You can find the College Intellectual Breadth requirements here.
The following courses are recommended by current and former chemical engineering students, with student-written descriptions and reviews.
Sacred places is a course that is extremely multifaceted. Rather than focusing solely on art, it progresses through all of the major topics related to the beginning of civilizations and formations of religions. It uses the art of these times to describe how people lived and formed beliefs. You learn about how we can learn from the art and objects of these times. It’s a great class because you’re learning about all of the major religions of the world, their similarities, and differences. Also covered are the questions humans ask about their existence such as: “Why are we here?” and “What’s the meaning in life?” This course discusses how different religions seek to answer these questions. I highly recommend it. Professor Gruber is fantastic and you will learn so much about various topics in religion, history, art and general humanity.
This is the right course if you are interested in drawing, model building and coloring. Each professor has his own path of teaching. In our studio, we draw the model in different perspective, then cut the board to build/glue our model and finally we paint it. It’s a relaxing course. When your hands are busy, your mind is sort of clear. However, it is time consuming with 6 hours of studio per week. For now I still believe it’s worth the time.
Taught by Dr. Arvind Mandair. This is a great class to fulfill the 300 level humanities course, as long as you plan on attending class. The grading is based 50% on 2 responses/week to readings that can range from 15-40 pages long each. If you find yourself interested in different religions of the world, political systems, and why humans are violent, then the class will be very interesting. I don’t find the readings tedious, but if one did it would be fairly easy to skim/ skip some readings and just respond and still pass the class easily. While not a big part of the grade, class participation is a major part of the class as there is at maximum only 20 minutes of lecture each class, and the rest is peer led discussion. This is truly one of the classes where you will get out of it what you put in, but regardless of how much knowledge you choose to gain there are no finals, essays, or exams to draw away from your core studies.
It was taught by David Potter and was pretty interesting because you learn that the typical ancient Roman stereotype is way off. We even watched Ben Hur and laughed at how historically inaccurate it was. There are five online assignments due, one midterm and final exam. I think most people do end up with some sort of A or B, but you do have to work and do the reading. So, its not like one of those Rocks for Jocks mini-courses offered by the Geology department.
This class was very laid back for a 300-level Humanities. The only homework were readings that had to be done each week, and there were no essays or quizzes. Grades were based on 2 midterms, a final and participation in discussion sections. I found the class itself really interesting. The lectures were entertaining because a lot of the myths were completely ridiculous to the point that they were funny. Dr. Herbert did a great job of providing background on all of the central characters in the myths, so even people with minimal prior knowledge were able to follow the material. Also there were no pre-reqs, and most of the class were engineers. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who needs to fulfill their upper-level humanities requirement.
Good class because it discusses many cultures and imparts a worldly view on students. We discuss the meaning of sustainability, and the first half of the class thoroughly investigates the sustainability of various means of food gathering/production. It pertains to engineering, too, since there are many case studies of the impact, both positive and negative, of technology/modernization/globalization on developing countries. Other topics have also included resource
extraction, health, and the spread of disease. There is a lot of reading, but the focus of the class is on understanding and being able to discuss complex concepts rather than doing a lot of busy work. There is a once per week discussion question as weekly homework, and the exams consist of two midterms and a final paper.
I liked it because this is a subject that I knew almost nothing about coming into the course, and I ended up learning a lot. It gave me a new perspective on US history.
If you love to read Wall Street Journal and ever wonder what all those terms and happenings are about, this is the class for you. The class is very interesting because it teaches the simple concepts behind international economic activities and relate it with the current news. It will keep you updated on both past and current economic events: US government policies, tariff, quota, outsourcing, competition with China, IMF, World Bank… Also, it is more focused on the lecture and newspapers, less on the textbook. The professor, Alan Deardorff, is one of the best in the economics department. Consider this before taking the class: You are required to read quite a lot of articles from The Wall Street Journal and publications, which can be either entertaining or painstaking. Pre-req: Econ 101 and 102.
Great if you are interested in the financial markets, very interesting.
It is not a religion class. This is a liberal art class goes over some of the bestselling novels from the Muslim world, selected from the Arabia peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and Arab-Israelis conflict. These novels touch on religion, culture, politics, social life, gender, LGBT, ISIS and many other issues. To do well in this class you need to be prepared for reading; it is a lot of work but the novels you read throughout the class are very interesting and will challenge any preconceived notions you might have about Muslim cultures. There are three assignments (4-pages) and one final paper (8 pages). The class discussion is mostly led by students.
