MSU is federally obligated to provide its students a “liberal and practical education” as well as “broaden their cultural horizons.” What this entails is requiring students to take specific courses, regardless of their majors, to meet these obligations. But just how effective is this style of education? Through MSU’s common core curriculum (Core 2.0), an engineering student may be tasked with learning music theory or the ethics surrounding good and evil, while an aspiring artist would be required to interpret contemporary literature or statistics. A mathematician would hardly find benefit in attending a philosophy course. From a student’s perspective, most core courses are nothing more than high-priced hindrances. In the university’s eyes, Core 2.0 has purpose: “to ensure a wide-ranging general education.” Regardless of how the core curriculum is perceived, it is undesired among students. Hardly anyone hires a taxi to take the most indirect, circuitous route to their destination. Yet, students are left without choice in adding 30 credits of core courses to their workload.
Core curriculums also place certain students in disadvantageous positions. A humanities student may struggle in science courses due to an overall lack of interest, motivation, or even understanding, as it may not come as naturally to a student of the humanities field as it would a student with a scientific mindset. Similarly, a sciences student may fail to perform in a humanities course. The student’s grades and finances then suffer. Should a student be unable to acquire a C in any Core 2.0 course, they would not get credit and that class would not fulfill the Core 2.0 requirement. The concept is rather absurd when considering punishing a botanist for their inability to write creative non-fiction. There are successful alternatives to the core curriculum educational system, though. For example, students could just focus on their majors and graduate earlier. Universities in the United Kingdom do not generally maintain a core curriculum and thus, their students are able to graduate in three years. A shorter college experience would be a quite welcomed choice in the United States given that the average graduate of 2015 has over $35,000 of debt, making our generation’s students the most indebted in our country’s history. Is adding a fourth year of college for core courses to “broaden cultural horizons” really worth drawing another loan? Yes, when considering it is actually a necessity in completing applied homelessness courses.