Course Selection

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Ambition, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    How exactly does course selection work? I have been going through the catalog a lot, but I don't really know how someone should go about their course selection.

    Take, for example, my own situation: I very much enjoy learning about all subjects, especially History and Strategy. That being said, I understand that a Science degree will get me much further in continuing my studies than any other type.

    I personally would like to meet the following goals at the Academy:
    Learn fluent Russian
    Earn Space Operations Badge
    Get a degree in any form of Engineering
    Learn significant military strategy, history, and international politics.

    Is a curriculum like that possible within the boundaries of the rules of the Academy? More so, does it seem feasible given the stressful workload Cadets already undergo? Would it require sacrificing a lot of break time? Because, in all honesty, I think I wouldn't mind spending a lot of my free time at the academy if it meant reaching my goals.

    Thank you!
     
  2. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Those are big goals to be sure, but if you love history so much, I'm not sure why you would pursue a degree in engineering. Oh, and I doubt you'll be fluent in Russian after just four years of study; conversational perhaps, but not fluent. It sounds to me like you should be a Military & Strategic Studies Major with a Russian minor, or if you are adventurous then maybe a double major in those subjects. I believe you can get the space ops badge for working falcon sat in the summer between 4* and 3* years, but I am not sure. Someone with more knowledge should chime in, because I'm no expert.

    The only real issue I see in your goals is trying to pursue an engineering degree when that is not your passion. I'm not saying you shouldn't go for it, I'm just questioning your motivation. Why do you want an engineering degree?
     
  3. FromRVa15

    FromRVa15 Member

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    You have no choices as to what classes you take, except for the foreign language. With the current curriculum, you WILL definitely learn significant military strategies, history, and probably international politics, because those are part of your required core classes.

    You can get the space operational badge from doing summer programs. You can pick what major you want, and they will load you up with the major's course starting junior year (ie I am an aero major, but i don't start taking hardcore aero classes till my junior year because i will have polsci, law, econ, law, etc to take during my sophomore year).

    Even as a junior, i have to take social sciences, a higher level military strategic studies, history, and english, on top of my aero classes
     
  4. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    I'm really wanting to be an aero engineering major. How are you enjoying it thus far?
     
  5. FromRVa15

    FromRVa15 Member

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    I am only a 4dig, so I haven't had any real aero engineering classes yet. But I've been down to the aero lab and everything, and USAFA is definitely the place you want to be at if you want to major in aero
     
  6. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Oh, I had it in my mind that you were a 3*. I saw the lab and got to see them shoot off that hypersonic wind tunnel or whatever it was that's out back of the lab when I visited. Needless to say, what I saw pretty much made up my mind between aero and astro! :biggrin:
     
  7. Blue&SilverBear

    Blue&SilverBear USAFA Alumnus

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    Go with a Poli Sci or Foreign Area Studies major if you want the military/history/politics. Minor in Russian, go on multiple thanksgiving/spring break/summer language trips.

    Language and engineering don't mix. As a Poli Sci/Econ double major, I think you'll have a more rewarding Academy experience going that route. Unless you really want to be an engineer or an astronaut or something, then you should forget the language stuff and go for aero/astro.

    Play space man in the summer. Keep in mind that its a cadet badge, not the kind you can wear after you graduate.
     
  8. John41057

    John41057 Member

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    Foreign language

    Hi
    Do all majors require a foreign language? It looked as if economics does not?
    Regards
    John
     
  9. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

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    Yes. At least two semesters for technical majors. Four semesters for non-technical majors. I think econ falls into the tech category.
     
  10. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Why do you want to major in a STEM field? I agree that MSS, History, or Foreign Area Studies would be good candidates. If you don't already know some Russian, you aren't likely to be fluent in a couple years.
     
  11. Lewis95

    Lewis95 Member

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    Wait so doolies can pick their language? I've taken German for 4 years and really want to take Spanish in college, is that possible?
     
