The Department of French and Italian offers a program of study leading to the master of arts, the master of French studies, and the Ph.D. degrees. The department is one of the largest of its kind in the United States and offers a first-rate faculty in all the areas of French, Francophone, and Italian literature and culture. The program is organized so as to take advantage of the quality and range of the faculty. A Wisconsin Ph.D. will have the ability to teach not only a very focused topic of research, but also much of the French and Italian literary tradition.
A typical semester of course work may include a course on literary theory, on medieval literature from the 14th and 15th centuries, and on the 19th-century novel and the visual arts. These courses will each demand a different set of interpretive premises and will convey different types of knowledge, but will open the student to the rich possibilities of the study of literature and culture.
If one theme unites the department, it is the strong conviction that when learning and teaching the literary culture of France, the Francophone countries, and Italy, we are engaged with a human, a material, and a historical reality, the conditions of which are often different from either American or contemporary culture in general. Growing out of this conviction is the emphasis placed on the actual experience with and practice of French and Italian language. The program is designed to offer possibilities for international stay (through teaching and fellowships) to as many graduate students as possible, and the department promotes the use of French and Italian language through teaching, lectures, films, theater, and events at the French House.
The quality and visibility of the French and Italian department have ensured that the program has a fine placement record.