Research Opportunities in French & Francophone Studies

The French & Francophone Studies curriculum is research-driven. Our classes all include independent research projects of different kinds. All students who enroll in our summer study abroad program in Montpellier, France, conduct on-site research projects under the supervision of the program director. The students we send to the IFE program in Paris all conduct field research on site and write a thesis at the end. All French & Francophone Studies majors and all students who are registered in the required capstone senior seminar, FR 450, complete a senior research project. Similarly, the recipients of our McCormack-Reboussin fellowships in French &  Francophone Studies all conduct summer research projects which almost always turn into honors theses (most recently, Kristina Walton studied the arcades of nineteenth-century France; Laura Wagstaff wrote a cultural history of the eighteenth-century pipe organ; this summer Eve Grice conducted research at the recently opened museum of immigration in Paris). Finally, a sizeable percentage of our students' class work is creative and research-driven: for example, in FR 310 students produce short movies, and in FR 393 they create documentaries on specific social issues on campus or in the Williamsburg community.  

Since 2010, French and Francophone Studies' students have had a chance to present their research during an annual Fête de la Recherche, a student research conference (featured in image below):


The Honors Program
The James Monroe Scholars Program
The I.F.E Program in Paris
William & Mary Summer Research Opportunities
Advice to Students: How to Ask For a Letter of Reference
William & Mary Summer Research Opportunities

Unless otherwise noted, the following scholarships have a deadline of  Friday March 17, 2010 at noon. Contact Ms.Lindsey Love in the Charles Center in the second floor of Blow hall, suite 254  for further information (221-2460), or visit the Charles center's summer scholarships page.

Amount: $3,000 + campus housing if desired
Duration: seven weeks
Eligibility: undergraduate students in good academic standing who will be returning to William and Mary in the fall after the project may apply.
Note: Students must choose a faculty adviser to approach from the list published by the Charles Center in mid-January. Faculty are responsible for selecting the students with whom they wish to apply for Chappell funding. Student-faculty teams then collaborate on the application.

  • Charles Center Scholarships for Domestic or International Research

Amount: $3,000
Duration: seven weeks
Eligibility: undergraduate students in good academic standing who will be returning to William & Mary in the Fall after the project may apply.

  • Wilson Cross-Disciplinary Scholarships support students who wish to conduct supervised research outside of their concentrations.

Amount: $1,500 stipend, 3 hours of interdisciplinary course credit, campus housing if desired (faculty adviser also receives a $800 stipend)
Duration: at least the length of one full summer session (five weeks)
Eligibility: restricted to students who will be eligible to declare a major in the current spring semester (generally sophomores and juniors) and who will not graduate at the end of the current spring semester. Students must be in good academic standing.

  • Batten Scholarship-- provide support for rising seniors to do preparatory research for concentration honors projects the summer prior to the project
Advice to Students: How to Ask for a Letter of Reference

Think through the application first

Before you approach anyone for a letter of reference, identify the number of people that you will need and the type of materials that you have to prepare. Doing so helps you figure out what each letter writer's role should be in relation to your application.

Use the application materials to help you choose letter writers

Application materials are your best ally in helping you choose the best letter writers. Some applications, for instance, encourage you to choose individuals who can speak to your teaching ability or character rather than those with highest stature. Take this advice seriously.

Seek a mix of letter writers, and identify their roles for them

Collectively, your letters should reflect a balanced picture of you. If the person recommending you is expected to comment from a certain angle, be sure he or she knows this.

Choose people who know you well and help them know you better

Avoid abruptly asking someone for a recommendation letter after class, in the hallway, or via email. Instead, make an appointment to discuss whatever you are applying for and the kind of help needed. If possible, give the letter writer any materials that might help him or her write a more detailed letter, such as your resume or a draft of an application essay that you prepared.

Ask your recommenders well in advance of the deadline

Ask for letters a minimum of three weeks before the deadline.  You are asking them for a favor and you should respect their time.

Respect a "no"

If someone you ask for a letter seems to be saying no to you, seek someone else. The person may be inappropriate, too busy, or may not know you well enough to write you a good letter.

Allow the letter to be confidential

On an application form, you will usually be asked to waive your right to see the letter of reference. Do so. The letter writer will then be more comfortable and probably more genuine too, and the selection committee will respect this.

Provide the letter writer with a deadline and clear instructions on what to do with the letter

Be sure to tell the letter writer to whom the letter is to be addressed.  If the letter is going off campus give him or her a stamped addressed envelope to mail it in. Provide an exact deadline for the letter's completion and gently remind the letter writer of it later if necessary (a thank you note works wonders).  Note that for many of the awards administered by the Charles Center, the applicant is required to submit the letters in a sealed envelope along with the rest of the application.  Follow the instructions provided.

Begin to recognize yourself as a professional

When you apply for a job, graduate school, or a scholarship, you are confidently stepping up a rung on a long academic or professional ladder. Act accordingly by taking yourself and your supporters seriously. Do not undermine what you are applying for or be self-deprecating. Articulate specific goals for yourself. Respect and consider any coaching that is offered. Help the letter writer get to know you as a student and as a person.