Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: katiescarlett on December 02, 2012, 03:37:48 PM

Title: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: katiescarlett on December 02, 2012, 03:37:48 PM
My question is this:  Can you go to grad school with your minor?  For example, if you are an English major, and decide you want a history minor, can you go to grad school in history if you decide you don't want to in English.  (No, I don't want to change my major, I love my major)

Thanks!
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: jpcher on December 02, 2012, 03:46:40 PM
I think this is something that you need to talk to your student advisory people about.

Certain minor classes that you take my not be transferable or relevant to the major degree that you're looking for.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: figee on December 02, 2012, 03:50:59 PM
Depends.  I did my undergrad in history and politics and my PG in sociology - I'm now an academic in sociology which is a completely different discipline.  So it can be done.  But I think it would depend on several things.  First, where you did your UG and where you want to go PG.  Some university systems and education systems are more similar than others so I moved between Australia and the UK without an issue.  It would depend how much assumed knowledge there is - this will be different in the USA from the other two system mentioned.  And finally it would depend on what you were moving from and to.  If, for instance, you had a minor in nuclear physics and your major was English Lit and you wanted to move to physics, I would imagine it would be more difficult than moving from English Lit to Linguistics.

Talk to people at your current institution and also the ones you're applying to.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: SleepyKitty on December 02, 2012, 03:54:03 PM
Depends on the major/minor. I'm going with the history example, since that's what I know. :) In general you're not going to get accepted somewhere for history if you can't demonstrate a proficiency in doing history. That may be possible depending on how intensive the minor was - if you took a higher-level seminar type course, and you have a strong writing sample and good recommendations, you can get into a history grad program. It will be a little more competitive, but you could do it. However, if your minor just means you have credits in lower-level courses, without a sufficient writing sample, then that won't cut it.

I'm sure it's different for graduate school outside of the humanities, though - I have no idea how a math or science program would work.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: katiescarlett on December 02, 2012, 03:59:32 PM
Thanks for the replies.  It really is more a passing thought, than anything else.  I love English, and I want to teach on the college level, however, I really love history as well. 
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: camlan on December 02, 2012, 04:29:31 PM
Given the example of an English major and a history minor, it's probably doable. It depends, as SleepyKitty says, on what courses you took in history. And also what the requirements of the graduate program are.

But it is usually possible to take a few more history courses to get enough credits to apply for a history grad program. It's something that you would have to discuss with the school you were hoping to attend--how many more courses you would need and what kind of courses.

Depending on the grad school, you might be able to take one or two history courses while pursuing a degree in English. The university I attended for my Master's allowed English grad students to take up to two courses that weren't English courses--most people who did this took a history course to get a better feel for a given period.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: JoW on December 02, 2012, 04:34:29 PM
I vaguely recall a couple of grad students being in my junior or senior level Chemical Engineering classes.  They had undergraduate degrees in another engineering discipline and these courses were necessary pre-requisites for their graduate level courses.  Something like that in other fields wouldn't surprise me - you get admitted to grad school, but are required to take a few lower level courses in your new field before you take graduate level courses. 
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Jocelyn on December 02, 2012, 04:50:03 PM
My question is this:  Can you go to grad school with your minor?  For example, if you are an English major, and decide you want a history minor, can you go to grad school in history if you decide you don't want to in English.  (No, I don't want to change my major, I love my major)

Thanks!
Depends upon the department you're applying to. My BA and masters' are in two very different fields. However, my doctorate required that my masters' be in the same or a closely associated field. I would guess that most history departments would have some sort of requirement for a certain number of undergraduate hours in history. But really, one of the most cherished parts of academia is the right of the faculty to set rules for their own students, so it would be entirely up to the faculty where you want to apply. Check out the websites of a few schools, though, and I'll bet you'll see a lot of similarities.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Lady Snowdon on December 02, 2012, 05:19:23 PM
I'm another one who says it depends.  My majors in undergrad were Communication Studies and History, and my Master's degree is in Business Administration.  Not very similar at all!  However, I believe MBA programs can be different than other Master's programs in many ways, and this may be one of them.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: mbbored on December 02, 2012, 05:38:27 PM
Another person with it depends on the program you're entering.

And while you've probably heard it before, I'm going to chime in with the fact that it's incredibly difficult to find a college level English teaching job. Most people I know with PhDs in English cannot find university positions: they're struggling to make ends meet teaching at several community colleges or they're teaching in high schools.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Firecat on December 02, 2012, 05:43:58 PM
Another "it depends." My undergrad was a double major in English and history, my Master's degree is in education. It's something to look into and talk to people who know the programs you're considering applying to.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: mandolinn on December 02, 2012, 05:49:48 PM
Your grad degree can be in a totally unrelated field than either your major or minor. You (general you) may need to take a few classes to prepare for the additional course work and required information, but if you know the information already that may not even be required. Schools from my home state require a test (think GRE, MAT, etc) to test knowledge related to what you'll be studying in grad school.  Your best bet would be to contact the school(s) you're interested in and ask what their requirements are, but absolutely, the fields can be different.

