Frequently Asked Questions
What is a concentration?
A concentration gives you a way to organize a combination of intellectual and practical experiences around an area of interest. By declaring a concentration, you receive focused advising to help you design a program in your particular area of interest. After completing the requirements of the concentration you will receive recognition of your accomplishment in the form of a certificate issued at graduation.
Why isn't it called a minor?
The concentration allows for more flexibility than is possible within an academic minor. Specifically:
- You can pursue a concentration alongside a minor or a second major
- You can apply internships and other experiences that do not carry conventional course credit towards the concentration
Can I pursue the Book Studies Concentration with a double major or a minor?
In some cases you may choose to pursue the Book Studies Concentration in addition to a second major or a minor. This would occur when the concentration serves to logically unify and reinforce a particular program of study. For example, if you are an art history major and an education minor you might elect to do the minimal additional coursework for the Book Studies Concentration, with a focus on children's books. Such decisions should be made in consultation with your adviser, and must be approved by the Book Studies Concentration Advisory Committee.
How do I apply?
You can apply online.
Students are encouraged to apply in their sophomore year, and applications will not be accepted from first-year students. The application deadline in 2011 is October 19; decisions and notification will be made in early November.
Do I need to be a literature major to do a Book Studies Concentration?
No. The Book Studies Concentration has the flexibility to support any discipline relevant to the study of book culture, or it can be pursued in addition to an unrelated major. Majors particularly compatible with the Book Studies Concentration include not just English and comparative literature, but also anthropology, American studies, art, classical languages and literatures, comparative literature, education, history, sociology, and modern languages. However, a student majoring in any discipline can apply to the Book Studies Concentration.
In addition to the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith's campus includes many special collections that can provide you with valuable exposure to printed and manuscript materials, including the College Archives and Sophia Smith Collection within the library, as well as the Smith College Museum of Art. Various libraries and collections within the Five College community expand your field for exploration. These include the rare books and manuscripts collections at Amherst College, Mt. Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts; the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; the rare book collection at Historic Deerfield; and the National Yiddish Book Center.
What kinds of practical experiences can count toward the Book Studies Concentration?
The Smith College Career Development Office and the director of the Book Studies Concentration can provide you with information on available work experiences, but it is your responsibility to arrange for two relevant practical experiences or internships. As a general rule, you should apply for Praxis funding for one of your practical experiences.
If my major requires a senior research seminar can that count toward the requirement for a research capstone project for the Book Studies Concentration?
No. The Book Studies Concentration research capstone must be taken in addition to any senior research seminar required for your major.
How will having completed the Book Studies Concentration help me after graduation?
The Book Studies Concentration provides you with a unique opportunity to consider how your academic studies at Smith College might connect to your future life and career. The focused practical experiences that build on your classroom studies will enable you to develop valuable professional skills. After investigating a variety of career paths, you should graduate with a much clearer understanding of your next options.