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Finding electives to take as a first year was a bit of struggle because there were so many courses to pick from. I wanted a course that would be both easy and interesting, so with a bit of digging I found the ones that I believe to be enjoyable for anyone who takes it. I did the research, so you don’t have to! Thank me later. ;) 

1. Popular Culture and Communication (CMN 2180)

Wondering how your favourite celebrity rose to fame? Learn about the different types of popular culture and analyze their dynamics in this course.

2. Introduction to Political Science (POL 1101)

Learn to understand power, citizenship, and social participation in this course about the basics of politics and the impact of political phenomena on individuals and societies.

3. Women, Gender, Feminism: An Introduction (FEM 1100)

This course focuses on intersectionality and feminist issues such as gender, race, sexuality, and disability in Canadian global context. 

4. Introduction to Psychology: Foundations and Applications (PSY 1101 and PSY 1102)

Many undergraduate programs already require you to take one of these courses, but I’ll put it out here for anyone who hasn’t considered it. As an intro psychology course, not only is it straight forward and easy, but I can attest that it is thoroughly interesting.

5. Drugs 101 (BPS 1101)

No, not recreational drugs. But Drugs 101 goes into detail about the history of drug discovery and use, as well as pain relief, toxicology, cancer chemotherapy, and its purpose in sports.

6. Comic Books and Graphic Novels (ENG 2188)

If you’re a big DC or Marvel fan this might be the course for you. Learn about the history of comic books and graphic novels as well as their impact and evolvement in pop-culture.

7. Witchcraft, Magic, and Occult Traditions (SRS 1110)

Want to learn how to become a witch? Just kidding! Learn about the history of witchcraft and the practices built off the belief of paranormal phenomena, as well as its relation to religious behaviour. But seriously, this course is WICKED cool!

8. Child Development (PSY 2105)

In this psychology course you learn about current research in child development, as well as emotional, social, cognitive development in childhood and much more! The only prerequisites for this course are PSY 1101 and PSY 1102.

9. Greek Mythology (CLA 2323)

Are you a Percy Jackson fan? Put your knowledge to the test! Explore Greek myths in their historical context and their influence in western art and literature.

10. Global Environmental Challenges (EVN 1101)

Calling all the earth lovers: learn about climate change and the impacts of environmental damage has on human health from a social science perspective.

11. Introduction to Media Studies (CMN 1160)

Learn new basic concepts of media studies, as well as technology and their effects on society. Not only is it easy, but it’s the perfect course for social media lovers!

12. Women’s Issues in Canada (CDN 3301 or FEM 3301)

An interesting class to take if you’re interested in both Canadian studies and Feminist studies. It looks at the evolution of feminism in Canada, as well as the challenges and obstacles facing women in Canada.

13. Writing Out: Literature and Sexual Identity (ENG 2116)

A study of literary representation of gender and sexual identities. Learn more about the important works of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender writers and their impact on literature.

14. Utopian Fiction (ENG 2132), Science Fiction (ENG 2135), Fiction of Horror (ENG 2136) and more!

Study your favourite genre of literature from its origins all the way to its more contemporary and modern representations. The perfect course for someone who loves to read!

15. Hockey and Canadian Culture (APA 3123)

If you are a third year or have taken more than 24 university units, then you are eligible for this elective! Dive into the understanding of hockey from different perspectives and its symbol of Canadian nationalism. 

16. Determinants of Health (HSS 1101)

Learn about concepts of health and wellness, illness, and disease. An easy course to take while examining different determinants of health.

17. Religion and Death (SRS 2393)

Discusses religious views of the afterlife, death anxiety, sacrifice, suicide, etc. Read more on the university website.

18. Nutritional Determinants of Health (HSS 2342)

If you’re into nutrition, but aren’t too interested in food science, then this course gives a more high-level, practical look at metabolism and different dietary sources of nutrients. It looks at nutrition and the impact healthy eating has on the prevention of disease, focusing on factors such as culture, age, weight, activity, and more. 

19. Introduction to Translation (TRA 1301)

This course requires a good knowledge of English and French, but you will learn to translate simple text from French into English. A great course to exercise your bilingualism and language skills.

20. Introduction to Photography (ART 1331)

Priority is given to B.F.A. students, so I’m not sure how hard it is to enrol in this course, but it is described as a straight-forward introduction to the nature of photography as an image-making process. Learn basic camera proficiency through laboratory experience. 

I hope some of these courses pique your interest and you’re able to fit an easy elective into your schedule. Best of luck!

Olivia Onesi

U Ottawa '24

Olivia enjoys binge reading her favourite young adult novels and going for evening runs. She is a first year psychology student at the University of Ottawa and can be found scrolling endlessly on TikTok.
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