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Thread: Favorite classes - undergrad and grad school

  1. #1
    Jan 2003
    Santiago, Chile

    Favorite classes - undergrad and grad school

    So we all know that some classes are better than others... some of course are just great and you love them. So spit it out and tell what classes you liked the most about your undergrad and or Graduate.

    Since I'm still doing my undergrad in Geography here comes my favourite classes so far:
    - World Regional Geography... A nice look at all the contemporary and historic problems of the different regions of the World. My teacher was also great... Makes me look forward to Political Geography that's more or less a follow up class I'll be taking next semmester.
    - Climatology... some may hate it, but I just love it... but that's just because I tend to go for Physical geography...
    - Physical Geography... it's quite introductory, but still I learned quite a lot and loved it.
    - Human Geography... this was a condensed class that went from Demography (dull!) to Urban Geography (rocks!)
    - Economics... I had never had any classes of economics before (one of the major weakness in our educational system) and I loved it...it sure helped to understand the world better. I totally aced this course.
    -Fieldtrip 1... well... duh! 3 days going on a fieldtrip is sure cool.

    This list is still in progress, as I'm still around the middle of my undergrad, and from now on it's mostly geography courses, and the few courses I've flunked... (damn you Chemistry, statistics and sociology!)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Dec 2005
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Blog entries
    I am just finishing up my undergrad degree in Political Science/Public Administration but am a former Economics major at the first university I attended.

    My favorite classes:

    200 level Economics series (Micro, Macro, Applied). Why? Because economics is a social science not a business major/emphasis and my professor completely brought it to life! Think of it as the forces of pressure on the outside of the box.

    Political Behavior. Examining human political behavior through political philosophers. If you haven't read Machiavelli's "The Prince" you don't know what you are missing. Karl Marx is quite an interesting fellow as well, he is not as simple as one might think.

    Public Budgeting. The single most useful class I have had in the past year. Perhaps this is because I work for the county probate court as an intern and we are in the process of drafting our budget.

    Least Favorite Classes:

    Russian-freaking-Politics. Tell me wtf does this have to do with anything relevant going on in the world today. OK they have nukes that aren't particularly secured and could fall into bad hands but why can't we have a class on China or India? I think this particular professor who teaches it can't get over the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed and that he wasted all his years on getting a PhD in Russian Studies so now he sticks it to us!

    Statistics: Useful class yes. Important class yes. Mind numbingly boring class yes. I got a C. Besides what do we have stat packages for?

    Health & Wellness: Hello? I live in South Carolina....least healthy state in the union. I am 32, fat, have a bum knee and asthma and you want my butt to run how far how fast? Gimme a break! I am only taking this class so that I may graduate in May....that is if I am still alive at the end of the semester.


  3. #3
    Cyburbian fructa's avatar
    Nov 2005
    at large
    Hee. Favorite classes, eh? Well...

    -Metaphysics of Space & Time, a seminar in our Philosophy department I took junior year. Kickass. Is time bounded or not? Can there be backward causation? Etc. Totally hardcore readings, "Space, Time, and Spacetime," the Leibniz / Clarke correspondence, the whole bit. Everytime we had class I came out of it babbling and excited.

    -Speaking Shakespeare's Verse -- the only acting class of my major that I did well at. Awesome.

    -Elementary Russian. Sadly, ran out of time to continue with that one. Whoops!

    -Group Project: Set Design -- once we finally bullied the department into offering a set design course, which Obie-land was sorely lacking, it was Excellent. SO MANY hours of drafting and drawing, and all those Friday-night all nighters -- because of course the Department Head's way of making sure we were Really Serious about the class? Offer it on Saturday mornings only, from 9am 'til noon. Luckily, as long as you came with renderings or a white model, he didn't care too much if you overslept a little teensy bit.

    ... um, yeah. So. Urban Planning. Yep... obviously, right?

  4. #4
    Calculus, it changed the course of my life!

  5. #5
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    My favs were:

    PLAN 401 - Field Studio.

    Analysis and application of planning skills in a real-world setting, involving an actual community or outside client. Emphasizes smaller town or rural planning issues.

    PLAN 402 - Field Studio.

    Analysis and application of planning skills in a real-world setting, involving an actual community or outside client. Emphasizes urban planning issues.

    PLAN 406 - Planning Thesis.

    Development of individual project or urban development design, emphasizing the evaluation of alternative solutions and presentation of final report.


    PLAN 451 - Issues of Planning Practice.

