Field Examination

The Field Examination consists in a written exam, followed by an oral defense, in which you are expected to demonstrate a broad knowledge of the texts on the French and Francophone reading lists (see below). For the exam, the student must show advanced proficiency in English and in French by selecting one language for the written exam and the other for the oral exam. The Field Examination is to be taken at the end of the fourth semester or no later than the beginning of the third year. You should discuss the Field Examination reading lists with the Faculty Track Advisor well in advance of the exam date. Substitutions are permitted, and even encouraged, depending on your scholarly focus. You are allowed to retake the Field Examination once, but no later than the end of the semester following the first attempt.  The committee for the Field Examination normally consists of three faculty in French.

Syllabus:  As part of your Field Examination, you are required to submit a syllabus for an undergraduate French course of your own design. The syllabus should be distributed to the committee two weeks prior to the oral examination and is discussed by the examining committee.

The reading lists below contain texts that the department's faculty has deemed essential to doctoral-level training in the French literary tradition. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, students may substitute equivalent titles for up to 10% of the titles on the list.

In both the designation of texts and the negotiation of substitutions, students should work with the Director of Graduate Studies to assure that a final reading list is approved at least thirty days prior to the date of their Field Examination.

As you begin preparing your field exam, you may wish to consult the USC Libraries research guide here.

Reading List

  • Department of French and Italian
  • Taper Hall 155 (THH 155)
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0359