It’s that time of the year again — scheduling for classes next semester. It seems like just as we get into the groove of our current classes, it’s already time to start thinking about what to take next.
VALLEY understands the struggle of picking classes. With such a wide variety of them, it can be a little overwhelming to know which to choose.
Everyone needs to fulfill specific requirements to graduate. Whether you’re a senior scheduling your final semester or a freshman scrambling to figure out your Gen-Eds, VALLEY is here to help. Below is a list of some of the most unique Gen-Ed classes to take at Penn State if you’re looking for something new to fulfill your credits.
Math 34: Mathematics of Money
Not a fan of math? This class will at least teach you skills that are super practical after graduation. You’ll learn about everything from mortgages to taxes to saving for retirement. Although it’s not the most fascinating of topics, you’ll be glad you took this class that truly teaches you how to be an “adult.”
Math 33: Mathematics for Sustainability
If you have to take a math class, you might as well take one that helps you learn about our environment. This course will still involve solving math equations, but it’s in the context of also learning about sustainability, climate change, recycling, economic change and more.
RPTM 120: Leisure and Human Behavior
If you want a class that actually ENCOURAGES you to relax, take RPTM 120! Learn about the history of leisure and why it’s so important. You also analyze your own leisure activities by keeping a time diary to learn more about your personal habits and how you spend your “off” time.
ANTH 140: The Anthropology of Alcohol, “Booze and Culture.”
Taught by Dr. Kirk French, this class will explore how alcohol fits into different cultures around the world. “This class is different than any other class I’ve taken. It was interesting to learn about something I never knew could have such a large and rich history,” says junior public relations major Magdalena Nygard. “I would definitely recommend it to other students because the material is engaging and Kirk French really makes it entertaining, and you’ll look forward to the class!”
ANTH 210N: Anthropology, Ancestry, and You
Learn about your own ancestry in this unique and interactive class! Explore the history of human evolution and adaptation, and then apply it to your own lives by taking a DNA test and making a family tree.
BiSci003: Environmental Science
This is a classic Penn State class you need to take. While on the surface it seems like just an environmental science class, it is much more than that. There are no exams in this class, but don’t just take it for that reason. You will learn so much about yourself and how you interact with the Earth. You’ll keep a personal journal in this class where you will reflect on each of the lectures. While the normal class is in a large lecture hall, you’ll also meet with a small discussion group every week to get to know a group of students in the class on a more meaningful level.
HDFS 129: Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies
Taught by the amazing professor Molly Countermine, this class is another must. Learn about human development from the time babies are born all the way through their lifespan. This introductory course provides students with impactful insights into child development and how the experiences you have growing up can truly shape you as a person. Despite being taught in a huge lecture hall, it has a “smaller” class feel, as both Countermine and students share personal experiences to connect with one another.
Sociology 12: Criminology
Fans of true crime will love this class. Examine WHY people commit crimes and how society helps contribute to the crime, as well as how things like race and gender interact with it. Plus, you’ll get a chance to watch crime documentaries like so many people already love to do.
Kines 82: Action Methods for Stress Management
If you’re feeling stressed, take this class! With yoga and meditation three times a week plus a lecture, you will not only understand how to manage your stress, but you will get opportunities every week to put them into practice through different yoga moves and meditation techniques. This class gives you incredible practical skills to take with you after college, which is not something you can say about every Gen-Ed.
Kines 17: Ballroom Dancing
If you’ve ever dreamt of being on “Dancing With the Stars,” this class can fulfill that dream. From learning the tango to the waltz, this class pairs you up with a partner and teaches you professional dance moves. It’s rare you’ll get the chance to learn these skills outside of college; plus, maybe you can show off your abilities at a future wedding!
Music 109: The Music of the Beatles
Are you a fan of the Beatles? There’s a whole class about the famous band! Plus, this class is perfect for anyone missing the convenience of Zoom class since it’s entirely online. Explore the history of the band, the music that influenced them and the culture these singers created. You’ll get a chance to interpret their songs and grow a much deeper understanding of the band and the unique sounds they created.
English 50: Introduction to Creative Writing
Tired of writing the same old research paper? This class allows you to tap into your creative side. Try out writing poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction writing. You may be surprised at how you’re able to express yourself through words.
AA 297: Magic by Design
Probably one of the most fun, unique classes at Penn State, this class is all about DISNEY! Learn about the complex history of Walt Disney and how the theme parks came to be. Discuss the design process and learn in-depth information (along with ‘behind the scenes’ secrets) about the Walt Disney Company. Taught by Professor Kendall Mainzer who used to work at Walt Disney World herself, VALLEY cannot recommend this class enough.
Horticulture 352: Flower Arrangements
Learn not only how to arrange flowers, but the tools florists use and the techniques necessary to care for different types of flowers in this three-hour class just twice a week. You will learn about basic design elements, color use and even the history of floral design. Then, you’ll get a chance to work hands-on, creating your own flower arrangement. When else in your life will you get the opportunity to do something like that?
COMM 268: Media Graphic Tools
This one-credit, 10-week course is perfect for anyone wanting to increase their technology skills. Learn how to use Adobe software, like Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Indesign, which nowadays are incredibly beneficial to employers no matter what field you’re planning to enter.
Which class are you going to enroll in from this course? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and let us know. Happy scheduling!