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Proposed credit hour limit impedes student academics

By Andy Zhang     3/23/16 3:47pm

The Committee for Undergraduate Curriculum is proposing a credit hour limit (from 20 to 18), and I believe that this proposal is a pointless effort detrimental to Rice’s academic values. It will prevent many students from graduating on time or at least achieving their undergraduate goals in the allotted time of four years. Whether you agree with me or not, please voice your opinion and speak to your SA senators, as they will meet with the CUC this Wednesday.

There is no issue with the current 20 hour limit. What does this proposal do besides limit students? If students don’t want to take more than 18 hours, they don’t have to. The drop deadline being so late into the semester and the pass/fail option gives students who realize they have overloaded themselves a way out, and the students who remain in over 18 hours feel they are performing fine by their own standards.

Many students, especially in engineering, need to take 18-plus hours during at least one of their semesters at Rice to graduate in four years. Yes, they can petition, but why should they need to surmount an unnecessary barrier just to be able to graduate on time? 

I am also concerned that this proposed limit will also hinder students in taking classes outside their major. One of the things I love most about Rice academics is the almost liberal arts feel, as I have opportunities to become a well-rounded student. I can take classes in economics, philosophy and whatever else I am interested in as a bioengineering major. Many of my friends at other schools don’t have this luxury. Imposing the credit hour limit will make it less likely that students will be able to pursue their interests outside of their major, as they must ensure they can fit their major requirements within the 18-hour limit. If they can’t, they likely won’t go through the trouble of petitioning, taking away from them unique and amazing academic opportunities at Rice. The credit hour limit may also dissuade students from double or triple majoring, and may even result in a lower number of prospective students. Not only will many students be dissatisfied with the new academic setup, but also some students who want to graduate early due to financial or whatever other reasons may not be able to.

Overall, the credit hour limit will be detrimental to the academic values of Rice, lower its academic attractiveness to prospective students and prevent current students from reaching their academic goals.

Andy Zhang
Jones College 
Class of 2018

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