Academics, News

Cognates broaden scope of undergraduate career

The two-day fall break and week-long Thanksgiving calendar changes are not the only changes students should expect to see this semester.

Class advising and registration have also changed with the university’s unveiling of the cognate system, a new organization of the general education requirements needed for graduation.

Freshmen and other students planning to graduate in 2017 will be the first to consider and declare cognates before class registration begins Nov. 11.

Last year’s Student Government (SG) administration, led by former President Nawara Alawa, listened to students’ complaints about the previous stringent general requirements for graduation.

“For the longest time, students would complain about the rigidity of general education requirements,” she said.

The idea of cognates came around as a way for students to personalize their education as they will have flexibility in choosing their courses, Alawa said.

The word cognate means “related to.” Courses are grouped together rather than specified as “three credits in a religion or philosophy course,” as the requirements were formerly organized.

To graduate, students must complete a cognate in each of three areas: arts and humanities, people and society, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Each cognate constitutes three related courses or at least three three-credit classes.

Majors and minors can satisfy one of the cognates. Once students have completed a cognate in each of the subject areas, they can declare additional cognates in the same way they declare majors and minors. All completed cognates are listed on a student’s transcript.

A course can only count toward one cognate, and outside credits from Advanced Placement exams or other universities can be used to complete a cognate.

SG worked with William Green, the senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, to ensure that students were represented when the changes were being made.

Alawa stressed that her goal was to represent “student voices and opinions through every step of this project.”

Even though the students were kept in mind throughout the process, the objective for the cognates is still lost among students.

“I find the cognates interesting, but I’m still not sure how they would be useful,” sophomore Perry Elbadrawi said.

Freshman Ivan Traczuk is not sold on the idea of taking classes that do not relate to his major, even though the requirements are not a new concept.

“I think they give everyone a great background knowledge,” he said. “It does, however, distract me from my major because it requires me to learn things that don’t relate to my major.”

According to Alawa, the cognates were created to expand student’s knowledge about subjects outside of their majors to diversify their college careers.

“Students could take ownership of their education without forfeiting the value of a general education that would inevitably serve them well in life,” she said.

Cognates are groups of related courses centered on a theme. The class of 2017 will be required to graduate with one type of cognate in each of three areas: arts and humanities, people and society, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Here are some examples of cognates that fulfill these subjects. CaneLink features a cognate search engine.

Arts and Humanities
Religion: Christianity, Islam and Judaism
English: American Literature and The British Literary Tradition
Art and Art History: History of European Art and Museum Studies: Art, Material Culture and History

People and Society
Geography: Health and Medicine in the Social Sciences
Psychology: Abnormal Psychology and Human Social Process
Communication: Broadcast Meteorology

STEM
Chemistry: Science and Society
Marine Science: Earth, Stars, Wind and Water
Engineering: Engineering Entrepreneurship
Geology: The Earth and Society

October 27, 2013

Reporters

Alina Zerpa


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Darrell Langham, the redshirt junior receiver who caused an uproar among Miami Hurricanes fans the p ...

This news release just in from the University of Miami, another impressive class about to be inducte ...

The University of Miami men’s basketball team got a welcome dose of good news on Monday night. Verno ...

After a disheartening week of practice injury-wise following the University of Miami’s victory at Fl ...

University of Miami’s highly-touted freshman Lonnie Walker, who had surgery for a torn right meniscu ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Darrell Langham has been a hero twice this season, but his path to prominence has been a long one. ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2018 inductees for the 50th A ...

Senior diver Wally Layland was recognized for her standout performance at the SMU Classic with ACC C ...

University of Miami freshman Lonnie Walker IV was among 20 players named to the watch list for the 2 ...

The Miami Hurricanes will begin preparation for the 2018 season when fall practice commences Wed., O ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.