I have my B.S in Marketing and for my degree I was required to take 2 science classes.

These 2 science classes were the only unrelated classes I had to take in my entire 4 years of Uni. While I excel in math I have always been completely awful at science.

I took both my science classes and got a C in both despite my normal A (96%+) average. These 2 classes hurt my record more than I would have liked and it's not because I didn't try. I put in 12 hours a week per science class, went to a study group, etc. I just never got the hang of it.

I've talked to a lot of other marketing B.S/B.A holders and they all had to take at least 1 science class unrelated to marketing and it was generally the lowest grade they got.

So, back to my question. Why require a class completely unrelated to the degree? There were at least 4-5 other business related classes that I would have loved to have taken and would have help me in my current career.

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    Could it be that as a marketer, you will often try to sell products made by scientists and engineers? Hence you should have some basic scientific literacy, so you can communicate efficiently with the people making your product?
    – user141592
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 1:09
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    I'm voting to close this question as it is (1) a rant and (2) about a problem facing undergraduate students that cannot be generalised to apply to graduate students.
    – user141592
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 1:54
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    There's a problematic premise here, namely that the science classes are completely unrelated to the degree. They are part of the degree program, just not important for your career goals. There are plenty of highly career-focused institutions that do not have any demanding requirements outside of career preparation, but they generally aren't well respected. You could have attended one of them instead, but if you want a more prestigious degree that demonstrates greater breadth and perspective, then you need to fulfill the requirements of that degree (some of which will be in general education). Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 2:46
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    Such a small percent of companies do that. I am not too sure about the small percentage. In these days, how many products are not made by scientists or engineers? Starting from farm products, toilet papers, computers, smart phones, cars, airplanes, ... etc. Would you give me some example products you want to market that are not made by scientists or engineers?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 4:17
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    I understand you don't need to converse with the producers. You do need to converse with the consumers, don't you? How do you market the product without basic knowledge about it? How do you tell your customer the product you are marketing is good and worth the buy?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 6:14

2 Answers 2


In the US, universities see their mission as being to educate students, not just provide technical job training (this is where universities differ from technical schools), so there are various "breadth" requirements established by higher-level units of the university (perhaps a particular college like "Liberal Arts and Sciences"). I assume your university doesn't have any such breadth requirements, and without more information on who exactly makes that requirement and what that requirement is, we would have a hard time diagnosing your specific issue. But generally, the issue is a result of the desire to graduate better-educated students.

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    Why not let students choose an elective then? I could have taken a criminal law class which isn't business related and I would have: 1). actually been interested in what i'm learning 2). feel like my money was well spent and that I'm not spending $3,000 for a class I can't stand. Shouldn't a university allow students to "explore" other areas rather than telling students you have to take an elective within a certain department? The requirements were a Bio class and a Chem class. I believe that the president meets with a board (not a private school) and-
    – Memj
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 1:30
  • said board creates the requirements. Heads of departments are able to make requests to change requirements but it's a year long process that most department heads don't have time for.
    – Memj
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 1:31
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    @Memj You'll find a commitment to a "liberal education" (meaning wide ranging, not the current politicized definition; though that often applies, too) in the mottos, mission statements, credos, and/or vision statements of many (most?) US universities. If you wanted a focused and specialized technical education you should have gone to a different kind of school. Another phrase you might see in this context is "breadth and depth". Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 2:16

This is an American, and perhaps even really a Puritan New England, answer.

Traditionally, the role of a university education is to make a student suitable to be a leading citizen of their town (and church), able to make intelligent and informed contributions to debates on issues of common concern that should be taken care of by the government, and able to play a leading role on a jury trying to make a fair and proper decision in a trial. To be able to make such contributions, one needs to have a broad perspective on how to tell what is true from what is false across a wide range of disciplines, so that one can evaluate the judgements of supposed experts (and lawyers and politicians). Part of acquiring this perspective is gaining a foundational understanding of every subject, including science.

Even one's special area of study is meant to contribute to this. The major is not intended to help you learn skills for a job but rather to give you an understanding of what expertise means by requiring you to have the experience of acquiring in depth knowledge of some particular subject, with the particular subject being pretty much irrelevant.

Think of this study as a kind of tax on your education. For the privilege of being able to learn something that will be personally beneficial to you, you also have to learn something that will help you be of benefit to society as a whole.

(Personally, I don't think undergraduate degrees outside of the arts and sciences should be offered at all. After you have paid your tax by getting a proper bachelor's degree, you can, if you want, learn specific skills for a particular kind of job.)


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