    Capstone seminar to explore application of theory to planning practice and management. Issues of planning ethics, citizen participation, styles and strategies for effective implementation of planning.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
    Jul 2004
    Arlington, VA
    Behavioral Geography

    Severe and Unusual Weather


    Abnormal Psychology

    Jazz History

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Jul 2003
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Blog entries
    Being a recovering professional student I have so many favorite classes. Among them are:

    - History of the Trans-Mississippi
    - Western Civilization
    - Philosophy of Religion (the professor was the stereotypical absent-minded, quirky professor who made going to class a joy)
    - Astronomy 101
    - Planning Studio
    - Native American Religion
    - Native American in Society (taught by Henrietta Mann, a nationally renown Native American scholar and Cheyenne)
    - Geomorphology
    - Physical Geography
    - Themes in Geography Seminar
    - Watershed Management
    - Soil Analysis
    - History of Conservation
    - Introduction to Islamic History and Thought

    Perhaps my very favorite would be River Recreation Management, becuase it included a four day, three-night float trip on the Missouri River, through the White Cliffs Recreation Area.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  8. #8
    Dec 2004
    Salem/Keizer, Oregon, USA
    Looking back, I notice how many of my favorite classes either had unusual subject matter, extraordinary professors, or both. Here are some of my favorites from undergrad:

    - Los Angeles Past & Present - an interdiscplinary freshman seminar that almost suceeded at putting Los Angeles in perspective for the unitiated. My section leader is now on the L.A. Planning Commission.

    - Acting I - had to do everything from yoga to Ibsen to "being" a coyote for 2 1/2 hours, and taught by a crazy writer for "The Simpsons."

    - Cities in Literature - a different way of looking at the urban experience, such as Charles Baudelaire's reaction to Haussmanization.

    - Gangs & the Criminal Justice System - Tom Hayden taught this one, and proved to be one of my most accessible and humorous professors. It was also interesting to compare classic sociological works on gangs (many of which still hold true after 75 years) with the experiences of some of our guest speakers, many of them former gang members.

    - Criminal Justice in Scandinavia - took this in the DIS program in Copenhagen. The policies and practices of the Danish prison system are hard to believe at first, but we got to tour their prisons and see it working firsthand.

    - 20th Century Danish Architecture - also took this at DIS. It was a much broader survey than the course title suggests, and showed me a different way to look at planning issues (both through design and from the Danish perspective).

    - Community Organizing - this course was combined with an internship, so it involved reflection and comparison of the strategies of the different organizations everyone in the class worked with, as well as a group project on campus. Our class worked on organizing a student campaign for more alternative transportation options for the campus, with mixed results.

    Yeah, I miss school.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    SW-Coastal WA
    Intro to Hydrology was fun. So was Statistics and a few other math-heavy classes.

    Homelessness and Public Policy. Very eye opening in a way most classes are not.

    Economic Geography.

    Environmental Economics. (gee, these last two are kind of math-oriented again)

    Environmental Biology -- THE reason I decided I wanted an environmental studies degree as background for a career dealing with the built environment.

    Technical Writing -- I love to write.

    Negotiation and Conflict Management.

  10. #10
    I forgot to mention learning Microsoft, especially Excel.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    I believe I had mentioned this before -
    PE class - Skiing.
    Regional Landscape History - field trip to Mesa Verde NP.
    Various Landscape Architecture and Geography classes.

  12. #12
          abrowne's avatar
    Jan 2005
    ENVS 200 - Field Ecology - Taught by militant feminazi who had questionable understanding of ecology to begin with. She was from Guelph. Blegh.
    ENVS 178 - Statistics
    ENVS 278 - Statistics

    PLAN 100 - History of Planning - Taught by my favourite potbellied frenchman Prof ever!
    PLAN 210 - Design Studio - Taught by an uberhardcore architecture instructor from Cambridge. He slept less than we did.
    PLAN 309 - Design Studio - Taught by a fellow who just gained his Ph.D in environmental design from UBC. Great class, very principled and clear.
    PLAN 261 - Urban and Metropolitan Planning / Land-use - Instructor ran Canadian Urban Institute for 5yrs or so, is a lawyer, very knowledgable.
    CLAS 265 - Ancient Epic in Translation - Wonderful instructor brought the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid and Argonautika into such clarity. Knew so very much. Incidentally, was a high school teacher who taught this at night.
    MATH 104 - Calculus - I missed real math after all that statistics garbage so I took this and have been happier ever after.
    PHIL 404 - Boethius - Wonderfully narrow indulgence.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
    Oct 2003
    A Dog in a Hat
    "Frontiers in Geography"

    Last-semester seminar course for BA Geography students at UT-Austin, taught by the illustrious Robin Doughty (http://www.texaslegacy.org/bb/narrat...ghtyrobin.html for a video of him!). The course was about the philosophy of geography, really and included several great experiences such as poetry writing and reading.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian bocian's avatar
    Jun 2003
    Raleigh NC
    Planning studios -- most of everything else was pretty pointless... or not really planning-related...