There’s a lot of reading (9 novels and 5 short stories), so if you’ve felt like you haven’t been doing much reading during the year this is a good class to take. The novels are all about taking road trips, the different types, motives for taking them, and other topics. The year-end assignment is to take a road trip of your own, and you write about it, and how it was similar to the stories you read in class. Lectures are interesting and entertaining.
The instructor is Alexander “Buzz” William. The class doesn’t require a lot of writing, but Buzz chooses a great reading list that provides scientific, social, and economic aspects of climate change. The class is basically all discussion based, and it really challenged my views of society, industry, and what can be done by engineers to mitigate and adapt to the changes. The class is taken by a diverse panel of students, from engineers, PITE , public policy, and premeds, and the group really helps you see the different sides of the coin when it comes to environmental activism. You don’t have to be an environmental engineer to take it!
English 325 with Fritz Swanson is a great option if you are in need of an upper level writing class or just want to improve your writing skills. It will require some work, but it is well worth the effort in the end. I actually find myself enjoying writing after taking this class.
Overall, this humanities course was extremely challenging. The lectures were enjoyable and very informative, sometimes even entertaining. The challenging part was not only the workload, which included at least a 250 page novel per week, but also coming up with “insightful” paper topics once a week. The subject matter is great, and overall the class is very rewarding, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t up for a pretty decent time commitment.
Taught by Dr. Benjamin Mangrum, The Novel after World War II is a class that explores the societal diagnosis of “malaise” that had befallen American life at the time. Through excellent novel choice such as Invisible Man, Lolita, Maud Martha, among others, Dr. Mangrum creates enriching and thought-provoking discussion of books in their relation to the post WWII era and current anxieties. The four writing assignments offer lots of flexibility and Dr. Mangrum is more than happy to schedule time to discuss them outside of office hours. Overall, a really great environment that I would recommend to anyone who has a passing interest in literature.
I look GERMAN 386 last year, which is Fairy Tales. The class is essentially about the origin of fairy tales, the Grimm brothers, and understanding their fairy tales in different political and psychological contexts. Professor Amrine is really passionate about this topic, and makes the lectures interesting. Within the class is only 2 papers (which can be on any topic as long as it relates to fairy tales) and then a final blue book. All in all, I found the class to be really interesting and a worthwhile 300 level humanities to take.
Taught by Prof. Victor Lieberman. The class is fairly laid-back. There are no assignments, two 1.5 hour lectures a week and a one hour discussion. Your grade is based on two blue books, participation in discussion, and an *optional* term paper. It is very easy to do well and very interesting too. This is one of the legendary classes at UofM. Prof. Lieberman gives amazing lectures and really emphasizes the emotions and struggle that both sides of the conflict feel. I took this class knowing nothing about the Middle East or Israel. Now, I can read current news articles and really understand what is happening. Students will probably form an opinion on the conflict, but it will be one that can be supported by facts and historical events rather than pure emotion as is so common today.
This course is all about the ancient city of Pompeii. The main focus is on how excavated evidence can reveal what life was like in Pompeii before its destruction. If you are interested in history or archeology, this will be a great class for you. Every week you have assigned readings and must answer a few questions. There are three exams that are not cumulative and include defining words, analyzing pictures and texts, labeling buildings on a map, and writing an essay. You get to pick from three essay questions, so there’s bound to be one you are knowledgeable about. As long as you go to lecture and review the lecture slides, you will do well on the exam because everything is straight from the lecture. Overall, this class is quite interesting and not very intense, and the reading is not bad at all.
It took a while, but it was well worth it. The Latin department is excellent. Everything you need to know about Latin is introduced in the first two semesters, with the other semesters devoted to reading Latin poetry and prose. So, students could take only 101 and 102 and learn a great deal. I totally recommend that engineers take Latin.
Great introductory class for those who may be interested in business or management in the future, or becoming better leaders. The class is interesting because it is unlike a typical “business” course. It is very psychological and philosophical in order to begin the understanding of concepts varying from why people work, how people are motivated, how diverse groups function best, et. cetera. There is usually reading associated to every lecture, and grades are based mostly off of two exams and one group project.
