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

  • #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
phinds
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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?
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
Eclair_de_XII
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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
gmax137
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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
wukunlin
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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
BillTre
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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
romsofia
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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
vela
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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.
 
  • #9
phinds
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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.
 

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