Do you think diversification in a student's curriculum is important?

In summary, the conversation discusses the hypothetical scenario of two students, A and B, who have the option to choose their courses in university. Student A decides to focus solely on courses related to their major, while Student B chooses to also take courses outside of their discipline. The question is posed of who comes out more educated in this situation. The definition of "educated" is also discussed, with the conclusion that it depends on the individual's goals and objectives. The conversation also touches on the importance of intellectual curiosity and the potential consequences of limiting oneself to only required courses.
  • #1
Eclair_de_XII
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Hypothetically, say Student A is required only to take subjects falling under his or her major in order to graduate. And suppose that Student A chooses to focus on only those subjects relating to that major. Let's say now, that there is a Student B, who shares the same major as Mr. A. Student B is given the same option, but chooses to also take courses relating to subjects outside of his or her discipline. Who comes out more educated?
 
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  • #2
Eclair_de_XII said:
Hypothetically, say Student A is required only to take subjects falling under his or her major in order to graduate. And suppose that Student A chooses to focus on only those subjects relating to that major. Let's say now, that there is a Student B, who shares the same major as Mr. A. Student B is given the same option, but chooses to also take courses relating to subjects outside of his or her discipline. Who comes out more educated?
First, who do you think? Second, define "educated" (hint: once you define "educated" you will have answered your question, for yourself. Others may not agree).
 
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  • #3
phinds said:
define "educated"

"Equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to pursue desired goals and objectives." I guess it really depends on what these goals and objectives are. If they depend on just the courses Student A is taking, then good. If Student B is pursuing a career that requires a multidisciplinary curriculum, then yes as well. ...I realize this was a dumb generalized question, in hindsight.
 
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  • #4
Eclair_de_XII said:
I guess it really depends on what these goals and objectives are.
Or what the student's goals might become, after graduation and throughout the following years.

Also, there may be goals that apply to areas of life outside the pending "career."
 
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  • #5
I remember how I hated those general education courses I had to take to be elligible for graduation. I took the ones that are easiest to get good grades. In one of the courses, the lecturer knew most students picked it for easy marks so she didn't bother teaching anything useful, spent most of the semester promoting a book she wrote.

In hindsight, I really should have chosen something I would have found interesting and have fun learning them. The grades ended up meaning little.
 
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  • #6
Mostly as an undergrad I took courses that interested me or course that meshed with what I thought would be useful in a career sense. Since I found my career choice interesting, this all worked out nicely.

For example I took:
  • scuba diving (interesting and potentially useful in biology); PE requirement
  • several computer and information systems classes (looked like they would be useful (in the 1970's) and I was interested in them
  • physical geography (interesting and useful in biology from an ecological and spatial distribution sense)
  • SF English class: interesting; English requirement
  • linguistics: interesting in an evolution of language way (evolution interest)
  • biological aspects of psychology classes: builds on neurological function interests
  • Philosophy of science courses (interest in how science works)
  • History of medicine course: how medical science developed
  • I also took a bunch of science courses beyond what was required after I completed my general requirements. I found them interesting and easy.

In this way I feel lucky in that my choices were possible because I was at a large school with a diverse bunch of courses I found interesting.
Also, since biology is at the middle of the intellectual universe (as I perceive it), there are lots of courses in other areas that I can find interesting.
Almost all of my actions at this stage of my life were driven by what I found interesting.
In retrospect, it would have been nice and interesting to have taken more math, but at the time my interests were pulling me more strongely in other directions. On the other hand, I have been pretty good at finding mathematically inclined people whom I can work well on projects with. That does not seem to be a barrier to me at all.
 
  • #7
By literal definition, student B is more educated since they took more formal courses at a university.

Now, depending on what courses they took, who knows if it'll be useful for their careers and the argument can be made that student A has the potential to have a better understanding of their mutual field since they had more time to spend on that field. So you could say that Student A MAY have more knowledge, but student B will ALWAYS be more educated than student A assuming they take the same curriculum, but student B took more side courses (just by definition).
 
  • #8
romsofia said:
By literal definition, student B is more educated since they took more formal courses at a university.
I'm guessing the OP meant something like both students took the required courses for their major, but when it came to electives, student A took courses in the major whereas student B chose to take courses outside the major. In the end, they took similar number of courses, but student B learned about a more diverse selection of subjects.

Personally, I find it kind of sad when I hear students ruling out taking a course because it's not required for their major. It suggests a lack of intellectual curiosity.
 
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  • #9
Eclair_de_XII said:
Personally, I find it kind of sad when I hear students ruling out taking a course because it's not required for their major. It suggests a lack of intellectual curiosity.
And a sad comment on how the rest of their life is likely to go.
 

1. Why is diversification in a student's curriculum important?

Diversification in a student's curriculum is important because it allows them to explore different subjects and areas of knowledge. This can help them discover their interests and strengths, and also develop a well-rounded set of skills that can be useful in various aspects of life.

2. How does diversification benefit a student's academic performance?

Diversification can benefit a student's academic performance by enhancing their critical thinking skills and ability to make connections between different subjects. It can also prevent burnout and boredom, as well as provide a more holistic understanding of the world and its complexities.

3. Is there a limit to how much diversification a student should have in their curriculum?

There is no set limit to how much diversification a student should have in their curriculum. It ultimately depends on the student's interests, goals, and capabilities. It is important to strike a balance between diversification and depth in order to achieve a well-rounded education.

4. How can diversification in a curriculum prepare a student for the future?

Diversification in a curriculum can prepare a student for the future by equipping them with a diverse set of skills and knowledge that can be applied to various career paths and situations. It can also foster adaptability and open-mindedness, which are important qualities in today's rapidly changing world.

5. Are there any potential drawbacks to diversification in a student's curriculum?

While diversification can bring many benefits, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. These include the possibility of spreading oneself too thin and not being able to develop expertise in a particular subject, as well as the potential for conflicting schedules and workload. It is important for students to carefully consider their interests and capabilities before diversifying their curriculum.

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