Programs in Literature for International Students
If you are one of those people who are in love with literature, prefer reading to partying, and have a small collection of book, you have made a right choice when decided to cling to a degree in literature, having obtained which you will be called a Bachelor of Arts in English. There are plenty of schools offering programs to international students in this sphere, and they are much alike. Usually, upon graduation, you will be versed in both British and American literature, classical literature, and literary criticism as well as masterly use English grammar. Nevertheless, there is a number of differences, which actually cause difficulties in deciding between them. Find out how to do it with the help of our tips.
Mind a Concentration
Although the programs, which colleges and universities have, are similar in terms of many aspects, the main distinctive feature between them is a concentration. This term is used to refer to a certain field of study that exists within a major. Concentration depends on the qualification and specialization of the faculty and predetermines the electives that will be available for you as an international student. The concentration is rarely directly indicated in the major description. It is necessary to look through course offerings to see it. If, for example, there are many classes concerning Post-Colonial literature, you are likely to obtain a major in English with the concentration on Post-Colonial Era.
When considering a range of programs, a concentration should be one of the primary criteria since many classes of yours will depend on it. You will be required to attend some courses to fulfill the requirements of the major, but the rest of classes are your choice, which will be strongly connected with the concentration. Thus, with the major in English, you may focus on rhetoric, creative writing, advanced writing, feminism and gender studies, literary theory, American or British literature, cultural literature, etc. The point of elective courses is to let you deepen your knowledge in the area of your interest and give you a chance to determine your path in literature studies on your own. So, use this opportunity and choose a program wisely.
Choosing Using Concentration
To select the program paying attention to concentration, international students should consider two factors. The first one is the faculty. You should find out what are the areas in which professors of a specific program could be called the experts. In case a college hires few teachers with exclusive competence in writing, it is likely that the program will provide solid knowledge in this sphere. Then, if you are interested in writing, this establishment should become your choice. Moreover, pay attention that the concentration of a program does not depend on one professor since he/she may resign, retire, or move to another city. The entire faculty employed determines the focus. Universities hire professors with distinctive but overlapping specializations on purpose in order to make sure that closely related knowledge is advanced on numerous front and in a parallel way. Therefore, make sure to learn the information about all member of the faculty.
The second factor to take into account is your interests. Since you love reading and probably already have own tastes in literature, rely on them when making a choice. If you are in love with poetry and enjoy discussing it for hours, you simply cannot pick up a program with the concentration on grammar or rhetoric. Think of a literary era or genre that you find intriguing and start searching for a school the faculty of which could help you gain an insight in this sphere. In other words, the program that you select should mirror your interests. Otherwise, you will be extremely bored and frustrated. Thus, start reading descriptions of courses as well as look for professors’ credentials and emails to find out as much information as possible. Of course, you might think that concentration is not that important or worth so much effort as it is not even mentioned in a diploma. However, it leaves a permanent imprint on your knowledge, so you should take it seriously.
Minor vs. Concentration
Although might seem similar, these minor and concentration are radically different. The latter is a kind of a specialization you might get through picking up certain electives within your major. So, if you major in English but attend many courses related to Asian literature, the latter is your concentration. Minor, on the other hand, is an additional qualification that is being obtained apart from the major. For instance, if a person studies business management but feels the lack of skills in writing, he/she might dare to gain a minor in English. So, a minor is a completely different specialization that people often use to broaden their outlook. However, greatly useful for the sake of self-development and improvement, minors are not effective when it comes to searching for a job. It is an excellent supplement to the major, especially when they naturally complement each other like, for example, a major in marketing and a minor in advertising. Nevertheless, if you are willing to be hired on the basis of your minor, it is unlikely to happen if there is a candidate with a major in the same field.
Certificate vs. Degree
Just like American students, international students obtaining an undergraduate degree in literature would like to find a profitable and rewarding job in teaching English. It is much easier to be hired to teach English as a second language with the certificate called TESOL. To obtain it, are not required to have a degree in English, but you should obligatory be a Bachelor. When studying to get TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL, you will not be able to find out much about literature. The training is focused on teaching methods, grammar, vocabulary, and language mechanics. If you are interested in receiving the certificate, you should check the peculiarities of the program in a certain school and its requirements. You should discover whether the program:
- Implies that the certificate will be a supplement to your undergraduate degree;
- Allows teaching abroad and/or in the United States only;
- Enables teaching children and/or adults;
- Offers mentorship and provides a possibility of practical teaching of 6 hours, at least.
English education certificate is also very popular. To have it, a student should have a degree in English, as opposed to TESOL, and then will be able to teach in a secondary school. This course provides an opportunity to learn about teachings techniques and methodologies and obligatory practice to gain some teaching experience. The studying process usually end with a state test. If it is passed, a license for teaching is issued. This certificate program, like any other one, usually last up to one year. The biggest advantage of certificates is that it is pretty easy to combine the training with the main studies and later use the knowledge obtained at both main and additional classes together for the benefit of own students. If you are interested in a certificate program, mind that they are included in a transcript.
If you think than the only thing that is better than reading is some more reading, you will never regret opting for a major in English. The basic degree you can and should obtain is a Bachelor of Arts. Then, various certificates enabling you to teach English as a second language can complement this qualification. To choose an appropriate program, you should consider its concentration and remember about own interests. Moreover, there is always a chance to obtain a minor additionally. In other words, the options are abundant; however, do you know what you want?