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AB in Literature in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Arts in Literature (AB-LIT) is a four year degree program that focuses on teaching students literatures from all over the world from an Asian/Filipino perspective. The program emphasizes theoretical and critical approaches in the analysis of literary genres by studying the nature, function, and value of literature in a comparative context.

The AB-LIT provides skills and training in investigating traditional and contemporary approaches to literary study, literary theory (both ancient and modern) and the relationship of literature to other branches of arts and sciences. It will also teaches skills in writing and reading creative and critical texts, reportage, literary scholarship and other related areas.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the AB Literature curriculum are divided into the following categories:
  • General Education Courses
    Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Core Courses
    Introduction to Fiction/The World of Fiction, Introduction to Poetry/The World of Poetry, Introduction to Drama/The World of Drama, Literary Theory and Criticism, Introduction to Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing for Literature Majors, Writing for Literature Majors, Thesis
  • Major Courses
    Literary History of the Philippines, Philippine Masterpieces 1 and 2, World Literature 1 and 2, Contemporary Literature, Southeast Asian Literature, Practicum for Literature Majors
  • Major Electives
    • Creative Writing: Fiction Writing Techniques, Poetry Writing Techniques, Drama Writing Techniques, Nonfiction Writing Techniques, Workshop 1 and 2
    • Cultural Studies: Introduction to Philippine Cultural Studies, Philippine Cultural History, Survey of Philippine Arts, Critical Debates in Cultural Studies, Literature and Diaspora, Critical Writing, Region and Ethnicity in Philippine Cultures, Cultural Practice
    • Philippine Literature: Mythology and Folklore, Philippine American Literature, Philippine Literature in English, Philippine Epics, Philippine Theater, Philippine Novel, Philippine Fiction, Philippine Poetry
    • Sub-Genres: Children's Literature/Juvenile Literature, Fantasy in Fiction, Science Fiction, Detective Fiction, Horror Fiction, Popular Literature
    • Gender and Literature: Woman in Literature, Man in Literature, Gay and Lesbian Literature
    • World Literature: Asian Literature, Literature of Australia and New Zealand, South American Literature, African Literature, European Literature, American Literature, British Literature, Shakespeare, Comparative Literature, Translation
    • Writing Special Forms: Future Fiction Writing, Detective Fiction Writing, Writing Fiction for Children, Writing Travel Narratives, Writing Metafiction, Special Topics in Creative Writing, Writing the Marvelous Real, Writing and Speaking the Word
    • Interdisciplinary Topics in Creative Writing: Gender and Writing, Dreams and Writing, Virtual Space and Writing, Writing and the Scientific Mind, The Healing Arts and Writing, Writing and the Spirit, Writing and the Body, Writing the Sports Hero, Writing and the Para-Normal, Writing and the Law, Music and Writing, Writing and Peace, Writing and Witnessing, Writing the Visual-Verbal Image, Writing and the Poetics of Space, Writing and Ecology, Para-Literary Careers
    • Special Topics in Cultural Studies: Philippine Pop Culture, Literature, Religion and Culture, Literature and Nationalism in Southeast Asia, Literature and Technoculture, Literature and Film, Seminars in Cultural Studies, Language and Power, Space and Power in the Philippines, Philippine Culture and Society, Politics and Arts in the Philippines, Philippine Visual Arts, Theatre for Transformation, Representations of the Environment, Philippine Oral Narratives/Orality and Literacy in the Philippines, Nation and Narration, Ethnographic Literature, Pinoy Food Culture, Colonialism and Post-coloniality in Literatures, Marxism and Literature, Globalization and Its Impact on Culture

The AB-LIT program is taught to students through classroom discussions and group activities, education talks and seminars. As a requirement for graduation, the student is required to write a Thesis Paper under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Upon completion, the student defends his/her work in front of a panel of judges.

Admission requirements for the AB Literature program

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • English Language Proficiency Test: some schools require students to pass the English Language Proficiency Test before admitting a student to the AB-LIT program.
  • Samples of previous writings/essays: some schools require students to submit an essay written in English or previous works. This is to assess whether they have the aptitude for English.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • English Language Fluency – a student must be good in English both orally and in written form; this course will require you to read and write a lot of English texts so you must be able to have a thorough understanding and aptitude for the English language.
  • Love for Reading – have an innate love for reading because in this course they will be doing a whole lot of reading.
  • Reading Comprehension – ability to read and analyze texts and other primary sources critically while addressing issues of genre, content, perspective and purpose
  • Writing skills – an innate ability to write/an interest in writing is very important when you take this course because you will write different types of articles in different writing styles
  • Memorization skills – have strong memorizations skills because you need to remember important dates, events and people.
  • Logical skills – the ability to understand different literary perspectives and understand where the author is coming from.

How difficult is AB Literature?

AB in Literature is considered a fairly difficult course. The curriculum for this program is filled with a variety of subjects that needs high level of understanding and analysis. Most graduates of this program attest that studying this course is like listening to different stories except you have to look closely and read between the lines for each text that you will be reading and draw out relevant analysis.

The workload for this program is high, there are many projects to be complied and lecture hours are quite long. The program will also require a great amount of reading, writing, memorization and analysis thus patience is very important if you want to survive the course.

One of the most challenging parts of the program is the thesis. In Literature the thesis paper will mainly revolve around your own analysis; it is highly technical and difficult to make.

How long does it take to complete the AB Literature program in the Philippines?

