Courses in Junior Freshman Science have been semesterised in preparation for the college-wide move to semesters next year. Science courses have split in two halves, giving students “much greater choice than before”, according to the Science Faculty Office. Students can now take one subject in the first half of a year, and a different subject in the second half.
Courses in Junior Freshman Science have been semesterised in preparation for the college-wide move to semesters next year. Science courses have split in two halves, giving students “much greater choice than before”, according to the Science Faculty Office. Students can now take one subject in the first half of a year, and a different subject in the second half. The change in Science has been in progress for nearly three years now, and was originally motivated by a high failure rate in Chemistry as the faculty felt that it was too challenging for a JF course. This comes ahead of the new year structure which is proposed to be introduced next year. The start of Michaelmas term will be moved back two weeks, and the Michaelmas term will last 12 weeks instead of nine at present. There would be a four week break for Christmas, a 12 week Hilary term, and then a two week break before the Annual Examinations. Examinations would finish in the third week of May. The University Council has approved this proposal “in principle” and it appears to be on track to be introduced next year. The Council meeting on May 7, 2008 decided that “College should identify and provide the neccessary resources to allow the implementation of the proposed academic year structure in 2009/10”. Speaking at the Council meeting which approved this, the then-Students’ Union Education Officer, Rob Kearns, expressed “broad support among the student body” for the changes, according to the minutes of June 2007. Speaking to Trinity News, the incoming SU Education Officer, Hugh Sullivan also expressed support saying that “as long as college respects the difficulties of change (learning from UCD’s mistakes) and the input of students there’s no reason why it can’t be a positive thing for all 15,000 Trinity students”. He continued to say that the SU would be concerned about the possible loss of “Trinity’s traditional and unique experience in favour of a more generic University outlook”. The new proposals will not mean the introduction of end-of-semester exams – currently in place in other colleges such as UCD – as both academics and students opposed it. As for the Scholarship exams, a review of the institution proposed in February that they be moved to the Chirstmas break in the new year structure. It was also mooted that they be shortened to 3-4 papers, and, crucially for many, the system of exemptions from end-of year exams would be abolished. The proposal to introduce semesterisation was brought forward in tandem with a proposal to change the undergraduate curriculum. At present, one year’s courseload is 60 credits, and a degree is worth 240 credits. One credit is supposed to equal 20-25 hours of work by students. It has been decided that all courses in College should be changed so that at least 10 credits are from outside a student’s field of study, and that at least 10 credits are for “personal or professional skills development” (eg clinical placements, dissertations, research training etc..). This means that almost one tenth of the courseload for a degree would be based outside the particular field of study. A date has not yet been set for this as it will depend on the introduction of a more sophisticated timetabling system for College, but all courses in College will eventually be changed to the system.