At Ohio State, rarely does one run out of options. Where to eat, what to do, who to hang out with: all situations with endless choices. The same goes for classes. Every student—from STEM kids to English prodigies—will find themselves choosing which general education classes to take in order to get that degree. Take advantage of the time you have before you start getting into your major courses by taking classes that truly interest you.
Staring at a course listing of over 12,000 classes may look intimidating, but use this list to find some of the most popular—and hidden gems—of Ohio State.
1. History of Rock n Roll – Music 2252
GE: Visual Performing Arts
We don’t need no education, unless it’s the history of rock ’n’ roll. Every semester, hundreds of students pack into the Hughes Hall auditorium for one of Ohio State’s most popular GEs. With no music skills or knowledge necessary, History of Rock ’n’ Roll acts as a time machine. It takes students through the eras of popular music that make music what we know today. The course starts with rhythm and blues of the early 1900s and goes all the way up to today’s top 40 charts. Students can expect to discover and fall in love with new music, as well as gain a broader understanding of racial, gender and social issues as they relate to music.
2. Mafia Movies – Italian 2055
GE: Visual Performing Arts
Mafia Movies will make you an offer you can’t refuse. As another one of Ohio State’s most popular courses, Mafia Movies covers the myth of the Italian and Italian-American mafias and the Hollywood classics they inspired. Students will watch movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas, as well as learn about film techniques and history along the way. Whether you’ve always been fascinated by Italian mobs, or you just need an excuse to watch classic movies, Mafia Movies might be the class for you.
3. Comparative Sacred Texts – RELSTDS 2102
GE: Literature; Global Diversity Studies
Thou shalt not take a more interesting GE than Comparative Sacred Texts. This comparative studies course covers the major world religions through analyzing various religious texts. “I took this class with Dr. Hugh Urban who artfully constructs the class to be mostly discussion and encourages students to take learning outside the classroom by interviewing friends of different faith traditions,” Ohio State senior Maeve Conway said. “After taking this course, I’ve noticed that my conversations with those of different backgrounds have been much more empathetic and understanding.” Religion serves as the root of many issues in the world today, so set a good example by being educated and inclusive.
4. Climate Change: Mechanisms, Impact and Mitigation – EARTHSC 1911
GE: Historical Studies; Natural Science Biology; Natural Science Physiology
Politicians, scientists and activists constantly argue about climate change, so having a thorough understanding of the complex topic will go a long way. As a relatively new course at Ohio State, this class serves as a grand slam for GE’s, including those painful science ones. “We examine the causes of climate change, and then its present and future impacts,” Ohio State professor and course creator Dr. Michael Bevis said. “We address the evolution of energy and transportations systems, and how to mitigate climate change through the switch to renewable energy. Finally, we discuss the politics of climate change.” Even if science classes don’t call your name, taking this class gives you a strong understanding of the future of our planet.
5. Drug Use in American Culture PHR 2367.01
GE: Writing and Communication Level 2
This course may not be taught by Snoop Dogg himself, but it will give you an understanding of recreational drug use in America, primarily marijuana. By studying the history, clinical properties and usage of certain drugs, students will gain an understanding of the role of drugs in American culture and issues around abuse and addiction. “It was cool that we got to implement lots of information about how drugs, especially marijuana, is handled socially and economically,” Ohio State junior Nicole Jung said. “We also did a research project at the end where we got to choose any drug problem happening in the United States.” This class offers incredibly useful and relevant information, especially in college life. What you learn in this class may just save someone’s life one day.
6. Introduction to Logic – PHIL 1500
GE: Quantitative reasoning
I think, therefore I am… going to take a philosophy course to fulfill the math GE. If you vowed to never take another math course after high school, this introductory philosophy course may be for you. Students in Introduction to Logic learn skills to analyze arguments, as well as how to develop and sharpen their persuasive skills. You can see the results as you kill it in your next idea pitch or sell your friends on a dinner spot.
7. Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance – MEDREN 2666
GE Cultures and Ideas; Diversity: Global Studies
This medieval and renaissance class will make you hocus focus. Step outside of a regular history class and learn about that time when people accused literally everyone of being witches. This class covers literature, art and film and will be unlike any other history class you’ve taken before. Whether you’re a die–hard fantasy lover or ever thought you have special powers, taking this class will let you enter the world of sorcery. Even the course number includes 666. How much spookier can this class get?
8. African Civilizations 1870 to present – AFAMAST 1122
GE: Historical Study; Diversity Global Studies
Challenge yourself to learn about some of the worst times in recent world history through the perspective of African countries. This African Studies course covers themes of colonization, European rule, resistance movements and contemporary issues. “It was so interesting because we learned about all of this African history that I was never taught in school growing up,” Ohio State junior Alyssa Hopkins said. “I think everyone should take an African-American studies course because they are so eye opening and fascinating.” Though this course covers intense topics and case studies that may be difficult to learn about, it will push you to think critically about world politics and human rights.
9. Introduction to Physical Anthropology – ANTHROP 2200
GE: Natural Science Biology
David Attenborough doesn’t narrate this class, but it is the closest thing you’ll get to the real-life Planet Earth show. This introductory anthropology class covers all the basics about human evolution, starting with the first primates all the way to modern humans. And for more humanities-based majors, use this class to get your lab requirement out of the way. The labs feel more like fun activities rather than lab assignments here. Who knew that identifying primate teeth could be so fun?
10. The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World – ARTSCI 4870
GE: Cultures and Ideas
Can’t get enough of freshman orientation? Expand your school pride with this Ohio State history class. Students will immerse themselves into the long history and traditions of Ohio State. “The class is fun, interactive and thought provoking,” said Aziza Genglik, senior at Ohio State. “Not only do we get to learn from a historian and university archivist, but from the President, Provost, architect, coaches and more.” By taking this class, students will have a broader understanding and appreciation for Ohio State and maybe even learn about those secret tunnels we hear rumors about.