The Heritage Foundation explains why universities don’t necessarily provide students with a useful education, at least in the non-STEM areas.
Guess how many top-tier universities offer a course on Lady Gaga? Four! The University of Virginia, the University of South Carolina, Wake Forest University, and Arizona State University all now offer semester-long explorations of Lady Gaga’s apparently profound influence—since 2007—on music, fashion, and the LGBT lifestyle. Yet none of these universities requires students to take a course in U.S. history before graduation. Professors and faculty at top-ranked institutions are giving preference to frivolous classes at the expense of true education.
In a new study by the National Association of Scholars, only one in 75 top universities required students to study western civilization. In 1964, more than half required students take a two-semester course that covered the history of western civilization from Greece to the modern era. The other half of universities required courses that guaranteed graduates understood the history of their society. But studying the foundations of our society no longer seems to be a priority for American universities.
It is not just studying western civilization that has been tossed out the window. There is a dearth in all general requirements. Asking “What Will They Learn,” the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has found that only 20 percent of universities require students to take a U.S. government or history class. Only 5 percent require students to take a class in economics. Many, including top liberal arts colleges, have no general education requirements. With this setup, it is increasingly unlikely that college graduates will leave their alma maters even grasping the basics.
I recommend going to university and I have the BS and MS in computer science, myself. But if, you have a child in university, my advice is to 1) monitor every course they choose, and 2) have a career mentor meet with them periodically to make sure that what they are learning is what is actually needed in the field.
Regarding the general need for history and economics, I think this is something that it might be better for students to learn before they get to university. It’s probably safer to learn history on your own, and then just take economics. I would try to avoid any course where the teacher can teach their point of view and isolate it from reality. Stick with math, science, engineering and physics.