> When Barbara says Calgary's introducing a 3 year BGS degree, I
> think: "How many 'courses' (or credit hours, or semesters, or
> whatever units we use to measure it) is that?" In some ways, STU has
> had a sort of unofficial 3-year option because our degree is defined
> as 20 "courses" (or 120 "credit hours," translating a full-year course
> into 6 credit hours), and I've seen a number of customers (oops) buy
> their degree (double oops) in three years, by taking all the
> intersession and summer session courses they could cram in. I take
> it that's not what the BGS is?
Good point, Russ. When we talk about a "4 year degree" here at
Calgary we are using shorthand for "20 full courses which could
normally be completed in four years by a traditional student taking
the default path of 5 FCE per year." Many take five or six years to
do this and I suppose that some could take it in 3 with cramming,
summer courses etc.
You're right, that's not what the BGS is. The BGS is a fifteen-course
(rather than twenty-course) degree with no major field--a truly
interdisciplinary (or grab-bag, depending on whether you like the
formula or not) degree intended for people who either want education
for education's sake (we hope that there are still some around) or a
shortened route to further studies.
Interestingly, students opposed the degree, presumably because they
were afraid it would somehow cheapen the degrees that they were
working an extra year to get. I have not quite fathomed the
psychology of this.
Science is seriously planning a 3-year degree as well.
We just had a faculty retreat to work out the possibility of making
our other majors in GNST into three-year degrees. (Thus, majors such
as Communications Studies, Women's Studies etc could be had in three
years, as well and the more generalist BGS, affectionately known as
the Bugs degree.)
It foundered on a variety of problems. Some though that it would be
just plain too thin academically. I used to think this but have come
around to a certain extent to the idea that you can't get a lot with a
first degree anyway so why not move the process along a little faster.
My problem was more internal-structural: we would have had to eliminate
the "preprogram" first year in which students get to play with a
variety of options before deciding on a miajor. We would also have had
to offer a lot more of our courses in the first year where we would not
have control over enrollment numbers, creating the possibility of our
nice little intimate faculty being swamped with students without the
resources to teach them.
The short answer, Aviva, is that Alberta has not offered 3-year
degrees until now but is haltingly and soul-searchingly beginning to.