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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:

A. L.
◈ Studied AB in Language and Literature (slightly different course)
◈ At University of the Philippines Baguio
◈ Graduated 2008

list bulletAbout my college education: My life in UP had been one of the most colorful, exciting and challenging episode of my life. First off, it was the first time I was uprooted from my family and be on my own. I had to make all decisions on my own but I trust the manner my parents brought me up. I was stayed at the school dormitory so the strict discipline that I have been accustomed with was sort of maintained. The progressive ideas and academic freedom being upheld by the university helped balance the traditional and conservative manner I was brought up.

The culture in UP Baguio paved the way for my holistic growth. Baguio City is a melting pot of various rich cultures of Northern Luzon. Arts, progressive ideas, and rich traditions thrive within the university and outside the university. There are various organizations/clubs in the school that cater to the potentials of students. As a Language and Literature student, I joined UP Pluma (“pluma” is a Filipino word for “quill”) to further harness my interest in literature, literary criticism, and general humanities subject. Some of the clubs’ activities include poetry reading, discussions on selected readings and discourses, writing, etc. My knowledge, skills and love for literature was not only sharpened but it is also where lifetime friendships were developed. It has been a couple of years since college but my friends back then remain my most trusted friends who I call soul sister/brother.

College in UPB requires sufficient intellect coupled with unrelenting diligence especially when you’re taking up the Language and Literature course. The amount of readings you have to read, digest and do a paper on could be impossible to handle so it is very important to have excellent time management skills and to be focused. Being passionate about reading and writing is also important to be able to enjoy and truly benefit from the academic experience and challenges. Critical thinking is also vital in order to keep up with everyday recitation and to be able to submit quality papers that live up to the UP standards.

list bulletMy current job: I work as an Information Officer/Media Relations Officer at the National Program Management Office (NPMO) of the Conditional Cash Transfer program of the national government which is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

list bulletAm I using what I learned in college: Everything that I have learned in college proves to be beneficial in my current career. My job entails a huge amount of writing and editing work. It's easy for me to produce and develop stories, press releases, and reports because of the sufficient training that I went through in college.

Communication skills are also essential in my job and I’m grateful to my education for providing me with sufficient amount of immersion on this aspect. Organizing events, attending meetings, and promoting our program are only some of my functions as an Information Officer wherein I utilize my knowledge and skills on communication. The real-world education that I received in UPB also helped me immediately adjust to the trappings of bureaucracy and to relate to various kinds of people without compromising my principles and integrity.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: I was able to get a job right after graduation.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Language and Literature: I highly recommend this course to young people who are passionate about literature and want to become even more creative, talented, and intelligent. There's wide range of profession that you could pursue after studying this course. You could be a Researcher, Writer, Editor, Publisher, Professor, Communications Specialist, Trainer, Marketing Specialist, and other jobs that require creativity, critical thinking and communication skills.

The salary levels for the jobs available for you are also highly-competitive and career growth is fast. If you are unsure yet about the path you’d like to take, BA Language and Literature is sure to bring you there. If not, it would definitely be, at the least, an instrument to better understand yourself and your place in the world.
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