10 Memorable NYU Classes You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

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New York University undoubtedly offers one of the widest array of classes and course selections in the country, maybe even the world. As a universal university, its classes are not only found in America, but in Abu Dhabi and dozens of other study abroad sites. With its “make your own major” college, Gallatin, NYU tops the list when it comes to memorable courses. If ever granted the opportunity to take one, don’t lose it.

Check out 10 NYU classes you’ll actually want to show up to.

1. The Science of Happiness

This course—whether they’ve taken it or not—is known by all NYU students, and for good reason. Students from all majors are able to participate in arguably one of NYU’s most popular classes, through the “Core Curriculum.” The point of this class? It’s literally in the title. You’ll learn about the true science behind happiness and similar emotions in our lives. “It’s so interesting. This class was not what I expected, but in a good way,” said NYU senior Nicholas Safier. What more could you ask for?

2. Enlightenment Literature & Philosophy

As an absolute favorite, this class gets recommended for both English majors and anyone else. Taught by Adjunct Professor Wendy Lee, this diamond-in-the-rough has so far only been taught once, but proves to be an incredible chance to learn how to read philosophical and literary texts through the eyes of the Enlightenment era. As Lee talks about in her syllabus, this course will investigate how each of the 18th century  philosophers demonstrate knowledge and how we use it. Heavy questions and discussions take up most of this course, but you’ll come out with a much deeper understanding of philosophy without having actually taken a philosophy class. “I was overwhelmed at first, but not once did I regret my decision. I learned so much from Professor Lee,” said NYU senior Erin Adams. Feeling smarter is always a plus.

3. Feminism & Theatre

In this Theatre Studies course, you will study plays by female playwrights, as well as feminist theatre. According to the description, “Considerations include strategies for asserting new images of women on stage, the dramatic devices employed by female playwrights, lesbian aesthetics, race, class and the rejection of realism.” As a course focused on feminist writings and writers—and not simply on the concept of feminism—this class showcases all the products of feminism in our world. Not only will you expand your feminist literature knowledge, but you’ll have the opportunity to write your own thoughts and perspective on feminism and its effects.

4. Love Actually

“[It’s] one of the best rom-coms and one of the best Psych classes,” said NYU junior Emily Ferrari. Yes, NYU does offer a course named after one of the best rom coms ever and yes, it really is about love. Surprisingly, this is not the only CAMS course offered that is also named after a heartwarming film, but it’s one of the best. Discussing the topic of “love” as an actually psychological aspect of life—instead of an emotionally abstract one—makes this class extremely interesting and fairly difficult. And just like love, it’s worth it.

5. Journalism and Society: Minorities in the Media

Journalism majors are used to taking required courses, but everyone should take advantage of this elective. This class covers discussions regarding all minorities including race, gender and sexuality. Active stereotypes discussed thoroughly throughout the course. The professor takes it a step further by discussing what we can do to actively fight against them and all other prejudices also get brought up. How relevant is that? Students will not only learn the political and social truth behind the discrimination in this country, but also how we can take the steps to fight against it.

6. Human Sexuality

“Sexuality is an essential aspect of everyone’s life.” That’s how the course description course begins. First impressions? It’ll be like nothing you’ve ever taken before. It’s not exactly how we all view sexuality—at least, not this in depth. This NYU class does a lot of things differently, and in a good way. Sexuality is discussed in a way that society has deemed “inappropriate,” and it also enlightens it in a new way. Along with this new perspective on teaching sexuality, the course also focuses on more than just the physical aspect of it. As the class description mentions, you’ll also talk about topics like, “Theories and methods of sex research, atypical sexualities, sexual dysfunctions, sexual coercion, and the qualities and benefits of good sex.”

7. Blaxploitation

This Cinema Studies course “explores the rise and fall of Hollywood’s ‘Blaxploitation’ period and genre.” Through the contexts of “black identity and liberation,” this course maps the evolution of black exploitation in the media—specifically, in film. And, the best part? There are even rumors that the professor analyzes Beyonce not only as a powerful black public figure, but one who is both exploited and exploiting. Queen B creates interest in any context.

8. Food Photography

This Food Studies course teaches “the demonstration of techniques for photographing foods for use in print and other media formats.” It will take you through all the basic steps of taking food photography to a professional level. Not only will you get to be around food, but you will get to capture it in all its glory. A 101 on how to take aesthetically pleasing food instas? Hell. Yes.

9. German Cinema: Man, Monster, Machine

Language classes don’t usually stand out, but NYU offers some interesting, special electives. In this class, you’ll learn about German cinema and film analysis. You’ll also learn to discuss films in a different way and gain and even greater understanding of German culture through its fascinating cinematic history and representation. Ready to feel cultured AF?

10. Shakespeare

Okay, every English Department has a Shakespeare class. But why is this one unique? It’s not the class, but the person who teaches it. John Archer is an NYU Professor with a knowledge about Shakespeare that extends far beyond his works. Why is Shakespeare still a vital cultural force 400 years after his death? How was he able to speak both to us and to audiences of his own day? This course will answer all these questions and more. “John Archer is literally the Shakespeare guru. His knowledge of Shakespeare surpasses any knowledge I have of anything,” said NYU senior Deon Sanders.

*all quoted descriptions come from the NYU Registrar or Course Syllabi

A junior at NYU studying English and American Literature & Journalism. I'm a huge literature nerd who hopes to go to Law School and change the freakin' world for the better.

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