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Why as the level of a college course goes up, is the course generally more specific and more specialized but not necessarily the easier one on the lower level, also you don't have to have the knowledge of the previous class, even if it served as a prerequisite?

For example, you study general biology first, then study anatomy or endocrinology, but you probably won't need to have the knowledge of general biology to study anatomy or endocrinology.

Is there any reason that every subject appears to be in that pattern?

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    You definitely need basic biology to understand endocrinology. – Compass Feb 15 '15 at 1:46
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I strongly dispute your assertion that knowledge of the more general subject is not needed for the more specific subjects. To use your own example, general biology will include general cell anatomy and metabolism and probably some basics of evolution. More specialized courses like anatomy and endocrinology will make no sense without these basics.

Even when a direct subject material connection is not obvious, in a well-designed set of courses there is often an important dependence in skills. For example, in the mathematics classes that I took, there was not much direct connection in material between Analysis and some the higher-level subjects like Abstract Algebra and Topology that had it as a required prerequisite. However, Analysis was the subject where students were expected to learn how to properly approach and formulate mathematical proofs, and the higher-level subjects assumed these skills. Likewise, many engineering departments have a required "general engineering" subject for freshmen, which drums in the general philosophy of engineering through hands-on applications in various areas: even if an electrical engineer never uses a machine-shop again, the "engineering way of thinking" that they have learned will be critical to their success later on.

Returning, then, to your basic question: there's an awful lot of knowledge in the world, and much of it simply is very specialized. General classes give the foundation required by many different specialized subjects, and so a well-designed curriculum tends to naturally form a "tree" structure that starts general and becomes more specialized as one progresses deeper into a subject.

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It's because of a combination of several reasons.

  1. There is knowledge overlap between the general and the specific.
  2. The general gives context, and thus meaning, to the specific.
  3. Complex systems such as biological systems are rich in emergent phenomena: having an understanding of the system is crucial to understanding one of its components.
  4. There is skills overlap: develop the skills in the general, and apply them to the specific.
  5. It's economically efficient to teach it that way: general basic courses form the foundations for a whole host of later specialisms.
  6. It's economically efficient to learn it that way: there are very few biology opportunities for someone who knows the rudiments of endocrinology and no other biology. If you want economically useful endocrinology, you're going to have to learn it to quite a deep level.
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