English Majors and Minors
office of international programs
There are many strong English programs offered through universities overseas. 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, the Assistant to the Chair, to discuss your plans. These meetings do not require an appointment, unless you cannot meet during regular office hours.
When Can I Study Abroad?
English majors are eligible to study abroad during either the fall or spring semester of their junior year. For students who plan ahead, it may be possible to study abroad for an entire academic year, but students must be in early contact with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students in the Creative Writing concentration are not encouraged to study abroad for a full year, due to the curricular requirements of the concentration.
Should I Study In A Foreign Language Destination?
Beyond the BC language requirement, there are options to study abroad in the target language. Students would need to have strong language skills in order to directly enroll in literature courses. Those courses can count toward the English major.
There are several prestigious BC programs in English speaking countries that offer excellent courses in English. Students are encouraged to speak with their faculty advisor and International Study Advisor in order to determine the best fit for their interests.
What Classes Should I Take Before Studying Abroad?
Early planning is essential to ensure that students will meet all BC requirements and that they will have a strong English background for study abroad. Since most international education systems require a higher degree of specialization at an earlier level, this strong background will allow students to take advantage of the best offerings at the host institution, including upper-level seminars.
At a minimum, all English majors should take the following courses prior to study abroad:
- ENGL1131: Studies in Poetry
- ENGL1133: Studies in Narrative
All English majors must meet with their departmental advisor before studying abroad. With their faculty advisor, students will map out a tentative schedule for the semester(s) abroad and for the remaining time on campus at Boston College to show how students plan to meet the remaining major requirements.
What Classes Should I Plan To Take Abroad?
The ideal type of course is one that fits with the English major but is not available at BC. Courses that focus on the region in which students are studying and those that reflect the academic strengths of the host university department are highly recommended.
To receive major credit for courses taken abroad, students must provide a course syllabus and obtain approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies if a course is not pre-approved.
English students should remember that the department allows a maximum of two courses to be taken abroad per semester and four courses per academic year with department approval.
What If I Am Planning To Do An Honors Thesis?
In recent years, many students have used their experiences abroad to help generate or supplement a compelling honors thesis. For some English majors who already have a topic in mind, studying abroad provides an excellent opportunity to conduct on-site research and establish contact with faculty at the host institution. All students are strongly encouraged to think about how their semester or year abroad can be integrated into an honors thesis.
Students who are planning to do an honors thesis are strongly urged to plan ahead. Students are advised to establish a thesis topic and identify a BC faculty member willing to supervise their work before departing and to maintain e-mail contact with their thesis advisor while abroad. Students should discuss whether or not they need to take a specific course while abroad.
For students studying abroad in the spring semester of their junior year, the honors thesis proposal is due in September of their senior year. However, those students must be in contact with Professor Andrew Sofer, director of the program during the spring. (/schools/cas/english/undergraduate/honors.html)