And history and English--not as different as one might think.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: camlan on December 02, 2012, 06:10:39 PM
Here's an example from real life. One of my undergrad English professors had all his degrees in English. But somewhere along the line, he became very interested in the very earliest writings, like Babylonian, and started studying those. That led to a PhD in history--he didn't need to go back and take an undergrad history degree. He found a university that would admit him to their grad history program based on his existing degrees and the independent studies that he had undertaken.

I remember this because the semester I need him to write recommendations to grad school for me, he was away on an archeological dig in Turkey, which in the days before email and the internet, meant that getting recommendations from him was not an easy thing.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: snowdragon on December 02, 2012, 06:23:02 PM
It also will depend on the school. I have a BA in Individualized Studies, I can use my minor in Museum Studies to get in the History department, The Museum Studies Department or the Education Department at my school.  It might work the same at your school
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: sunnygirl on December 02, 2012, 08:03:30 PM
My Masters programme had many students who had never studied the subject before, ever (they had to take extra classes to get them up to speed), while my PhD programme required a Masters in the same subject. So I think it depends, but I think Masters tend to have more liberal entry requirements. Unless maybe it's a technical/science subject.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 02, 2012, 09:35:08 PM
Masters programs have varying requirements about specific classes you have to have taken - I've never heard of one requiring a specific degree.  So if you're a music major who happened to take and enjoy a lot of chemistry classes, it's entirely possible you've covered the specific chemistry prerequisites a particular grad program requires.  It's also possible you've covered some but not all of the requirements for a different school's program, in which case you'd probably have to take some extra undergrad chemistry courses to get up to speed before you can apply.

It also matters significantly less the longer you've been out of school (depending on your field) - work experience can substitute for classroom experience in some disciplines.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: katiescarlett on December 02, 2012, 11:20:10 PM
Okay, here is another question.  I actually enough classes in my old major (Services for the Deaf) for it to be a minor, but in the last couple of weeks have been contemplating a history minor.  Or, at least, taking as many history classes as I can fit into my schedule until I graduate.  I am on track to graduate May of 14, and this is without going to summer school this summer (no English classes offered at my university in the summer).  I am taking only English classes until I graduate, as I completed all my basic requirements a few years ago.

I am just being sucked back into my love of history again, and while I don't regret majoring in English, and I absolutely love all my classes (first 4.0 ever in my college history, yay!), this has been on my mind a lot lately.  I find myself wanting to take some history classes, if for nothing else than to get more of a feel for the periods of literature I am interested in.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 02, 2012, 11:30:09 PM
Katiescarlett, my sister accidentally ended up with a history minor doing just that  :P  She was a classical studies major, but since classical studies was a pretty small department, a lot of their courses were cross-listed with other departments like history, art, art history, or medieval and renaissance studies.  My sister discovered that by taking her required classical studies courses plus a few cross-listed electives, she had already fulfilled a history minor and was only one class short of an art history minor as well.  She went ahead and took an extra class her senior year so she could graduate with both minors.  She's now a museum curator and doesn't specifically use any of her undergraduate specialties (she's in a smallish community museum), but I still think it's pretty cool!
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: katiescarlett on December 02, 2012, 11:56:59 PM
Katiescarlett, my sister accidentally ended up with a history minor doing just that  :P  She was a classical studies major, but since classical studies was a pretty small department, a lot of their courses were cross-listed with other departments like history, art, art history, or medieval and renaissance studies.  My sister discovered that by taking her required classical studies courses plus a few cross-listed electives, she had already fulfilled a history minor and was only one class short of an art history minor as well.  She went ahead and took an extra class her senior year so she could graduate with both minors.  She's now a museum curator and doesn't specifically use any of her undergraduate specialties (she's in a smallish community museum), but I still think it's pretty cool!

That sounds interesting!  I just realized I forgot to put my question in my post!  It was basically would it be worth it to get an extra minor, even if it puts graduation off for another semester, or to go back later and take those classes then (as my dad suggested).  I think I would prefer to take them now.  It seems stupid to go back later just to take a few classes.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: camlan on December 03, 2012, 05:04:28 AM
Katiescarlett, my sister accidentally ended up with a history minor doing just that  :P  She was a classical studies major, but since classical studies was a pretty small department, a lot of their courses were cross-listed with other departments like history, art, art history, or medieval and renaissance studies.  My sister discovered that by taking her required classical studies courses plus a few cross-listed electives, she had already fulfilled a history minor and was only one class short of an art history minor as well.  She went ahead and took an extra class her senior year so she could graduate with both minors.  She's now a museum curator and doesn't specifically use any of her undergraduate specialties (she's in a smallish community museum), but I still think it's pretty cool!

That sounds interesting!  I just realized I forgot to put my question in my post!  It was basically would it be worth it to get an extra minor, even if it puts graduation off for another semester, or to go back later and take those classes then (as my dad suggested).  I think I would prefer to take them now.  It seems stupid to go back later just to take a few classes.

