Friday, January 27, 2006

Bundling and Universities

I'm glad I'm not the only one that's been pondering the following:

I think universities need to move more in the direction of organizing themselves around the unit of single courses rather than bundled degrees. That way I could, say, mix and match classes on comp-sci and pop-gen in order to specialize in computer modeling of population genetics. Or mix and match courses in economics with courses in constitutional law without having to find a university that offers a special law-and-econ degree. The possible permutations are vast, and students would be much freer to craft their own course and change directions on the fly rather than feeling locked into a particular canalized path.

I've been thinking about this myself. I am an accounting major and I have to take courses that I will most likely have no use for in the future. Even if we put aside the general education courses and upper division business courses, there are requirements, like auditing, that most accounting students won't use in the future (I could be wrong, but I believe something like only 20% of students will go into the field of auditing). There's a possibility, if degrees were unbundled, that I could take some more relevant accounting courses plus some courses on business management and I could use those skills to start my own CPA firm. Yes, one could, for example, major in Accounting and minor in Management, but the problem of bundling still persists. I would have to take a number of courses that I wouldn't need.