English Majors Planning to Study Abroad
As part of your application checklist for study abroad, you need to procure permission from your major department. In the case of the English department, you have little reason for concern. Please plan to meet with Treseanne Ainsworth to discuss your plans. These meetings do not require an appointment unless you cannot meet during regular office hours.
Meetings should require no more than 15 minutes.
For more information, please refer to our Advising Guide.
What Does the Meeting Entail?
The reason Office of International Programs requires you to meet with your major department is, first and foremost, to make sure that you can study abroad and still complete your major requirements in time to graduate. We will pull up your degree audit, look at the classes you have completed (or plan to complete) before studying abroad, determine how many courses the English department will accept from your program, and figure out how many courses you will need to complete upon your return. Assuming you can complete the ten courses required for the major, you will receive departmental approval. This meeting time can also be used to discuss any questions you may have about course approvals, etc.
Before You Go Abroad
We can be flexible about the number of courses majors need to complete before studying abroad, so there is no set requirement. However, we strongly recommend that you take Studies in Poetry and Studies in Narrative before you depart. These classes provide a solid foundation for your studies, and you don't want to have to take them when you return as a senior/second semester junior! Students in the Creative Writing Concentration are strongly discouraged from studying abroad for a full year. Please discuss your plans with the program director.
While You Are Abroad
The number of courses the department accepts from abroad depends on where you go and how long you will be there. In a nutshell, we can accept two courses per semester (six credits, for the class of 2014) from an English speaking country, one course per semester (three credits, for the class of 2014) from a non-English speaking country. For example, if you study in Ireland for one semester, you can take up to two courses toward the major. If you study in Madrid for the year, you can also take up to two courses toward your major. As a result, you may need to take additional major electives at BC before or after. Please remember that summer courses cannot be counted toward the English major.
Approval For Courses Will Be Done On an Individual Basis
- You will need to provide a description or a syllabus for course approval.
- If the courses you are taking for major credit change once you register abroad, please fax or mail updated approval forms.
- Credit distribution for courses is determined by Office of International Programs.
- Journalism and communications courses are not considered English electives unless they are taught within an English department.
- Courses that are not taught in English may be counted as major electives. You may take courses abroad to satisfy the pre-1700 and pre-1900 requirements as long as the course focuses on British or American Literature.
When You Return
If you have any questions about how courses from abroad are listed on your degree audit, please contact Office of International Programs. If you have questions about how your English courses are listed, please contact Treseanne Ainsworth. If you have any questions about your English major and studying abroad, before, during or after you go, please email Treseanne Ainsworth.
Choosing the Right Program
There are many strong English programs offered through universities overseas. Majors are encouraged to discuss options with their faculty advisors. Some examples of particularly strong programs include: Oxford University; King's College, Cambridge University; University College London (UCL), Queen Mary & Westfield (QMW), University of London; Advanced Studies in England, Bath; Lancaster University; University of Glasgow; University College Dublin (UCD); Trinity College Dublin; NUI Galway and Cork, and University of Paris.
Please consider other locations listed.
University of Nijmegan Student Exchange
The English Departments of Boston College and the University of Nijmegan in the Netherlands exchange one student each year. Usually a junior English major goes to Nijmegan, and a graduate student comes here. Nijmegan is a city of some 150,000 inhabitants located on the Rhine near the German border, and the university has 16,000 students, about 350-400 in the English Department. The Boston College student may attend both undergraduate and graduate courses. All teaching in the department is done in English, and outside the English Department, faculty and students usually have a fair knowledge of English. Interested students should email Christopher Wilson.
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