The Atlantic

The Tyranny of the College Major

Colleges should require students to take more courses outside of their discipline.
Source: Elaine Thompson/AP Images

The American bachelor's degree has over the last 150 years become centered on specializations, majors, each student's home department. General Education, the classes each student must take outside of the major, is still part of every degree—but it has become weaker and unfocused, disrespected and eroded.  The degree has not gotten tougher as the world has gotten tougher. Instead, legislators and administrators have simplified the degree into lists of outcomes, efficiency initiatives, graduation targets, and courses that can double count for more than one requirement.

It is past time we re-examine, strengthen, and add to the bachelor’s degree.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The Atlantic Politics Daily: Democrats Can’t Agree on the Reasons for Impeachment
Some moderate Democrats want the party to zoom in as closely as possible on Trump’s Ukraine-related offense. Others want to consider more. Plus: AOC makes another endorsement.
The Atlantic7 min readPsychology
The Therapeutic Potential of Stanning
“Superhero therapy” encourages people to think like their favorite movie characters. It seems to work.
The Atlantic9 min readSociety
The Common Misconception About ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’
The constitutional standard for impeachment is different from what’s at play in a regular criminal trial.