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Why Pursue French and Francophone Studies?

French plays a vital role internationally: it is the official language of over 30 countries, and it is spoken in over 50 countries. After English, it is the most commonly taught second language in the world. Knowledge of French is essential for understanding and succeeding in business, politics, and economics. It is also indispensable for the study of numerous fields such as literature, history, international relations, cinema, and philosophy.

Studying French and Francophone language, culture, cinema, and literature will open doors for you in your education and career. People who study French and Francophone language, culture, cinema, and literature:

  • are more competitive on the job market
  • have a solid foundation for graduate study, since many advanced degree programs require working knowledge of another language
  • are able to converse with the over 200 million speakers of French worldwide
  • have the satisfaction of knowing one of the most important languages in the world, historically and today

The study of a foreign language is an indispensable part of a liberal arts degree, and foreign language study--and study of French in particular--are on the rise. Pursuing French and Francophone Studies will help you improve your communication and thinking skills and broaden your cultural exposure. You will gain practical knowledge that will advance your career, study abroad, and travel opportunities. Moreover, studying the French language will help you better understand the English language and even American politics: French is a major contributor of loanwords to the English language and French political thought has had an unmistakable and ongoing influence on American political structures.

What can I do with a French and Francophone Studies Major?

Just about anything! UTK French and Francophone Studies majors have gone on to many different pursuits after graduation, ranging from graduate study in law, business, and the sciences as well as French language, literature, and culture, and other humanities fields; employment with international companies and government agencies; and a variety of public and private sector jobs in the United States. A good number of our students work as assistants de langue in francophone regions, and many teach French at varied levels here in the United States. Many students who graduate with a major in French and Francophone Studies go on to use the skills they gained in a different discipline.

Areas in which a French and Francophone Studies major will help you be competitive:

  • government and foreign service
  • industry and commerce
  • travel, tourism, and hospitality
  • interpretation/translation
  • service and education
  • arts, media, entertainment

For more on how to put foreign language study to work for you, see the College of Arts & Sciences Advising Center's page at

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