Mar 022003
Authors: Vince Blaser

LONDON – The All-University Core Curriculum. We all complain about it at one time or another during our days at CSU.

Why should we have to take a public speaking class if we’re engineers? Why should we have to take physics or astronomy if we’re political scientists? Why should we have to take history if we’re math majors?

While some of these questions are legitimate, a Bachelor’s Degree from CSU does not only give students a solid understanding of his or her major, it also requires higher education in life, which includes much more than one major’s classes.

While I have appreciated many of my AUCC classes for teaching me something I will use down the line (some much more than others), I never have appreciated it as much as I have right now while studying here at Middlesex University.

In the United Kingdom, higher education is controlled by the national government. Every school is supposed to follow basically the same set of guidelines for courses, grading, etc. In fact, two or three other professors review final grades, and usually one is from another university. Grades are often changed after this review, I guess in an attempt to eliminate the sucking-up factor.

Now, because university used to be free for U.K. students and because it is still cheap, students go to college for only three years. Modules (classes) are taken only within a student’s major or modules directly relating to the major, e.g. statistics for economics majors, politics for law majors. Modules are usually one day a week, with a one- or two-hour lecture followed by a one- or two-hour seminar or lab. Three modules per semester are considered a full load.

This is all fine and good, but I have definitely realized a slight lack in overall education from some of the British students I have met. My girlfriend recently had group presentations in one of her classes and was surprised by how hard it was for many of the students to speak publicly. Sure, public speaking was annoying and many of us would not have gone much had it not been for the attendance requirement, but it did give us the basics for public speaking, something everybody is eventually going to have to do.

Politics affects everybody’s life; logic and philosophy help to understand and talk about the world; health affects our bodies and our lives every day; and we have to compose writing of some sort all the time. Math is needed because of money, plain and simple. Science makes the physical world come alive, instead of being something that just exists. I can go on and on; I think you get my point.

The AUCC can definitely be a pain sometimes. However, taking a semester in the British higher education system has made me very appreciative that I have received it. Sure, these students receive classes in many of these subjects in high school. However, I think it is different and longer lasting at the higher level. We may have to go an extra year or two, but I think it’s well worth it learning it from an expert instead of on your own.

After all, AUCC classes are needed to fill our schedules when we can’t get into any of our major classes, right?

Vince is a junior technical journalism and political science double major. He is currently studying abroad at Middlesex University in north London. E-mail comments to

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