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Undergraduate FAQs

 

What can I do with an English major?

 

What are the differences among the four concentrations: Writing and Culture, Creative Writing, English Education, and Literature?

 

How can I get a sense of which concentration is best for me?

 

Is one concentration better than another for a given profession? Is one easier than the other?

 

Can I concentrate in two areas of English?

 

What is a minor, should I have one, and how do I choose one?

 

What are some common mistakes to avoid?

 

What is the difference between 2000-, 3000-, and 4000-level courses in English?

 

Can I take English 2123 twice for credit?

 

Is there any way I can get out of the foreign language requirement?

 

Can I change the designation of cross-listed courses after enrollment?

 

Can a 4000-level Studies in _____ course that deals with gender or minority or ethnicity issues substitute for English 3674, 4674, 3593, or 4593? Are substitutions possible for Writing and Culture core courses? Can Honors 2000-level or 3000-level courses substitute for required English courses?

 

When should I take the required criticism course?

 

When should I take the required foreign language courses?

 

Where can I get help with the job search or graduate application process?

 

 

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What can I do with an English major?


High School Teaching is the likely choice for students who concentrate in Secondary Education. An excellent program for a Master's Degree is the Holmes Program. If you are interested, you should talk with advisors in the College of Education.

 

Some other options include law school and other professional schools, such as business and medical school, with proper advising on other course work.

 

Editing. Interested students should talk with Jim Wilcox.

 

Technical Writing.

 

All manner of writing careers. Newsletters for organizations, non-profit grant writing, political speech writing, etc.

 

(Remember to attend the Career Day meeting for English majors in the spring.) 

 

For more information about the career opportunities open to English majors click here.

 

 

 

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What are the differences among the four concentrations: Writing and Culture, Creative Writing, English Education, and Literature?

 

The Literature concentration focuses on but is not exclusively confined to the historical and critical study of British and American literature. It embraces cultural studies, minority and women’s literature, theory, as well as post-colonial studies. Creative Writing workshops and the concentration teach students to compose imaginative literature, while the Literature courses and the concentration teach students how to read, interpret, and place imaginative literature in a variety of interpretive contexts.

 

The Secondary Education (in English) concentration prepares students for secondary school teaching, and includes courses taught in conjunction with courses from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This concentration also includes a great deal of literature and writing. If you choose this concentration but decide against a teaching career, you would also be well equipped to teach in corporate environments, where much on-the-job, professional development training takes place. And you would be well prepared for writing careers or professional studies (for example, law school). For more information about teaching English in secondary schools visit Geaux Teach!

 

The Writing and Culture concentration focuses on the theory and practice of rhetoric, both written and oral, as well as language studies, folklore, and cultural studies. To picture the centrality of writing and rhetoric to culture, imagine three concentric circles. The innermost circle is linguistics, the systematic study of the components of language. Next, rhetoric teaches the arts of the effective and persuasive use of language. Culture is the outer circle; it encompasses all the socially transmitted ideas, beliefs, and customs that shape a text. As a Writing and Culture student, you can study many diverse forms of written discourse from traditional literary texts to technical documents to newspapers and film scripts, and the limited number of required courses in the concentration allow you to take as many or as few courses in a given discipline as you choose.

 

 

 

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How can I get a sense of which concentration is best for me?


English 2300 is the required gateway course for Writing and Culture; it introduces students to linguistics, rhetoric, and cultural studies. English 2024 (honors 2084) is a recommended gateway course for the Literature concentration; it introduces students to critical theory and the problems of interpretation. We recommend that students in the Literature concentration take English 2024 (or Honors 2824) if they haven't completed their 2000-level requirements. Both concentrations (as well as the Second Education concentration) accept both courses, so that, by taking either course, you can sample the issues that the concentration addresses without locking yourself into one concentration so early in your career. The English Department also offers a Majors Day meeting every fall when you came meet with advisors for each concentration.

 

 

 

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Is one concentration better than another for a given profession? Is one easier than the other?


For law school or writing careers (or for work in many nonprofit organizations), Creative Writing, Literature, and Writing and Culture are all good preparations, with the differences noted above.

 

The English Education concentration is designed to prepare students for careers in secondary school teaching; as noted above, however, you would also be prepared for other careers related to writing, teaching, and speaking.

 

The most flexible concentration is Writing and Culture because it has the most electives. Creative Writing and English Education have few electives but many choices within groups of requirements.

