Off-Campus Studies can help English students…

  • Improve or acquire foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Gain primary research skills from field studies or work with primary sources
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in English prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • During off-campus studies students increase proficiency in languages required for graduate study of literature.
  • Off-Campus studies provides valuable perspective and a range of experiences for literature students and creative writers.
  • Living and traveling to the historic venues where literature has been produced provides students with a cultural and social context for these works and their authors.
  • By studying the literature of countries outside the English-speaking world, students gain a comparative perspective on literature and deepened understanding of world literature.

As a general rule of thumb, the English Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • English majors must take ENGL 290 Approaches to the Study of Literature (offered spring semester only) prior to their third year.
  • Fall semester is the best semester for English majors to study off-campus because all of the preparation meetings for the senior year occur in the spring semester of the junior year, including submission of honors thesis proposals.
  • In order to be eligible to apply to write a creative thesis, students need to have completed the entire sequence of creative writing courses in the genre in which they intend to write the thesis by the spring of their junior year.  Students should note that advanced writing courses (320, 321, 322) are only offered in the spring. Students should also meet with the potential adviser for a creative thesis about their intended project by the spring of their junior year.

Which requirements can English majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit with the approval of the major adviser and department.
  • We prefer that majors complete specific required courses (such as the period courses) on campus, but will consider granting credit for some courses based on the syllabi, papers, and other course materials presented by students on their return from off-campus study. 
  • We will accept for credit in the major only courses with reading lists comparable to those in our 300-level courses and in which the student has done at least 18 pages of graded formal writing.
  • In some cases, through the world literature option, students taking literature in another language (e.g. French literature in France) may obtain permission from the English department to apply the course to the English major as elective major credit.
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Major Credit Limitations

  • The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the English major from off-campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.
  • Business courses typically cannot be transferred to Whitman because they are vocational in nature and not considered liberal arts.

Minor Credit Limitations

  • A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the English department?

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with local students
  • Study at a study abroad center with U.S. students that includes excursions and field studies in the local community

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the English department?

For students who wish to pursue English literature courses abroad:

  • University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland)
  • IES: University College London (UCL) (London, England)
  • IFSA-Butler: University of Oxford (London, England)
  • University of East Anglia (UEA) (Norwich, England)

Students may also wish to further their foreign language skills and enroll in Spanish, French or other non-English literature courses while abroad.  Please consult with an OCS adviser and your major adviser if you wish to pursue literature courses in the non-English speaking world.

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.