reach at a CUNY college. There are additional fellowships and aid available that do not require teaching

Many, but not all of our students gain employment as adjunct language instructors on one of the CUNY campuses. Students are encouraged to express to the Executive Officer their wish to teach, but requests cannot always be accommodated. Advanced students seek grants through the CUNY Writing Fellows program, Mellon Scholarship, etc. Information about these grants can be found on the GC website.

Additional Information

GC Links

Visit the following links for additional information for prospective students:

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