Students: DU makes cross-school studying difficult

By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke

For Duquesne junior Michael Rand, finance and math fit together perfectly.

“The mathematics background is extremely important, especially in finance applications,” Rand said. “The math is good to have, not only for finding a job, but for practical use.”

But studying finance and mathematics at Duquesne is not so practical. The two subjects are in separate schools, and to add a mathematics major, Rand had to enroll in the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts and complete the entire 33-credit core curriculum, in addition to his business classes.

There are many other dual degree students at the University who, like Rand, face significant challenges that come with studying between schools.

Duquesne has eight schools and one engineering program within the University that serve undergraduate students. A majority of students stay within one school to earn their degree.

However, according to liberal arts adviser Bill Klewien, there are 128 liberal arts students enrolled in dual degree programs with other schools. Of those, 79 are also enrolled in the school of education, 24 in the business school, 20 in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, four in the Mary Pappert School of Music and one in the pharmacy school.

One of those liberal arts and business students is economics and math major Brian D’Orazio, who said juggling the large number of courses and requirements for a dual degree can be confusing.

“The coordination is very difficult,” D’Orazio said.

As a dual degree student, D’Orazio has two advisers, one in business and one in liberal arts.

The core requirements can be daunting, too. According to business school adviser Linda Scott, the business school requires students to take 50 credits of core classes. This is compared to a 33 credit core for liberal arts bachelor’s of arts students and 18 credits for liberal arts bachelor’s of science students.

That means students like Rand and D’Orazio will take more than 80 credits of core classes, in addition to the 31 credit university core.

For dual degree students in the Bayer and McAnulty schools, things are easier, according to liberal arts Associate Dean Evan Stoddard. There is an agreement between the two schools that any student pursuing a degree from both schools is only required to complete one set of core requirements.

Stoddard does not foresee any similar agreements being made with other schools in the near future.

“It has been discussed, but no action has been taken,” Stoddard said.

For many students, a simpler dual degree process could help them professionally by giving them a well-rounded resume.

“I have a lot of marketing and sports marketing students, and my students would typically pair with [the liberal arts degrees of] integrated marketing and communications or public relations,” Scott said.

Stoddard said he hopes Duquesne will make further advances in creating opportunities for minors, if not majors, between schools. One example he cited was the music school, which is in the process of creating a music minor. The 15 credit minor will be offered next fall, according to music admissions director Troy Centofanto.

Scott agrees that more formal minor programs between schools could benefit students with diverse interests.

“Every school has its specialty. To bring two forms of thought together, that makes a whole lot of sense,” Scott said. “When you think of our marketing students having access to integrated marketing, advertising, public relations, those aren’t skills that we teach in business … so it all ties so well together, to be able to bring that combination together for a student is a great opportunity.”

Liberal arts adviser Carmen Thomas agrees that it is time to look at more cross-school openings for students.

“I feel like in today’s economy, you have to begin to think about positions in the marketplace that are very unique and make yourself unique to those positions,” Thomas said. “Let [students] get what their money is paying for. If you have a student who wants to do a minor in business, science, wherever, then I feel like it should be doable.”

What do you think? Leave us a comment!