Thanks to the flexible curriculum offered at the University of Rochester, students are encouraged to try courses outside of their major, without worrying about heavy requirements. Generally, students choose a major within one division and a cluster within the remaining two divisions. A cluster consists of twelve credits (equivalent to about three courses). A cluster is almost like a mini-minor. The three different cluster divisions are Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. With this flexibility comes the question, what cool and interesting classes are out there to try?
I surveyed eight University of Rochester undergraduate students to find out the most memorable and rewarding courses offered on the River Campus.
What’s the best class you’ve taken here?
“I want to say Economics 108 because of how much it applied to real-world situations. The professor was really passionate. You can learn a lot, get a lot out of the course. I also loved my Writing 105 course; it was about animal rights.”
“Either quantum, lens design, or math methods in optics and physics. I know that was a nerd answer but quantum was fascinating and lens design taught me the most skills. For math methods, the professor just could explain math in a physical context that made math make a lot more sense to me than any other way it had been explained previously. And I had thought I understood math before then.”
“My favorite class would have to be Public Health 216: Peer Health Advocacy, because it was like an internship. I got so much real-world experience from it, especially related to education. I planned, executed, and evaluated health programs on campus and I felt like I really made a difference on the health outcomes of our students.”
“Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I love Social and Emotional Development. It’s a psych class. I took it my first year. I’m not even a psychology major but I apply the stages of development and other frameworks I learned from that class to my life and other coursework all the time.”
“East German Cinema. I really liked the professor and I thought the content was really cool. We got to watch The Bicycle, which is a big one related to women’s issues and feminism in film. And plenty of other good ones.”
“Definitely linguistics. Linguistics 261 which is phrase structure grammars was very technical. It made me think more about syntax which I find very interesting now. A lot of the classes that I’m taking now are probably going to be my favorites, it makes me wonder if I should have studied more history.”
“My favorite class has also been the one devoured the most of my time, OPT 444 Lens Design with Dr. Julie Bentley. I learned more during her optics class than any other I have taken. Its rigorous style reinforced fundamental optical concepts that are critical in the field. Dr. Bentley was incredibly knowledgeable in the subject area. Every tip she gives us, I would write down with fervor eagerly for the day that I will use it!”
“Right now I’m taking this medical humanities elective at the Med Center. It’s called Stories in Healthcare. It’s bringing me back to English in high school; I haven’t taken a literature course since my first year here. But it’s really interesting because it’s about building empathy and communication skills as a future physician or healthcare professional.”