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Classes To Take Before You Die I Mean Graduate: Spring 2019 Edition

Was every ArtHum and MusicHum class completely full before your 1 PM registration time?  No need to fear; Bwog’s got some classes we think you should take instead.

Astronomy: Caleb Scharf, Science of Space Exploration

“Minimal prereqs (just calculus sequence and intro physics sequence)! As the name suggests, it’s a super interesting class about *all* aspects of space exploration, which means it’s a perfect mixture of all the fun parts of aerospace engineering, astrophysics, and planetary science. It’s also a pretty chill class since your grade is only based on problem sets and a final project (that is actually a lot of fun!). This is definitely one of the best classes I’ve ever taken in my time here and it’s only offered every other fall semester! Don’t miss out on this chance.”

Astrophysics: Caleb Scharf, Frontiers of Astrophysics

“It’s one credit and pass/fail and it features different professors whose research interests align in Astrophysics and they just talk about their research! It’s a cool way to learn more abt astrophysics, but also a fun way to learn about the research happening on campus!”

Astronomy: Life in the Universe

“It’s a Barnard astronomy class that counts as a Columbia science core. I took it w Noé Kains and I LOVED him but it’s taught by Laura Kay next semester, and idk what she’s like.”

Comparative Literature: Joseph Slaughter, Narrative and Human Rights

“Slaughter is an incredible lecturer and the class is unlike anything else I’ve taken at Columbia. It’s a complit course but it satisfies recs for the human rights major. if you‘re interested in contemporary politics, in social activism, in reading non-western literature – take the class. the readings are drawn from a mixture of international law, literary theory, and novels/short stories/films/comics. my brain feels bigger every time I leave lecture.”

Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies: Selina Makana, Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective

“If you‘re tired of white feminism, this is the class for you. The readings have opened my mind and pushed me to think much deeper about topics within feminism that I took for granted. It’s also pretty chill in terms of work – you just need to do the readings and show up once a week to discuss them with a bunch of dope people.”

English: Jessica Merrill, Literature and Revolution

“It’s about art, film, plays, and literature all around the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917… really interesting, a deep analysis on the Russian avant-garde movement and a shift from the old to the new…Also, the readings are short and very varied, not too heavy, so you won’t be bored! Everyone learns about the history side to the revolution, but the artsy side to it is also very worthwhile to learn abt. Lots of: stream of consciousness, constructivism, socialist realism, montage film, feminist gender theory, Marxism, absurdism… just fun stuff overall.”

Computer Science: Timothy K. Paine, Data Structures for Non-Majors in C and C++

“Anybody who’s taken a cs class and wants to get more into it but not at an AP level (or doesn’t want to take data structures in java but wants to learn data structures and C/C++) should take Data Structures for Non-Majors in C and C++. I learned so much about how programs and computers work, gained real-life skills I could put on my resume, and experienced so much happiness when I did well on a lab/exam because I knew I put my heart into it. Plus the professor is awesome, super smart (graduated with three Columbia degrees in 5 or 6 years), and a fair grader. And it’s a class in the Engineering School so you can brag to your friends about taking SEAS course material.”

French: Alexandra Borer, French Language, Society & Culture Through Paris

“I love this prof, took 2 classes with her, she’s an incredible teacher, kind & knowledgeable. This class isn’t a lot of work, can count as an elective for French major/concentration (depending on what electives you‘ve taken before), and you learn stuff about France that you wouldn’t learn in a literature class. I think it’s recommended that you take it before you do Reid Hall (study abroad program), although idk if it was helpful for me.”

Urban Studies: Aaron Passell, Intro to Urban Studies

“A really good overview of urban studies and had some great readings and documentaries to discuss how urban areas succeed and fail. If you‘re here at Columbia you‘re probably a fan of cities, so take the opportunity to study them in an interesting and relatively easy class!”

English: Bruce Robbins, Literary History of Atrocity and The Big Ambitious Novel

“Professor Robbins’ style won’t appeal to everyone but you figure out pretty quickly whether or not he’ll work for you. He’s willing to learn from his students and actually listens to their interpretations which is rare in a professor. He cares deeply about his students and both these courses are super interesting ways to put international literature in comparison. Literary History of Atrocity, in particular, was absolutely fascinating, taught me so much about atrocities throughout history and the reading load was relatively light even if the subject matter was rather heavy.”

Spanish: Francisco Rosales-Varo, LGBT Identities in Spain

“Pre-requisites: Intermediate Spanish II or a 4/5 on AP Spanish) – this was one of my favorite classes at Columbia! Class was always very chill and varied – Francisco would teach us about the subject matter through music, videos, interactive discussions, etc. Learning about LGBTQ histories and issues in the Hispanic world was very eye-opening, and it was interesting to find similarities/differences with LGBTQ culture here.”

Biology: Solomon Mowshowitz, Cellular/Molecular Immunology

“It’s like drinking out of a firehose, but by the end of the class, you’ll have a solid idea of what immunology is all about. Immunology is SO important if you’re interested in medical research and finding solutions to human disease.”

Professors and Other Registration Advice

  • Barbara Fields
  • For classics majors: I recommend doing the prose comp-thesis sequence rather than the survey sequence. especially because Gareth Williams is teaching prose comp next semester. I took it with Kristina Milnor and it was hard as fuck but more than worth it (also survey sounds even harder lol) and I feel like my Latin got so much better.

Photo via pixabay


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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous More useless classes you want the American tax payer to foot the bill for.

    1. ok says:

      @ok lol cool

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