What can I do with a degree in French?

Exchange destinations for UC students

Knowing a second language increases one's employability in a global environment. French is a good choice, being one of the few international languages, useful in travel, culture, trade, science and sport on several continents. In addition, French culture is both influential and fascinating.

The French programme at UC offers courses to 300-level in French language, as well as courses in French culture, French society, French literature and European film for both people who cannot read or speak a word of French, and for those who have studied French at school. It also offers the only introductory course in French linguistics in the South Island, and flexible learning options.

Through their French degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that includes:

  • Reading, writing, listening and speaking French
  • Well-developed communication skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • A better understanding of the global interactions which shape contemporary society
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas,
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research and computing skills.

Practise your skills at work or in France

Opportunities to apply your learning are available:

  • An internship can deepen your skillset, working knowledge and employability
  • UC offers a number of options to immerse yourself in French language and culture, including study exchange partnership programmes with three universities in France.

A degree in French can lead to a variety of career options, for example:

  • Focusing on language or linguistics-related fields such as immigration, language teaching, interpreting/translating
  • Entering a vast array of sectors that value the transferable skills of an Arts or Commerce graduate, such as career consulting, librarianship, policy and governance, international relations
  • A popular combination is the study of a European language such as French with that of a professional degree such as Law, Accounting or Teaching and Learning.

As one of the world's most important languages, French opens doors to careers in:

  • Diplomacy
  • Journalism, media and public relations
  • Education
  • Trade
  • Tourism
  • Research
  • Culture
  • Legal services
  • Business.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Policy analyst / advisor

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in society, law or governance
  • Interprets and consults on existing policies
  • Prepares reports and recommends changes

Legal associate, lawyer, solicitor

  • Provides legal advice or legal opinions to clients and sometimes other lawyers
  • Prepares legal or court documents
  • Makes submissions and negotiates for clients
  • Provides conveyancing services
  • Specialises in different areas of legal practice

Secondary school teacher

  • Plans and delivers instructional lessons
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback
  • Sets and marks assignments and tests


  • Categorises and catalogues library materials
  • Selects materials for library use
  • Helps customers find and use materials

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

  • Assesses a student's reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and needs
  • Designs and prepares learning materials
  • Presents lessons, including on local knowledge and skills for coping in a new place

Investment banker

  • Provides strategic advice and specialist knowledge to meet a client’s financial goals
  • Assists clients to increase profits, manage debts, raise capital and secure deals
  • Works with other professionals eg, lawyers

Diplomat, foreign policy officer

  • Promotes New Zealand’s interests overseas
  • Reports on affairs and develops foreign and trade policies
  • Liaises with local authorities and negotiates agreements with other countries

Research analyst

  • Organises and conducts research
  • Tests theories and interprets the results
  • Writes reports and makes recommendations

Law clerk

  • Assists with the day-to-day operation of courts
  • Handles court documents and schedules
  • Liaises with police, judges and lawyers

Customer support consultant

  • Provides the first point of contact for customers
  • Engages and listens to customers
  • Answers enquiries and discusses solutions

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea, product or service
  • Offers services as a freelancer/consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the French subject page