USNA Liberal Arts/Humanities

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Gangplank, May 6, 2015.

  1. Gangplank

    Gangplank New Member

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    Hey guys, new here!
    I'm currently a freshman in high school and I've developed a very strong interest for USNA over the past year. I'm strong in reading and writing, but I attend a science/math oriented school.
    I'm strongly considering pursuing a liberal arts degree in college, and I was just curious on how good the English program is at USNA. I've heard a bunch of different things. I've heard that the Academy is one of the highest rated liberal arts schools, but I'm also aware that its curriculum is comprised of a heavy science workload. I've also heard that it's a school mainly for engineers and non-STEM majors are considered "bull majors".
    So does USNA offer a well rounded science/liberal arts education?
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I am biased as a USNA grad but I believe USNA provides ones of the best well rounded educations you can find. Even if you are an English major you will graduate with a BS. The core curriculum is very science and math heavy. Take a look at the USNA website and it provides details on each major and what classes are required. Regardless of major you also take classes about history, ethics, military science. You will spend a great deal of time discussing philosophy and ethical debates in these classes and also in your character development classes which are not a part of the academic classes but done as part of the Character Development Program. I had several friends who were English majors and loved it.

    In all honesty, regardless of major, go to USNA because you want to be a Naval Officer not because of a major or its reputation. This may be your goal, but it wasn't mentioned in your post.
     
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  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I was a humanities major. The first thing is that USNA (or an other SA) is a STEM-based curriculum. Even as a humanities major, more than half your coursework will be in hard-core STEM (not zoology), so be sure you're ok with that. There is an easier track in some courses for non-STEM majors but it's still hard, especially if your brain isn't wired for STEM.

    In terms of the program itself, I can only speak from my experience of years ago and, like anyone else, only know what I experienced and not what I might have experieneced (for better or worse) elsehwere. After a very rigorous h.s. humanities program, I found the humanities coursework at USNA relatively easy -- although I did work hard. However, many of my peers (especially STEM majors taking their humanities distribution) struggled mightily. Thus, I think my situation was due more to my strong prep than the fact the coursework wasn't challenging. By contrast, I struggled with STEM.

    In terms of whether humanities is well-rounded, yes. And whether it is well-regarded . . . let's just say that USNA majors have zero problem getting into top law, business, theology and other graduate programs, regardless of major. You will NEVER find your USNA education second to any other undergraduate program in the country.

    Finally, I personally am extremely thankful that I made a really good decision at age 17 to attend a SA knowing I would have to take the hard-core STEM courses even though they weren't my strength (in part b/c my h.s. prep in these courses was as lousy as it was great in humanities). I got through them and, over the course of my four years, actually got better at them and even learned to like them. STEM teaches you a different way to think (vs. traditional humanities courses). That can be very helpful in many walks of life.

    As for being called "bull" majors -- not sure if that still happens. I chose my major b/c I thought I would really enjoy the courses -- and I did. I didn't worry about what others thought; they were majoring in what interested them and that was good enough for me.
     
  4. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    The term Bull Major is a neutral label for an academic study like Wires is for electrical engineering.
     
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  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Agree with 1985 as usual. Major in what you enjoy, but you will have tons of STEM classes. I enjoyed some of my STEM stuff, some others I did not. I actually really liked weapons and boats, hated EE. I have actually used alot of this stuff in my civilian career. I was a history major and spent the last decade as a Senior Systems Engineer. I have done fine technically and even am nearly done with MS in SE. I have never struggled with the STEM stuff in my job or in my MS. As spud mentioned it is just a label, nothing more.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    In my day, "bull major" was used derogatorily. Glad things have changed. May be in part due to that, in my day, only 20% of a class could major in humanities; today the number is closer to 35%, if memory serves.

    One interesting fact . . . the major that produces the most career (20-year+) officers is history. Or at least that was the case about five years ago.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Interesting, I actually didn't know that 1985. Go history! I know alot of history majors were Marines also. Wonder if there is a correlation there? We need an NPS student to another study!
     
  8. Navy92

    Navy92 Member

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    That is a very interesting point 1985! Back in my day, I chose PoliSci for the wrong reasons. And in '92 "bull majors" were still derogatory. My best advice would be to choose whatever it is you enjoy studying, but like was said by someone else, go to USNA to become a Naval Officer or Marine. Your education at annapolis will follow you in a very positive way the rest of your life! I also am biased, but I don't think there is a better "well-rounded" college/university anywhere - period.
     
  9. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    DD was a Chinese Major at USNA, maybe a "Bull Major" until you have to do the calligraphy. Now a Company Commander at PI and scheduled to attend Marine Corps University at Quantico. Pick the one course of study you are most interested in and it will still be a BS. Annapolis will be your great ticket to great things in the future.
     
  10. TheSavage44

    TheSavage44 Member

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    The Humanities/ "Group 3" as they're referred to at USNA majors are phenomenal. I majored in History. Yes, the workload was predominantly STEM oriented for the first couple of years, but once you get into your humanities related classes, you'll love them. Plus, it looks great on a resume when it comes time to transfer into the civilian world: Bachelor of Science in History. Not very common at all and it will look very impressive.
     
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