Courses like “Decoding Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Sex and Cinema in the 20th Century,” “Wizards and Vampires in Film, TV & Literature,” “Tattoos in American Popular Culture,” and “The Fame Monster: The Cultural Politics of Lady Gaga” have been popping up for years in course catalogs nationwide. Is this really a college education? Could we stop squandering taxpayers’ money, students’ money, and students’ precious time?
The college scramble for survival during the pandemic has been palpable, but so far, no school has done the obvious: Streamline the degree, cut all the fluff, reduce their delivery costs, and thereby lower substantially the tuition bill and the opportunity costs for a college diploma.
Virtually every school demands a minimum of 120 semester credit hours (essentially, 40 or more college classes) for a bachelor’s degree. Assuming a normal schedule of five courses per semester, that comes to four years of seat time. But the disadvantages of holding students captive for so long far outweigh the advantages. No human being should ever stop learning, but it doesn’t have to be in an expansive, expensive collegiate program.
The time has come for a 90 credit hour baccalaureate degree.