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sweetsweetstephy's avatar

What is the difference between a major and a concentration?

Asked by sweetsweetstephy (338points) October 4th, 2010

I want to study English Literature, but some schools only offer it as a concentration in the English major. Is it better if I major in it or just go with the concentration route? Or is it essentially the same?

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5 Answers

YoBob's avatar

It’s essentially the same.

Ask yourself this, when you go to get a job do you think it will make a difference to your perspective employer whether your degree is in English Literature or English with a concentration in English Literature. IMHO, probably not.

iamthemob's avatar

It also doesn’t really matter, considering that majors/concentrations, if they’re in the liberal arts categories, don’t really affect future job searches. So you really need to look at what courses fulfill the concentration or overall major and see if those are the types you’re interested in.

weeveeship's avatar

In a school I know, the major would be an overarching subject like history, and a concentration would be on something within that major, like WWII studies.

In terms of substance, an English Lit major and a English major with a lit concentration is the same. The school with the English major with a lit concentration might just have a bigger English department that also includes other concentrations, like grammar, creative writing, etc.

Frankie's avatar

It simply means that, within your English major, you will be expected to take a certain number of classes on one particular theme or subject. You will have a few required classes, probably on a lower level, and then will have to choose one particular area of study in which to focus your education within the department; at my university, the concentration areas for English majors include popular culture/digital media, Renaissance literature, Medieval literature, the Novel, the Romantic Period, Diversity Studies, Critical Theory, and a bunch more. There are between five and ten classes per concentration from which you could choose.

For example, one of my majors is Women’s Studies. For the major, I’m required to take four core classes: 300, 505, 550, and the 575 senior capstone. I’m then required to take at least three classes from within my concentration area, and then two electives. There are three concentrations to choose from: Difference and Diversity; Culture and Representation; and Political Action and Social Change. My concentration is the third, so I’ve chosen to take three classes that are listed under that specific concentration.

It’s basically just a way for you to customize your major to fit your interests and better prepare you for what you wish to do with your degree. Rather than require a student who wants to go into linguistics to take the same classes as a student who wishes to pursue a career in creative writing, you are able to choose the area of study that best suits you and then tailor your major accordingly.

talljasperman's avatar

In my university you need a major to continue to get into a Masters program and a concentration for a degree in the field

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