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Patterns of elective choice in the University College Dublin undergraduate curriculum.

Author Patrick Purcell, John Dunnion and Hilda Loughran
Abstract In 2005, University College Dublin (UCD) introduced the Horizons initiative that resulted in the development of fully modularised, semesterised and credit-based degree programmes. One of the key features of the initiative was the introduction of an element of elective choice for students in the first three years of their undergraduate studies. In each year, students can select two modules out of the twelve modules they take from any programme across the University. This paper examines the impact of the Horizons initiative on three disciplines in University College Dublin, namely, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Social Science. Examination of the data shows that 72% of Civil Engineering students, 47% of Computer Science students and 16% of Social Science students avail of the opportunity to study modules outside their programme areas of study. Few non- Civil Engineering students (5%) avail of electives offered by the programme, while in the case of Computer Science a significantly greater number (46%) avail of the opportunity to study Computer Science electives. The popularity of Social Science modules to non-programme students ranged from 6% to 27%, depending upon the module on offer.
Keywords breadth, Civil Engineering education, Computer Science education, Social Science education, core modules, depth, elective modules.
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2010
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