French Culture

Studies in French culture explore the rich history of France and the Francophone world. Read on to learn more about the French degree programs that may help you prepare for a career in education, government or international business.

Are Studies in French Culture Right for Me?

Career Overview

In a French culture program, you'll examine the social constructs of France and other regions influenced by French colonial rule. This includes parts of Africa, Europe, North America, the Caribbean and other regions that continue to use the French language and contribute to French culture. To become a French cultural expert, you'll need a genuine fascination for French society along with a command of the spoken and written language.

Career Options

A bachelor's or master's degree program in French culture can prepare you for a career in publishing, language translation or international business. You could also work with international non-governmental organizations or any corporation with interests in French-speaking areas of the world. Your primary role may be translator, interpreter or communications liaison. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of interpreters and translators was expected to grow by 46% nationwide during the 2012-2022 decade, a rate considered much faster than the average for all jobs. French is a language in high demand for translators, so prospects should be especially good. The median annual wage for interpreters and translators as of May 2013 was $42,420, also per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Career Information for Teachers

With a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate, you could become a French teacher at the high school level. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of secondary school teachers was $55,360 as of May 2013, and employment of secondary-level teachers was projected to increase at a rate of 6%, or slower than average, between 2012 and 2022. If you earn an advanced degree, you might find a job as a French cultural professor. The BLS predicted that employment of postsecondary teachers would increase by 19%, or faster than average, during the same 10-year period. The median annual salary for foreign language and literature teachers at the postsecondary level was $58,620 in May 2013, also per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Your work as a college professor could entail writing research papers and completing translations for publication in scholarly journals. Your research may take you to France or other French-speaking countries to collect and analyze data. You might also spend time abroad as a visiting scholar at foreign educational institutions.

How Can I Work in French Culture?

Education

In order to work in most occupations related to French culture, you'll need to be fluent in the written and spoken language. This requirement may be satisfied on campus or through online French courses. You may enroll in a certificate program in French culture or translation. Alternatively, you can pursue degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Degree programs often incorporate study abroad programs into the curriculum, which can allow you to learn through hands-on experiences.

Undergraduate Programs

A bachelor's degree program will provide you with a general overview of French society, history and literature. You may also study French cinema and art and or the work of French historians. Additional topics may include African and Caribbean Francophone literature or the development of Creole and Quebecois cultures.

Graduate Programs

If you pursue a master's degree, you'll probably study social and political thought, the development of French culture, the evolution of the French language and sociolinguistics, as well as post-revolutionary and modern French culture. You can select a thesis or non-thesis track. Combined programs in French culture and teacher training are also available in some schools at the master's degree level.

Doctoral degree programs emphasize research and culminate in a final dissertation paper. As a doctoral candidate, your studies will likely explore topics in cultural and institutional histories, literary theory and criticism, political identities and French philosophy. Earning an advanced degree will provide you with more opportunities to immerse yourself in French culture and increase your chances of attaining a more prestigious job position.

If you graduate with a French culture major, you may alternatively pair your knowledge with graduate education in another field like law, art history or international business. This combination of training can prepare you for additional job opportunities.

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