Programs for English Majors
Generally speaking, it is quite easy for English majors to study abroad. Many programs, including those in non-English speaking countries, offer courses in English and in literature (some of these programs, however, require that students meet certain prerequisites; please check with individual programs).
The following is a brief description of all study abroad programs and some that are particularly geared towards English majors. If students would like more information about the Sheffield exchange program, please refer to the English Department website or make an appointment with an English advisor. For all other programs, please contact the Education Abroad Office directly or visit their web site, www.international.umd.edu/studyabroad.
University of Sheffield year-long exchange program for English majors. This is a very competitive exchange program exclusively for English majors that comes with a tuition grant, which means that students do not pay tuition while abroad.
Other exchange programs. UM offers exchange programs in a variety of countries. These programs are open to all majors, but there are often prerequisites. Please refer to the individual program.
UM-sponsored semester- and year-abroad programs. These are programs that are administered entirely through UM. There are advantages to participating in UM-sponsored programs: students can apply some or all of their financial aid toward the cost of these programs; they can often earn full or partial resident credit, which means that they do not have to worry about which classes will transfer; and everything is done through the UM Study Abroad Office, which means that all administrative issues are taken care of in one place.
- Some UM-sponsored programs that are especially friendly to English majors: Maryland-in-London, Maryland-in-Australia, Maryland-in-Berlin, and Maryland-in-Spain.
UM-sponsored short-term programs. These are three-week, three-credit programs in which students earn resident credit. They are offered during the winter and summer breaks.
The University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). This consortium currently offers programs in 25 countries at 39 program sites. UM is a member of USAC, which means that Maryland students may apply all their financial aid to USAC programs. For more information, please refer to the study abroad site and the USAC site.
Approved non-UM programs. These are programs administered by other American universities or by prominent study abroad organizations. Students are also allowed to directly enroll in nationally recognized foreign institutions for direct transfer credit.
The experience of studying abroad in Italy taught me that life should be lived three ways: simply, slowly, and beautifully. I reached a level of self-realization, maturity, and independence I don't think I could have achieved any other way.
--Corinne Canning, English major
Sample Study Abroad Course Descriptions
Below are some sample descriptions of courses UM students can take while abroad. All courses listed are offered through programs that offer UM resident credit; the Sevilla program offers a mix of both transfer and resident credit.
"Study Abroad in London and East Anglia" in England. Summer term. Study Abroad in London and East Anglia in England is an intensive examination of British culture. With Professor Michael Olmert, students on the program study the History, Literature, Drama, Architecture, Art and Archeology of Britain by visiting London, Castle Acre (an East Anglian village in Norfolk), and a number of other historic and literary sites in England.
"Australia: Literature and Culture -- Aboriginal to Contemporary" in Australia. Winter term. An immersion into Australian culture and history, this course explores the literature, theater, and arts of aboriginal and comtenporary Australia. It looks back to the colonial founding of Australia as a British outpost and considers how modern Australia has emerged from a mixing of Western and Indigenous cultures. This three-week program takes place in Sydney.
"Shakespeare's Italian Plays" in Italy. Spring and fall terms. The intensive study of five or six of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies set in Italy, ancient and early modern, with attention to English attitudes toward Italy and Shakespeare’s use of Italy, the nature of comedy and tragedy, and the shape of Shakespeare’s career. Comedies are chosen from among "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," "The Merchant of Venice," "The Taming of the Shrew" (Padua), "Much Ado About Nothing" (Messina), and "The Winter’s Tale" (Sicily). Tragedies are chosen from among "Titus Andronicus" (Rome), "Romeo and Juliet" (Verona), "Julius Caesar" (Rome), "Othello" (Venice and Cyprus), "Anthony and Cleopatra" (Rome), and "Coriolanus" (Rome). This semester-long course takes place in Rome.
"Women Writers of Spain" in Spain. Spring term. Students examine the role of women in Spanish literature from the jarchas to the Neoclassic, a period of centuries in which few women voices are heard. Women authors appear as major figures of the Romantic period, in Realism, and into the 20th century. They study how these authors portray the social and historical moment in which they lived, and their attitude towards it. This spring-term course takes place in Sevilla; students must be at least proficient in Spanish to apply.
Studying abroad has made a world of difference towards my cultural understanding and adaptability. Through an amazing theatre work placement, stellar professors, and activities all around the city of London and the U.K. proper, I have made memories and gained better insight and knowledge about the enormous world around me.
--Matt Strote, Theatre/English double major
Fulfilling Major Requirements Abroad
Specific information about fulfilling the English major while abroad.
