Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Harvard or Oxford to do English - which is better?

    (I know that this question is subjective, but I just want to hear your opinions...)

    x
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ArtisticFlair)
    Harvard or Oxford to do English - which is better?

    (I know that this question is subjective, but I just want to hear your opinions...)

    x
    They're both obviously great, and I don't really think you can say which is better, but I personally would prefer Oxford, because you'd be getting an English perspective on English literature (mostly), whereas at Harvard you're likely to study much more American literature, and get an American view of English texts you study. Another thing to remember is that along with different spelling, Americans do have a different way of writing essays which you'd have to get used to. My brother (who's English) went to college in America and he kept getting picked up on his phrasing in essays. There wasn't anything wrong with it, but it wasn't standard American. It's definitely personal preference, but I think if you're English Oxford would usually be preferable to Harvard, but both would be great I'm sure.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Clearly this is question of priorities:
    Are equal academically (harvard may have the edge) however it depends on what you want beyond that. Harvard is more prestigious than oxford internationally. In addition, if you are not 100% of studying english for 3 years then harvard is the place to be because of the liberal arts system.

    Also, depends on the kind of financial aid you are getting. If you are paying full fees at harvard you will invest over $200K in your education, far more expensive than oxford. However, assuming you have a scholarship or money is no object, I personally pick harvard if only for interntional prestige and far far superior non academic social life.

    I don't study english so won't be able to offer advice in that regard but the above poster makes a salient point with regards to the courses and what you feel you'd enjoy more (re american / english literature)
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I don't study English, though know those who do (obviously) but Oxford would probably be better in terms of the course itself since its more focused towards the academic side, with remnants of old philological practice and textual editing as well as the older languages. My friend who is doing an English PhD in Harvard basically says that the courses tend to be more focused on later, especially American, literature. Basically a great transition into things like Law or Journalism. I should also point out that Harvard has a phenomenal Comp Literature department and you can swap in courses from other literary strands.

    So, depends what you want to do. If you're really interested in English literature and things like the Beowulf than Oxford. If you're interested in literature more broadly and envision yourself studying lots of different literatures in translation and want a more general education (always a good thing, imo) then Harvard. Though either way you'd be fine.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    As if you're getting into either.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by peter12345)
    As if you're getting into either.
    Somebody has to; they'd be pretty rubbish universities if they didn't let any students in
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Theflyingbarney)
    Somebody has to; they'd be pretty rubbish universities if they didn't let any students in
    What is this I don't even.....
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I'd say Harvard College purely on the basis that, unlike Oxford, You'll get a much more varied curriculum. Rather than learning only English you'll learn other subjects for your first two years before having to commit. If during these two tears you find a subject you like better you'd be able to switch whereas at Oxford you'd be more closed into English.
    Prestige wise you're really picking at hairs but Harvard probably just pips it?
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by peter12345)
    As if you're getting into either.
    I'm assuming you know the OP? If not...


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iP
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I don't think you should do English in the USA. It's considered a bit of a soft subject.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tengentoppa)
    I don't think you should do English in the USA. It's considered a bit of a soft subject.
    I wouldn't say that's usually the case in Britain. At least at the top universities. Why the difference in America?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iP
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PatrickB)
    I wouldn't say that's usually the case in Britain. At least at the top universities. Why the difference in America?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iP
    It's definitely not the case in Britain. However in America an English Major is one of the liberal arts Majors, which include Philosophy and History, which are ridiculed and considered worthless for getting employment.

    EDIT: Don't shoot the messenger. It's a fact.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tengentoppa)
    It's definitely not the case in Britain. However in America an English Major is one of the liberal arts Majors, which include Philosophy and History, which are ridiculed and considered worthless for getting employment.
    That doesn't make them worthless at all, it means that people don't know what they're talking about.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Both pretty similar reputation, so don't let that swing you either way in the slightest - no educated person could care less about which of the two you went to.

    Oxford has the advantage of tutorials.

    Harvard will have a more varied curriculum in that you won't specialise as early (could be good or bad).

    Location should be a large consideration, as well as *cost*

    English in the UK is a perfectly well respected degree, but as others mentioned, the culture is different in the UK, and an English major could be seen as being soft.

    To quote Forbes, "..."soft" majors such as education, psychology and English"
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Extricated)
    Clearly this is question of priorities:
    Are equal academically (harvard may have the edge) however it depends on what you want beyond that. Harvard is more prestigious than oxford internationally. In addition, if you are not 100% of studying english for 3 years then harvard is the place to be because of the liberal arts system.

    Also, depends on the kind of financial aid you are getting. If you are paying full fees at harvard you will invest over $200K in your education, far more expensive than oxford. However, assuming you have a scholarship or money is no object, I personally pick harvard if only for interntional prestige and far far superior non academic social life.

    I don't study english so won't be able to offer advice in that regard but the above poster makes a salient point with regards to the courses and what you feel you'd enjoy more (re american / english literature)
    I don't think Harvard is really more prestigous. At a certain level all are excellent. Once your background is established as being from an elite education institution (and both names instantly do that) what is more important is individual supervision and research produced. This can vary between the two. The point regarding changing is also null due to the fact that you can readily change at Undergraduate in British universities very easily. For example, I went to University to do English and changed to History without the bat of an eyelid.

    Financial aid is the kicker. Harvard costs a bomb but also has provision for far greater assistance in terms of fees. Both faculties have experts who can teach at world class levels on both U.S. and other literature.

    I can't emphasise how much that differentiation between the two is principally cost. You have to look at money, money, money.

    (Original post by peter12345)
    As if you're getting into either.
    Soor plooms.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by HenryD)
    That doesn't make them worthless at all, it means that people don't know what they're talking about.
    That's why I said "considered worthless". These aren't my views, they're the general views of many Americans.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I stand by my earlier post which also has the advantage of being informed by people from both institutions in this subject. I would say though, as to English being a soft major in the US. Well, yes, sort of, but then nothing from the top institutions will be seen as truly soft and they're only calling it soft in so far as its not quite our English course, some of the more technical elements will be present in modules in Literature, Rhetoric, Languages/Studies programmes one can opt into. However if you want a traditional, hardcore, course than obviously go to Oxford and stay with the kind of literature which lends itself to such hardline critique.

    On the other hand, it doesn't matter how "rigorous" of whatever the degree is, this may somewhat matter for those who wish to go into academia...which is very much in the future for anyone doing an under-graduate degree you can't really know. Either institution is more than adequate for giving you a good taste of the subject, the finer points of which you'll inevitably forget when you begin working.

    As others are saying, cost, location, duration etc are all very important. There's clearly no need to worry about the quality of either course.
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tengentoppa)
    That's why I said "considered worthless". These aren't my views, they're the general views of many Americans.
    I know, but that makes your post pointless. Most employers will have a better idea of what degrees require and how good they are than the average American and I doubt many consider it useless, so it really really doesn't matter at all.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    most people would say Harvard but:

    in Oxford you will have a much smaller tuition fee loan
    also Oxford university writes the English dictionary so they may be more prestigious when it comes to the English Language
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by HenryD)
    I know, but that makes your post pointless. Most employers will have a better idea of what degrees require and how good they are than the average American and I doubt many consider it useless, so it really really doesn't matter at all.
    My post isn't pointless. It's harder to get a job with an English major than with an English degree. That's useful info for the OP.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.