Prospective Students

FAQ - MA studies




I'm an American citizen currently living in Honduras. I have an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan and I'm looking to further my studies.  I read on the university website that I should email the department to solicit advice about the application process.

If you are applying to begin in the Autumn semester, the deadline for enrolment is 30 April of the current year.  If you are applying to begin in the Spring semester the deadline is 30 November of the current year  (or a deadline of 30 September for students requiring a visa to study in Switzerland).  Please note that you can find an English version of all the relevant information about enrolling by clicking on the following link:

For further information you can ask questions via the following platform:  and use the button “cliquez ici pour poser votre question”.

Your dossier will be evaluated to determine the English studies you completed at the BA level in your country.  Our BA in English follows a very rigorous study plan, covering all the domains of English literature from medieval to contemporary, as well as English linguistics.  If it transpires, on examining your BA transcripts, that you have not covered one or more of these fields in your BA, you will be expected to complete our corresponding BA modules (this is known as a complément de BA) before you can begin your MA in English.  Depending on how many modules you are required to complete, this can mean a substantial period of study prior to the MA.  All this information will be communicated to you once your dossier has been received at the matriculation service.

I have been asked to take a Complément de BA before beginning my MA studies.  How should I proceed?

If you are required to take a Complément de BA before beginning your studies with us, you will need to contact Professor Genoveva Puskas (Genoveva.Puskas(at) in order to make an appointment to discuss your study plan.

Will I need to pass a French exam in order to begin my MA studies in the English department?

Students coming to the University of Geneva from another country are normally required to take a French exam, even if they will be following their studies in English.  However, if you fail this exam you are still entitled to be enrolled at the University, but you will be expected to follow and succeed in a French course organised by the École de langue et de civilisation françaises (ELCF) within a time-limit of three semesters.  These studies will take place in parallel with the 5 modules of the MA and the mémoire (thesis).  Since Geneva is French-speaking and all our administrative work takes place in French, a reasonable working knowledge of French is in any case recommended.

What is the GPA required for admission to the master's degree program in English?

There is no set grade needed for admission to the MA programme in English, the requirement being that you have successfully completed a BA in English, which corresponds to our own programme.  This means that you should have completed BA modules in the following domains:  Introduction to English Language and Literature (including analysis of texts' and practical language skills), English Linguistics, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern & Contemporary English Literature, and American Literature.  Since you may not have covered all these fields in your BA, you may be expected to follow some of our BA modules, before you are allowed to begin the MA programme.  Your BA transcript will be evaluated when you apply and you will be informed if this is the case.

I assume the program requires proof of English-language proficiency. If so, what is the required TOEFL score for admission?

We do not base admission on TOEFL results.  Our BA students are expected to have taken English to the high-school level (Swiss "Maturité", French "Baccalauréat" or GSCE-level, ...).  MA students are expected to possess advanced proficiency in English (oral, aural, and written).

What is the language of instruction? Is the program completely taught in English, or do I need to learn French concurrently with the program? (I have basic French already but can take a few courses if needed)

All courses in our department are taught in English, but it is possible to take one MA module in another discipline, in which case you would need a good written and spoken understanding of French.  Students hoping to begin an MA in English, nevertheless need to take the French exam before being immatriculated at the University of Geneva.  The French exam is compulsory, but if the student fails it he/she can still be immatriculated.  This is valid only for MA students (and applies to those taking one of the following disciplines:  German, English, Spanish, Greek, Italian and Russian).  These students must successfully follow, within a time-frame of 3 semesters, an intensive French course organized by the ELCF (Ecole de langue et civilisation françaises).  This will be required in addition to the five modules for the MA in English and the ‘mémoire’ (thesis).

You should, therefore, contact the ELCF as soon as you have applied to and been accepted by the University, in order to begin your French course:

What is the deadline for admission to begin in the Autumn/Fall semester?

30 April of the current year.

Is there any link to an online application where I can download and submit forms and learn more about admission requirements, application procedures and what documents I will need to provide?

The following link tells you how to apply on line, submit the forms electronically and learn more about admission requirements and application procedures:

What are the fees for students from non-EEA countries?

Tuition Fee for BA, MA or PhD:  CHF 1,000 (ca. £450, EUR 600, $ 950) per year, for all students (Swiss or foreign nationals).

How many modules do I need to take to complete the MA in English?

There are five modules:  MA1 to MA5.  Please refer to the English department’s MA Plan d’études to see specific details about the requirements for each module:   You are free to choose how many modules you follow in one year.  However, you should note that you have to have obtained a minimum of 24 credits at the end of the second semester, 60 credits at the end of the 4th semester and 90 credits at the end of the 5th.  It’s quite possible if you study full-time, to obtain your MA in three semesters; the maximum length of study permitted is 6 semesters. You will choose your seminars by looking at the timetable of courses and working out a schedule which suits you:

How do I sign up to MA seminars?

You need to sign up online for your seminars both in the Autumn semester and the Spring semester  and should attend the compulsory online information session (inscription en ligne – IEL) at the beginning of the Autumn semester (dates indicated on the Faculty homepage) or ask for information about this at the Service des examens.

There is no formal inscription within the English department.  You simply attend the seminars for which you have signed up or intend to sign up at the IEL and your presence will be recorded on an electronic departmental enrolment form in the third week of the semester.

Can I follow MA seminars on an occasional basis or from a distance?

Unless a seminar is specifically announced to be run as an e-learning course this is not possible as active and regular participation is a major requirement of our programme.

Can I be in employed work during my MA studies?

Yes, provided your working hours do not compromise your studies in any way.

I have three children and would like to follow the MA courses on a part-time basis.  Would this be possible?

The Faculty of Letters does not offer a part-time MA programme.  The Faculty regulations stipulate (Article 6) that MA credits must be acquired at the following pace:

24 credits (two modules, i.e. four seminars) by the end of the second semester
60 credits (three further modules, i.e. six seminars) by the end of the fourth semester
90 credits (the MA thesis or mémoire) by the end of the sixth semester.

The maximum period of study is six semesters; three semesters is the minimum period of study.

MA optional modules: Do I have to take both MA4 and MA5 in another discipline?

No, this is optional.  You can take one or both modules in another discipline if you wish.  However, if you intend to defend your mémoire in the English department, you will normally be expected to follow MA4 and MA5 in either English literature or English linguistics, depending on the subject of your mémoire.

I am a student from another discipline wishing to take an MA module in English for my module à option:  

Students who have not studied the equivalent of our BA1 module find advanced seminars in English literature too difficult, especially at the MA level.  It is therefore the advice of the department that students who have not previously successfully completed a course in literary analysis do not follow advanced seminars.  You should also note that all teaching and assessment in the English department is in English and so an excellent level of English language competence – oral, aural and written – is expected.