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Photo of Steve Ohlhaut.


While serving as head of world languages and as a French teacher at West Lafayette High School, Steve Ohlhaut helped his students make connections with foreign students by developing a writing and travel exchange with a high school in France. Read more here.

Majoring in French

French is the second most commonly learned language in the world after English. A major in French provides an entryway to cultures in dozens of French-speaking countries around the globe and is excellent preparation for employment in the global economy. Purdue’s French majors choose coursework from a variety of language, literature, and culture courses, including specialized courses such as Business French at various levels to prepare students for a multitude of stimulating careers.

Upon completion of the program, Language & Culture majors may choose graduate school or employment in an industry, which may or may not be related to their field. Student experiences have included:

  • International Business and Communication
  • Government Agencies
  • Technology Industry
  • Data Linguist
  • Foreign Service
  • Politics
  • Diplomat
  • Law Professional
  • Translator / Interpreter
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Study Abroad Liaison
  • French Language Teaching Professional
  • Title I ESL Instructional Assistant
  • ESL Teacher (domestic and abroad)
  • Graduate or Professional School

Average Starting Salary: $42,041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Research in recent years confirms the many cognitive benefits of learning a second language. In addition, French majors develop skills that are applicable to many different careers. These skills may include, but are not limited to:

  • A global/cultural awareness of the social and political relationships that shape the world.
  • Understanding of different cultures and countries.
  • Ability to communicate and work productively with diverse groups of people.
  • Aptitude at translating messages simultaneously into specified languages, maintaining message, content, context, and style as much as possible.
  • Experience reading written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewriting material into specified languages.

Languages and Cultures majors may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to:


  • EC Farms
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Los Monitos Language Company
  • Columbia River High School

Graduate School

  • University of Southern California
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Wisconsin
  • New York University
  • Southern Methodist University

CLA Career Center