Studying at UCU

A typical UCU working week (14th October 2011)

Read the entire post. Also includes why UCU was created, and why it is unique.

More a boarding school than a university? (8th November 2011)

Read the entire post. The Dutch go home every weekend! Why this matters, why they do it, and what they are missing out on. Musings on the most annoying and surprising aspect of the exchange experience.

Is Liberal Arts really flexibile? (5th February 2012)

“The next day Gerrianne and I discussed this further and though the liberal arts and sciences syllabus seems so free it’s actually quite restricting. So you take four courses a term:

4 courses x 2 terms per year x 3 years = 24 possible courses.

However there are quite a few requirements you have to factor into this:

  • First you have to take ‘Academic Skills and practice’ (now 23 courses).
  • Do the language requirement – take another language class (22) and when you know no others languages (like me), you will have to take two to get to the UCU standard wanted (21).
  • You also have to do methods and statistics (20) and the follow-up statistics courses in your discipline area, humanities, social science or science (19).
  • You also have to do a breadth requirement – take at least one course in all three departments, so this assumes two are not useful to your overall degree of Science, Humanities or Social Science (17).
  • Now to what you really want to do at university! To gain your degree title you have to take 10 classes in your desired department, which includes at least two tracks – a level 100, 200 and 300 in a subject e.g. psychology, history, physics (7).
  • So you are left with 7 free choices of course that you would like to do for fun – that’s the reason you chose this kind of degree anyway.  Well what if you want to do a semester abroad (and who doesn’t it’s awesome), that’s a semester away (3).
  • Not much to play with anymore! What about your thesis at the end? That takes up two courses (1).

Furthermore with all the clashes, and courses only running in one particular term, this course may be taken up by your tutor putting you there as you didn’t have the priority for other courses you wanted, e.g. me and sociology. So too bad on choice really. Let alone if you want to do a minor- a track in another subject, or something else like that.

There are summer courses that run however to ease the burden (one in spring and one in summer per year=6) and not all courses are run in the summer and you have to do a level 100 before you can do the 200 etc. In the end it’s no where as  flexible as you would’ve liked it to be. Similar to my flexible combine honours degree really.”

Examination and assessment methodology (15th March 2012)

Read the entire post!

They’d never allow this in England!

16th September. Bartenders’ Weekend. Another instance of “there is no way any University would ever allow this in the UK” – i.e. students being allowed and basically encouraged to drink beer for two days. In  Exeter, when we’re on a committee/board we have to sign something that says were not allowed to encourage others to drink – this defiantly wouldn’t pass!

5th December. Alcohol as prizes. Read the entire post.


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