MA French Studies Handbook: What our graduates say about the program
Sara Phenix, MA 2004
The masters program at BYU prepared me in every way for further study of French on the doctoral level. The courses are varied and stimulating. I gained valuable pedagogical training in the teaching opportunities that the program offers. The small class size facilitated mentoring relationships with the generous and attentive faculty. I also benefited from the exchange of ideas with intellectually-engaged colleagues. This program can be a springboard for a variety of professional paths as it equips graduates with the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for any pursuit.
Chris Flood, MA 2007
I was definitely better prepared for my PhD program than students coming directly from a BA. When I arrived here, I found that I had already read most of the books on the PhD reading list while earning the MA at BYU, but more than that, I was familiar with the theory and history surrounding them. In terms of general intellectual preparation, I feel much more confident in my ability to formulate and express my ideas than I did before the MA and I find that, here too, I have an advantage over many of my classmates. However, if I had to pick one aspect of the MA program that has been particularly helpful, it would be the first-year theory class. This for me was the moment when I started to look beyond the shallow, high school / undergrad type of analysis where books are full of easily-deciphered symbolism and didacticism. Additionally, it was far better organized and the ideas were more clearly presented than the theory class we were required to take here.
Some aspects of the BYU MA program that I have really grown to appreciate in looking back are: the camaraderie with classmates and teachers; the family-friendly atmosphere; and that the BYU faculty manages, and I have come to conclude that this is rare, to foster a certain amount of pleasure in studying literature even while maintaining the necessary academic rigor.
Kathleen Byrne, MA 2008
The BYU French Studies MA prepared me to be more hirable, given almost any job I would seek. It increased my zest for life. It increased my self-confidence. Interviews are no longer intimidating (the MA oral exam oddly acted as a type of exorcism for me, causing fear of inadequacy or any type of “Inquisition” to flee as the exam proceeded). My writing skills, typing skills, reading skills, listening skills, organizational skills, and analytical skills improved by leaps and bounds. The opportunity I had to teach beginning French courses at the university level whetted my appetite to teach other university students in the future.
I could not have asked for a better experience at BYU. The professors in the French Studies MA program are simply incredible. Their expertise and professionalism are unmatched. And yet these professors are extremely approachable, down-to-earth, and helpful. Attending class was never a chore; in fact, I looked forward to going to class every day, every semester. Serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was something that was not required of me, but it has become an integral part of my life’s mission. So, too, was pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in French Studies at BYU. If I had chosen some other course of study or had been content with my undergraduate experience, the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth I would have missed would have been detrimental to me, and I will forever be grateful for having chosen the better part.