The N Credit: A Strain On Students

Every semester the stress of registering for classes runs through campus. Lists upon lists of possible class schedules are made. The one credit that always throws a loop though to my perfect schedule of times and subjects is the infamous Natural Science (N) credit in the Hamline Plan. The N classes usually consist of a lecture three days a week, plus a three hour lab, equaling six hours a week on one subject. Last year Hamline also started offering non-lab Natural Science classes to fulfill one of your two required N credits.

As a Creative Writing Major, science isn’t my forte. It interests me as a subject, but I’m not the best at it, nor will chemistry ever help me in my major. I get taking one N credit, but two? Even with the new requirement that students only need one natural science class with a lab, the classes that are offered each semester still don’t reflect that change. Right now only two science classes are offered for the Fall of 2019 and both have labs attached to them. One of the classes is General Physics II which requires PHYS 1150 as a prerequisite, which non-science/math majors won’t have. Registration for classes isn’t until late April, so there’s still hope for classes to change around, but as advising weeks start the week after spring break, students will need to start organizing their future class schedule sooner.

The demand on students needing to get into the limited number of natural science classes causes a backlog on being able to get in. Only those who are juniors in their spring semester, or seniors, can truly get in their natural science credits, but with virtually only one N credit offered in the coming Fall, many will have to wait for Spring 2020 to get an N credit which can put a strain on seniors. This also means that people like me, who aren’t the best in science, have no choice but to leave one of the most stressful and time consuming classes for their final year, to be dealt with at the same time as when they will be trying to look for jobs and complete internships.

At a liberal college, it makes sense to have students dip into all the fields they can. I would advocate for only having one N credit, or allow for the classes offered to represent a fuller range of N classes for those who aren’t a natural science major and those who don’t need a lab credit. I understand that doing so is easier said than done, for it would require Hamline to hire more teachers . At the same time however, there's no shortage of students who need the N credit. There are plenty of us who would be willing to take any and all classes t with an N credit, if only Hamline would offer more than two per semester.