The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
3 Points

Electives should be part of a college curriculum.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 894 times Debate No: 60804
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




Round 1: Accept debate
Round 2: Debate
Round 3: Debate


Thanks for the topic, Con. I'm sure this will be an interesting debate. For the sake of clarity I propose that in this debate we accept a common definition of electives such as "optional courses of study", and I am proceeding under the impression that which electives are taken remains the choice of the student.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Pro for your acceptance. To be clear, yes, optional courses of study which remain the choice of the student is a good definition. I will expand on the definition and add that Senior electives, electives applicable to one's field, don't count.

College is expensive. The average cost for tuition alone averages about $23,000 ( Unfortunately, I can only go off of personal experience here, but when I was in college, I had to take 12 credits just in electives ( That's an entire semester.

Not only is it a waste of money, but it is a waste of time. Most engineers do not use music in their discipline. Most theoretical physicists don't use philosophy in their discipline. I think it would be more worth a student's time to take courses he will use than courses he will not. Interestingly enough, a large number of college graduates (as much as 40% in some studies) don't even use their degree! However, that's outside the scope of this debate.

The time spent on electives could be put towards one of two things.

1) Graduating early
2) Taking more credits related to one's field

The latter would be more realistic, as colleges have established, in general, that a standard undergraduate degree takes 4 years to achieve. I think it would be more time efficient if students would take more classes pertaining to their degree.

An scientists could take classes pertaining to modern discoveries, artists could study more art styles, students could enter graduate school earlier. I think taking electives out of college curricula would improve the efficiency of our education system.

Thank your for your acceptance again. I look forward to your rebuttal Pro.


I’d like to begin by eliminating one of my opponent’s propositions, which necessarily follows from his logic. He states that it would be more practical and ideal to eliminate electives but maintain the standard amount of credits required for a degree. This being proposed as the ideal, we can dismiss his contentions about the high cost of education. Eliminating electives but keeping the same credit requirements does not change tuition fees for college students in any way. Therefore, the only contention I have left to address is my opponent’s belief that the average college student would gain more from taking courses only directly related to his/her major.

By advocating this belief, my opponent has taken a heavy burden of proof: to show that a well-rounded education is less ideal and beneficial then one solely dedicated to one’s originally desired occupational choice. Were humans machines and society absolutely efficient, this would (perhaps) be a functional way of approaching education. However, it is rarely the case that studying only one specific topic is more beneficial than studying a variety of things. As students progress to the post graduate level (and even their latter two years of college), elective requirements become fewer. However, it is commonly viewed as most ideal to allow new students the opportunity to study a broad spectrum of courses. This allows students to not only become better educated and more functional members of society, but to have an ease of transference should they find a career path more ideal than their first choice. Eliminating electives is simply impractical.

Debate Round No. 2


Well said Pro! I have thought very hard about this one!

I would like to begin by stating that the heavy burden of proof goes both ways. I would also argue students that go to college have already had four years of a "well-rounded" education in high school. They have already been taught history, literature, mathematics, vocabulary, grammar, and basic science. Students go to college to study a specific field, and all unnecessary information should be omitted from that curriculum.

I accept your rebuttal of my proposition. It was hasty and illogical to claim such a resolution with such contradicting arguments; however, while my proposition on what the ideal situation may be is void, my point is still valid. Electives still cost money. Students still pay for them. Assuming a four year degree is kept; electives can still be replaced with an entire semester of courses relevant to the field.

Information outside of a field of study should be left up to individuals to pursue. If one has a passion for history, let him study it on his own time. College is the final pillar, in the education system, for the pursuit of a career. College should be intended to prepare individuals for their career. Thus, it follows that the education should be centered on the field the student has chosen to study for his future career.

I would also claim that colleges place a low priority on electives. Advanced Placement classes allow students to earn college credits. The AP classes available are almost exclusively general electives! ( One must question the place of electives in college if high school students are able to take them.

Pro, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I have had the chance to think about my own views on the topic. I look forward to your rebuttal! Finish strong Pro!


I assert that high school education is not adequate for all individuals. For those who have retained knowledge in high school, there are simple tools to avoid taking the same basic coursework again that even satisfy credit requirements (an example of this would be CLEP testing). However, the fact that this resource is not more utilized and that many students still struggle in these basic courses indicate that their is a deficit of retained knowledge from high school.

I disagree with my opponent's assertion that students would benefit from a degree earned from courses only immediately relevant to their chosen major. Whatever degree the student chooses to obtain should adequately prepare them for real-world application of that degree- but only that. From the basic knowledge required, it is the individual's task to apply their knowledge of the necessary concepts and principles to their careers and to innovate. However, having a diverse education is by no means a handicap in the academic world and my opponent has not shown it to be. Ultimately, being literate in diverse fields with a specialty in one concentration is more beneficial than to know only one field slightly better.

Thanks for the debate, Con. It has been a pleasure debating, and I wish you the best on all future endeavors.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a fundamentally subjective debate, particularly as neither side gave any evidence outside their own opinion. So, we have to ask whether Con's arguments about efficiency, or Pro's arguments for well-roundedness, were more compelling. In the end, Con was making the assertion that electives should not be part of a college curriculum. Merely assigning himself as Con doesn't relieve him of the presumptive BoP. Since neither side made a slam-dunk argument, and neither side really offered evidence for their position, I wound up edging slightly towards Pro because of Con's failure to fulfill his burden. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.