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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.

Discover undergraduate Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London – ranked 3rd in London for Linguistics (Complete University Guide Subject League Table 2021).


  1. What's French?

  2. Why study French?

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

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. 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?

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.

Read our five reasons to study French for more information on why you might choose to study this subject area.

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.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of French have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate French students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

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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