KU cutting general education requirements in half

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A lot has changed since the 1970s, but at the University of Kansas, the curriculum has stayed the same. That's about to change, though, and the university hopes for the better.

Students need 120 credit hours to graduate from KU with a Bachelor's Degree. For most students, 72 of those hours must be obtained in general education classes.

Such a high requirement creates difficulties for students. According to the university, fewer than 40 percent of students graduate from KU within four years. About 20 percent of KU students leave the university after their freshman year.

Freshman forensics major Taylor Stolarski thinks the general education requirements could play a factor.

"I feel like we should be learning more things toward our major to help us in our career," Stolarski said.

"It kind of restricts you from being able to take courses in what you're really interested in," sophomore communications major Justin Becker said.

University leaders agree. That's why starting next fall, KU will implement "KU Core" -- a new curriculum revised to require 36 general education credit hours instead of 72.

"There's just not, unfortunately, a rationale behind the current curriculum," KU Provost and Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

Along with being outdated, Vitter said the current curriculum requirements have proven to be too confusing.

"We've had a large number of students on a year-by-year basis, turn in their graduation sheets only to find that they're missing one or two courses," Vitter said.

Simplifying the system will it easier for students to double major, pick up a minor and study abroad, Vitter said. Plus, he said it will get more students in and out of KU in four years.

While KU Core begins next fall for incoming freshmen, current freshmen can also opt in to the new curriculum.

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