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5 of the Best Classes I’ve Taken At UCLA So Far

It’s officially enrollment season at UCLA! The Winter 2022 course schedule became available last week, and undergrads all over campus are busy trying to create the perfect class plan. 

As I think about which classes I want to take in the future, I’ve been reflecting on some of the incredible classes I’ve taken in the past. Here are five of the best classes I’ve taken at UCLA so far:

Sociology 1—Introductory Sociology

When I Took It: Fall 2019 with Professor Collett
GE Requirements It Fulfills: Foundations of Society and Culture—Social Analysis

As a sociology major, I’m totally biased, but I truly do think that everyone should take at least one sociology course in college. Introductory Sociology will allow you to meet a GE requirement and will also help you look at the world through a new, social-scientific lens. The course touches on some of the most important topics in the study of society, like socialization, social institutions, intersectionality and much more. It was one of the first courses I ever took at UCLA, and I still think about it all the time because the concepts and examples are just so relevant to daily life.

Religion M50—Origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

When I Took It: Winter 2020 with Professor Bakhos
GE Requirements It Fulfills: Foundations of Society and Culture—Historical Analysis & Foundations of Arts and Humanities—Literary and Cultural Analysis (+ it satisfies the diversity requirement!)

I’ve never been a religious person, and that’s exactly why I chose to take Religion M50; I wanted to build a baseline knowledge about religion because it plays such a prominent role in our world. Overall, the class was incredibly interesting, and I always felt that what I was learning about was important. I came to recognize the diversity between and within religious traditions, and I studied the historical context in which Judaism, Christianity and Islam each emerged. Whether or not faith is a large part of your life, this class is a fantastic way to better understand the religions that have had such a large impact on our societies.

English Composition 136—Practical Writing and Editing

When I Took It: Winter 2021 with Professor Hartenberger
GE Requirements It Fulfills: None

English Composition 136 is undoubtedly the most practical course I’ve taken at UCLA (I mean, it’s right there in the name). My writing improved so much while taking this class. Not only did I learn about the principles of good writing and editing, but I also got a lot of practice writing for different genres that I might encounter in my future life and career. The class was also really fun; I got to know my classmates through group activities and peer reviews, and I was able to be creative in what I chose to write about. So if you’re looking for a useful class to take for upper-division credits, I highly recommend English Composition 136.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 79—Applied Positive Neuroscience: Skills for Improving Productivity and Wellbeing

When I Took It: Fall 2021 with Professor Korb
GE Requirements It Fulfills: Foundations of Scientific Inquiry—Life Sciences

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 79 is honestly a self-help class: it teaches you about the inner workings of your brain with the goal of improving your mental health and overall well-being. You’ll learn about ways that you can change your bad habits, elevate your mood, enhance your sleep quality and strengthen your relationships, among other things. Plus, you get a chance to try out different weekly “interventions” that are assigned to you—such as exercising or talking to a friend over the phone—and you track how each one affects your health. This course has genuinely improved my life, and I’m sure it could do the same for you.

Honors 136—Art, Entertainment, and Social Change

When I Took It: Spring 2021 with Professor Anderson
GE Requirements It Fulfills: None

If you’re at all interested in art or entertainment, you absolutely need to take this seminar. Each week, my classmates and I read news articles and watched videos on a certain theme, then we came to class ready to discuss them. What makes this class so good is how interesting and relevant all of the material is; when I took it, we talked about cancel culture, the political power of art, coronavirus art, gender barriers in the art world, representation in entertainment and more. But each time Professor Anderson teaches this course, she comes up with new topics so that everything you’re learning about is pertinent given the current state of the world. If you need honors or upper-division credits, sign up for this class. You won’t regret it.

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Michael Fenton

These classes have all had a profound impact on my development as a student and as a person. I feel so grateful to have been able to take them at UCLA, and I hope that you have the opportunity to benefit from them as well.

Nicolette is a senior sociology major and professional writing minor at UCLA. In her free time, she loves reading fantasy novels and baking desserts for her friends and family.
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