Career Exploration

CLA Career Services
411 Bruininks Hall

Career development is a lifelong process of self-discovery, career exploration, gaining meaningful experiences, intentional reflection, and career decision-making and planning. Utilize CLA Career Services staff and resources to help you navigate your career exploration and post-graduation planning process.


For more information on what you can do with a major in French studies, Italian studies, or French & Italian studies, visit CLA Career Services' "What Can I Do with a Major in French & Italian Studies?" page or explore Handshake, the U of M's exclusive online career database.


While our undergraduate programs in French and Italian pertain to the tradition of liberal education (free and critical inquiry, knowledge of the European and extra-European traditions, aesthetic education), they also have practical purposes attuned to the demands of our interconnected world. One goal of our undergraduate programs is to introduce students to and/or bolster already acquired language and communication skills, as well as to provide historical depth coupled with critical judgment and close reading skills.

Since the 1960s, fierce debates have animated the field of French and Italian studies regarding hermeneutics, interpretation of texts, questions of author’s intention, and critique thereof. Literary studies in general, and French and Italian studies in particular, open our students to engage in crucial debates that carry ethical, legal, and political dimensions.

Another purpose of our training is to prepare students to enter areas of professional life that require knowledge of French, Francophone, and Italian language and culture. Our programs offer our students an outstanding preparation to navigate a complex and interconnected world--a preparation that goes far beyond the study of language skills and knowledge of literature. Students with a degree in French, Italian, or French and Italian become sophisticated, flexible, and adaptable global citizens.

While some students choose to pursue a career in academia or in secondary education, the training in French and Italian also opens up multiple career opportunities that require communication skills, the ability to imagine other points of view, and the critical judgment to sort among them. Our ultimate ambition is to teach students how to read not only foreign societies and cultures, but also the “foreignness” in their own culture, and nurture students in a sense of cultural hermeneutics.

In addition to our program's offerings, what you do outside of the classroom can improve your confidence, enhance your skills, and build your resume. Therefore, we encourage you to seek out real-world experience through research opportunities, community engagement, and internships to help you feel confident in your decision upon graduation. Students may also gain valuable and relevant skills in French and Italian by studying abroad or joining a student organization.

Erica Tealey
French & Italian Career Counselor


Prioritize your next steps by building an effective strategy for applying to graduate programs, jobs, and/or service opportunities. You are encouraged to schedule an individual appointment with a CLA Career Counselor by calling 612-624-7577, explore Handshake, the U of M’s exclusive job and internship search database, and attend upcoming employer and career events and workshops to start building a network. You can also connect with us online via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.