Welcome

 BONJOUR, BUONGIORNO !

Thank you for your interest in our Master and Doctoral Programs in both French & Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Please explore our website to see a selection of course offerings from previous semesters, important information about funding, faculty and graduate student profiles, and program features that distinguish the Department of French and Italian at UW-Madison from all others.

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.


The Department of French & Italian at the UW has long been an internationally recognized program for excellence in research and scholarship, for the strength of its curriculum, and for the quality of its doctorates. In both French & Italian, graduate faculty members cover each major century of literature, as well as an impressive array of theoretical backgrounds and interdisciplinary relationships. Many of our faculty are affiliates in other departments as well, such as Religious Studies (Pr. Jelena Todorovic), German (Pr. Florence Vatan), and African Cultural Studies (Prs. Névine El Nossery and Vlad Dima). Our graduate students pursue PhD Minors in Second Language Acquisition, Gender & Women’s Studies, among others!

Recently, our graduates have secured positions in both tenure-track and teaching-track academic positions, as secondary school educators, and in the corporate world:

Lindsey Smith – French Ph.D. Assistant Professor at Western Washington University
Matteo Billeri – Italian Ph.D. Literary Editor at Mondadori Education
Jarmila Sawicka – French Ph.D. Learning Designer at Cengage
Dan Zhang – French Ph.D. Assistant Professor at Sichuan International Studies University
Jennifer Morgan – French Ph.D. Outreach Specialist in the School of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carla Cornette – Italian Ph.D. Assistant Teaching Professor of Italian at Penn State University
Sarah Forzley – French Ph.D. Upper School French Teacher at Community School in Sun Valley, ID
Tessa Sermet – French Ph.D. Assistant Professor of French at Lake Forest College
Jan Starczewski – French Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor of French at Allegheny College

Graduate students at the UW have access to one of the most comprehensive library systems in the nation, if not the world! Memorial Library, the hub for the humanities and social sciences, holds thousands of foreign language volumes (both primary and secondary source), journals, flims, and other resources available for your coursework and research pursuits. Graduate students in French & Italian also benefit from research and reference librarian services at Memorial Library. Memorial Library is also a pillar in the humanities hub of campus, in walking distance to the Center for the Humanities (CH), Institute for Research in the Humanities (IRH), and the Wisconsin Historical Society. These centers and institutes propose an active series of presentations, seminars, public readings, and professional development events for graduate students.


As a graduate student in French & Italian, you can also take advantage of the department’s office spaces in Van Hise Hall, home to all language programs on campus. Conference rooms, dedicated office space, mail services, and a dedicated computer lab with large screens and docks, all together create a collegial and professional atmosphere for your teaching, research, and development. Finally, as a student of the graduate program, you are a member of the Graduate Association of French & Italian Students (GAFIS) which has for over 30 years served as a student-run organization that works in close contact with faculty to innovate and develop the graduate program, represents FRIT grads for campus-wide initiatives, and hosts a graduate student symposium held in the Spring of each academic year.