Major in French
Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts
Modern Languages and Literatures
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What is a French degree?
A degree in French is the study of a language spoken by 300 million people worldwide in 29 countries on five continents. The number of French speakers has grown by almost 10% since 2014. Of that 44% live in sub-Saharan Africa. By 2050, upwards of 85% of French speakers will live on the African continent. A sizable population French speakers also lives in in Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner.
The second most-studied language after English, French is an official language of the United Nations, European Union, International Red Cross, NATO and other international organizations. When you earn a bachelor’s degree in French, you not only build proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing this international language, but you also have the opportunity to explore the movies, musical styles, cuisines, literatures, cultures and people of the vast Francophone world.
Why study French at Furman?
The French section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will prepare you to stand apart as a cultured, confident and powerful communicator. Regardless of the career you pursue, we help you develop your language skills so you can address the sophisticated challenges of our increasingly interconnected Francophone world. We immerse you in conversation, literature, civilization, media and culture, creating compelling experiences at home and abroad that will enrich your personal life and give you an unparalleled edge.
Through the French section, develop transferable skills that are applicable to any career path you may take – learn to communicate ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral form, refine your ability to read and analyze texts, images and videos. Deepen your appreciation of the French influence on fashion, cuisine, art, music and cinema. Sharpen and expand your understanding of the French-speaking world at large, from Oceania to Southeast Asia, North and West Africa to North America, and with Europe.
Study abroad as part of The Furman Advantage. Learn to think on your feet, and cultivate an ability to work collaboratively among the close-knit French-speaking community you’ll lean on throughout your four years at Furman. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.
How will you learn?
You will acquire excellence in listening, speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary through classroom and out-of-class experiences. Study away opportunities amplify the ways in which you’ll explore French-speaking civilizations, history and customs, immersing you in everything from arts to current issues, such as presidential elections or Québec’s unique culture.
Become a language ambassador or associate at our updated Modern Language Center, or serve as a cultural events coordinator. Or partner with faculty on research and present findings at an academic conference. In recent years, student scholars have worked with faculty on original academic articles covering topics like contemporary migrant literature, and science fiction and fairy tales of the 1600s.
Whether enjoying friends in the Modern Language Center, attending one of our student-led “Café français” chit-chats, “Café avec les Profs,” checking out a film screening, or attending one of our many social events, you’ll be able to connect with and learn from other Francophiles around campus.
Careers for French majors
Many of our French students pair study of the language with a major in history, philosophy, political science, fine arts or business, among others. A degree in French prepares you to engage with French speakers around the world and primes you for work in Africa, diplomatic corps, humanitarian organizations or in international business, for example. As a French major, you’ll be ready for the workforce with finely tuned critical thinking, analysis, translation and communication skills, which set you up for virtually limitless career options.
Some of our graduates go on to seek advanced degrees, while others have landed positions such as:
- Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State
- Marketing manager
- Account representative
- Postsecondary teacher
- Elementary, middle or high school teacher
- Market research analyst
- Marketing specialist
- Accountant or auditor
- Public relations specialist
- Fundraising manager
- Human resources manager
- Business development manager
- Real estate agent
- Management consultant
- Business analyst
- S. State Department analyst
- Staff assistant, U.S. House of Representatives
- Interpreter or translator
- Post-sales marketing assistant for a large art auction house
- International news correspondent
French courses: What will you study?
Sample courses include:
French for the Business World
French Literature and Civilization Iii: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Visions of the Cosmos
Introduction to French Linguistics
What our students say
“Studying abroad with Furman's French program during my junior year changed my life. I was so inspired by the beautiful monuments and landscapes, I stayed with an incredible host family, and I ultimately fell in love with the country that I now call home. I wouldn't have been able to build the life I have in Paris or become a French citizen without the linguistic and cultural foundations I built during my time at Furman.” – Lee Litty ’15, management and strategy consultant, Eurogroup Consulting; B.A., French, and B.A., political science
Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s French faculty represent decades of study and real-world expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.
An array of skills such as communication, critical thinking, analysis and translation position you for a wide range of career options spanning business, government, communications and education. Some of our graduates have gone on to work as a foreign service officer, marketing manager, account representative, epidemiologist, postsecondary teacher, elementary, middle or high school teacher, market research analyst, marketing specialist, accountant or auditor, public relations specialist, fundraising manager, human resources manager and business development manager. Still others have pursued careers as a real estate agent, management consultant, business analyst, U.S. State Department analyst, staff assistant for U.S. House of Representatives, interpreter or translator, post-sales marketing assistant for a prestigious art auction house and international news correspondent.
Our Furman in Rennes program offers a core curriculum in French language, literature, culture and architectural history. The political capital of the region of Brittany, Rennes, a mere hour and a half west of Paris by train, and 55 minutes from sea, is a modern community steeped in heritage. While in Rennes, you’ll live in the heart of the city with a local host family and take courses with Furman faculty directors as well as at the Université de Rennes II, through our partner organization, CIEE. During the program, you’ll participate in several excursions, as well as a week-long academic visit to Paris.
If a shorter study away option is more your style, participate in “The Rhine: Life on the Line,” a three-week May Experience (MayX) program that explores the border area of France, Germany and Switzerland.
Many of our majors complete domestic and international French-speaking internships. Recently, students have interned at the prestigious Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, at a web editing company in Clermont-Ferrand, and provided interpreting services for French-speaking refugees in Upstate South Carolina. Internship experiences can earn course credit through FRN-503 or FRN-505. Financial support is available thanks to our competitive Childers Award.
Post-graduation, consider applying your problem-solving and language skills as an English teacher for the French government’s Teaching Assistant Program in France, TAPIF, administered by the French Ministry of Education.
The average base salary for French majors is $54,000 per year, according to payscale.com. Zippia.com puts the average salary for French majors at just over $52,000, with the top 10% earning over $81,000.
The French B.A. at Furman is a four-year program.