This class is awesome. You listen to music from a variety of video games and have a discussion about the things you hear. You look at different positions available in the video game music industry. There are also skype sessions with industry professionals who can give you insight into how to get into the industry. There are weekly assignment but it is only reading an articles and commenting about the articles on ctools. It is really fun and easy. The final project is to make your own composition, it is really easy using GarageBand. It is awesome, you should take it.
I had Nadine Hubbs as my teacher. It’s a great class for anyone who likes music or participated in musical activities in high school, but is having a hard time fitting it in at college. It wasn’t a very hard class, not very much homework (one short assignment a week), but I really learned a lot and had a great time doing it. It especially helped me because my school didn’t have a very strong music program and as a singer I feel I’m always playing “catch up” to the bigger schools. This class started me off with the basics and I’m planning to take more Theory classes to finish my series. I know there were quite a few engineers in the class with me so it’s a popular choice and I think we would all recommend it!
Very interesting look at the history of music for non-music majors. Includes the study of many different genres of music from classical to rock to jazz. Lectures include listening to different kinds of music, watching opera clips, and live performances. Assignments include attending 2 musical performances of some kind and writing a two-page response to them, as well as a choosing a composer and listening to different pieces they have written. Grades are based on these assignments as well as two exams and a final. The exams are very easy as long as you attend class. I highly recommend this class for anyone who is looking for a fun, easy and very interesting humanities class.
Why I like Musicology 346: The professor is very passionate about the subject and very engaging. In addition, a decent portion of every class is spent listening to music; these two factors make going to class very enjoyable. The average also ends up very high – I think at least half of the class is in the A or A- range. A majority of the class has at least some background in classical music which definitely helps, but is by no means required. I think this class is only offered in the winter. However, Musicology 345, which is the same class with the same professor for an earlier time period, is offered in the fall.
Museums 301 is a great class to fulfill your 300 level humanityrequirement. The class teaches the different kinds of museums within society, and what they mean to that society. They go through the various ways that museums can educate the public as well. The class is not very intense, and is very manageable to take even with a hard ChE schedule. There are two take home exams that are essay format and a large project at the end of the year in which you create a virtual museum exhibit of your choice. The large project is broken up into small parts that are due throughout the semester so again, it’s very manageable. I would definitely recommend taking this class if you are looking for something to fulfill your 300 level humanity requirement. They also really like having engineers in the class so that they can hear a difference perspective.
I took this class as a freshman in combination with Eng 101. It was a very compatible course when speaking on the logic of programming. If you’re in your second year and found eng 101 to be very easy, this course will essentially be an easy A. However, if you found yourself struggling with some of the logic concepts in 101, Philosophy 180 can be a review and help you set in stone some aspects of logical thinking. Also, you basically get to win every argument on the basis of “logic’d”.
This class was very interesting, and I think it is a good class to take if you are new to philosophy or really interested in science fiction. If you are not a fan of science fiction then I would not recommend the class. For each discussion and lecture there was a reading or movie that you were expected to discuss in class. Some of the readings were quite long but most of them were either short stories or books that were easy to read. The movies we watched were popular science fiction movies like The Matrix and Minority Report. The grade for the class was based on participation in discussions as well as three essays and a final exam.
That class is really cool… You just have to have a type of expanded thinking because some of the concepts seem like a stretch but it’s interesting.
It was by far my most thought provoking class (outside engineering, of course) I have taken here. It is no longer taught by the same professor which is a real shame because he was phenomenal, but I would find it hard to believe the class could ever be dull given the material covered. Two five-page papers are all that are required, but a LOT of thought and energy must be put into these topics. The class deals with the rift between the self and the outside influences that exist in our minds and environment. It tackles the age old question of what the meaning of life is and what it really means to have meaning anyway. It is not anti-religious, but it gives various alternatives (often opposing) religious thought. Philosophers studied are Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, Doestoevsky, as well as other famous existentialists. I would recommend it to anyone like myself who loves to contemplate the meaning of life and the individual responsibility and existence of the self.