 

The English Department offers a Career Day meeting every spring with brief talks by former LSU English majors who have gone on to a variety of careers.

 

 

 

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Can I concentrate in two areas of English?


Yes, you can concentrate in Literature and Writing and Culture, or in Literature and Creative Writing with careful course selection. (See the departmental advisors.) But only one of these can be listed on your transcript. The department, however, can write an official letter indicating that you have completed all requirements for both concentrations.

 

 

 

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What is a minor, should I have one, and how do I choose one?


Students in the College of Arts and Sciences have 37 hours of electives. Choosing a minor is a great way to give these hours some shape.

 

Minors typically require 18 hours (except in the foreign languages). Consult the catalogue for requirements in each area. Besides departmental minors, students can minor in interdisciplinary areas such as Women's and Gender Studies, African and African-American Studies, Film and Media Arts. Etc.

 

Students should think about their career plans, and select a minor that would be appropriate. For example, if students intend to go to law school or work for a nonprofit, they could major in English and take a minor in fields such as Political Science, Economics, Business, or Women's and Gender Studies.

 

 

 

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What are some common mistakes to avoid?

 

Do not take too many 2000-level courses. You can only take 9 hours of 2000-level courses in the Writing and Culture and Literature concentrations.

 

Do not take English 2123 twice; you can't get credit for the second section.

 

Be sure to take at least the required number of 4000-level courses. Some students do not take enough courses at the advanced level.

 

A common mistake is to think you have to take the survey courses (English 3020/22/70/72) in chronological order.

 

In selecting courses, be sure you base your choices on sensible criteria. Choose courses for academic reasons, not for the convenience of your schedule.

 

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What is the difference between 2000-, 3000-, and 4000-level courses in English?


2000-level courses--introductions (courses that teach the basic terms and approaches used in a field)

 

3000-level courses--surveys and/or courses that presume a knowledge of basic terms and approaches (courses that give an overview of a historical period of literature, a genre, or an approach to literary study, and courses that build on the skills acquired in 2000-level courses)
4000-level courses--studies in depth (courses within a designated area, but whose specific focus within that area may vary from semester to semester). Studies in _____ courses at the 4000-level may be repeated once for credit when topics vary. Multiple sections of any Studies in _____ course may be offered in one semester. Short specific titles are listed in the Registration / Schedule of Classes and on students' transcripts. More detailed course descriptions appear in the departmental handout prepared for preregistration. Students cannot take a 4000-level course until they have passed 60 hours.

 

 

 

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Can I take English 2123 twice for credit?


No, the General Education Committee of the university has ruled on this matter.

 

 

 

 

Is there any way I can get out of the foreign language requirement?


No, this is a College of Arts and Sciences requirement.

 

 

 

 

Can I change the designation of cross-listed courses after enrollment?


Yes, you must inform the College of Arts and Sciences counselor of what change you want to make, but you can enroll under one subject designation and change to the second after the fact.

 

 

 

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Can a 4000-level Studies in _____ course that deals with gender or minority or ethnicity issues substitute for English 3674, 4674, 3593, or 4593? Are substitutions possible for Writing and Culture core courses? Can Honors 2000-level or 3000-level courses substitute for required English courses?


Yes. Consult a departmental advisor for an official substitution.

 

 

 

 

 

When should I take the required criticism course?


You are advised to take your required criticism course in your junior year, preferably in spring or your last semester at that level. The course is designed to prepare students for 4000-level seminars.

 

You need to know that English 3024 covers the history of criticism from Plato through the 19th century, and English 3084 focuses on 20th century criticism.

 

 

 

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When should I take the required foreign language courses?

 

Don’t put off completing the foreign language requirements. For modern languages, if you do not place out of any courses, you must take 4 semesters in sequence to complete the requirement. If you don't start early, your graduation date will be delayed. The same problem occurs to a lesser extent with the math and science requirement.

 

 

 

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Where can I get help with the job search or graduate application process?


You should register with the Career Services. The Center has an excellent career library, and it offers workshops on resume writing and test-taking, on applying to graduate and professional school, and on preparing for job interviews. Located in 1502 Patrick F. Taylor Hall. Telephone: 225-578-2162 · Fax: 225-578-3076 · E-mail: career@lsu.edu.

 

You should select a professor with whom you have taken course work, make an appointment to discuss career planning, and go prepared with examples of your writing and questions to ask.

 


FACULTY WANT TO TALK TO STUDENTS!

 

 

 

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