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Do you have to completely follow the college curriculum?

DeeYooDeeYoo Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
edited May 2012 in College Life
The college I'm going to as of next Fall, has a curriculum for my major, semester by semester. The liberal arts courses are all subjective but the major related courses are all picked out even though there are many others to choose from.
I already have most of my schedule planned out and it's pretty similar to the curriculum for the first semester, but it definitely won't follow it in the years to come. The curriculum has classes (not core classes), that I feel like I could supplement for other classes (that are still major related classes) that I'd rather take and would still fulfill my major requirements on time.
Do I have to completely follow the curriculum or is it more of a suggested guide? Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, I just really need some insight.
Post edited by DeeYoo on
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Replies to: Do you have to completely follow the college curriculum?

  • clarinette52clarinette52 Registered User Posts: 709 Member
    The classes for your major can't be exchanged for other classes unless the school changes it. For example, I'm a music major. I can't take whatever music history classes I felt like to fulfill the history requirement of my major; I have to take specific courses because they give me a certain perspective on music which helps me understand why music from different centuries sounds differently.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 33,916 Senior Member
    You need to ask your advisor. Btw, what is a liberal class?
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    No matter what anybody else has to say in this thread, romanigypsyeyes has given you the right answer: you need to talk to your advisor at the college or university.
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Registered User Posts: 1,406 Senior Member
    If a course you need to take is full and you need it as a pre-req to later courses, you can usually register to take it at another college and transfer in the credits. Some schools have cross-registration agreements so that this would not cost you any extra tuition.

    Sometimes they will also allow you to design a similar independent study course to fulfill that requirement as long as you are still covering the key information, but this option is usually not available until you are a junior or senior.

    They usually like to have your liberal arts courses out of the way early, but if you see an opportunity to take a major requirement, I would push off one of the liberal arts courses. I didn't take my bio requirement until my last semester because it never fit in and there were other classes I preferred to take when I had the opportunity. I wouldn't do this with too many of your general requirements, though.
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Registered User Posts: 1,406 Senior Member
    Unfortunately, advisors give incorrect or incomplete information all of the time. It doesn't hurt to get ideas here and take them with to the advising meeting.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    That does happen, Nova. On the other hand, none of us here can give the necessary departmental or college authorization for a student to alter the published guidelines of a major.

    If you go out on your own and alter your own program of study, you run the risk that the college or the department will say you have not fulfilled the requirements of the major. By contrast, if you have altered the program of study inappropriately but you have acted in good faith and in cooperation with your advisor, the department and the college have a lot more reason to be flexible. The error will be the responsibility of their agent, the advisor, and not of the student. Only an idiot would fail to talk to his or her advisor about this question.
  • DeeYooDeeYoo Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Thanks, for the quick replies and advice. I do plan on talking to my advisor before registration just to be sure. I'm thinking about taking summer and or winter courses just to get out some of the liberal art courses and then taking the major related courses I want along with the curriculum requirements during the fall/spring semesters.
    But I'll go over all of this with my advisor. Thanks again.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    I'm thinking about taking summer and or winter courses just to get out some of the liberal art courses and then taking the major related courses I want along with the curriculum requirements during the fall/spring semesters.

    At your year-round college or university, you mean? Or at another institution, and then you plan to transfer the credits? Transferring credits can be tricky. That's another area where you don't want to strike out on your own without discussing it with someone at your year-round college in advance.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,943 Senior Member
    Your major probably has required classes plus elective classes. Your advisor will be able to explain to you exactly which classes you must take and if there is a sequence in which you must take them. Some of those interesting looking classes may have one of the required classes as a prerequisite but others may not.

    Typically, most people spend the first year or two of college simply doing the requirements for the major and liberal arts/core/distribution requirements, and get more choices as time goes on. What you want to avoid is loading up on the fun stuff at first and being stuck taking freshman level classes during your senior year.
  • ManoriteManorite Registered User Posts: 305 Junior Member
    The college I'm going to as of next Fall, has a curriculum for my major, semester by semester. The liberal arts courses are all subjective but the major related courses are all picked out even though there are many others to choose from.
    My major has a sample curriculum on its website very similar to this; a sample 4-year plan all filled out to show you what a schedule in the major looks like, even though you have other options.

    However, it is possible that that's not what this is, and you actually do have to take all of those. I would add my voice to those recommending you take this question to your advisor in the major.
  • Sparkles21Sparkles21 Registered User Posts: 493 Member
    If you want to graduate, generally, you have to do what they tell you.

    Find your advisor and ask. When you get to your campus seek out advice from older students in your major.
  • DeeYooDeeYoo Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    @Sikorsky
    I plan on taking all my courses at my school, but I'm considering taking a few winter/summer session classes, just to get some of the curriculum classes out of the way so I can take some of the classes I really want. I know I shouldn't be in a rush, but the way the curriculum is set up it seems hard for me to really focus on my major with the classes I actually I want to take. Also the curriculum for the first semester asks you to take 16 credits (Four 3-credit courses and two 2-credit courses), which seems a bit steep for a college freshman.
    But like I said before I'll talk this all over with my advisor before I register. At the moment I can't get in touch with them, so I just wanted some insight from users on here.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,943 Senior Member
    If you want to graduate in four years, you need to take 15 credits each semester (assuming a 3-credit system totalling 120 credits). 16 isn't really that much more, and it might be that in the spring you are scheduled for 14 credits or something so it evens out.
  • NovaLynnxNovaLynnx Registered User Posts: 1,406 Senior Member
    @Sikorsky
    I will repeat - it does not hurt to get ideas elsewhere and take them to the advising meeting. The most intelligent thing one can do for oneself is NOT rely wholly on the advisor, but to do one's own research via handbooks, course catalogs, etc. My advisor knew little about the liberal arts requirements, only about my major requirements. Therefore, I had to look through all sorts of sources to find the information I needed. Obviously these sources need to be specific to the school the OP is attending.

    The advisor will also not likely be able to tell the OP if credits will transfer in, and I would not trust them to do so. Admissions counselors or department chairpersons (if it's a major requirement) often determine this, so the OP may need to see several people to make sure what they are doing will work out okay.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,096 Senior Member
    Some people may be able to help you if you named the school and major.

    Usually, it is majors like engineering that provide sample schedules to follow, due to relatively large numbers of required courses and long sequences of prerequisites. They want to ensure that students can graduate on time by following the suggested schedules. Of course, there are some other possible ways of scheduling the major so that one graduates on time (especially for students who enter with advanced placement credit), but providing a reasonable sample schedule gives a starting point to which the student and adviser can make modifications and swaps to suit the student's interest while still fulfilling all requirements and graduating on time.

    If you want to swap some courses for others, you need to check which of the courses are required for the major, versus being suggested within-major electives.
This discussion has been closed.