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Study French

Why choose French?

Would you like to be able to chat with a winemaker in the Loire Valley? Discuss the menu with a waiter in a Parisian café? Frequent the Latin Quarter and talk about existentialism in the Café de la Sorbonne?

Are you looking for the edge over the competition that will launch your career in management? Tourism? The hotel industry?

A degree in French at Waikato is the place to start.

French is one of the world's most important languages, being widely used in commerce and diplomacy. The role of France in European history and civilization means that French culture has an influence which extends all around the world. Including French in your university studies gives you many advantages:

  • If you want to work overseas, knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is a bonus. English is not as universally recognised as you might think, and the ability to communicate in another language makes a big difference.
  • If your career plans involve international marketing or hotel management, French is an asset. New Caledonia and French Polynesia are both near neighbours and trading partners, while further afield there are nearly fifty territories where French is an official language.
  • If your future lies in the sciences, French will give you access to a huge number of professional journals and contacts in everything from agriculture to physics.
  • People. You get to communicate with people, make friends and share ideas through language. Imagine being in a café in Paris with ten other people, each from a different land, each speaking French; only your language skills let you participate.
  • Personal enrichment. A foreign language opens up new worlds, through culture, literature, films and so on.
  • Experience. We are all to some extent afraid of what we do not know. That fear leads us to make biased judgements about strangers and foreigners. Learning another person's language opens our minds to understanding and to other cultures.


French is available as a pathway within the International Languages and Cultures major or supporting subject for the Bachelor of Arts (BA). Details of the requirements for the French language pathway can be found under International Languages and Cultures. French may also be taken as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees, subject to academic approval of the Faculty or School of Studies in which the student is enrolled.

Within the BA, BBA(Fin), BCS, BECom, BMS, BSocSc and BTour a French Language specialisation is available, and within the BSc and BSc(Tech) a specialisation in Science International in French is available.

The point of entry into the French programme depends on previous experience. Those with no previous experience of French take FREN131 and FREN132. Students normally take both papers in a single year and take FREN231 and FREN232 in the following year. Students with some experience of French (Year 11 or equivalent) will begin with FREN132. Students with 14 credits at Level 3 in NCEA French, or equivalent, will gain direct entry into FREN231. Students with excellent results at Level 2 in NCEA French, or equivalent, may, at the discretion of the Convenor of French, begin with FREN231.

  • Bachelor of Arts arrowshow
  • Certificate of Arts arrowshow
  • Diploma of Arts arrowshow

The French Programme in the School of Arts offers graduate papers in language, literature, linguistics and translation, although not all papers are offered in the same year. Staff research interests include: The history, demography and linguistics of the colonial French Caribbean; Creole Studies; The Marist mission to New Zealand; New Zealanders in France during WWI; Translation methodology; The work of André Gide (1869-1951); The work of Amélie Nothomb (1967-); Curating history exhibitions; Diaries and diarists.

Every year one graduate student of French takes part in The University of Waikato’s graduate exchange with the University of Avignon in the south of France. The exchange allows the student to work as a teaching assistant in the English Department there for two semesters, while taking papers offered by the University of Avignon and carrying out research for graduate papers commenced at Waikato.

French is available for the following graduate and postgraduate programmes:

  • Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma arrowshow
  • Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma arrowshow
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours arrowshow
  • Master of Arts arrowshow
  • Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy arrowshow



French papers can be studied to an advanced level within the Arts and Social Sciences qualifications listed above, they can also be taken purely for interest, and towards other University qualifications.


Complementary Subjects

Interested in French? You might also be interested in:


Career Opportunities

  • Diplomat
  • Hospitality Operator
  • International Lawyer
  • Tour Guide
  • Translator or Interpreter
  • Travel Agent

Potential Employers

  • Export-oriented Companies
  • Government Departments
  • Local Bodies
  • Multinational Corporations
  • Tourism Sector Companies
  • Universities and Schools



General & Undergraduate Enquiries:
Phone: +64 7 838 4932

Graduate Enquiries:


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Tel: +64 7 838 4080
or 0800 800 145 (within NZ)
Fax: +64 7 838 4636