The professor makes you think about stuff instead of just memorizing what a bunch of dead white dudes wrote. There is little reading and the class is based around constructing arguments defending various beliefs. No prerequisites, but logic is very helpful. Grade is based upon 7 “compact discussions,” which are short arguments of less than one page in length.
It is a fairly easy course, but it was interesting too. It’s abnormal psychology and gives an overview of all the major mental diseases and their treatments. We learned a lot of neat stuff in this course about how people interact with each other.
This class covers so many topics of basic human behavior and interaction that I recommend it for anyone. Understanding how people act in social situations can help you be more confident working in groups and understand social behaviors at work. The work load is minimal. Two papers, one about a movie (5 pages) and the other is a research papers (6-8pages). Both of these are fun to work on because they are a change from your normal chemical engineering classes. The exams are multiple choice. I highly recommend this class to anyone who has even the slightest interest in psychology.
This course changed my life. You get to explore the topic of spirituality through books written by authors from a diverse
background, and small group conversations with your fellow classmates. It was a fantastic journey of the discovery of the self, and provides a different perspective than what we’re used to up on north campus. This class is extremely popular, so register as soon as you can!
As someone who has a strong interest in classical music, this was definitely a class I immensely enjoyed taking and recommend to those with similar interests. The class is very laid back and usually consisted of listening to symphonies at the start of class, followed by a discussion about the music itself as well as the historical context behind its composer and time period. There are readings required before each class but they are more for the benefit of the discussion and are not expected to be studied to a level you prepare for an exam. When I took the class, it was graded based on discussion and four fairly short papers so no written homeworks or exams to worry about (You even got extra credit if you brought in your instrument and presented about it!). I had a fairly strong classical music background going into the class which helped my enjoyment of it, but no prior musical training is necessary in order to succeed. Finally, Professor Andre is by far one of the nicest and most cheerful people I have met, on top of her enormous knowledge of the subject she teaches.
There is no prereq for the class and it is absolutely amazing. Terry McGinn teaches it. He is a Baptist minister and he owns a human resource consulting firm here in Ann Arbor. The basis of the class is to explore the influences that society and religion exert on each other. Terry brings candy every lecture, and we learn through a variety of guest lecturers, videos and readings. There is not a heavy workload. Three papers and an in-class presentation, but it was the only class I have enjoyed so thoroughly! I recommend it to everyone!
This class is a 300 level humanities class. If you are interested in a women’s studies class that also has touches of sociology and english try this class! There are no exams and no major essays. There are smaller mini essay reading journals. There is a good bit of reading, but Professor Smith is very understanding and sometimes she just says don’t read the papers. This class focuses on ways of telling a self-narratives especially regarding illness and the body. Professor Smith is very knowledgeable and funny. She draws from many sources and the class is very relaxed lecture/discussion style.
The History of Sexuality focuses on a range of sexualities and how they came to be as they are today. The class covers sexuality in different religions as well as explaining how sex is a product of cultures and culture’s histories. As phrased on the LSA Course Guide; “we will explore fields such as homosexuality, matrimony, prostitution, pornography, and transvestism. We will also investigate the interaction of sexuality with race, class, and gender. We will explore these topics by canvassing a history from ancient times to the present.”
This was a great class to be exposed to cultures different than my own and asked controversial questions in a way that fostered great discussion and analyzation. A large part of the grade is based on attendance and completion of the readings for homework. There is a great deal of material but also much choice on a student to student basis to choose which topics they prefer to focus on. As long as a student puts in the effort and understands what the GSI’s/professors want to see, there’s no reason one should not get an A.
This course considers how feminist analysis contributes to, complicates, and otherwise enriches the study of politics. While feminist theory is an intrinsically interdisciplinary project, the readings in this class highlight the work of contemporary political and legal theorists and some of the particular questions, concerns, and critiques that characterize their approach to the study of politics and gender. During the first half of the course we focus on key categories and analytic frameworks: public/private distinctions, gender, standpoint epistemology, and sexuality. The readings for the remainder of the term are organized around themes common to political theoretical inquiry: citizenship, global/transnational relations, the state, and violence.
If you’re interested in learning about the perpetuation of gender difference and its effects on politics, you’ll love this class. Engaging in the readings and class discussions allows for a really unique (well, unique if you’re an engineer) course experience. Plus, this course counts as both an upper-level humanities and ULWR.