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What do non-science majors do?

  1. Oct 9, 2009 #1

    Pengwuino

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    So I got to thinking the other day. I know what physics majors do, chemists I can imagine, same with biologists, engineers to a point.... I can basically imagine what science majors do in their courses in college. The thing I can't imagine is what do non-science majors do in their classes? All I have to go on is GE courses and if our departments GE courses are of any indication as to other departments, our GE courses are quite tame and in some cases, non-reminiscent of what the meat of the subject is about.

    I mean this as a serious question as well. I can even guess at what Art majors do since that obviously requires a skill set that gets developed. Majors like Drama, Music, Women's Studies... etc etc, I have no idea what they do though.

    DISCUSS.
     
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  3. Oct 9, 2009 #2

    Astronuc

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    Non-science. :biggrin:
     
  4. Oct 9, 2009 #3
    If you find that confusing, try imagining what you do in "gender sciences".

    http://www.genna.gender.uu.se/Animals/Events/Meet_Animal_Meat/ [Broken] (from a prominent Swedish University

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Oct 9, 2009 #4

    Pythagorean

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    Drama and Music are performing arts. Generally, their goal is to actually perform these arts or participate in the performances via technical assistance.

    History and Politics majors usually go into some sort of political or non-profit organization. (I've seen a couple working at McDonald's too).

    All of these disciplines (including the sciences) also need teachers and the scholars of practically any discipline can write books in their subject if they're a sufficient word smith and know how to spin to the public.
     
  6. Oct 9, 2009 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Now the thing is, don't ask me why, but I always figured Drama and Music majors, for example, didn't actually have to perform. It would mean to me that maybe someone who was quite untalented couldn't earn the degree which to me felt.... i dunno, harsh or unfair. Then again I suppose if you can't do physics, you can't get a degree in it :rofl:.

    I'm asking more of what they do in their studies though. Do they simply learn about their field? Is the old stereotype true; science majors learn to 'do' while the others learn 'about'?
     
  7. Oct 9, 2009 #6

    Astronuc

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    A friend had a roommate who was an Fine Arts major. He leared how to make movies. He also could polish off a fifth of bourbon in an evening - and still lay a needle gently on an LP, which was set to less than 2 grams, walk across the room and around furniture, and not stagger.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2009 #7

    f95toli

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    I can almost promise you that you'd be surprised if you actually attended one of those courses. I studied some gender sciencie about ten years ago (part of a course in political science) and some of the texts we had to read were very academic" and analysing them etc is far from trivial. Not that all of the texts made much sense (in my view at least), but even the "out there" ones (some of the authors expressed some rather extreme opinions) are very tricky to disentangle(and at times I got the distinct impression that that authors made a point of making it as complicated as possible).
    My point is that the topic is -from a practical point of view- not that different from studying "ordinary" political science (reading Plato, Mill etc) or philosophy. It is definitely not a subject you should study if you want to study something that is "easy".
    Whether or not you'll learn something that is "useful" outside of academia is of course another question, but that is true for many subjects.
    Also, our lecturer in gender science was one very smart woman, and a very good teacher.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2009 #8
    It's funny because usually the question is reversed: What do math majors do? I think people assume all science majors play with bubbling liquids in test tubes all day so maybe they get asked less, but pretty much nobody knows what math majors do. While teaching basic set theory and logic I was asked when we'd get to real math, like with numbers and stuff lol. I try to talk about the function that maps a person to their last name and get told that we're not doing math.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2009 #9

    lisab

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    I had a roommate in college who was an education major. While I was struggling to prepare for a difficult P-chem final, she was working on her "big project" for the semester...a collage. Made from magazine pictures.

    I remember thinking, when was the last time I had a school assignment that involved scissors and paste? Second grade, maybe?

    Unbelievable.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2009 #10

    Pengwuino

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    Really? I always had that kinda joke in the back of my mind... you know, being the cynical type that i am :rofl:. I had no idea that that could possibly be true in any way imaginable. I figured that when it came down to it, a real upper division major course, no matter what the major, involved real, advanced academic work.

    It makes me wonder though, is it because the majors are just so sparse in content or are people who enter those majors simply that bad and the universities have to accomodate or what?
     
  12. Oct 9, 2009 #11

    Math Is Hard

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    I was a theater major the first time I went to college. There was a lot of slave labor, building sets and sewing costumes. Dance classes, voice classes, theater history (pretty interesting, really), acting classes. The acting classes were the worst because the grading was really capricious. One semester they gave the whole class Cs. Why? Because "if we were worthy of a B or an A, we wouldn't be in acting class, we'd be out there acting professionally like Meryl Streep." That's what the profs said anyway. Actually, we heard that one student got a B, but we also hear that he was involved with the professor.

    I wised up and bailed at the end of the year.
     
  13. Oct 9, 2009 #12
    I think most social science, poly sci, english and philosophy majors basically read paper and recite how it makes them feel their whole school career. More and more, especially after taking some of those sorts of courses as general electives, I think that academic science belongs in a much different sort of institution than those other subjects. It is almost odd that they are even at the same schools at all most of them.
     
  14. Oct 9, 2009 #13
    Did you went back, found post from few months ago, and copy pasted it to this thread? I remember reading this.
     
  15. Oct 9, 2009 #14

    lisab

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    Lol...you know, I may have posted that before. It did make a *huge* impression on me.

    Dang, am I at the age where I repeat things :cry:?
     
