My French Course is Done

My French course is done. My ECA was stumbled through, I think it was okay, but it's hard to be objective. If I pass the course, I shall be able to put 'Cert. French' after my name. I don't think I'll add that to any letterheads, I don't even use the BSc(hons)!

It's time to look ahead. I did want to do European Studies, but that requires a level 2 language, and I don't want to do another language course with the Open University.

A related set of courses is International Studies. Both of these are outside of my 'comfort zone', but that was the original point - increasing breadth of knowledge.

To my eyes, some of the course descriptors seem rather woolly and ill-defined, topics like 'Are notions of "Britishness" and national identity, gender, class, race and ethnicity as relevant today as ever?' which could be argued back and forth in any variety of ways. My training is as a Physicist, and that involves being able to see the core of an issue - as a result the humanities can sometimes seem rather vague.

I'm tempted to go off on a tangent and look at doing courses toward a degree in Computing or Mathematics. This would be much closer to my comfort zone, and would be directly relevant for work too... whilst I know that such topics would suit me well, and I'm sure I'd get a lot out of them, my original intention was to stick up two fingers at CP Snow's arts/science divide.

Snow is most noted for his lectures and books regarding his concept of "The Two Cultures", as developed in The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959). Here he notes that the breakdown of communication between the sciences and the humanities is a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.


(In my experience, sciencey types usually have a passing familiarity with the humanities, even if they haven't studied them in depth, the same is not usually true in reverse)

The choices widen, perhaps I should do a general humanities course, or History

What to do?

It comes to this. Do I go out of my comfort zone or not? I.e. do I go for breadth (and possibly get a lower class of degree than I'd like as the humanities are not how my brain works), or do I go for depth in areas where I already have a higher than average competence?

If I go out of my comfort zone, all I need to decide is which way to start, as a lot of the programmes have similar requirements in the early stages. I could go for a general introduction to the Humanities or an introduction to the social sciences.

Within my comfort zone I'd start with either Using Mathematics (which looks quite straightforward to me, I've looked at some of the sample materials and it won't be any problem (i.e. no study required! - perhaps I should look at credit transfer?) or with Data, Computing and Information, which looks like it should broadly fall into the 'obvious' category with some newish things in there for interest.

It's tempting to go for the humanities, as 'BA' combined with the existing 'BSc' would be rather nice - I might start adding the letters at that point!

I honestly don't know what to do. I do know that for the next presentations I will need to make a decision in the next 24 hours.