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French Major Guide for 2008-2009

What is French

French studies encompasses all aspects of French and francophone life and culture: history, literature, politics, art, film, theater; the past, present, and the future; relations between countries and cultures, business etiquette, business practices, etc. Students should consider a French major if they are fascinated by other cultures; would like a career with an international component; enjoy learning and speaking foreign languages; like to travel; are open to viewing their own culture and themselves from a different perspective.

Career Opportunities in French

A major in French, perhaps with a concentration in Language and World Business, can be an advantage in gaining employment in many fields. Some of these opportunities are obvious (teaching, translation, interpreting), others less so (journalism, international business or law, foreign service, travel industry jobs, etc.). The ability to speak, read and write with precision in a second language is an increasingly desirable skill in the United States. The most common second language in the United States is Spanish, and yet French remains an important language on the international scene; choosing French sets a student apart from his or her peers. In addition, a job applicant with study abroad experience on his or her resume attracts an employer’s attention, with reason, for studying abroad demonstrates adaptability and resourcefulness.

Salary Trends in French

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.  As a group, Arts and Sciences graduates average $33,258 (

High School Preparation

In addition to language classes that will permit the high school student to begin classes in the major as a freshman, classes in history and literature are recommended to students planning to major in French.  Studying languages other than French is also helpful, especially another contemporary Romance language or Latin.  Travel or study abroad, short or long term, is useful preparation for future experiences with other cultures.

How to Major in French

A major in French may also choose to do a concentration in Language and World Business (LWB). Many students double major in French, spending a semester or year abroad perfecting their fluency and finishing their requirements; at the same time, they gain an increased understanding of their own culture’s role in a rapidly evolving global culture and economy.  Students interested in a French major should contact the undergraduate advisor in French as soon as possible.  For more detailed information, please see the French program’s website:  http://

Requirements for French

The French major consists of 30 hours in courses numbered 333 and above. All majors must have the fol­lowing courses (or their equivalent with consent of the department): 333–334; 351–352; 421; 422; 440. Advanced students may substitute a 400-level course for either 333 or 334, with consent of the department.

Language and World Business Concentration
Students who wish to prepare for careers in international business may complete a special major in French, a pro­fessional emphasis in International Business, International Retail Merchandising, or International Agricultural Economics, and some form of practical experience related to the concentration. Admission to this concentration is by permission of the program director.  For more information see the major guide entitled Language and World Business.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The Language and World Business program of the Modern Foreign Languages Department sponsors co-ops and internships for students, both in the United States and abroad. Contact the Head of the LWB program for more information (

Highlights of French

Pi Delta Phi, the French honor society, maintains an active program of events such as films, dinners, and guest speakers. The French program recently inaugurated a weekend immersion in French language and culture. Other events have included French dinners, French plays, and opportunities to meet French students studying at U.T. through the ISEP program. Contacts with the local Alliance Francaise also help to bring France alive for students studying in Knoxville, and to encourage them to travel to France or other francophone cultures for a true “immersion” experience.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

There are numerous travel abroad opportunities through the French program at U.T., such as the summer U.T. in France Program (six credits for a four-week stay in France), and the International Student Exchange Program.  ISEP is run by the Center for International Education; students spend a semester or year in France, pay U.T. tuition, and receive transfer credit in consultation with their French professors at U.T.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
French 211, 212 or 217, 218 6
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Social Sciences 3
General Elective 0-2
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Non US History Sequence 6
Natural Science 3
General Electives 3
Communicating Orally 3
Humanities 3
Social Science 6
French 333, 334 6
Junior Year Credit Hours
French 351, 352 6
French 421 3
French (major) 3
Social Science 3
Humanities 6
Upper Level Distribution 3
Communicating Through Writing 3
General Elective 3
Senior Year Credit Hours
French 422 3
French 440 3
French (400 level literature course) 3
French (major) 3
Upper Level Distribution 3
Upper Division Electives 6
General Electives 8
GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Dr. Mary McAlpin
Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures
701 McClung Tower; 865-974-2311



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.