On a site I visit (Not Always Right – it’s a hoot, check it out), a contributor from Melbourne, Australia, quoted herself as saying: “I’m in my fourth year of uni. My major is Science, but I do some electives in Literature and History.”
Is there really a university major called just “science?” Biology, chemistry, physics, etc. make sense to me, but here in the U.S. I’ve never heard of a major called “science.” Past the grade school level, it’s a broad category, as in sciences, arts, and humanities.
As far as I’ve seen in Australian universities, if you’re studying Science, your degree itself will be a “Bachelor of Science” but you generally have to choose a particular major (physics, chem, bio, etc) as you go along (and depending on your course structure you may have a couple of spare electives that you could use to take a class from other faculties if you wanted, such as the ones the OP mentions for Literature and History)
Villanova, where I got my bachelor’s, had a General Science major. It was mostly populated by folks who dropped out of one of the specific science programs. The next step would be the major in Liberal Arts, which is as close as you can get to a college degree in nothing in particular.
I think at my University (U of Arizona) there’s a degree for rather indecisive individuals in the College of Science that basically amounts to “General Science.” It’s sort of a Jack-Of-All-Trades degree if I understand it correctly, not sure what utility it has if any.
Edit: It looks like it’s called “Integrated Science” and it’s geared towards Science Education people, which is odd since we already HAVE a Science Education degree, I assume it’s meant for Science Ed majors who want something to double major in.
When I went back to university, they changed so that you did not simply get a BSc. You had to select a stream or program from one of the departments - to get a degree from our department - ie. Biology, Chemistry, astronomy, business computing, Accounting - you must complete the following set of courses (wth a lot of “choose 3 of the following 5” sort of options, and room for some random electives too…) . SInce there was no “Science” department, there was no department willing to give a general science degree. Other universities may be more accomodating. Most departments offered a variety of courses; arts students took Chem100, non-chemists took CHEM110, serious chem students took Chem 130 or 150, etc.
Johns Hopkins has a “Natural Science Area Major” that you can graduate BA from with no specific specialty in a particular field (and used to be even looser as to course distribution than it is now). Mostly used for Pre-professional school candidates, was my impression when I went thru there.
It is still a tier up from “General Studies”, which is as pointless as it sounds.
Technically, the liberal arts (at least in a classical sense) should involve the study of all areas of the arts and basic sciences, including literature, philosophy and logic, natural sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, geology, meteorology, et cetera), and history, giving the student a wide array of knowledge and critical thinking skills to assimilate new ideas. Of course, the reality is that most “liberal arts” programs basically boil down to film appreciation classes, a few semesters of basic composition and Spanish, and a literature class or two in which the most challenging work involves reading a few pages of Chaucer, but a proper liberal arts degree should prepare a student to enter into advanced studies in any of the sciences.
I truly wish I could remember what the degree requirements were for General Studies. I went to that community college for two years (plus some transfer credits from a summer away sort of thing), and when it came time to graduate, I was given a checklist of maybe 20 majors. I noticed there were overlapping requirements, so I ended up being awarded like 3 (maybe 4?) associate of arts degrees.
Damn, now I’m going to have to find that general studies diploma. I bet it will look good in my office.
I remember the course requirements at Villanova. Everyone had to have at least some measure of every discipline: The various science majors needed a couple of semesters of literature, for instance, and the non-science majors needed a semester or two of some science. I met my upper-level literature requirement with the same senior Shakespeare class the lit majors were taking. Meanwhile, the astronomy department offered a course for non-majors to fill their requirements, that was literally at a third grade level.
At my college, it was the requirements for an AA plus that many hours again. It was pretty much guaranteed that, if you screwed up and couldn’t complete your major, you could just make up the hours in a different class and come out with a General Studies degree.
In the early 90’s I had one of those huge books of stats about colleges (avg SAT scores, etc.). You could look up a major and see a list of colleges that had that available as an undergrad major. I came across “science”, and four colleges were listed. They were all 4-year state colleges.