Quinnipiac goes overboard with core curriculum classes

By on April 20, 2005

It is course registration time again here at Quinnipiac and that means two things. One, summer is almost here. Two, it is another reminder that Quinnipiac is absolutely in love with core curriculum classes to the point that students barely have any time left for courses that matter to them.

I am currently completing my sophomore year here as a journalism major. Through this semester, I have taken a total of 21 courses at Quinnipiac. Of those 21, only five have been working toward my major. The vast majority of the remaining 16 have been fulfilling the mountain of core classes this university requires for graduation, most of which are totally useless to me and my future goals.

The most glaring example of this so far was the art history class I took last semester. It fulfilled my artistic tradition requirement, wherein my other options were the history of music or an introductory drama course. The art history class was the best fit for my schedule, so I decided to give it a shot, knowing full well that my past forays into art had been about as successful as France’s military history.

The class was a disaster. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think learning about Thutmose III, Tutankhamun or the clay-slip process is relevant to me as a journalism major. Some people are into art, and that’s fine. But it should not be a required class for communications majors.

But the fun does not end there. I had figured I was finished with anything art-related, but apparently that would be asking for too much. I now learn that in addition to the art history class, I have to take a 200-level artistic tradition course. And this is a communications requirement, mind you. Next, they’ll start forcing nursing majors to take a course in media production.

Since I took art history to begin with, I am pretty much locked into that path for this 200-level class. My main choices include graphic design, drawing, painting,and sculpture. I would rather hang myself from a flagpole.

Quinnipiac also requires us to take eight credits of science, which equals two classes and two labs. Why? Why, as a communications major, do I have to take two sciences? Maybe one, but two? And it doesn’t help that the labs are two hours long and only offered smack dab in the middle of the day, when most of the other more useful classes also meet.

The hits just keep on coming. As a communications major, I have to take two foreign language courses. In addition to taking English 101 and 102, Quinnipiac requires me to take a 200-level English course. I won’t argue that English is useless, but are three courses necessary? I don’t ever plan on writing a short story or a novel and if I ever got the urge, I’d probably take a crash course on it at that time.

Then back in the regular section of core classes, Quinnipiac throws in a catch-all category called “Core Advanced Electives,” where we get to choose two 200-level courses from the various subjects of regular electives. How nice. You liked having to take that biology or sociology class so much, take another one. Except this time it will be twice as hard. What a waste of time.

There are so many interesting communications courses that I would like to take, not to mention courses that could work toward my minor. But superfluous core courses keep getting in the way. This year, I started both semesters taking six courses instead of the regular five because I figured it was the best way to ensure finishing all core classes and still have time to take relevant classes in my major and minor down the road.

I am sure the situation is the same for people in other majors altogether. Everyone is made to take the same basic set of classes and it gets to be a burden. I understand that a strong basis in liberal arts goes a long way in life, but enough is enough. Quinnipiac has set up such a zany and confusing system that students end up taking more core classes than classes related to their major concentration. Does that sound sensible?

Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools human beings can have and I am all for people attaining as high and diverse a level of knowledge as possible. But we pay thousands of dollars to come to college not to simply learn a little of everything, but to gain the best expertise in a particular field of study. Quinnipiac lets me down when they make me take six and a half hours of science when I could be spending that time on something that will help me. But there is not much I can do except say maybe I will see you in sculpture class come September.


About A. J. Atchue