Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Unexpected Courses to Take Next Year

While the enrolment date for most students has already passed, there’s a chance that some of you out there might still be looking for fabulous and interesting courses to fill next year’s schedule. 

Looking to diversify your schedule with a somewhat random course or two? Want to dip your toes into a new subject pool? Fear not! This list is for you!

PMCOL 305- An Introduction to the Pharmacology of Drug Abuse

When I took this course I was intrigued by how much there was to learn about the complexities of drug abuse and the various drugs abused by the human population. After each class I would come home with interesting real-world examples and insights to share at the dinner table. With practical application, this course builds your understanding of addiction and the psychological and social problems drug abuse can create. 

Prerequisites: One of the following: BIOCH 200, BIOL 201, CELL 201, PHYSL 210, PHSYL 212 and 214, PMCOL 201, PSYCO 275, ZOOL 241 and 242.

ENGL 223- Empire and the Postcolonial 

Image courtesy of
Watch this and learn how it relates to empire and the postcolonial.

After taking this course, my bookshelf is now stocked with some of my now-favourite novels written by authors from all over the globe In addition to diversifying my book collection, this class also forced me to delve into literary and cultural texts (novels, graphic novels, films and more) to see how they had been shaped by colonization. I also learned a lot about myself and discovered the perfect subject for my minor.  If you choose to take this course, I can vouch that you will not be disappointed -  or at the very least I can say that you should enjoy some of the awesome texts that you’ll explore in this course.

Prerequisite: *6 of junior English, or *3 of junior English plus WRS 101.

ENT 378- Insect Pathology

Image courtesy of
Yup, you get to pass around these bad-boys in class!

If you are the type of person who is more likely to befriend rather than flee a ladybug that interrupts your picnic, perhaps you would be interested in the study of entomology. This course will prepare you to study the pathogens that infect insects and related arthropods, and uses live insect demonstrations! (So if you liked playing with bugs as a child, you might like getting the chance to get university credit for playing with them now.) After taking this course, you’ll be able to wow (or gross out) your friends with your newfound insect disease knowledge.

Prerequisite: *3 in Entomology or Microbiology. Not open to first-year students.

CMPUT 250- Computers and Games

This course can make dreams come true for any gamer out there who might be holding out hope to get University credit for playing video games. Open to students of any discipline who want to discover how games function as interactive entertainment, you can work with an interdisciplinary group of students to create your own narrative-based game and in the process, you can learn more about the role that games play in society.

*Students must apply for admission to this course 

Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

CHRTP 381- Introduction to Music Therapy

Thanks to my daily study grind, I definitely appreciate the relaxation and therapeutic applications of music, but I wish that I had known that there was a course that specialized in it. After conducting a little research, I’ve learned that the course delves into the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of music as an engaging tool for therapy. The experiential component puts the lectured info into practice so you can experience how the course concepts really work… meaning you will hopefully get credit for listening to some relaxing music.

HECOL 211- Human Sexuality

In my humble opinion, human sexuality will forever be a hot topic and something interesting to become better versed in. I regret not having time to squeeze this into my schedule, since getting credit for talking about human sexual behaviour sounds like a sweet deal to me. Through unique lectures and class activities, learn all about the sources and implications that affect sexual behaviour- be it personal, familial, cultural, or societal. 

EAS 208- Introduction to Global Change

With all the talk around climate change and why we might fear our precious planet is doomed, I personally think its great that the University offers a course for climate change education. Get the facts on the natural and anthropogenic causes of global scale environmental change in this course. Learn about the process, the factors involved, and the part human activity has played in the current state of climate affairs.

Prerequisite: Any 100-level Science course. 

MUSIC 103- Introduction to Popular Music

Whether you are a music aficionado or someone who just someone who likes to have a study playlist, I bet you like music. And whether you want to admit it or not, you probably like popular music (at the very least, there must be one song that you like that was popular at one point through the ages). That means that his music-filled class could be a good fit for you. From the 1900s onward, you’ll get to take a tour through popular music by listening and watching music and videos of various genres. By the end of the course, you might even be able to use your insight to figure out the next big hit. 

PSYCHO 239- Abnormal Psychology

If you ask me, mental health is really important and University psych classes are a surprisingly convenient way to learn more about it. Take your psych classes to the next level with this enlightening course on psychological disorders. This class should help you to insight on the perspectives that are improving mental health in everyday life, and should also allow you to understand how psych disorders play out. With lectures that bring in real life stories, it’s easy to translate course concepts for the world beyond the classroom.

Prerequisites: PSYCO 104 or SCI 100, and PSYCO 105. 

WGS 201- Introduction to Women’s Studies

Shameless snapshot of the cool hoodies UnFemThat wore while tackling the unnecessary gendering of ads and products in Edmonton.

Have you ever checked out the hashtag #wgs201 on Twitter? If you do, you’ll be treated to some of the amazingly thoughtful and inventive projects that students have been up to this semester. This uniquely educational intro to women and gender studies course will shed light on the diversity of debates within feminism, and will provide students with the opportunity to engage with feminist analysis within the community. Self-described feminists, individuals trying to get in touch with their feminist side, and even those just seeking a clear definition of feminism should all consider signing up for this class.

*Disclaimer: At no point in this article is it claimed that any of the listed courses are approved GPA-boosters. Take at your own risk! But actually, if any of these courses sound interesting to you, then you’ll probably do alright… it’s easier to do well when you’re interested in the course material than when you’re not.

Keep in mind that there are many other amazing courses that the U of A offers. Speaking from experience, I say take the chance on a course that seems out of the norm and you might be pleasantly surprised with your learning experience! Happy course shopping!

About the Author


My name is Kiera and I’m a fourth year Biological Sciences student with an English minor, trying to keep life interesting. I like to consider myself a glass-half-full type, and am most at peace spending quality time with loved ones (with a little wine and cheese on hand). When I’m not trying to balance my student group with studying, I am testing out different hobbies, slowly working towards becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

I am drawn to creativity and adventure, which there seems to be an abundance of amongst the U of A’s bright students. I hope to shed light on some of the inspirational individual stories that have resulted from unique campus opportunities, and also hope to encourage other students to tap into one of the many meaningful learning opportunities that are available outside of the classroom. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the U of A’s stories that make our campus community so rich with experience and opportunity. 


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