Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Year Degrees

The 'students' at my local University are just finishing their exams at the moment and the next academic year begins at the end of September.

As we hear constant (and often justified) complaints about the level of debt that students end up with and bearing in mind that most of them aren't exactly overworked during the six weeks or so of the year when they do actually have lectures; why oh why do we not just compress all the non serious subjects into two years?


Anonymous said...

I do only have lectures 30 weeks a year but the other 22 weeks are necessary to find work to supplement my completely inadequate student loan. Without a job I would have around £30 disposable income a week - about enough to cover food and causing problems when I need extra bits like a recent new pair of glasses when mine finally fell apart.

I do also have a part time job during term time but have had to give it up now because of exams.

However some subjects could be compressed - perhaps not my maths&physics degree though, I already have more material to learn for my exams in 2 weeks than I did for my entire secondary school time. This compression would probably just lead to more people doing crap degrees so as not to end up in 20 grand debt!

Back to revision.

Mosher said...

Anon pretty much covered what I was going to say. The long summer and other holidays were the periods where I could get a full-time temp job (if that's not a contradiction) to put some cash behind me for term-time.

Of course, playing devil's advocate to myself, a year-long hard-working gap year before uni accompanied by disciplined saving would offset the need for this.

This, of course, would never happen in the real world. Getting the job is hard enough, getting someone aged 18 to *save* for a year even less likely. And I put my hand up to say that I would have been guilty of that - I'm not pointing fingers at other people!

Anonymous said...

I undertook a graduate degree at a US university.
Most jobs on campus were undertaken by students.
Students who achieved distinction in their exams graded papers for profs - a paid occupation
My course could have been a 2 year course but, if you were prepared to work through the summer semester, it could be shortened to 18 months.
They also had a staggered intake - spring, summer, autumn, winter courses rather than just one autumn intake.

Cause for reflection?

Richard said...

You got your quotation marks in the wrong place.

My local 'University' will give you a degree in engineering (electrical, mechanical or, err, automotive) in only two years. Better still, you don't even need any A-levels to enter the course. A C pass in GCSE maths will suffice.

You too can have an engineering degree only two years after GCSEs while your former classmates will still be at school sitting their A-levels.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

To compress the non-serious subjects into two years requires admitting that certain subjects are non-serious; this is likely to prove the chief difficulty.

phatboy said...

Because then it would be obvious who was doing a pointless degree and employers might not accept them so students won't take them meaning courses will end, funding will be cut to universities and less people will go to university and we as a nation won't be able to say "oh look at us, 50% of our school leavers get a degree, aren't we a clever country".

Then again, some people (me included) think that might not be such a bad thing.

Ed M said...

Interestingly enough the University of Buckingham, the UK's only private university I believe, does 2 year degrees. It seems to be pretty successful with noticeably high student satisfaction, low drop out rate, good staff/student ratios and good graduate employment prospects. I'm also intrigued by the fact that the percentage of firsts and 2:1s it awards is markedly lower than other universities. Maybe it has maintained standards?

Worth noting though that it doesn't cover as wide a range of disciplines as many institutions.

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Vionolo said...

Lampeter University offers something similar for at least one of its serious academic subjects. Instead of having summers off, one works through them. I personally think it is a great idea that allows graduates to limit their debt, in fact the course was my fall back choice after my Russell Group option.

As much as I dislike Mickey Mouse degrees and have to swallow my snort of derision when I meet such a graduate, I do think that the individual has a right to study them. After all, if someone’s daft enough to saddle themselves with so much debt for a negligible return who am I to point the finger?

What hacks me off most of all is the attention paid to the goal of university. Pupils are so focused on getting into university, that many have neglected to consider their overall career goal when making their course choices. Every time I hear/see some bright eyed sixth-former saying that they don’t care about the debt because they are going to university for “the experience” (aka: socially acceptable overindulgence in booze, breasts and bullish behaviour) I genuinely want to get hold of them and shake some sense into them. Why hasn’t someone taught these bright-eyed darlings about fiscal responsibility? That the debt one is forced to take on during these 3-4 years is not for fun and frolics but rather a means of investing in one’s self to gain the skills necessary to secure good, solid employment? Oh, and that it WILL have to be paid back at some point if the system is to work and enable others to fund their educations.

Did anyone else feel that their degree (c.2006-9) was ever-so-slightly akin to national service? A place to funnel the nation’s youth whilst the government tried to work out what to do with us and our limited prospects?

stop repossession said...

Is a four-year college degree absolutely essential for real success? cause most of the students now are tracked toward technical training and two-year college programs.

Boy on a bike said...

An MBA is little more than a Commerce degree - yet an MBA can be crammed into one year whilst a Commerce degree takes a leisurely three.

My course had a massive 12 contact hours a week - lectures and tutorials. I am sure I could have done it in 2 years or less. But think of all the time at the pub I would have lost!