The AB Literature program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Career Opportunities for AB Literature graduates

  • Editorial assistant – support editorial staff in the production and publishing of journals, magazines, books and digital products.
  • English as a foreign language teacher – involves teaching adults and children whose first or main language is not English.
  • Translator – convert written material from one or more 'source languages' into the 'target language', ensuring that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible.
  • Technical Writer – write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.
  • Book Editor – review manuscripts and book proposals to decide whether books should be published. They also review and edit drafts and oversee the publication process.
  • Advertising copywriter – work alongside an art director within the creative department of an advertising, media or full-service agency. They work with client briefs to conceive, develop and produce effective advertising campaigns.
  • Lecturer for Literature Studies – teaches literature at different colleges and universities. This may require a Master’s degree.
  • Magazine Journalist – research and write news articles and features for a wide variety of publications, usually periodicals, including consumer titles which cover both general interest and specialist areas, customer magazines from shops, supermarkets, trade publications, also known as business-to-business (B2B) magazines.
  • Public Relations Writer – primarily a writer of content effective for promotion and public relations in websites and portals, which includes all types of technical writing work. The PR writer has to prepare content matter exclusive to the company website, to ward of dangers of infringement of copyright law and plagiarism issues
  • Manuscript Reader – plan, coordinate, or edit content of material for publication. May review proposals and drafts for possible publication. Includes technical editors.
  • Columnist – writes opinion pieces for newspapers, magazines or websites. Columnists provide analysis on general news, politics, business, sports and a wide array of other topics.
  • Fact Checker – verifies information in media reports or published materials. They delve deeply into stated facts and information to improve the quality of those materials.
  • Story Editor – reviews and evaluates writers' work developed during previous associations, samples presented by agents, and material received from other sources to select writers and subject material compatible with established styles, concepts, and formats.
  • Book Critic – analyze literature and write objective reviews for newspapers, magazines and blogs.
  • Essayist – express non-fictional ideas and works clearly and logically in order to create awareness or debate of an issue among readers. Essayists may be freelance writers who get published in academic publications or perform research for professors at a university.
  • Fiction writer – authors of novels, plays, movies, poetry, songs and other original writings. Fiction writers may publish their own writings, submit work to other publishers or accept commissioned assignments. Many are freelancers who work from their homes.
  • Literary Agent – functions as a conduit between an author and a publisher. These professionals review book manuscripts, provide feedback to authors, and negotiate business deals between authors and publishers.
  • Literary analyst – analyzes different literary works of art and forms critical opinions based on personal knowledge, judgment, and experience.
  • Playwright – writes original plays, such as tragedies, comedies, or dramas, or adapts themes from fictional, historical, or narrative sources, for dramatic presentation; writes plays, usually involving action, conflict, purpose, and resolution, to depict series of events from imaginary or real life.
  • Poet – responsible for stringing together words and phrases to create verses. Expresses emotions and tells a story through narrative, dramatic, or lyrical poetry.
  • Screenplay Writer – develop scripts derived from their own ideas or other existing ideas or work.
  • Speechwriter – prepares speeches for others and works for large companies, public figures or governmental offices.
  • Biographer – specializes in reconstruction in narrative form of career or phase in life of individual; assembles biographical material from sources, such as news accounts, diaries, personal papers and correspondence, written accounts of events in which subject participated, and consultation with associates and relatives of subject.

Reviews of AB in Literature graduates:

N. B.
◈ Studied AB Literature
◈ At University of Santo Tomas
◈ Graduated 2014

list bulletWhy did I choose Literature: I chose to study this course since only a few students take the course. Also, I have a big interest in reading and writing. These are the major reasons why I chose literature.

list bulletAbout my college education: In studying Literature, I learned to think critically and question or weigh things. I learned how society moves and how oppression in the society works. I've learned a lot about gender issues and studies (feminism, lesbianism, queer studies and masculinity studies), a little of psychology through psychoanalysis, society and economics through marxism and others. What I learned are all theories but our teachers helped us to apply the theories in real life.

Subjects are easy if you are interested in studying them. Literary Theory is the hardest but the most fun since it needs a lot of hard-work due to the tremendous reading that you have to finish. It is also fun since the theories discussed are eye-opener and can be applied to the current situation of the nation and people.

The most enjoyable subject is the Gender Studies subject since as a person, I relate to people everyday and it is interesting to discover how gender affects the action of people, how gender has nothing to do with the biology of a person and how gender creates moral and political issues today.

Most exams are in essay, ten to fifteen pages each and double spaced. I think that having exams as essays is better compared to the objective type since objective questions only requires memorization (which is the lowest form of learning). Writing essays makes one coherent and develops research, critical and analytical skills. Passing the exams would be difficult if you are lazy, just follow the deadlines, format and have something sensible to say. You are going to pass.

You have to be patient and research oriented. You have to be disciplined in setting and following deadlines. You have to be open-minded and open to suggestions and criticism of other people.

list bulletMy current job: I am a content writer for a Korean company that provides web hosting solutions. I write product reviews and descriptions. Also, I am working part-time as an article writer for blogs situated in USA.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: I got hired even before I graduated. We were given 2 weeks break before graduation, I applied and luckily, got hired.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: Just love what you are doing. Studying Literature is a passion and it will become play when you really love it. Literature will give you different point of views, experiences and knowledge. Embrace them with warm hugs.
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