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Guide to studying French

A degree in French allows you to explore a wide range of French topics, including literature, cultural history, cinema, translation and linguistics.

Beautiful woman in Paris, reading a book

CONTENTS

  1. What's French?

  2. Why study French?

  3. What jobs can you get as a French graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's French?

French is an official language in 29 countries, including France, Canada, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti and Belgium.

Spoken by more than 290 million people over five continents, French is a truly global language. It's also the official language of many international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and the World Trade Organisation.

Why study French?

Studying French at university level will allow you to enhance your knowledge of French language and culture. You'll gain insight into many aspects of life in French and Francophone society, improve your comprehension of contemporary French idiom and develop your oral and written communication skills in terms of fluency and appropriate linguistic register.

As part of your degree, you get to spend a year abroad (through a work placement, language assistantship or studying at a French-speaking university), where you'll refine your knowledge of the language and deepen your understanding of the culture.

As so much business is done on an international level, companies are always on the lookout for employees who can easily converse with overseas colleagues. If you want your CV to find itself at the top of the pile, a French degree is a great place to start. 

Woman in Paris lying on the grass near Eiffel tower

What jobs can you get as a French graduate?

Modern languages graduates embark on a number of rewarding careers as translators, interpreters, researchers and teachers in Higher Education. Other examples include careers in publishing, business, law and banking.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

Universities will often ask for an A Level (or equivalent) in French.

Other subjects that will look favourably on your application include another modern language,  English Language or Literature, History and Politics.

Always confirm the grades and other requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in, as they vary at each institution.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA in Modern Languages and Cultures
  • BA in Modern European Languages and History (specialising in French as a single language)
  • BA in Economics with French
  • BA in Combined Honours

How will you be assessed?

The most likely types of assessment for this subject are summative coursework, written and oral exams and final-year dissertations.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There are many taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level in French. For example, at Durham University, you can study for an MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Translation Studies; or Culture and Difference.

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