DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Modern Languages

Modern Languages

Knowing another language is an invaluable skill in our increasingly interconnected world. The programs offered by the Department of Modern Languages help you develop the ability to speak, understand, read and write another language; gain appreciation of its literature and civilization; and become more fully engaged as a citizen.

What kind of jobs could I get with a language major?

Practically anything!  One of the many benefits of a language major is the flexibility afforded to you. You can work in whatever areas you've gained experiences and skills in while in college through part-time jobs, internships and student organizations.  If you are interested in working in hospitality, for example, you can major in Arabic Studies and complete hospitality courses for your open electives while also working a part-time job in the hospitality industry.  If you are interested in working for the government, you can begin as a volunteer in a government office, apply for City of Chicago internships and work part-time as an office assistant or desk receptionist in an alderman's office.  Working on campus in an administrative capacity can also provide you with excellent experiences in an office setting.

You gain a variety of skills when you complete language courses, which prepares you for success as a professional in any field.  You can improve your verbal & written communication skills, interpersonal skills, ability to work in diverse environments and critical thinking skills, to name a few.  You may also find a more comprehensive list of what you can do with a language major through the Career Center's website.  The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) also provides a comprehensive map of 21st Century skills gained through language study.

Skills list and additional career ideas:

I'm worried about how a language major might look on a resume when I apply for jobs...

If learning other languages and working with people from different cultural backgrounds is interesting and exciting to you, a language major might be a great fit for you! The world is not divided by major and job opportunities are constantly changing. Jobs that exist today, may not exist when you graduate and vice versa. Check out job posts online (we provide language-specific job search sites through our language resource pages) to verify for yourself that many jobs don't require a specific major, or if they do, they'll also typically list "or relevant education and experience." If you're pursuing a specific career that is tied to a related major, such as becoming a teacher, accountant or financial consultant, that major might be the best choice for you. If you have no clue what you want to do and/or the list of courses required for a major you're considering gives you chills, and not in a good way, then you might want to look into other majors.

Also, many people do not work in jobs directly related to their college major, especially if they didn't seek out professional experiences while in college. We believe this is a strong indication that a college major does not have to be the only determining factor for career prospects. We believe it is important for you to recognize the overall skills you gain and need to develop in college, while studying what you enjoy and what corresponds with your strengths. If you don't enjoy what you're studying and/or you're not suited to what you're studying, you're less likely to have the emotional energy to spend on gaining the skills and experiences you need for life after college. Some signs that you may not be suited to what you're studying: you don't enjoy learning the material, you seem to struggle more than other students in comprehending the material, you dread going to class, etc. If you enjoy working/talking with people from other cultures and enjoy the wonder and beauty of self-expression in other languages, a language program may be a good fit! Here are a few articles that address this point:

How do I land a job after college?

A college degree can help you qualify to apply for a job; experience, skillslikability/personality and f​it are what get you hired. You can work on all of these while in college so as to make the most of your college experience and expenses. Read more about the skills employers are looking for in new hires (links in the above Q&A) and look for opportunities to polish these skills. Consider taking two-credit classes such as UIP 240 and 241 as a 5th class (fits within 18-credit tuition package if the other four classes are only four credits each) to learn how to better articulate who you are and what you have to offer a prospective employer.

College is expensive. Will it be worth it for me to be graduate as a language major?

It absolutely can be when you work on the experience, skillslikability/personality and fit necessary for life after college while completing your degree. DePaul provides you with the resources, guidance and opportunities to help you identify career opportunities and prepare yourself for life after college, regardless of your major. Whether or not you choose to make use of these is up to you. For a year-by-year guide on making the most of your college experience, please visit our advising resources page

Think of a degree as gym membership. You have access to all the equipment, workshops, trainers, etc. that will help you get into the physical shape you desire, but the gym can't do the workouts for you; only you can do this. This Washington Post article frames college majors and job preparedness like this:

"There is also too much emphasis these days on picking a practical field of study, which is why business is the most popular undergraduate major. But employers need people who are broadly educated and have practical skills."

Wall Street Journal blog

"The survey, which rounds up responses from 318 companies that hire new graduates–including Raytheon, Principal Financial and Boston Scientific – found that firms want well-rounded candidates because they’re filling positions with broader responsibilities (93%) and more complex challenges (92%) than in the past. As a result, problem-solving and communication skills, and not business majors, top hiring managers’ wish lists."​