What is a French Major and Is It Right for You?

Choosing your major is not something that should be taken lightly. Your college degree can have a big impact on your career so it’s important to research all of your options before you make a decision. This guide will help you explore job opportunities, expected income, course programs and more to decide if a French major is right for you.

What is a French Major?

A French major covers all aspects of the language, country, and culture, so it’s ideal for students who want to live and work in France or work with French companies in the future. Students who complete the course will be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking French while also gaining a greater understanding of French history and literature.

What Opportunities Does a French Major Provide?

French is an international language of diplomacy, so speaking it fluently can open up doors into international organizations like the United Nations and the European Commission. A French degree can also qualify students to work as interpreters, translators, and French language instructors.

France has the world’s 7th largest economy, so speaking French can also help you land a job in any industry in the country (or the 28 others who have French listed as an official language). If you prefer to stay in the US, mastering French as a second language can still give you a boost. In fact, an article in Inverse reports that the average salary of French speakers in the US is $92,000.

What Classes Can You Expect to Take?

A French program will typically combine French language courses with a specialized track of the students choosing. These tracks vary by school but some options may include French literature, cinema, history, advanced language or translation.

Top Schools for French Majors

French is a 4-year degree program offered at nearly every major college in the country. Universities.com ranked the best colleges with French language and literature degrees in the US and the top five are Columbia University in NYC, Yale University in Connecticut, Stanford University in California, Duke University in North Carolina and Princeton University in New Jersey. Additionally, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the University of California-Los Angeles, Northwestern University near Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis and Brown University in Rhode Island round out the top ten list.

How Can You Prepare for a French Major

It is possible to pursue a French major without any prior knowledge of the language. However, taking classes in French and studying the basics can help set a strong foundation before the course begins and test out of beginner classes.

Some of the best ways to prepare for a French major are to take French classes in high school or set up private tutoring sessions with a French instructor. If possible, you can also supplement your studies by attending a French club, watching French films or listening to French music. It’s also possible to take both paid and free courses online to improve familiarity with the language and get personalized feedback.

Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in French

There is a variety of French Master’s programs available to students who wish to pursue them. Programs vary in length, but will typically take between one and three years. Master’s programs in French often include courses to improve fluency in the language along with classes in the chosen field.

One of the most common options is a Master’s of art in French literature and culture, but it’s also possible to get a  Master’s of philosophy or even a Master’s of research in the subject from schools around the world. Continuing education with a PhD in French Studies is possible as well.

Is a French Major Right for You?

French majors are a good fit for any students interested in mastering the language and digging deeper into the culture, history, and literature of the country. It’s beneficial to anyone who wants to live in France or work with French companies in the future.

If you’re considering a French major, use this guide to get a better understanding of job opportunities, course programs, continued education options and more to help decide if this is the right path for you!

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