One of the most talked about aspects of the University is probably our flexible curriculum, or the Rochester Curriculum. Before studying here, I thought it seemed too good to be true, and I was curious what students’ schedules actually looked like. As a now-upperclassman, I can confirm the Rochester Curriculum is the real deal!
Since I didn’t need to worry about general education classes, I’ve been able to take a broad range of coursework, including electives that were purely for fun and unrelated to my degree requirements. So, to paint a picture of how Rochester’s flexible curriculum fosters interdisciplinary learning, I wanted to spotlight a random class I’ve taken each semester.
1. Fall 2018: MATH141 (Calculus I)
I’m definitely more of a social science/humanities person, so taking a calculus class was admittedly scary at first. The MATH141-143 series—which doubled as my natural science cluster and a business major requirement—took me outside my comfort zone, but I’m really happy I went through that journey. Finishing that series was a rewarding personal accomplishment for me, and it was cool to take classes that helped me relate to my peers in STEM. Plus, I made some great friends along the way!
Since MATH141 was where the adventure all began, I have fond memories of taking it during my very first semester!
2. Spring 2019: ENGL132 (Feature Writing)
When I entered the University, I planned on studying marketing and creative writing, but I had an interest in taking journalism classes as well. After one ENGL132 lecture with Professor Liu—still one of my favorite teachers to this day—I decided I’d love to work toward a journalism minor!
It was awesome that UR’s curriculum allowed me to design a schedule I wanted and gave me the freedom to explore a subject outside my majors as a first-year.
3. Fall 2019: ACC201 (Financial Accounting)
Given I’m a business major, taking an accounting class was par for the course. However, ACC201 has a special place in my heart since technically I took it twice. During spring 2019 I wanted to overload but struggled to handle the adjustment, so I withdrew from accounting partway through the semester. After postponing it to the fall, I was better able to keep up with lectures and, more importantly, enjoy the learning process.
Having a flexible curriculum program was a huge relief in this situation, because knowing I wouldn’t have non-major coursework to finish removed the fear of falling behind on my academic goals or graduation requirements.
If you’re curious about some of my other classes from fall 2019, you can read about a day in my life that semester here!
4. Spring 2020: DANC110 (Beginning Dance Techniques)
Probably the most random class I’ve taken so far is DANC110. When I registered for the class, I had no dance experience outside of ballet lessons when I was a toddler. However, I always thought dancers were graceful and cool, so I figured it’d be fun to try out dance again.
I would not use the words graceful and cool to describe what my dancing looked like, but I had a blast and have no regrets taking that class. I urge anyone who’s unsure about pursuing a hobby to take advantage of being at a place like UR, where people are encouraged to be themselves and do what they love. No one was judging me besides that person staring back at me in those giant mirrors in O’Brien Dance Studio, but she was mainly just proud of herself for trying!
5. Fall 2020: CIS220 (Business Information Systems)
One of my most surprising discoveries at UR was that I thoroughly enjoyed taking an IT class, which—aside from calculus—was probably the course I was most intimidated about initially. It was fascinating to see how the concepts we discussed had real-world applications, and Professor Jones gave us many examples that connected to current events like the COVID-19 pandemic or 2020 U.S. presidential election.
I often found myself sharing interesting tidbits from class with my parents, and even in a wild year like 2020 I wouldn’t have expected IT to become one of my go-to dinnertime topics!
6. Spring 2021: ENGL242 (International Poetry)
As a first-year, I took an intro to poetry class with Professor Grotz, which inspired me to choose a poetry concentration for my creative writing major. Two years later, I was thrilled to be reunited with her in ENGL242! Although we’re still midway through the semester, I’ve loved the class so far and am glad I could add it to my schedule.
Hopefully I’ve shed some light on how the Rochester Curriculum empowers students to study what they love; ultimately, that’s what the purpose of our flexible curriculum is all about! I’ve never felt pressured to take certain classes or rushed about the timeline I’ve wanted to achieve my goals in, and that’s enhanced my learning experience tremendously.
Next year I plan to begin coursework for my legal studies minor—something I haven’t taken any classes for yet—so I’m excited to still be broadening my horizons senior year!