All students entering the graduate program in French Studies receive guaranteed support (four years for students entering with an MA or six years for students entering with a BA). This guarantee includes full tuition, academic year stipends (either as graduate instructorships or fellowships), and student health insurance coverage. We also offer summer support, as well as travel money and grants for research projects and conference travel. In addition, a variety of University, national and international fellowships, exchanges, and research opportunities are available to students.  

Students are advised that successful graduate fellowship applications increase their competitiveness when applying for jobs by demonstrating that they stand out among their peers. There is nothing to lose from applying, and everything to gain!

Moreover, while the Department of French & Italian does its utmost to support its students, they should also seek resources beyond the department. This is one way for students to show their willingness to engage with the larger intellectual community.

Many graduate students in French are employed as Graduate Instructors (GIs)--also commonly referred to as Teaching Assistants (TAs)--as a form of support while completing their graduate studies. GIs work within teaching teams to teach one section of a multisection French course offered for undergraduate students. GIs typically begin teaching first-semester French (FREN 1001) and work up to teaching higher levels including fourth-semester French (FREN 1004) and beyond.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions by incoming students about being a GI:

What does it mean to be a GI? Am I assisting a professor?
As a GI in French, you are the sole instructor for the section you teach and you are responsible for all daily instruction, grading, and communication with students for your section. You will, however, work with a Course Coordinator who is an expert in curriculum design and language teaching to help you along the way. The Course Coordinator will help you work as part of a teaching team to ensure students (and teachers!) in different sections of the same course have a similar experience. You will meet frequently with your Coordinator and other members of your teaching team to discuss how things are going and what is coming up next in the course.

Do I have to have previous experience teaching?
Many graduate students who are supported through a GI appointment have little to no teaching experience. You will have lots of support as you learn to be an effective instructor. You will learn more about the program and how to teach the first few weeks of your class during orientation week in August and you will enroll in two different courses during your first year to learn more about language teaching. You also have the support of your peers, teaching team, Course Coordinator, and the Program Director to help if you need guidance or run into problems.

How often will the classes I teach meet?
Most classes that GIs teach meet in person four days per week for 50 minutes or two days per week for 115 minutes. Four-day-per-week classes meet Monday through Thursday and two-day-per-week classes meet Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.

Who are my students?
Many of the students enrolled in first- through fourth-semester courses are undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts who are completing their language requirement, though you may also have some students who are taking French as an elective. Some students may also be interested in majoring, minoring, or studying abroad--especially in more advanced courses.

What materials will I use?
You will be provided with course materials (e.g., textbook, course pack, Canvas site, online workbook, etc.), a syllabus, and a course calendar at the beginning of the semester by your Course Coordinator. Additionally, you will get digital access to many shared resources that you can use in your class and your lesson planning.

What other responsibilities will I have?
In addition to your primary teaching responsibilities, you will hold two office hours per week when you will be available to meet with students who have questions or need to talk with you individually. These meetings can be held in the graduate office in Folwell Hall, online, or at another convenient location on campus. You will set the time and location for your office hours at the start of the semester and communicate them to students and colleagues. You are also expected to participate as an active member of the teaching team by sharing your experiences and providing feedback as requested.

As a graduate student, funds are available to you for travel to present a paper at a conference, fulfill a library or archive fellowship, or attend other competitive programs (such as Cornell School of Criticism and Theory or Dartmouth Cultural Studies Institute). 

Summer fellowships are also awarded to outstanding students who are making timely progress on their degrees.

The Department participates in exchanges with two French university partners, the "Université Paris Cité" and the Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier). The purpose of these exchange programs is to provide graduate students the opportunity to teach and study for a year in France at a stage in their graduate career when this opportunity will be of maximum benefit, allowing them to pursue their research and to gain enhanced linguistic and cultural fluency.

The Department of French and Italian (FRIT) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has partnered with the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF), which is run by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US, to provide fellowships to graduate program applicants currently participating in, or having completed, the TAPIF Program.

The FRIT Department offers up to two TAPIF Fellowships, in the form of two summer fellowships of $5,000, to each of the two most academically promising former TAPIF participants who are accepted to, and enroll in, the graduate program. In addition, the application fee will be refunded to each awardee. In order to receive this fellowship, awardees must be enrolled full-time and continuously in the program and must meet program criteria for satisfactory progress toward the degree.

Applicants may also receive additional merit and need-based scholarships depending on the strength of their application or financial situation.

To apply and receive the TAPIF scholarship:
When submitting their application, applicants should indicate that they are affiliated with TAPIF, and should include their experience on their resume or curriculum vitae.

All graduate students have a variety of fellowships and grants available to fund their studies. See the Graduate School Funding and Tuition page for more information.

Summer Fellowship Support
The College of Liberal Arts provides funds for students engaged in an active mentoring relationship that substantial advances their educational progress by supporting their professional, scholarly, and creative development while collaborating with a CLA faculty project adviser on scholarly research and creative activity.

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships
The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship funds the final year of dissertation writing for outstanding graduate students. It allows students to devote all of their time to research and writing, without any teaching responsibilities.

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships
These fellowships are awarded to outstanding Graduate School students whose current or proposed dissertation topic is interdisciplinary and who would benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University-wide, interdisciplinary research centers or institutes. Our students apply for affiliation with the Institute for Advanced Study.

There are multiple opportunities for research funding, including year-long or shorter period funding. These include the Fulbright Fellowship (for a year of research in any country) and the Bourse Chateaubriand en sciences sociales et littérature (for a year of research in France). Students should consult their advisors for more information.