Well, it depends. I was bored after college, even though I was working full-time. I ended up taking one class a semester for a few years--just enough to keep my brain active. However, I was living in Boston at the time, and there are a great many colleges and universities there, and picking up a single course at night was not at all difficult. In other parts of the country, it might have been a lot harder to find interesting courses.

The cost is also another factor, and may be what is driving your dad's advice. Single courses when you are not officially enrolled in a degree program can be a lot cheaper, as you are just paying for the one course. If you have any idea where you might be living after college, check out the colleges in that area. Look for their Continuing Education program, or something along those lines. There are sometimes even classes that aren't offered to undergrad students available. Also check out if on-line courses would be available to you. And check to see if graduates of your college can audit or take courses at a reduced fee. There's all sorts of options for classes once you have graduated.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Lynnv on December 03, 2012, 10:17:20 AM
Katiescarlett, my sister accidentally ended up with a history minor doing just that  :P  She was a classical studies major, but since classical studies was a pretty small department, a lot of their courses were cross-listed with other departments like history, art, art history, or medieval and renaissance studies.  My sister discovered that by taking her required classical studies courses plus a few cross-listed electives, she had already fulfilled a history minor and was only one class short of an art history minor as well.  She went ahead and took an extra class her senior year so she could graduate with both minors.  She's now a museum curator and doesn't specifically use any of her undergraduate specialties (she's in a smallish community museum), but I still think it's pretty cool!

And this is why DH, whose undergrad degree is in Physics, has a minor in Political Science (along with a Math minor, which is not uncommon for folks getting a hard sciences degree).   ;D

I will concur with everyone else on the original question.  DH has his undergraduate degree in Physics and his masters degree is in Education & Pedagogy.  In his case the graduate degree was designed for those with a non-education undergraduate degree who wanted to go into teaching.  But the degrees are not really related at all. 
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 03, 2012, 10:47:51 AM
From my perspective, as someone who spent eleven years in college and still works in academia... I feel like majors and minors actually matter less than what a school might lead one to believe. I know, I feel kind of like a heretic saying that! IME, whether you're looking at a job or at grad school, there's more flexibility than one might think in the degree you come in with (except for mandated things, like a public school teacher must have an education degree in some states) and a lot depends on your experience, interest, and how you present yourself.

I guess I've just seen a number of people who had majors and minors in various things, but couldn't actually do those things when asked--like, I'm no longer impressed to see a French minor on someone's resume, I'm impressed if they can actually demonstrate speaking French. And potentially they could speak French fluently even if they had no certification related to it at all, of course.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I wouldn't stress so much over majors and minors, unless you're going into a field where you know specific degrees are mandated. Focus on learning about what you're interested in, and trying to get non-academic experience in that as well. If someone wants to switch gears entirely and get a job or higher degree in a totally different field, I feel like it's more a matter of personally convincing the people in charge that you understand what you're getting into and can handle it, rather than passively presenting a list of degrees and courses.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: katiescarlett on December 03, 2012, 12:52:31 PM
Katiescarlett, my sister accidentally ended up with a history minor doing just that  :P  She was a classical studies major, but since classical studies was a pretty small department, a lot of their courses were cross-listed with other departments like history, art, art history, or medieval and renaissance studies.  My sister discovered that by taking her required classical studies courses plus a few cross-listed electives, she had already fulfilled a history minor and was only one class short of an art history minor as well.  She went ahead and took an extra class her senior year so she could graduate with both minors.  She's now a museum curator and doesn't specifically use any of her undergraduate specialties (she's in a smallish community museum), but I still think it's pretty cool!

That sounds interesting!  I just realized I forgot to put my question in my post!  It was basically would it be worth it to get an extra minor, even if it puts graduation off for another semester, or to go back later and take those classes then (as my dad suggested).  I think I would prefer to take them now.  It seems stupid to go back later just to take a few classes.

Well, it depends. I was bored after college, even though I was working full-time. I ended up taking one class a semester for a few years--just enough to keep my brain active. However, I was living in Boston at the time, and there are a great many colleges and universities there, and picking up a single course at night was not at all difficult. In other parts of the country, it might have been a lot harder to find interesting courses.

The cost is also another factor, and may be what is driving your dad's advice. Single courses when you are not officially enrolled in a degree program can be a lot cheaper, as you are just paying for the one course. If you have any idea where you might be living after college, check out the colleges in that area. Look for their Continuing Education program, or something along those lines. There are sometimes even classes that aren't offered to undergrad students available. Also check out if on-line courses would be available to you. And check to see if graduates of your college can audit or take courses at a reduced fee. There's all sorts of options for classes once you have graduated.

Cost, for me, is best right now.  My job is paying for my classes, and I pay for my books, so now would be the ideal time for me as far as financially.
Title: Re: Question for you grad students, or those in academia.
Post by: AnnaJ on December 03, 2012, 10:19:54 PM
I kept the same major through grad school, but a friend of a friend had a double major English/History as an undergrad; she got an M.A. in History then her PhD in English.  This is in the U.S. - she did all of her graduate work at the same university and didn't have any problems making the transition, probably because she talked to several professors in the English Department while she was completing her Masters and the department was very welcoming to her.