Friday, April 20, 2012

A Military Academy Education

The latest issue of West Point magazine shares the following "Academics By The Numbers" on page 7:
Average number of credits per semester: 18
Average number of cadets per classroom: 17
Number of students who studied abroad this year: 120
Most popular major over the last 5 years: management
Most popular major for Class of 2012: mechanical engineering
Newest major: kinesiology (2007)

All very interesting information, and probably very unlike most civilian schools! The average credits per semester jumped out at me and I wondered about my own semester loads. So for the next few days, I'm going to share with you the courses I took and the credit hours for each course. Let's get started with my first semester at West Point:
Advanced German I (validated)
Advanced German II (validated)

1st term 83-84
CH101 General Chemistry 3.0
EF105 Intro to Computers-Fortran 3.0
EN103 Rhetoric, Logic, and Composition 3.0
HI101 History of Modern Europe 3.0
MA151 Calculus/Introduction to DE/Matrix Algebra 4.5
MS101 Introduction to the Military Profession 2.0
PE103 Phys Ed Foundations-Men 1.5

Total units: 20


Michael said...

In my opinion, the service academies currently offer the best education (and the best deal) in the country. These fine young men and women are also guaranteed to graduate in four years, with a guaranteed job when they're done. Very different from traditional universities where silly classes like "Witchcraft & Wizardry" or "Women's Studies" are offered.

Steve USMA '85 said...

I'm in, here is my schedule of just a few years ahead of you. My track was Applied Mathematics of Digital Computation.

1st term 81-82
CH101 General Chemistry 3.0
EN103 Rhetoric, Logic, and Composition 3.0
HI101 History of Modern Europe 3.0
MA151H Calculus & Differential Equations 4.5
MD101 4th Class Military Development I 0.0
MS101 Military Heritage/Standards of Professional Behavior 2.0
PE103 Physical Education Foundations-Men 1.5
PL100 General Psychology 3.0

Total units 20

I note that on my transcripts, I have a zero credit-hour course each semester in Military Development that you don't. This consisted of hour-long classes after dinner once or twice a month with no homework.

Also, I think this is a good exercise because it shows your readers that we didn't just learn how to kill people and break things at the Academy. Our education was extremely broad across many disciplines. For instance, as we go forward it might surprise some as to how many non-math related courses I had to take. Actually, all courses I will list were mandatory except those I will list as elective. This first semester was all mandatory.

Darren said...

I had that zero unit professional development class each semester as well, I just left it off because, well, it's zero units!

Darren said...

I look at that like I look at intramurals or drill--required, and we all did it, but not academic.

Steve USMA '85 said...

Correct, but it was also mandatory & took up study time. Or in my case, rack time since I wasn't a Star Man like you.

But you do bring up an interesting point. It was required that all cadets play a sport both semesters. If you weren't on a team that competed intercollegiate, you had to be on an intramural team. Again, another drain on study/rack time.

Finally, those pretty parades you see in the movies & commercials, we had to practice for those also. About 10 afternoons a semester and 4-6 Saturdays we were out there either practicing or conducting actual parades.

This on top of carrying 20 credit hours of academics. Honestly, I was shocked to learn later on in life that 12 credit hours was considered a full-time student.