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Students’ Reaction towards New Rules for Minor and Double Major Study

MAY . 12 2017
Peking University, May 12, 2017: Recently, Peking University Office of Educational Administration released a new policy on minor and double major for students who graduate after 2020. The new policy requires the grades of minor and double major curricula also be counted into the total GPA, which leads to more cautious decisions on choosing a double major.
“Interdisciplinary education” has always been an important guideline of the undergraduate education reform. In 2016, Peking University issued corresponding policies on cross-department class selection in order to cultivate more interdisciplinary talents. The new policy on minor and double major sticks to the same guideline and looks forward to improving of the quality of minor and double major courses.
Among the rules in the new policy, the one item that requires the grade of all curricula (including major, minor and double major classes) to be counted into the overall GPA has brought about heated discussion. The new policy indicates that the performance on minor and double major classes is going to influence important issues like student appraisal, scholarship and post-graduate recommendation. Therefore, students who choose to take a minor or a double major must put in more effort instead of simply being satisfied with not failing the course.
On one hand, faced with the pressure of grades, some students have to give up the majors they are interested in. A student from School of Journalism and Communication said, “I am interested in psychology and I used to want to pursue a double major on psychology, but now I’m worried that if I did not do well in the double major, it would influence my grade. So now I want to study a minor instead."Another student also said, "Even the smartest students need to devote a great deal of effort when studying minor or double major classes. Overall, the new policy increased academic pressure.” On the other hand, some students says that the academic pressure can enable students to reconsider whether they really have extra time and energy to study a new subject and will cool down the heat of some double majors.
There are also some students who are not influenced by the reform. A student from School of International Studies said that she had been wishing for studying economics before she entered Peking University. Even though the policy has changed, she would still choose to take a double major on economics. As for the new rule regarding the grades, she commented, “The new policy does influence me in some ways, but from the comment I have heard, many students have got pretty high scores for their economics double major and I am confident that I can nail it.”
Besides, the new policy also affected students who are to graduate in 2019. “I was considering choosing a double major on economics, but I am not clear on how the grade will be calculated for us. If the grades of major and double major are going to merge, I will not study a double major anymore." However, another student of the same year has submitted the application for the double major on Chinese Language and Literature, and claimed that the new policy affected him little.
Written by: Hu Yue
Edited by: Xu Penghang