Careers in French Language

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is French?

French is the official language of France, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Haiti and many more countries and territories. The study of the French language can be as a second language or employed as the study of French literature. Students interested in careers in French language will study both the use and the history of the language and its prominent users.

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • French Language – the study of French as a second language
    • French Literature – the study of literature by French authors such as Baudelaire and Proust
    • Law and France – the study of the differences between legal structures in EU countries from the ‘common law’ systems in Ireland and England and the ‘civil law’ systems found in France and many other European countries.

Studying French in College

First year students will often combine their French studies with additional subjects and electives. Students will be introduced to French language, literature, and history in their first year, preparing them for more intensive study in the following years.

Language modules will be traditionally assessed using written, oral, and aural examination. At all levels students will be required to complete assessments in and out of class in addition to sitting for regular exams.

Most undergraduate French courses will run for three or four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experience. Many programs will also encourage study abroad programs for students to learn the language through immersion in French culture.

It is common with all humanities-based subjects that students are expected to complete a Capstone project. Students will research and write on a topic of their choice (in English or in French) with the aid of a faculty mentor, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for life after university.

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research careers in French language. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in  French may start working as arts administrators, translators or interpreters, diplomats or secondary school teachers. Some go on to work in publishing, tourism, law and business as well.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in French will serve you well in the job market as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill. French is a major world language, as such, knowledge of the language and literature opens up a world of opportunities to fluent speakers.

It is not uncommon for graduates to start off in ‘entry-level’ jobs. Many start their professional careers in international relations, tourism, translation and education.

Other careers in French language that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training and/or experience to qualify for, eg. teaching, research and diplomacy positions.

Most French students work abroad or for international companies helping to translate and distribute media to multi-lingual customers. Many also go on to teach French as a second language in primary and secondary schools.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Diplomat / Foreign Services Officer
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Translator / Interpreter
  • Journalist
  • Public Relations
  • Speech Therapist
  • Travel / Hospitality / Tourism
  • Technology Consultant
  • Museum Curator
  • Publishing Agent

Further Study

An undergraduate French degree is often the first step to go onto further post-graduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and ares of French and/or undertaking work in new, sometimes interdisciplinary fields such as translation, manuscript studies, or education.

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What points do I need to study French?

  • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of sic subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language. H4 French grades on the Leaving Cert are recommended by University College Dublin and requires by Trinity College Dublin.

Are there any particular qualities you need to study French?

  • You will need to be fascinated by other languages and cultures and excited to study the world from a different perspective. You will need to possess the desire to learn to think critically through the study of literature and cinema as well as history. Finally, you will need to be detail oriented, self-disciplined, and confident.

Where can I study French?

  • Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • French is the 6th most spoken language in the world!
  • French is an Official Diplomatic Language !
  • More than 29% of English words are derived from French!
  • There are ~220 million French speakers worldwide!


Ethan Moser


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