Interested in Degree+?
Taking languages classes unlocked a different perspective
One of the most useful assignments I did for CS 19100 was creating a plan of study for my next four years at Purdue. While looking into the various course requirements for the different tracks, the College of Science, and the University Core Curriculum, I found that I had a lot more space in my schedule to take elective courses than I had expected. In large part due to the credit I earned in high school, but also a surprising amount of double counting, I had very few requirements left to fulfill for the College of Science core curriculum in particular. I would need to add credits to my schedule, with a dilemma of where those credits would come from.
Conveniently for me, I had heard of Degree+ both through 191 and my German professor. Initially, I did not give the program much thought, but after doing more research on the Degree+ program, I decided eventually to talk to my advisor and pursue a German major in addition to Computer Science.
The Degree+ program is designed to allow students to pursue an additional major in the College of Liberal Arts with the Liberal Arts core waived. For me, this meant I would only need to take eight additional courses, and all specific to the German major. Of course, this may differ from person to person depending on the major they choose to pursue and the classes they have or have not already taken or received credit for.
While my decision to add a Degree+ major (rather than simply adding a minor, or taking more elective courses of my choosing) was primarily influenced by the amount of flexibility I had with my schedule, there were other factors involved. Perhaps the most important was that I enjoyed German, and could see myself continuing to enjoy it beyond a few language courses. If I were any less interested in German, I know that I would have chosen to do something else with the space I had in my schedule. More broadly, I did not want to box myself into exclusively taking technical STEM-related courses for the rest of my time at Purdue. I believe it is important to experience some variety in the education you receive, because many of the skills gained in different environments are transferable elsewhere. Furthermore, the difference in perspective can be valuable in affecting your approach or understanding of one or another subject; no field is truly independent of other fields. Finally, proficiency in a foreign language has practical value beyond college as well—a fact many are certainly familiar with.
After considering these factors and making my decision, officially adding German to my major was itself extremely simple. My current advisor submitted a curriculum change request (CODO), the request was reviewed by the College of Liberal Arts, and once approved on their end, I approved it myself through MyPurdue.
I wanted to add a German major because I found it interesting and useful, and doing so was (by design) an easy process that didn’t add unmanageable amounts to my workload. Degree+ isn’t for everyone, and the commitment involved certainly isn’t zero, but any student outside of the College of Liberal Arts can easily choose to do the same, whether they want to add a major in philosophy, political science, or even theater.
For those interested, more information can be found here: https://www.cla.purdue.edu/undergradci/degreeplus/index.html.