Adding a graduate certificate before the PhD in English at ODU?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by LittleShakespeare90, Jul 26, 2022.

  1. Hello, everyone!

    It's been a while since I've written to you. I hope you're all doing well and having a lovely summer! I was wondering if I could ask you for some help with my plans.

    I've been working as a high school English teacher for almost seven years now, but I was thinking of making a transition to a teacher librarian. I still love teaching, but I want to immerse myself in my love for the written word by helping people find the information they need from the library. Therefore, I was thinking of getting a certificate in library science to become a high school media specialist (librarian).

    I'm just in a bit of a pickle. My dream came true. I got accepted to the English PhD program at Old Dominion University, which I accepted. I was supposed to start this fall 2022, but because of this career change, there's a chance I might have to defer my admission to ODU. I truly don't want to, but I feel like I need my new career. Being a high school teacher has taken its toll on my mental health. It's a long story.

    The PhD in English is for me. I don't have plans of getting a tenured job as a professor. I would be happy being a teacher librarian for the remainder of my life. :emoji_heart: I just want my doctorate in the subject I love most.

    Forgive me, I just had a few questions, and I was wondering if I could pick your brain:

    1. Should I get a master's degree in library science, or should I just stick with the certificate program? I wonder if they're the same cost.

    2. Do you think I should defer my admission to ODU and start in Fall 2023? Or perhaps I can take both courses of study at the same time? Like one class at ODU and two classes at Seton Hall's certificate program?

    Your advice means the world to me, as always. Thank you so much, my dear friends. :)
    Dustin likes this.
  2. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Well, there be might more jobs for MLS or librarianship. (go for the whole MLS, not just certfication. Public and academic only can hire MLS if you choose to go that route.) Just my opinion on that route.
    Johann and LittleShakespeare90 like this.
  3. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    Given that Old Dominion offers an MLIS with school librarianship concentration online, your English PhD has built in concentrations (including the option to self-design a concentration), and also has a required number of electives, and given further that there is some very natural overlap (such as MLIS coursework in children’s literature), have you reached out to your ODU contacts to see if you could possibly apply for their MLIS and pursue these degrees concurrently? Since the grad catalog states that grad courses taken while enrolled in two different graduate programs can potentially court for both degrees, why not consider this? The biggest problem would likely be that the doctoral coursework is supposed to be 800-level and the MLIS coursework all seems to be 600-level, but why not ask if you could self-design a concentration or take electives in librarianship (particularly the courses like children’s literature most relevant to your doctoral studies) that would also count toward your school librarian endorsement and the MLIS?

    Of course, if approved this would mean sacrificing some 800-level graduate seminars in English, which might be something you want to avoid.

    Also, and not for nothing, it looks like ODU’s out-of-state tuition is substantially cheaper than Seton Hall’s tuition. Even if you can’t cross-count ODO PhD and MLIS courses, doesn’t seem like ODU would be a bad place at all for an MLIS.
  4. Thank you so much! Oh my goodness, I think you're right! The ODU degree in MLIS will be less than $20,000, but the graduate certificate at Seton Hall costs almost $40,000. :eek:

    I guess I just feel bad about deferring my PhD, but I will talk to the graduate director this afternoon to see what can be done and if I can pursue both degrees at the same time. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!!!
  5. I think you're right, too! The MLIS can offer me more jobs as opposed to the certificate. I'm just worried about change, I guess. Teaching high school is the only thing I know. But I am willing to make that leap of faith since I have been burned out from teaching high school.
  6. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Also, make sure the MLS is ALA accredited. Publuc and Academic libraries cannot hire if they are not
    LittleShakespeare90 likes this.
  7. Thank you so much! I guess I have a few decisions to make. I'll wait to hear back from ODU to see if I can pursue both degrees at the same time, or if I should defer admission to the PhD in English while I pursue my MLIS.
  8. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Make sure you are not going into much debt for MLIS. Library science job market is a tough one.
    LittleShakespeare90 likes this.
  9. I’m worried about that too. I wanted to be a high school librarian, but I also wanted the ability to work in different libraries, if possible.
    Dustin likes this.
  10. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    LittleShakespeare90 likes this.
  11. Thank you so much! Do you think it will matter if I get a degree from there since I’m a licensed New Jersey teacher and this school is in Virginia?
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I don't think it matters for librarianship the way it does for teaching.
    LittleShakespeare90 likes this.
  13. Thank you so much! I have an appointment tomorrow with my graduate director at ODU. I'm going to ask her what my options are for the MLIS and the PhD. Fingers crossed! Please keep me in your prayers, everyone! :emoji_heart:
    Dustin, Rachel83az, Johann and 2 others like this.
  14. Hey, everyone!

