Choosing Courses

Find a Balance of Interest and Type

First-year students should seek to balance their course loads by both interest and type. Different kinds of courses have different rhythms during the semester.  To find out the appropriate course, you may in some cases need to take a placement exam.  See the Placement Examination chart here for more information.

A valuable resource in course selection is also the First Year Seminar Registration Booklet, which features recommendations by all departments of courses appropriate for first-year students to take.

To have a balanced course load after your first-year seminar, you should select...

  • 1 course in your major (or possible major)

  • 1 course you enjoy or are good at, or to fulfill a distribution requirement

  • 1 course to explore, to experiment with, to try something new

Keep these categories in mind when choosing courses for a balanced course load...

Courses with dense reading, 1 – 4 papers and exams:

Art History, Literature (including English and American Literatures, Comparative Literature, and Literature in the various languages), History, Religion, Philosophy, Sociology-Anthropology, Geography, Political Science

Courses with daily homework, frequent quizzes and drills, presentations and tests:

Beginning and intermediate languages

Courses with some reading, labs, quizzes, problem sets, exams:

Economics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences

Courses with time intensive, "hands-on" tests, some reading, presentations, group work, concerts/performances:

Music, Studio Art, Theatre, Dance, Film/Video