  12. FromRVa15

    FromRVa15 Member

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    depends on what language it is. If its a strategic language like chinese or arabic, then you will usually get your first choice. but if its like spanish, french, or german, you are subjected to whatever they put you in
     
  13. Blue&SilverBear

    Blue&SilverBear USAFA Alumnus

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    However, once you declare your major, a good academic advisor can change it to whatever you want.
     
  14. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    Thanks for all the replies!

    I suppose the reason I want to go into engineering is because I would very much like to be involved in the future of Space Exploration and whatever else we might be able to accomplish there... The reason for wanting to learn Russian very badly is to satisfy both my desire to be fluent in a foreign language and because it would help me out on space missions when dealing with the many cosmonauts.

    I want an engineering degree because I love learning about science, engineering pretty much anything, and understand that a B.S. in Engineering can lead to a Masters in say, International Relations, but a B.S. in Int. Rel. cannot lead to a Masters in Engineering.

    I do love history and strategy and culture and all of the related social sciences, but I do not see how that degree can help me more than an Engineering degree. I certainly love all the subjects, but to be a politician does not require a PoliSci degree-to be an engineer does require an engineering degree.

    I hope I don't come off in any bad or misguided tone with this. I understand I can be seen as needy wanting to have the best of all educations, but I suppose what I'm really looking for is a course-load that is intense in all subjects, not just the one I'm majoring it. I want to take an economics class where I can finish saying, "Wow, Now I have some credibility speaking on the subject!" Not, "Wow, thank God I got an A and can give up on it now!"

    I also should not have said fluent in Russian. What I meant was, able to communicate in Russian. Certainly not fluent!
     
  15. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    I assume you are an astronaut wannabe then; to the best of my knowledge you don't have to be fluent in Russian to be assigned to an ISS mission, just conversational, but it certainly helps to be as good at it as you can and if you have a leg up on it, that's something less you have to worry about during training as an astronaut candidate. Oh yeah, and when you go floating into Zarya, it helps to know whether or not the Russian you are looking at on the walls is upside down or right side up! :shake:

    Of course I could be wrong, it's been a long time since I've looked at that stuff.
     
  16. AbigailPR2017

    AbigailPR2017 Member

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    I'm pretty sure C4C's all have the same schedule, that's how it is at the other academies. It's your "basics" year, then after that is when you get to start picking
     
  17. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    I just wanted to emphasize something that was mentioned in passing but not specifically stated. You don't have to declare a major until October of your sophomore year. By then you will have taken intro to a lot of different things (If my memory serves, in my first year I took Chemistry 1 and 2, intro to engineering, physics 1 (Newtonian), english, calc 3, differential equations, world history, 2 semesters of russian, and engineering mechanics). My point here is you will have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do.

    Based on your description, sounds like doing an engineering major will be your best option. I am guessing that the number of core classes everyone takes will satisfy your interests in history/military studies.

    One thing you could do is an engineering major with a Russian minor. If you are willing to work, this can be done. My senior research partner did a double major in physics and math as well as a russian minor and not to say anything bad about the aero/astro majors/departments, but physics is probably one of (if not the most) demanding and time consuming majors at USAFA (we had 25 in my class at the start of the first majors class and after the first assignment, we were already down to 20, graduating only 13 as physics majors)

    My point is, if you are willing to work, you can get a lot out of your time at USAFA, but the only way to know how much you can handle is to experience it. If you are struggling AT ALL freshman year to keep your grades up, I would say don't overload your schedule until you have figured out a solid study strategy and how much you can handle, because you only get more busy and with tech majors, your classes get harder.

    As for the language, I wanted german, they stuck me in Russian based on my aptitude for learning languages. It was fine, but I honestly don't remember much now and I didn't pursue a minor because at the time I was still playing a sport.

    I was involved in a lot of high level discussions on how academics at the academy work because of my cadet jobs so if you have any other questions, feel free to PM me. I probably will know the answer, be able to find it, or know someone who knows.
     

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