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General education courses getting in my way

  1. Jul 17, 2011 #1
    I'm so tired of these pointless liberal art courses. The size of the general ed curriculum at my university is about the equivalent of a B.S. degree.

    For example, I have to take four writing intensive courses, and they only offer liberal arts crap. Nothing like technical/science writing, which would actually help me. So until I graduate I'm stuck taking two classes every summer.

    They have no consideration for us science majors or B.S degrees in general. While liberal arts majors can fulfill some of the major and gen ed at the same time, we science majors have to go out of our way to do so.

    I'm so annoyed. I could be finishing my programming textbook this summer but I'm here trying to write a boring linguistics essay. :frown:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2011 #2


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    Yup everyone has to go through it.

    However, in reality, those courses aren't really bad. At my university, you may have to take 1 or 2 writing/english courses. The result? A lot of our graduates can't write worth a damn. The very fact that you're practicing means you're going to get better at writing or at the least, not become worse. This will help in the future because not everything you write will be a technical paper.

    It's kinda like math. We require 1 or 2 (most likely 1) math courses and again, a vast majority of our students probably can barely calculate their tips yet are considered college graduates.
  4. Jul 17, 2011 #3
    Nothing is pointless.
  5. Jul 17, 2011 #4
    In my college they required only 1 math course (which is more liberal arts than math) and two very elementary science courses, so elementary that they can't even be used for a major. On the other hand, not only do we have those 4 writing intensive courses, but also about 2 semesters worth of other liberal arts/writing courses like history, English, political science, etc. Can anyone else see what the problem here is, or am I just complaining too much?
  6. Jul 17, 2011 #5
    I also had to take libreral arts corses. What a waist.
  7. Jul 17, 2011 #6
    Are these science courses prereqs for other higher science courses you have to take?
  8. Jul 17, 2011 #7
    Not at all. Even if I took the two physics ones they offered as gen ed, they wouldn't count for my major. They are tailored to the liberal arts crowd.
  9. Jul 17, 2011 #8
    I live/study in Australia, but I don't have any "general" courses in my (CompSci) degree, you poor thing!

    I do enjoy writing to some extent though, and wouldn't balk too much at having to write more essays (I did one last semester, somewhat technical in nature, but I think it's the only one I need to do for my degree :P)
  10. Jul 18, 2011 #9
  11. Jul 18, 2011 #10


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    I'm Australian as well and the degree structure here is great. I have to write essays (I think reports are probably a better term) in subjects like statistics and applied mathematics, but I enjoy doing so.

    I remember I met an exchange student from the US and he did some breadth level subjects to do with Indigenous Australians and from what he was doing I felt bad that he do a subject that was so pointless.

    In case you Americans (or otherwise) are wondering, some of our universities have your system: one that comes to mind is the University of Melbourne. They have compulsory breadth subjects there.
  12. Jul 18, 2011 #11
    I was wondering because sometimes you can bypass these simple courses with a placement exam. I know that you cannot avoid the social science and humanities prereqs, but there should be a way for you to replace the general requirement for natural science and math courses with the courses that count toward your major. Try to find a good advisor and see if it can be done. My biology and chemistry courses filled the requirement for two natural science courses and they are required courses for my major.
  13. Jul 18, 2011 #12
    I'm soooo glad that we don't have those silly general education classes in Belgium. :smile:
  14. Jul 18, 2011 #13
    My school basically requires art history in order to complete one of the requirements. >_>
  15. Jul 18, 2011 #14
    At Berkeley (L&S college), you have to take 7 "breadth" courses, 1 "american cultures" course, 2 "reading & comprehension" courses, and a total of 6 UD units outside your major.

    Assuming you overlap reqs to maximize efficiency, this totals to 9 general-ed courses..
  16. Jul 18, 2011 #15
    That's not bad. ****ing 18 courses of general education at my school. This is ridiculous, this is all a business. I would transfer but then I'd end up losing the credits so there's no way out of it.
  17. Jul 19, 2011 #16
    The GE classes at UCLA were never geared twoards a specific major. Just like Anonymous217, they were "breadth" classes. If one or two happened to overlap your major, that was OK. For me, the math and science overlapped my major, the history and English didn't. For the English major, the math and science didn't overlap his major.
  18. Jul 19, 2011 #17


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    You're complaining too much. It's like a high school kid complaining about having to take algebra when he's never going to use it. You go to college to learn how to think, and preparing for a career is secondary to that. There's more to life than just science and math, and it doesn't hurt to be exposed to ideas from other fields.
  19. Jul 19, 2011 #18
    Another vote for complaining too much. Look on the bright side, at least you would likely get paid to attend graduate school. Those liberal arts folks can't say that!

    I may just be pulling this out of the ether here, but I believe one of the reasons our non-American friends don't have to go through a lot of the BS we do here in the states is because their equivalent of high school actually prepares them pretty well for all of these things.
  20. Jul 19, 2011 #19
    That's how it should be in the first place. The bulk of these general education courses should be taught in HS, not in college. I don't think gen ed is a bad idea, only maybe it's just my school in specific that requires way too many of them (60 credits). Besides, gen ed requirements are usually different for B.A vs B.S degrees no? In my school it isn't.
  21. Jul 19, 2011 #20


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    My university has a standard GE course load for everyone except education students for some reason.
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