generic elective


The University of Delhi (DU) provides the honours students with the opportunity of studying an elective subject of their preference along with the major subjects. 

A Generic Elective (GE) course is an inter-disciplinary course provided to the students of DU, allowing them a chance at comprehensive education.  The score and the credits of the Generic Elective subjects are counted in the overall SGPA in the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). The option of a Generic Elective is provided to students pursuing B.A. (Hons.), B.A. Programme, B.Com (Hons.), as well as B.Sc. (Hons.). Generic Elective papers are mandatorily to be taken by the students. However, a choice regarding the subject that you would like to take up is provided by the University. The students can choose their preference from a pool of papers from various disciplines/subjects. The main purpose of the Elective course is to seek exposure to a new discipline/subject and to provide the students with an alternative option for masters (M.A. or M.Sc.). 

Most of the colleges ask the students to fill in their preferences for Generic Elective at the time of admission only. However, there are certain colleges which offer this choice after the classes start. Colleges also offer students an opportunity to get their GEs changed before a certain deadline, in case they wish to change their prior decision at the time of admission.

GE subjects can be changed at the beginning of every subsequent semester. However, if the student studies the same Elective subject for four semesters, he/she becomes eligible to take up a master’s in that subject. The choice of the Elective subject should be made based on the interest of the students. You can choose any subject that you are interested in studying, based on the syllabus offered. You can check the papers offered on the University website and see if the particular course interests you.

Another way of choosing a GE can be to choose the subject which you would like to take up as an alternative to your major subject. For instance, if you are currently studying B.A. (Hons.) History, and wish to pursue your masters in either History or Political Science, then you can take up Political Science as your Generic Elective. You can also choose a subject that you wished to take up for honours but could not do so because of high cut-offs or any other reason. 

Shivani Dadhwal, a second-year student of Kamala Nehru College (KNC) said, “In my opinion, the most efficient way to choose a GE is to find a subject which is both of your interest, and also scoring, in order to help with your overall grade. For instance, in my case, after shortlisting the subjects  I liked, based on the course offered, I consulted my seniors to find out about the trend of marks in them. A complementary GE can always help in the future and with learning more from other fields.”

A final year student of KNC, Antriksha Pathania, said, “Every course has 2-3 subjects that complement it. While choosing your GE, you need to keep your interest as well as long term benefit offered by that course in mind. You can take your GE keeping in mind that you will have a minor degree or keep changing it every year depending on your interest and knowledge you want to gain.”

Thus, the students should make the choice mindfully as Generic Elective is not just any subject but it is a subject that can have long-term benefits. Students can go through the list of Generic Elective subjects offered by the University and its course on the website and make the decision accordingly. 

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Priya Chauhan

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It has been speculated that Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling book, ‘Five Point Someone’ has been included in the DU syllabus for those students who choose English as their Generic Elective in their 3rd semester, which will commence in July 2017. The book will be taught as a part of the ‘popular fiction’ paper under the Choice Based Credit System.

The proposed modified syllabus has been forwarded to the English department heads of all DU colleges for feedback. Recommendations will then be submitted to the Academic Council and Executive Council for approval. If this proposal is approved, by July, students with English as their Generic Elective will be able to study J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women along with Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat. This course will only be available to Honours and Programme students in their second year, hence students from any stream who want to choose English as their elective subject will be able to study this paper. However, students pursuing English Honours will not be offered this paper and will continue studying Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, and other such books that, in Chetan Bhagat’s words, ‘Elitistaan’ approves of.

The reaction towards Chetan Bhagat’s inclusion in DU’s English syllabus has been mixed across the student community. However, most of the students and faculty members feel that the inclusion of Bhagat’s book with the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Agatha Christie, and J.K. Rowling is rather bizarre. Chetan Bhagat reacted to this move on Twitter and said: “Am honoured DU added my book to their course. Literature is about being open minded and reading the classics as well as the contemporary”. He then went on to comment on the criticism this move has received by stating, “To me, good literature is writing that actually touches people, whether in the past or now. It isn’t something an Elitist Club decides”.


Feature Image Credits: Sadda Haq

Joyee Bhattacharya
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