Courses that count towards the major. An English advisor will determine which major requirements study abroad courses would fulfill and whether courses count for 300- or 400-level credit if those levels are unclear. Please bring any course descriptions and syllabi with you for this meeting. This will help the English advisor assign each course to the correct category and level within the major.
Courses that count toward Group I and Group II requirements. By the time students study abroad, they should be done with their Group I requirements (though there are some exceptions to this rule). Some Group II requirements can usually be fulfilled abroad, especially in programs that are geared toward English majors (e.g., the University of Sheffield exchange program, the Maryland-in-London program). For other programs, we recommend that students don't count on fulfilling more than one Group II requirement abroad. Instead, plan on taking most of your Group II requirements at UM and leave the Group II electives open for study abroad transfer credit.
Courses that count toward Group II electives. Generally speaking, it is very easy to fulfill electives for the English major while abroad, and these courses can transfer over as a number of 300- or 400-level English classes. Keep in mind, however, that classes that fulfill both English major requirements and electives often transfer as ENGL379 (Special Topics courses) or ENGL428 (Seminars in Language and Literature), and there are restrictions as to how many 379s and 428s you may count towards your major.
UM-sponsored study abroad programs that offer residency credit. Courses in these programs have already been evaluated for UM credit, so it's very easy for students to determine which requirements for the major they can fulfill abroad. The UM equivalencies for courses in these programs are usually listed on the program's page on the Study Abroad website. Students participating in these programs should, however, still meet with their English advisor to figure our which requirements to fulfill while abroad.
Important English major requirements to keep in mind when planning your study abroad classes:
- Within Group II, you need to take four 400-level courses to complete your English major.
- You can only apply nine credits (three courses) of ENGL379 toward your major.
- You can only apply nine credits (three courses) of ENGL428 toward your major.
- Only one 300- or 400-level literature class in a literary tradition other than English, either in the original language or in translation, may count as a Group II elective.
Advising Procedures While Studying Abroad
Via e-mail, students who are abroad go through the same pre-registration advising as they would if they were on campus.
They will receive notification that an English advisor will contact them within 72 hours.
The English advisor will let students know if they also have a College block. If they do, they must email Paula Nadler in ARHU at email@example.com.
Advisors will ascertain what requirements the courses students are taking abroad fulfill. They will then recommend courses to fulfill students' remaining requirements. This could involve several e-mails between an advisor and student, and students should be aware that their registration block may not be immediately lifted when the advisor first contacts them.
Studying at the University of Sheffield for a year has been a truly amazing experience. I've formed close friendships with people from all around the world, and I've had the chance to studying with amazing teachers and peers. ...It has been an incredible opportunity to be completely immersed in the life and heartbeat of a foreign city.
--Natalie Hsieh, English/Secondary Education double major
Transfering Courses and Grades
Transfer credit. Students are allowed to transfer up to 18 credits from their study abroad program and must earn a "C" or higher in each course in order to receive credit at UM and towards their English major (please note: failing is a "C-" or lower). Many programs provide transfer credit only, which means the credits transfer for each course, not the grades. Thus, in many instances, the grades students receive abroad will not be calculated into their cumulative GPAs nor will these grades appear on transcripts.
- Keep in mind that all courses for the UM English major are worth three credits. So, in order to get credit towards the major, the course or courses you take abroad must be worth at least three credits each.
UM resident credit. Some UM-sponsored programs offer full or partial "resident credit." If a UM-sponsored program states that students will get "UM resident credit," this means that courses are treated exactly as if they were taken at UM. On transcripts, the UM course number and final grade appear for each course with a note that the student took the course in London, France, etc. The grades will also be factored into each student's cumulative GPA.
- Some programs that offer full resident credit: Maryland-in-London and all short-term study abroad programs offered during winter and summer terms.
- Some programs that offer partial resident credit: Maryland-Berlin, Maryland-in-Nice, and Maryland-in-Spain. These programs offer a mix of transfer and resident credits.
Posting study abroad credit to UM record. At the end of the semester, students are responsible for sending their study abroad transcripts to the Education Abroad Office for evaluation. Once a transcript is received, it is compared to the course approval form, evaluated, and sent to the Registrar for posting to the student's official record.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
The Sheffield exchange program offers a tuition grant for all English majors who are accepted. This means that those students do not pay tuition for their year abroad, though they are responsible for all other fees and costs (such as room and board).
Generally speaking, financial aid is available for many study abroad programs, and there are individual scholarships as well for students studying abroad. For more information, please contact the Education Abroad Office directly or visit the funding page of their web site.