Universities should require every student to take a variety of courses outside the student’s field of study.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.

Many students who attend higher education institutions must complete specific courses to receive their degrees. For most majors, this must be completed in their first year of study, often without being permitted to choose a course of their choice. This is understandable, as colleges aim to provide their students with the fundamental knowledge to succeed in their chosen fields. However, some students may be better served by being allowed to select some courses that fall outside their majors.

Such courses would broaden a student’s general knowledge, and students would be encouraged to explore new subjects. For example, a student may be passionate about art history but not want to pursue the issue as a major. However, the student may decide to take an elective course in art history, which could better understand historical and art movements and culture. A course like this could help students make career decisions, as they may discover that they enjoy working in a museum, art gallery, or historical establishment. Additionally, a student may find a passion for a particular subject that they never considered before. For example, to learn a foreign language, a student may opt to take a foreign language course rather than a class in the language, which would provide them with a better understanding of the language while allowing the student to focus more on learning new vocabulary and grammar patterns.

Similarly, students may be encouraged to take courses outside of their major if they plan to pursue a career that requires knowledge of other areas. For example, a history major may be interested in pursuing a career in journalism and may wish to study journalism courses, such as writing for a publication or using social media, to build their competency in these fields. Such students may benefit from taking courses outside of the history department, such as science or English, which would provide them with more well-rounded skills and increased confidence that they will find employment after graduation.

The only students who would be harmed by taking courses outside their majors do not plan to pursue a career. In these cases, students could take courses that complement their majors. For example, a student majoring in psychology may be interested in pursuing law school and may wish to take classes in history and philosophy to prepare for the LSATs. Such students will benefit from taking courses that complement their major, as they will be able to better compete with other students for jobs after graduation.

Similarly, if a student does not plan to pursue a career in a particular field, they should not feel compelled to take a course in that area. However, students should be encouraged to take classes that will allow them to expand their knowledge or explore a particular area of interest. For example, a student majoring in history may enjoy reading novels set in medieval Europe or Ancient Greece but may never have considered pursuing a major in English. However, by taking a variety of English courses, including courses in literature, creative writing, and linguistics, the student would be able to understand the English language better and improve their writing. Furthermore, by taking courses in other subjects, such as science or social science, the student would better understand how these topics are interrelated, which would help him, or her make a more informed decision in the future.

While there are instances where a student may benefit from taking courses outside their major, there are also circumstances when students should not do so. If students do not plan to pursue a career in a particular field, taking courses outside of their major would waste time and resources. For example, a student who does not plan to pursue a career in marketing should not be required to take marketing courses, as these courses would not provide them with any marketable skills. Similarly, a student majoring in accounting should not be required to study art, as these courses would not give the student any knowledge in accounting. On the other hand, taking a course in that area is invaluable for students who wish to pursue a professional career in a particular field. The system will provide the student with knowledge and skills that they will be able to use in the job market.