Faculty Senate removes 60 credit hours outside major rule
The Faculty Senate voted to remove the requirement that undergraduate students complete 60 credit hours outside of their major coursework, at their Feb. 19 meeting.
The Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum presented this recommendation to the Faculty Senate for discussion in January. Their two other proposals, one to create a working group to study what a broad liberal education means for students at Rice and another to require CUC approval for any major department’s attempts to raise their required number of credit hours, were also approved at the Feb. 19 meeting.
The previous 60-hour rule affected some Natural Science students and a few Engineering students, driving the degree requirements for those students beyond the 120 hours normally required, according to David Caprette, co-chair of CUC and neuroscience professor. According to General Announcements, the previous exceptions to the 60-hour rule were students pursuing Bachelors of Science in Engineering, Bachelors of Music and Bachelors of Arts in Architecture, who were required to complete only 45 credit hours outside of their major.
At the January Faculty Senate meeting, Senator Dave Messmer said he thinks the working group should complete their research on broad liberal education before the 60-hour rule is removed. According to the minutes from this meeting, Caprette responded to this concern by saying that the rule should be removed immediately because of its negative impact.
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“We cannot ignore the very real and very problematic history of the man who founded this institution,” Gabrielle Falcon (Martel ‘20) said. “Progress is inevitable and I would hope that Rice would do its best to join the wave of progress we have been seeing this summer, instead of making pointed decisions to prevent it from flourishing.”