What is French or Italian Major?

More than 300 million people use French and Italian in their daily lives in different parts of the world. In today’s global economy, in which the European Union is increasingly important, knowledge of one or both of these languages, when combined with English fluency, offers a powerful advantage to those entering the job market or going on to graduate or professional training. Moreover, the study of French or Italian is an intellectual adventure that leads to the core of Western civilization. In language, literature, the arts, the media, political theory, philosophy and religious thought, France and Italy have played key roles in shaping the West as we know it today. Great scientists, artists, explorers and thinkers belonging to these two cultures have radically transformed our ideas about time, being, truth, justice and power.

At UCSB, the Department of French and Italian offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in French and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Italian Studies. French and Italian majors learn to master the fundamental skills of speaking, reading and writing, and acquire a thorough background in these languages and literatures. The French major introduces students to the key texts and traditions from France, Belgium, Canada, the Caribbean, Africa and other French-speaking countries around the world. The Italian Studies major emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the Italian-speaking world, by combining the arts, humanities and social sciences. Many French and Italian majors also choose a double major in such fields as Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Global and International Studies, History, Music, History of Art, Film and Media Studies, Theater and Dance, and Feminist Studies.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like the French or Italian Majors?

Students who enjoyed foreign languages in high school are natural candidates for this major. The knowledge of multiple foreign languages is helpful when students seek careers in the Foreign Service, in international companies, and in teaching. The study of other languages and cultures offers students communicative skills and understanding that are increasingly valuable in many fields: business, education, government, law enforcement, media, social services and the service industry, among others. Students who have a passion for language and a knack for language acquisition, in addition to an interest in world cultures and travel are drawn to the French and Italian majors.

What Are Potential Topics Within These Majors?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

Art History
Popular Culture
Creative Writing
Gender and Ethnic Studies
Translation studies
To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. French and Italian majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Foreign Service and Diplomatic Fields
Social and Community Work
Human Resources
International Business
Travel and Hotel Industry
Medical Translator
Software and Software Documentation Translator
Teacher of Foreign Language
Teaching English as a Second Language
Law Enforcement
International Agencies Such as the United Nations
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.

See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn




Graduate and Professional Schools
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Expert advice for finding jobs at home and abroad

International Opportunities
Interested in an international career or internship? Career Services has a wealth of resources for an international job and internship search and teaching abroad.
Find jobs that require knowledge of the French language here.

Bilingual Recruitment Services
Search for a job by location that requires French language.

Bilingual Jobs
Discover job opportunities utilizing French language.

Features 1000s of graduate job opportunities across Europe.

French Employment, Careers and Jobs’s list of French employment opportunities.

Overseas Jobs features overseas jobs and international employment opportunities for professionals, expatriates and adventure seekers.

SimplyHired Search Engine
Search jobs from company sites, job boards and the web.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Idealist (Non-Profit Jobs)
Search for volunteer opportunities, events, and other concrete ways to get involved.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

Professional Associations

American Association of Teachers of French
The mission of the association is to encourage and assist in the study of French.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
The professional association which represents teachers of all languages at all educational levels.

French-American Chamber of Commerce
The FACC enhances opportunities for young French and American professionals to acquire the skills and cultural savvy needed to excel in the global business marketplace.

American Translators Association
One of ATA's primary missions is to promote the professional development of translators and interpreters.

American Association for Applied Linguistics
The AAAL creates opportunities for scholarly communication and professional networking by hosting meetings and sponsoring publications

UCSB Resources

UCSB Library French Subject Homepage

French & Italian Departmental Web Page

Career Resource Room

UCSB Office of Student Life

UCSB General Catalog

UCSB Campus Organizations

Model United Nations (MUN)
UCSB Model United Nations members simulate United Nations diplomacy to formulate solutions to global issues from a multilateral approach.

Club de Français (CDF)
Get together with other students and former graduates who also love French culture.

Global Economies & Markets (GEM)
Global Economies & Markets' goal is to inform our members of the various economic events occurring across the globe.

UCSB Minors related to this Major: