Academic differences between countries

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

I'm interested in how countries differ when it comes to study curriculums, university practices, etc. Especially in science/engineering.

For example i've noticed how Americans and brits (?) take many small classes per semester, typically like 6? Here we normally take 3. We also don't have gen eds (thank god) and a bachelors degree takes 3 years (but we stay in highschool for 1 more year). No idea if I think this is a good thing or not.

It's also interesting how you have the option to live in dorms on campus in the US/UK. Not a thing here at all I think.

Also: grades. Sounds to me like you're fucked if you don't have straight A's in the US. That is fairly rare in science/engineering here and I think a C average is good.

Talk about your country/uni! I'm from Norway btw.

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haveahappyday
haveahappyday

Please remove this picture from this christian image board.
I am still having nightmares about those things from mechanics of materials exam

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

Honduras here. Depends on the university, but in UNAH(national University) we recently switched from semesters to trimesters, but they did not change the curriculum in engineering at all, so what you used to be able to study in about 4-5 months, we now have to learn it in 3; this lowered average grades a fuck ton coordinators of the "Career" don't seem to give a fuck about it.

We usually take about 2 heavy classes and 2 or 3 light ones, at least in Chemical Industrial Engineering.

Bachelors is 5 years(sadly entropy is generated and this 5 years mark is just ideal, like a good 13 classes you pretty much have to take twice so it expands into about 7-8 years on average-only speaking on behalf of chem eng; other eng. Degress don't have this issue)

Not dorm options here, we're a third world country.

We deal with grades with a score system of a 100, you pass with a 65(next year it'll be 70) and right now the average chem eng. student has an global average of about 68-78. Idk what that would be in letters

idontknow
idontknow

uk
few classes
very few assignments, it's your responsibility to give yourself regular homework
for engineering, 3 years bachelor's, 1yr master's (usually bundled together into a single program)
grading - above 90% is very rare, even if your work is really good: <40% fail, 40-50% just like kill yourself my man, 50-60% be careful, 60-70% hang in there (60% is minimum if you want to be taken seriously), 70-80% you're fine (when companies ask for top marks, they mean above 70%), 80-90% mastery of assigned material
dorms: first year guaranteed place (if you want), either with housemates (self-catered, you have to cook yourself) or in a room of your own (with paid catering)

Playboyize
Playboyize

Especially in science/engineering.
In engineering all Washington accord countries should (at least in theory) have similar curricula.

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

1yr master's
This is bullshit desu. How many publications do you need for a Master's? Do you publish within that year?

TreeEater
TreeEater

people undertake a research project in year 3 and one in year 4
some even skip the master's, do 3 years for their bachelor's, then apply straight for postgrad since they ask for *a* degree, not specifically a "master's" degree

Snarelure
Snarelure

I didn't see "research project". Everyone does one in undergrad even fucking Malaysia.

I mean publications in internationally accredited journals.

This is why UK is over-saturated with engineering degrees.

Skullbone
Skullbone

Also in case you're still missing it a Master's is supposed to be a postgraduate degree, for specialized engineers or future engineering researchers aiming to do a PhD.

Need_TLC
Need_TLC

Finland, Aalto.
5 periods each year. 60 ECTS/yr, or about 3-4 courses each period.
BSc is 3 years, MSc is 2 more.
Not sure about grading. Most courses regard 50% as fail and 90% as full marks. I had almost perfect grades for my BSc, but I also see a lot of brainlets struggling to pass.
No dorms, but there are a couple of foundations that provide cheap housing and are indirectly subsidised by the university.

SniperGod
SniperGod

Not sure its of interest

but in the US, universities have been hiring less and less professors and more researchers. Thank the government and capitalists for holding funding hostage from universities that dont autistically pour out research.

This has lead to a significant drop in quality of education in university as quality of professor decreases. I have seen this personally at my uni as all the pure math researchers have been pushed out and applied researchers/material scientists have replaced them. They also dropped the math phd option, replaced by applied math option. I was lucky enough to take calc with a pure mathematician but all my other math courses have been taught by engineers essentially. The difference in quality is astounding when you have a professor who cares about the material vs professors who are just there to throw shit on the board then hit the lab ASAP for research.

So students arent as prepared and dont learn enough. This is by design. Students are leaving college with just enough knowledge to be a monkey at an engineering firm but not enough to master their field and have skills. Why? Bc with less skill, you have less bargaining power against the owner class. Also a less rigorous curriculum means more graduates which floods the worker pool which means wages decrease.

Enjoy your 70k/yr starting eng salary. Eng graduates in 5 years will have half that.

PurpleCharger
PurpleCharger

To give a concrete example:

The pure math prof I had read our textbook and did all the homework problems so he knew what to assign, where students would struggle and made the homework efficient. He kept up to date with students and the math curriculum to have understanding what the issues in learning where. He used proper, organized notation that gave students an intuition for math.

My eng profs often dont care if you have the book, struggle to do examples from their own homework assignments and essentially just slop shit on the board. I mean, its accurate but its not proper and doesnt help me understand math.

askme
askme

I believe that's loss.

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

netherlands
around 15 courses per year in undergrad (less in master programs), number of terms per year varies from 2 to 4
3 year bachelors for almost all programs
2 year master for technical subjects
master programs are very common; the majority of university students finish a master degree, and having only a bachelor degree is considered an incomplete education
no general education in university, that is all finished in high school
universities do not offer housing at all, but university towns generally have a student housing nonprofit organisation where students can rent full apartments (student-sized) or shared-house rooms
grades of 70% are average; 80% average grade will usually get you a cum laude predicate

Methshot
Methshot

Im studying electrical engineering in venezuela.
In thinking about doing a double major with applied mathematics but im not sure its worth the extra effort given electrical engineering is already the most demanding career at my uni.
Pic related is my current study plan, its a trimestral regime.
Ill post applied maths study plan on a second post

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TreeEater
TreeEater

A lot of subjects are shared already, the ones that arent REALLY interest me.
Is a double major just too much?

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viagrandad
viagrandad

So many differences between the UK/US and the Austrian or German system. The whole idea of 'years' doesn't exist in Austrian universities (or at least didn't exist when I was studying). Also, it seems that in the US/UK students consider it the lecturers responsibility for a student to be successful, whereas in Austria - it's all up to you. Whether you put in the work or not makes no difference to the lecturer. I think Europe (excluding UK) puts the responsibility fully into the hands of the students, rather than the University.

Spamalot
Spamalot

The responsibility is in the student not the teacher
Is the student doing well somehow the teachers responsibility in america? How is that sensible in any way?

CodeBuns
CodeBuns

Don't ask me. I've always found it puzzling. Might have to do something with the fact that students in the UK/US pay tens of thousands for the privilege of higher education, where in most of Europe it's the state that subsidises your education.

LuckyDusty
LuckyDusty

I thought you were describing Italy for a second, because it's exactly the same deal over here. I think Euros have to put up with more bullshit exams because there's no homework or study guide to help you focus on the important stuff.
For Americans and Anglos, I want to know how they take into account your GPA if you're coming for a master's degree or something from abroad. I'm hoping they use a different standard for us Euros, because here in Italy at least, a C is both sufficient and the norm here.

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

Hungary.
Bachelor's varies, I did EE, which was 7 semesters. Master's is 2 years.
More than half of the freshmen never finish at my faculty. This is partly because the curriculum really is hard, and partly because the admittance threshold is deliberately kept low because the university gets paid on a per student basis.
I had a full ride, like most people, with the dorm costing ~45 bucks a month, and automatic, no-application-needed scholarship if my grades were in the top 35% or above.
Also, there's six weeks mandatory internship, you can't graduate without having worked before.

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King_Martha
King_Martha

Italy bachelor's degree is 3 yrs and then master degree is 2 yrs
usually there are 3-4 exams per semester
The votes go from 0 to 30, you need 18 to pass
Usually (but that's just my opinion) if you get anything less than 26-27 you are a brainlet

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

Wo sind die Deutsche?

I've heard that oral exams are worth a lot over there, here in Canada like 80+% of the course marks are from written tests. At least in undergraduate.

Supergrass
Supergrass

Matemáticas Básica
Matemáticas General
Pre-calculus stuff?
Matemáticas I-III
Would this be calculus then? Also pretty jealous you take analysis starting at Math III.
It looks like one hell of a ride. I'd say just choose one or else you're killing yourself. Just at a glance it doesn't look like a lot of the classes themselves are shared. Still have to take
Differential equations
Algebra I-II
Analysis
Numeric computation
Data Analysis
Linear Algebra
Stochastic Models
Statistics
Simulation

The fact that you don't take some of these classes already as an EE is pretty scary. Unless that's covered in Advanced Mathematics for Engineers.
Can you get credit for Stats for Engineers with Statistics I and II? It might help lighten up the load if you really wanna go for it.

w8t4u
w8t4u

Germany and Austria are similar. I studied in Vienna, and a good 80% of my 65-ish exams were oral. It's not that they're worth more, but it seems to be the preferred mode.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

Yes basic and general math is some bs crap they make us take when we already learned that stuff in highschool. This is because middle education is going thru a big crisis so only private schools actually teach the whole curriculum.
Yes math 1 thru 5 is precisely calculus, just named differently for some reason.
I wont have to take statistics for engineers if I take statistics 1 and 2 for applied math.
For EE i already have to take diferential equations (just not 1 and 2) and advanced math, advanced math is covers a ton of stuff that you see as separate subjects at applied math but focused towards engineers, only EE has that class actually.
Thanks for taking the time to read all that, specially in spanish my man, really appreciate it. Luckily the words are almost identical to english when it comes to academic stuff.

Emberburn
Emberburn

Depends on the level of the university you are applying to. If you are applying to top schools like MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Caltech, etc.. then you would still want to have mostly As and Bs. As you go lower down the line this obviously changes and there are probably plenty of schools that would accept Cs and what not. Also, if you can somehow convert your grades to US scale, a master's will typically be a few gpa points lower than phd admissions. So maybe UMichigan takes an average of 3.8 gpa for PhD admissions, but masters would probably be 3.5. If you have any research experience or maybe relevant internship/work experience then make sure to note it on your application as that can help secure some funding for a masters in the US

Firespawn
Firespawn

two "general" maths courses
at least five maths courses and a diff eq course to top it off
How many credits do you earn per course? How long does it take to complete one course?

We only have five "basic" math courses at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland: Differential and Integral Calculus 1-3, Linear Algebra 1, Introduction to Statistics and Probability, and Introduction to Disceret Mathematics. These courses are evenly spread out over the first two years at the bachelor level, and they all require 127 hours of studying (on paper) for a grand total of 5 credit points each.

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

Make that six courses.
mfw I´m the stereotypical brainlet engineer who is unable to do basic math

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

The five math courses we need to take are calculus courses, they used to be named calculus but they changed the named for some reason (not the content tho). The regime is trimestral, so 3 months per course, thats why we have so many fucking courses. They give you 3 credits each buy theyre science credits so an American university would say I earned 4 regular credits I think.
I have no idea how many study hours theyre supposed to require, i spend about 20 hours per week studying tho.

kizzmybutt
kizzmybutt

Check how much actually crossed over past course name. (e.g. stats I-II is equivalent to stats for engineers)
A thing they might let you do is just let you skip Math for engineers if you're going for the major.
If you're not willing to bust your ass don't do it.

Mexican here so it wasn't hard to read. Although yeah it's not terribly hard to translate to English.

Lunatick
Lunatick

Im already busting my ass but i wanna learn more math. Ill probably go ask on my school departament how would the double major work and what options I have.

Burnblaze
Burnblaze

Sounds very similar to Japan.

PackManBrainlure
PackManBrainlure

Also: grades. Sounds to me like you're fucked if you don't have straight A's in the US. That is fairly rare in science/engineering here and I think a C average is good

this is what concerns me the most. Each time I see a Veeky Forums user posting his gardes with straight As I simply don't understand

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

Argentina:
Yearly courseware of roughly 8 months, divided in two.
Titles are: Licenciado ~5 years and Ingeniero ~5.5/6 years.

Ingenieros, at least most of them have, up to three calculus classes, one of linear algebra, and perhaps one more depending on the field and up to 3 or 4 physics classes and perhaps one more regarding the field.
Some unis offer a more academic focus and others a more practical one. However if you want to, for example I can do up to physics 3 in my uni which has a practical approach and then go to the one that's more theoretical and do another one or two extra physics class because I want to go for masters in I dunno, solid state electronics, or whatever.

Booteefool
Booteefool

honestly the grading is exactly the same here in canada. 80% is viewed as an A

Skullbone
Skullbone

Frenchfag here. Our system is probably the most bizarre of the west. It doesn't follow the anglo saxon model of undergrad/graduate degrees.

Basically, you don't go to university after high school, but you go to prep school. Prep schools are pretty selective and to get into the top ones you need to have a stellar academic record or the right family connections.

Once in prep school, you'll spend two to three years studying mostly maths and physics, in a very old fashioned way. Classes are made up of 30 to 50 pupils, there is one teacher for each subject (i.e. one math teacher, one physics teacher, etc.), no textbooks (the teacher writes out the lesson on the chalkboard and you take notes), and every week you have 2 or 3 1-hour maths/physics problems that you need to solve on a chalkboard in front of an examinator (you are graded on them). Also, every week you typically have either a maths or physics test (tests consist of solving problems. No multiple choice questions here. They usually last 4 hours).

You are graded on everything, and ranked on everything. In fact in my prep school most teachers used to give out the test results in order of rank (either descending or ascending, depending on the teacher). The rank is very important because each year, the classes get reshuffled to create "star" classes with the best students, so that they can be taught at a higher pace, and therefore have a better chance of making it to the top schools.

As you can guess this is pretty grueling (but honestly can also be rewarding). You have something like 30 hours of classes per week and are expected to work 2-4 hours per day on your own.

cont.

RavySnake
RavySnake

After two years, you get to take the exams. Engineering schools in France usually form groups and have one exam series per group, but the most elite schools have their own exams. Exams for one group last a week, and typically consist of two 4 hour maths exams, two 4 hour physics exams, one 4 hour chemistry/computer science exam (depending on your option), and some irrelevant shit like philosophy and english. You typically try 3 to 4 groups, so basically for a whole month all you do is take exams.

At the end of this, all students are ranked, and a certain amount of them are eliminated. Those who aren't make it to the second round, which are oral examinations. They follow the same format of week long exams for each group of schools, except they're not written exams, but chalkboard problems, i.e. you go in, are given a maths exercise, and have to solve it in front of an examinator. After the end of the orals, all students are ranked again, and basically the number one student gets first pick, the second one second pick, etc. down the line, and you end up going to a school according to your rank.

If you made it to an elite school, congratulations! You are now a member of the french elite, and will have a very high social status as well as no problems finding employment (it is a very big boys network). If you didn't get into such a good school, well it's not the end of the world either, surviving and getting into any school is already enough of a feat to guarantee you good employment. And if you really don't like the school you got into, you can always choose to go back to prep school and try again next year.

Once you're in engineering school, all the frustrations of having no social life for 2 years make most students go to the other extreme, and class attendance is very low (while alcoholism is very high). Classes then follow the standard anglo saxon model.

That's the french education system in a nutshell.

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

That's the french education system in a nutshell.
It sounds idiotic, to be honest. A standardized test akin to the SAT/ACT serves the same purpose as the prep-school system you described, and it takes approximately a few hours to administer, as opposed to several years.

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

Math is a discipline about making others understand your work, as such, many math professors care a lot about pedagogy. This is not the case in other fields it seems

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

How is this possible?