  16. Oct 9, 2009 #15

    Pengwuino

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    I could have sworn you wrote that in this thread a few posts ago and somehow it got deleted and put back here.
     
  17. Oct 9, 2009 #16

    lisab

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    Wow, yes, I did...I posted it and then wanted to edit it, but then had to answer the phone...so I just deleted rather than edit. It had only been, like, 45 seconds, max! Dang, you're fast, for a flightless little bird :tongue2:.
     
  18. Oct 9, 2009 #17
    Ok, I'll bite, a business major learns about accounting, management, marketing, advertising, finance, and then along comes economics.

    At first, the student accepts Econ at face value and memorizes as much as possible. However, the more you study Econ, the less sense it makes and you begin to question EVERYTHING about it. Unlike a chemistry class, you can't PROVE a complex Econ experiment.

    Every other business class can be tested. Accounting and finance are very structured. Management, marketing, and advertising all have very clear models to study and analyze. But Econ is - variable (at best).

    An (MBA/CPA) associate recently told me a story from when he was an undergrad at Villanova. After struggling through several economics classes, he went to the head of the department and requested a substitute philosophy course for the next econ - his argument was that the most bizarre philosophy class made more sense than his most recent econ class.:rofl: Anyway, I thought it was funny.:rolleyes:
     
  19. Oct 9, 2009 #18

    Pengwuino

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    Nothing gets by me.
     
  20. Oct 9, 2009 #19

    symbolipoint

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    The title of this topic, "What do non-science majors do?" requires only a small amount of imagination. Name a few non-science majors: Journalism, a specficied foreign language, ... At least with those first two, being aware of what is studied in the courses and how those fields are practical are easy to understand.
     
  21. Oct 9, 2009 #20

    lisab

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    I understand this, WhoWee. What makes science so useful to humankind is that it's a tool to predict the future, based on what we know of the past...it's predictive.

    Economists can explain why things happened in the past, but can they predict the future? They sure didn't see the current economic disaster coming.
     
  22. Oct 9, 2009 #21
    I studied german before I switched to chemistry/physics/math. Basically after the first foundation courses on grammar and speech we mostly studied literature. The 8 or so upper division courses I took were almost all the same, there would be 4-5 books we would read over the term and write 2 midterm papers and one final paper, in german of course. I had one course that was about translation, in which the teacher would hand out texts and we would translate passages into english. That was actually my favorite class out of all of them.

    Although the enjoyment I've experienced in my science classes eclipses what I experienced studying german, which is why I switched.
     
  23. Oct 9, 2009 #22

    Moonbear

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    Any kind of arts classes, I presume is helping to refine their skill in that particular art. Those make perfect sense to me. As for women's studies, I think they spend a lot of time complaining about being oppressed by men.

    Greg was a communications major; I'd love to hear what those classes are all about, since that's one of those majors that I wonder about. It seemed like everyone in my college class graduating with a communications major was graduating with honors, which made me think it was something pretty easy (no offense Greg, but even the person sitting next to me at graduation, who was one of those communication majors, admitted it was a rather easy major), but I still had no idea what exactly it was all about. Afterall, don't we all have to learn to communicate?
     
  24. Oct 9, 2009 #23

    Pythagorean

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    Well, I'm a musician and I had a minor in music for a while (when I was going for a BA in Physics) but I eventually went full on BS in Physics and dropped the minor, so I can tell you almost exactly what they learn:

    Music

    Music is actually very similar to science in that it has a theory section and a "lab" section (the performing part). The basic classes are music theory and ear training. Then for your specialization you perform and write pieces on your instrument.

    Music theory is very interesting, it consists of three basic elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Melody tells you the progression of notes over time, harmony has to do with notes played simultaneously, rhythm is obviously the timing. There are a certain set of rules revolving around consonance and dissonance that pertain to the pleasing of the human ear (it's actually pretty standardized... and pertains to the harmonic series from a physicist's point of view! We like to hear whole integer divisions of the fundamental (the fundamental being the root note of a particular key. You may have heard terms like major and minor, and in terms of scales, they're the same pattern of notes in a cycle, you just start and end with a different note.

    Ear training is being able to recognize notes by ear, and to be able to sing a note that you read on paper. Performing on your instrument mostly comes down to motor skills and your ability to express your individuality through these motor skills while keeping a rhythm and staying in key (in the pattern of notes relevant). Of course, once you've learned the basics you can modulate and eventually use every note in the 12-note-per-octave western scale (and through bends even hit other notes between). This adds extra individuality.

    Then there's also timbre to consider. The same note on different instruments sounds completely different based on the harmonic series of the note, because in reality, whenever you hit a note, the rest of the harmonic series rings with it, just not as loudly (with as high of amplitude) as the other notes. So if you did a fourier transform on each note, you'd see the amplitude fall off in the higher harmonics, but some of them would stand out more than others for different instruments and their physical properties.
     
  25. Oct 10, 2009 #24
    I used collage as a search word..

    You can see you used similar tone and words for the both posts. :rofl: It's always funny when people tell same thing over and over again using similar expressions/tones.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1805991&postcount=4

     
  26. Oct 10, 2009 #25

    I would argue that
    1) many economists foresaw this crisis.
    2) while in science people are capable of predicting the future but it is not applicable to all the real world problems. Simply knowing the future doesn't solve the problems
    3) Science is not much useful without economics, politics, or other principles and it is incapable of solving all the real world problems because of their complexities
     
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