    I just wanted to write an update. So, I spoke to the graduate director at ODU. She basically told me that I can’t “double dip” with classes. I think if I take classes for the MLIS, they won’t count towards the PhD. I’m fine with that, but I’m scared about something else.

    I don’t know if I can pursue both degrees concurrently. I know it’ll be a lot of work, but it was something I wanted to consider. My only choice at this rate is to defer admission to the PhD program. My heart is so broken.

    I wish this didn’t happen. I thought I was happy being a high school English teacher, but my mental and emotional health have been suffering from the demands of the job. I would love to work as a librarian to fulfill my love for books and working with people.

    Should I just take this year to finish the MLIS and then pursue my PhD in Fall 2023?
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Your mental and emotional health is VERY important. If it's in any way endangered, you have to fix that. First. Your PhD. isn't out the window, if it's deferred 12 months for the MLIS and your mind will thank you. You'll probably feel better during that time, because you know there's an end in sight to your burdens.

    Then you can get on with a new career AND your PhD. You've made progress - a year ago or so, you didn't know where you would pursue the PhD. Now you do know. Next year, you will pursue it. And have a new career. And be well. It's a clear win, the way I see it.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2022
  16. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I was too late to add:

    You don't, of course, EVER have to do anything, because I said so. Including the post above - but here's a suggestion. If you haven't already, you might want to talk to a professional - counsellor or whoever, about the problems your job has caused you. You get the right person, a talk once in a while could make a much shorter path for you to get rid of the ghosts quicker - hopefully forever.

    As I say, just something to think about. You = boss. Always. You're a neat person, and that comes across well in your writing. I'd like to read a book by you, someday. :)
  17. You are too sweet, my dear friend! Thank you so much for your advice and for helping me out! It truly means the world to me! :D I think you're right. I most likely will go for the MLIS first and then proceed with the PhD. That way, I can have my career in place before pursuing my doctorate. :)
    SteveFoerster, Johann and Dustin like this.
  18. Hello, dear friends!

    I'm so sorry for writing to you again so soon, but I just found out some news from the MLIS department at Old Dominion University!

    I received an email from the director of the program, and she mentioned that it's possible to pursue both degrees of study at the same time. To be honest, the MLIS coursework is all asynchronous and project-based. I would need 9 classes and an internship to finish my MLIS.

    For the PhD in English, the classes meet once a week in the evening. Of course, there's a lot of reading and writing. I actually started reading some of the textbooks.

    I made myself a little chart that shows my upcoming semesters if I choose to pursue both degrees concurrently. I wanted to share it with you, and I would love your feedback! Here's what I had in mind:

    Fall 2022 (4 Classes Total)
    • 3 Library Science Courses
    • 1 PhD English Course in 19th Century British Literature

    Spring 2023 (4 Classes Total)
    • 3 Library Science Courses
    • 1 PhD English Course

    Summer 2023 (4 Classes Total)
    • 3 Library Science Courses
    • 1 PhD English Course

    Fall 2023 (2-3 Classes Total)
    • Internship for MLIS (after internship, start applying to jobs)
    • 2-3 PhD English Courses

    Do you think it would be possible to pursue both degrees at the same time? I know it would be a lot of work, but I would love to hear your thoughts! :D
    Dustin likes this.
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member


    (1) Four CLASS nights - or equivalent - per week - for two advanced degrees, one a doctorate.
    (2) THEN there is all the reading, absorption and work, for class - 4x over. Every week.
    (3) Exams. Midterms, maybe? Heavy study schedule. (x4?)
    (4) And you'll be working - 5 days a week at the job that's been giving you problems.

    Where does your care of yourself and your psychological (and physical) HEALTH come in here? That's Job One.
    Without that - you might end up with nothing. Or something that might make "nothing" look like a better alternative.

    Me scared. For you.:eek::eek:
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2022
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Me just don't want bad things for LittleShakespeare90. She nice person.
    Me gotta calm down. Me go back to reading Algernon Swinburne now.... :rolleyes:

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