Out-classed: Here are some classes you should take during your time at Northwestern


Daily file photo by Sylvana Caruso

Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Slavic languages and literature, who teaches Introduction to Russian Literature. Some classes are meant to be. When choosing your Northwestern adventure, look to some of these options as potential courses to take.

Emma Edmund, Summer Editor

Your time at Northwestern is full of choices. Choosing housing, choosing extracurriculars and certainly not least, choosing classes. While your choice of classes is largely dependent on your major, your interests and your schedule, there are some classes that fit nicely into distribution credits and are considered must-takes at NU. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are some classes that have good ratings and that may make choosing classes — from a seemingly endless list — a little easier.

SLAVIC 210-2: Introduction to Russian Literature

From the course catalog: “Comprehensive overview of the central prose works and literary movements in 19th-century Russia.”

This class offers you the opportunity to read Russian classics you probably couldn’t get through on your own, with selections including “The Brothers Karamazov” and “Anna Karenina.” Slavic Prof. Gary Morson will touch not only on themes in the book, but also on how those themes relate to life, and, if you’re lucky, the meaning of life itself. With a mean Course and Teacher Evaluation Council rating of 5.36 out of 6, students’ reviews of the course are generally complimentary, with one student writing the class “lives up to its reputation.”

Be prepared, though, for a slog of reading, with book lengths between 800 and 900 pages.

ASTRON 111-0: Introduction to Astrobiology

From the course catalog: “The modern scientific perspective on the question of life elsewhere in the universe. The prospects for life on Mars. The discovery of extrasolar planets and the search for extrasolar biospheres.”

This class with Astronomy Prof. David Meyer has a mean CTEC rating of 5.26 out of 6. Students reviewing the course called it “relaxed,” “fun” and “actually really interesting.” While they warn you to study for the course, they said Meyer is passionate about the subject, and it can fulfill a Natural Sciences Distro Area.

GENDR_ST 234-0: Language & Gender

From the course catalog: “Exploration of socially significant differences in the language used by/about/to men and women, focusing on the role of language in constructing gender as part of local communities of practice.”

This class fulfills a Weinberg Social Behavioral Sciences Distro Area and has a mean CTEC rating of 5.27 out of 6. One student reviewed the class saying it opened their eyes to “the way the idea of gender and its implications have seeped their way into how we communicate.” Student reviewers agree that there can be a bit of work, and one student recommends studying the handouts every day for 20 minutes.

DSGN 308-0: Human-Centered Product Design

From the course catalog: “Project-based course focusing on user needs: observational methods, brainstorming, prototyping, business models and the social and engineering concerns for product design.”

If this class sounds like your cup of tea, prep for it; the course prerequisites are DSGN 106-1 or DSGN 208-0. The course with Prof. David Gatchell has a mean CTEC rating of 5.47 out of 6. Students reviewing the class noted the need for student groups to manage their time well, but also stated the lectures were interesting and that choosing a topic you’re passionate about can increase the quality of the class.

“You really get out of the class what you put into it,” one student wrote.

COMM_ST 275-0: Persuasive Images: Rhetoric of Popular Culture

From the course catalog: “Analysis of image-making in all forms of popular culture — in film and television but also shopping malls, supermarkets, car dealers and doctors’ offices.”

While this class may be difficult to get into for non-Communication majors, it has a mean CTEC rating of 5.42 out of 6. Students reviewed the class, with one saying they believed they learned as much as they possibly could about pop culture. Communication Prof. Irving Rein’s primary teaching interests include pop culture, and he is currently researching the distribution and content changes affecting pop culture.

“This class is incredible, and I am so sad that it is over,” one student wrote.

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