Swedish Literature and Language

A Swedish literature and language program can help you become familiar with Swedish writers and poets, in addition to learning how to write, speak and translate the language. Learn more about degree programs and career options below.

Is Swedish Literature and Language for Me?

Swedish is spoken in Sweden and areas of other Scandinavian countries, which include Denmark, Norway and Finland. Swedish language and literature has a long tradition dating back more than a thousand years. Swedish literature includes the study of ancient Scandinavian mythology and modern authors, like Lars Gustafsson and Birgitta Trotzig.

Swedish literature and language degree programs are offered as concentrations in Scandinavian studies or Germanic languages departments. Bachelor's degree and graduate degree programs are available, or you could choose to minor in the subject. Students pursuing Swedish literature and language learn to speak, write and translate this language. Swedish literature courses at most colleges and universities include the study of novels, poetry and drama from the Old Norse days, Middle Ages and 20th century.

Career Options

Graduates of Swedish literature and language graduate programs can work as university professors and scholars. Work is also available for translators and foreign affairs personnel. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers earned a mean annual wage of $66,730 in May 2012. Translators and interpreters earned an average of $53,410 that same year (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Swedish Literature and Language?

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A Bachelor of Arts in Scandinavian Studies with a focus on Swedish language and literature will include courses in folklore, literature, history and politics, in addition to multiple foreign language courses. Many students also double major in a field such as business administration, English, political science or international studies to improve employment prospects. You need to be competent in reading, writing and speaking Swedish before continuing to a more advanced degree.

Master's Degree Programs

A Master of Arts in Scandinavian Studies would allow you to study Swedish in more depth while focusing on a specific area of Swedish history, philosophy or mythology. A minimum of 40 graduate credits are typically required. Advanced classes may be taught entirely in Swedish. In addition, studying Swedish literature in the original form can deepen your knowledge and understanding of the language. You usually need to conduct independent research and provide an original thesis in order to graduate.

Doctoral Degree Programs

A doctoral degree program in Scandinavian Studies may require at least 72 graduate credits. You may also need the ability to read original texts in two foreign languages other than Swedish, such as French or German. Numerous written examinations are required, and you must defend your original dissertation to a group of faculty members, typically through an oral presentation.

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