  15. #15
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    Quote Originally posted by bocian
    Planning studios -- most of everything else was pretty pointless... or not really planning-related...
    It's all planning-related, that's the beauty of this profession

    (can you tell it's Friday and I don't care anymore?)

    i'm 20 years out of college this May so the classes that I still remember liking or having continued meaning for me now are:
    1. calculus - because it was taught by a philosopher so it was really a course in logic
    2. all my english classes - because it's great to appreciate books about things other than planning -
    3. technical writing - though at the time, i wasn't too crazy about going
    4. creative problem solving/creative approaches to management/creative methods of communciation - these are # 1 really, in terms of gifts to me now
    5. economics - because it always brought up my grade point average and i learned one thing that applies to everything, that it's all about cycles
    6. history of american landscape architecture - because it was just a wonderful class
    7. sociology - because it was good to confirm in the field what i learned in school that we are all a bunch of nutcakes and it's a miracle any of us get through the day

    so there you have it - not really a planning class in there or all the law classes i took - though i did take plenty - you learn the basics in planning form these classes which is important, but it's work in the field where you really get it

    in retrospect, i wish i had taken more american and ancient world history and more art history - it's amazing how a good solid foundation of an education is really what sets you apart from others -

    for my job, i really wish i had taken statistics

    if i had to do over again, i would have done a liberal arts undergraduate and gone to planning school for graduate school, but hey, i still manage to get through the day regardless
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    Liked (Planning):
    land development (closest thing I had to a true studio)
    location analysis
    solid waste planning (aka the "trash class")

    Liked (non or semi-Planning):
    social deviance
    cycling (PE)
    canoing (PE)
    Geography of Terrorism (special seminar course in Spring '02)
    society and the family
    sociology of popular culture
    society and youth behavior
    real estate
    public finance (I had a badass professor)
    intro to guitar

    I almost triple majored in planning, public administration and sociology, but then decided that I wanted graduate in under a decade.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian psylo's avatar
    Feb 2005
    South Carolina
    Favorite class of all-time was a Geology class... Earthquakes & Natural Disasters

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
    Oct 2003
    In Wasteland of Cedar Trees
    Here is a list of my favourite undergraduate classes:

    HIST 122 - Modern World History - taught by a prof, now retired, who made history alive and, in fact, interesting. He almost single-handedly had me change my major from geography to history.
    GPHY 259 - Geography of Europe - seeing all the slides of Europe and documentary films was what made the course interesting, not the prof!
    GPHY 223 - Urban Geography - taught by a prof, now retired, who made urban geography as exciting as I thought it could always be and is!
    ARTH 117 - Art and Architecture in Britain from c. 1600 to the Present - taught by a prof who lived, talked, and dreamed about art history and who definitely shared her love for art history. I didn't expect to enjoy art history, but I did!
    GPHY 338 - Urban Political Geography - much more interesting than I expected, plus the weekend trip to NYC was a great bonus for taking the course!
    ARTH 322 - Impressionism and Post-Impressionism - an art history course that I took out of pure enjoyment as it was taught by this prof who loved art history so very much, especially this art movement. Visiting various art galleries in England and in France was surely a nice luxury to enjoy as we would talk about different paintings in a class and then see them in person on the weekends.
    HIST 361 - War and Peace in the 20th Century Western Culture - an interesting course that was mainly about the changing ways of memorializing wars and peace in the context of World War I and II from the British, the French, and the German perspectives.
    GPHY 337 - Regional Development Theory and Policies - a course that actually made this topic more interesting than I expected.
    GPHY 328 - Modern City in Historical-Geographical Perspectives - a further investigative study on urban geography by this prof who made GPHY 223 exciting! Strangely, many of my classmates didn't enjoy GPHY 223 or 328, but I loved both courses.

    So, it's not a surprise that I earned a minor in history and a major in geography, is it?

    I didn't love any of the courses that I took from teacher's college. Bleh.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
    Oct 2005
    City of Angels

    Land Use Planning because it was the only one taught practically...

    I'm in a seminar right now about Robert Moses which is absolutely AMAZING...

    20th Century Urbanization in Comparative Perspective

    History of the City of NY

    and GIS even though it was testy at times

    (I'm a History major (Urban Hist) going into an MUP program [hopefully] next year)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian mawmaw5108's avatar
    Nov 2005
    Design studios

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