I go to a very large research University in the US, and I'm in math. If you get less than a 93% in the class, that's less than an A, and in math, having less than straight A's means you're essentially hot garbage at math and that you'll never go to a good graduate school. It is typical for math undergrads to have completed undergrad coursework in year 2 or 3 and begin taking graduate coursework. Anything less than a 3.8 gpa (A- average) and you won't get into a top grad school. It's that competitive.

And it is not grade inflation from what I can tell. There are a large number of Chinese and other international students at my uni, they make up more than 50% of the student body, and they do about the same as the American students (in general) High C's and low B's for average

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

Is it true that there is a difference between "schools" and "universities"? I remember hearing that only schools matter, and if you do the equivalent of a PhD in a "University" then you will be mocked or laughed at, as there is no social status in those institutions

askme
askme

Germany here, studied CS but got around a little and do TA now.

In the "big" fields like EE, CS, liberal arts, the first two semesters are either babysitting because most students are stuck mentally in high school and have no learning or working morale at all and there are about 750 of them in some classes. Or brutal weed-out classes that do not even pretend to be something else. Our EE department is well-known for having a first semester course that in some semesters nobody passes on the first try.
Before advanced classes in the masters program, nobody cares about you, again because there are just so many students and too little professors and TAs. CS 101 and similar courses de facto stops research for the whole group for 3 months, despite most TAs officially being required to spend only ~25% of their time for teaching.

If you go into a niche in your Masters there is a high chance that the professor will care about you and try to get you for a thesis or as a research students. Most classes drop below 15 students so one can do oral exams which are just more fair. If you got into some meme direction like machine learning you continue being cattle.

Engineering and natural sciences have no gen eds, but should have them to stop them from being such fuckheads. I'm not talking about the political bullshit they have in the US, but many students have a tiny mental horizon and really would benefit from taking a class that requires them to read a fucking book and get our of their comfort zone.

Grades are highly dependent on the Professor. They are rotated here, so a 1.3 in one semester could be a 2.7 in the next if you get a prof with harder exams. Nobody gives a shit about grades as long you are above 2.3 though.

Flameblow
Flameblow

Yes, and among those schools, only ENS and Polytechnique matter.

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

Pajeet reporting in
It' a fucking meme here
Engineering classes filled with kids who didn't know what else to pick
80% of the class isn't interested in learning anything so it's difficult to concentrate in class >Teachers know this and don't give a fuck
Grading is retarded, extremely inconsistent grading. Different evaluators look for different things
Probably not going to finish with more than 80% grades

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

Dude wtf it's the exact same in India but the only thing is the competition here must be a few times more than what you face there.

Emberfire
Emberfire

It means that its harder to exceptionally well... Its very rare to see people get 95%+. In australia you are graded on a 7 point scale , with 7 being the highest, and its very very rare for someone to have a straight 7 gpa. Someone like that would get a rhodes scholarship. Even in eaaier degrees people cant get a perfect gpa

You say that its hyper competitive and everybody's getting high 90's, but the us is one of the few places i have heard where they grade on a curve a lot of the time too.

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

If having less than 90% in a test means that you don't know jack shit about the subject, don't you think that the test is flawed? In a similar vein, if UG coursework can be completed before the prescribed time by a lot of students, don't you think the course is flawed/outdated?

Supergrass
Supergrass

Brazilian USP alumni (EE - focusing on Telecommunications) reporting in.

Engineering grad takes 5 years and what we study is pretty much the equivalent of Europe's undergrad + masters curses bundled together.

We still have masters which go a bit more in depth but people can simply skip to their PhD if they wish. But masters aren't a requirement to get a good job and may actually hurt you due to over-qualification.

Grades are a shitshow. It goes from 0 to 10, the passing is 5 and the average hovers around 6.5. Failing subjects is a normal thing. Some universities with worse programes have a inflated average, but they have worse students there.
What hurts the most is that international universities have no idea about that and they ask you a much higher than normal grade when applying for scholarships.

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