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UChicago Core for Science Majors

lmb123lmb123 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
My son was accepted at UChicago, Cornell and Brown. He is interested in studying physics and math. We've visited UChicago and were very impressed with the career advancement program (Metcalf Program, Career Treks), small class sizes, quality programs and study abroad programs. Our main area of concern are the Core Requirements in Humanities and English

Replies to: UChicago Core for Science Majors

  • lmb123lmb123 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    Posted accidentally before completed!

    Our main concern are the Humanities and Social Sciences Core Requirements. Since my son is a strong math and science student, these classes may be the most difficult. Does anyone have experience completing the Core Requirements who is a math or science major? We like the idea of being well rounded and developing communication skills, but do not want to be overwhelmed.

    Thanks!
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,944 Senior Member
    I think there's kind of what you scientists call a chicken-or-egg problem here. Physics/math types who would have trouble handling the humanities aspects of the Core (a) tend not to apply to Chicago, (b) tend not to be accepted, and (c) tend not to enroll if admitted. So it shouldn't come as much of a shock that there's not a lot of evidence that they have trouble with those Core courses. The rigor, logic, and creativity that make someone a good mathematician or physicist are appreciated by humanities scholars, too, at least at Chicago; the whole Core is premised on the notion that those qualities underlie all academic inquiry.

    If you tune in to discussions among Chicago students, you will notice that maybe not all Humanities Core courses are considered equal. If a STEM-oriented student is looking for one that may not be quite as heavy a lift as some others, it won't be hard for him or her to find out which ones have that reputation. You don't even have to think about it now -- the first day of O-week is plenty enough time to start.
  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,430 Senior Member
    D is a bio major graduated last year and her BF is a CS major graduated year prior. I see the core has not been overwhelming, on the contrary, I think the core advanced their well rounded education and communication skills.
  • erlangererlanger Registered User Posts: 488 Member
    My D is a Biochem major and finds the core/humanities classes a great diversion from science and not overwhelming. The humanities and soc classes have been smaller, seminar style with less students and offered more teacher interaction than her science courses.
  • marlowe1marlowe1 Registered User Posts: 490 Member
    Another possibility exists - that a science-mad youngster compelled to take non-science courses might make the discovery that his true passion lies elsewhere than science. The age of 18 is a young age to know just who you are and where your gifts and permanent interests lie. I'm not the only one who went up to Chicago believing I knew what I wanted to study but finding myself more stimulated by courses that initially I saw as simply fulfilling requirements of the core. Two of my close friends from those days started in Physics but ended in English Literature. Never underestimate the seductive powers of a gifted teacher taking you with him through the best that has been thought and said.
  • lmb123lmb123 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    Thank you for the advice. We were very happy to hear that the Core classes may provide a different point of view and a diversion from STEM classes. We were happy to learn that the Core classes are capped at twenty students and taught in a small, seminar type environment. Overall, UChicago seems like an amazing place!
  • PAGRokPAGRok Registered User Posts: 557 Member
    The only problem is that they require lots of readings (therefore lots of time, which may or may not be an issue). It was difficult taking HUM, CIV, Gen. Chem. and Calc my first year because Hum and Civ required so much reading time, and Chem had labs and Calc had psets. It was work all the time. The core requires a year (3 quarters) of HUM, SOSC, 2 quarters of CIV, and a quarter of arts. So that's 3 full years of classes that I was not really interested in that many of my HS fiends skipped over from AP credits. I literally did an extra years work of courses, which did make me think better and write better, that my friends from HS did not have to do.

    Was it worth it to me? Probably not.
    Was it worth it to my academic prowess? Yes.
    Was it worth it to MYteducation? Maybe.
    Was it worth it to my UCHICAGO education? Yes, it's integral.
    Will having taken the core mean anything to real life after school? Probably not.

    I wanted to take the core coming here, after getting through the core would I do it again, NO. Some would say yes, but they probably went into academia or law or grad school.
    The funny thing is that the math/science requirements are far less than the "HUM/CIV/SOSC/ARTS" requirements, thus making it easier to get through the core if you're not a math/science person. Also there is the foreign language requirement, ugh.
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