Core curriculum will no longer require six hours of science in same field

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Photo Credit: Steph Sonik | Daily Texan Staff

Faculty Council relaxed science core curriculum requirements for the 2020-21 catalogue at its meeting Monday. 

The council unanimously voted to allow students to take nine hours of science in any field to fulfill their core requirements. The change will take effect in fall 2020, according to the Office of the Registrar. Before this decision, the core curriculum required all students to take six hours of science in the same field of study and another three hours in a separate field. 

During the meeting, council member Lorenzo Sadun said at least six of the nine hours have to be science courses, but the remaining three could be from the list of technology courses. He said the University has required students to take six hours of science in the same field since 1955. 

“An associate dean in the College of Natural Sciences raised the question in a meeting, asking, ‘Why do we have this?’ And we said, ‘We don’t know,’” mathematics professor Sadun said. “We went back to (the College of) Natural Sciences and asked around, and no one could give any reason for having that rule.”

Sadun said the Educational Policy Committee decided the requirement does not work for students. He said it causes issues for advisors and scheduling because finding paired science classes for nonscience majors is hard. 

 

“Working toward depth and breadth is a good idea, but the consensus was it doesn’t work out,” Sadun said. “The rule you had to take at least two in one area wasn’t working because the pairings were a mess, and the consensus was (to) just get rid of the rule (because) it’s obsolete.” 

The previous rule said students couldn’t take all nine hours of science in the same field. Sadun said this will continue to apply. 

“In most of the departments, there aren’t three courses aimed at nonmajors, so you can’t overload in one subject anyway,” Sadun said. 

The council also approved the addition of numerous courses to the catalogue. Sadun said most of the courses applied to be added and passed through the committee easily. 

Brent Iverson, dean in the School of Undergraduate Studies, said all of these changes would give students more flexibility.

“There are two aspects,” Iverson said. “One is to give students more flexibility on what they take and give departments more ability to create more courses … and we’re thinking more broadly about technology, so it’s incorporated into the core curriculum naturally.” 

Advertising junior Julia Ramirez said she has not finished taking all of the science requirements for the core curriculum because of the original policy’s strictness. She said she took the first section of astronomy, but has not been able to register for any of its paired sections. 

“I struggled getting into the section I needed, and I couldn’t get into multiple sections,” Ramirez said. “A lot of people have to put it off until the last minute when they have priority registration.” 

Ramirez said the change in core curriculum will help nonscience majors. 

“I don’t really see the point of making us take two courses in the same field if that’s not remotely our field,” Ramirez said. “It will open a lot more options in registration. It’s not something anyone wants to worry about or struggle to graduate because they can’t get into a science class.”