Best Humanities Classes To Take as A Freshman

Inside of the LNCO, where most humanities courses at the University of Utah are located. Chronicle archives.

Inside of the LNCO, where most humanities courses at the University of Utah are located. Chronicle archives.

By Yixin Song


The first few months of college can be daunting, but not because it has a stricter regulation on academics and lifestyle. On the contrary, it’s because you’ll find that nobody will tell you what to do. Up until college, teachers and guidance counselors alike have helped students choose what classes to take, where to go and what activities to get involved in based on their interests. In college, students quickly realize they are now responsible for all of that and more — but don’t worry. In the case of figuring out what starter humanities classes to take — we are here to help. No matter your major, it’s important to try and sample a wide range of classes when you are at the University of Utah. Here are some classes which will give a taste of what the humanities program has to offer.

ENGL 2090: Video Game Storytelling taught by Alfred Seegert is an excellent appetizer for students who are interested in writing and games. The U is famous for its electronic arts and engineering program, and the class size is an example of what you will find in most humanities courses. It utilizes a traditional literary approach to engage with issues found in media outside the written word, such as narrative-focused games and film. You do not have to be interested in games to take this class, so feel free to try it out if you want a taste of the video game program at the U.

FILM 1110: Introduction to Film taught by Ali Akbari is a fantastic class for students who are struggling to adjust to life in college. Akbari offers a forgiving grading scale and a fun class experience. While watching some of the best movies in the history of cinema, it encourages students to critically analyze film and gain unexpected knowledge along the way. Even though the class is four hours long, the material and the teachers never feel dreary. This is a great opportunity to earn a humanities credit while having a fun time.

Terrified of public speaking? Love telling jokes and stories in front of your classmates and family? In either case, COMM 1020: Principles of Public Speaking taught by Emily Wood is a definite contender. Not only does it reshape the idea of public speaking, but the class also prepares students for future endeavors.

The history program might be one of the most under-appreciated majors. For students looking to break up their schedule with something different, history is a perfect subject to lose yourself in. A basic knowledge of history can come in handy, regardless of your future profession or interest. HIST 1510: World History Since 1500 taught by Kurt Guner is more than just a history class. It teaches world history on a broader basis so that students have a more than basic understanding of the world, but not too deep to bore you.

It is hard to imagine that students could learn taboo words from a well-established university, but that is exactly what the U does with LING 1069: @#$! Bad Words & Taboo Terms taught by Randall Eggert. It is by no means just a class full of inappropriate jokes and swearing. Instead, the course studies the linguistic patterns of profanity through a strict scholarly method. Having said that, it is still an extremely fascinating and fun class to take.

Philosophy is like math but from a different perspective of the world. It asks questions which may seem useless but often lead to the ultimate question — why do we exist? If you are interested in such a query, PHIL 1003: Intro: Human Nature taught by Eric Hutton might be the class to take. It introduces students to philosophical issues about the study of human nature while bringing empirical evidence to support these findings.

The classes above are just a mere peek into what the university and many humanities programs have to offer. The four years you spend here will be nothing short of exciting, so don’t be afraid to try courses that are out of your regular realm. You might just find your calling in life if you take a little risk.

[email protected]