As a Northwestern student, it can be exhausting to scroll through hours of CTECs to find the best class possible. With the sheer volume of classes to choose from, sometimes it seems impossible to even know where to begin. College Magazine compiled a list of 10 must take Northwestern classes at Northwestern. Whether you want to find an interesting course for your major, to fill a distro or anything else, this list has it all.
Check out the top 10 Northwestern classes for undergraduate students.
Being one of the most notoriously good classes at Northwestern, have your CAESAR ready to register if you want to snag a seat. Professor Alexandra Hambright Solomon deep dives into what makes relationships work, break and come to fruition in the first place. The class description includes discussion around dating, conflict, sex and partnering across cultural differences. Her in-depth analysis of compatibility and companionship challenges students’ previous notions about love and marriage. The class only runs in the spring quarter and is only open to enrollment for juniors and seniors. However, her rave reviews make it clear the wait pays off.
How many classes do you get to take that are taught by the president of your university? At Northwestern, President Morty Shapiro teaches one class annually called Economics and the Humanities: Understanding Choice in the Past, Present, and Future. He teaches it in conjunction with professor Gary Saul Morson, a renowned Russian Literature scholar (we’ll hear more about him later). The class explores the idea of economic decision making as well as the intersectionality between the humanities and economics. “If I could pick one word to describe Morty’s class, it would be exciting. I loved watching him and Saul debate, and it felt like we were looking into the mind of Northwestern itself,” Northwestern University sophomore Eden Hirschfield said. The best part: halfway through the quarter, you get to eat dinner at Morty’s own presidential house to go over the current workings of the class and discuss the theory you have read with the two professors. The meal comes catered with fine dining and drinks–an experience you will surely not want to miss.
Philosophy of Religion
If you want a class that will need a lot of intrapersonal thinking, take this Phil-266 course. This class includes readings from prominent philosophers like Kant, Kierkegaard and Hume. It delves into the inner workings of the major monotheistic religions and makes students inspect proofs on the existence of God. “Having to take [Philosophy of Religion] over Zoom and learning remotely, I was skeptical I’d get the same out of it as I might have in person, but the course material and Professor Seeskin’s presentation of it really encouraged me to question my own personal understanding of religion. Overall I really enjoyed the course and often find myself thinking about what we discussed when in random conversations with friends and family,” Northwestern University sophomore Kate Schlager said. Professor Kenneth Seeskin has a specialty in the philosophy of religion and his teachings of complex theories make the class much more digestible and all the more interesting.
Russian Literature could also go by the “must-take” class at Northwestern. Taught by Gary Saul Morson (who also teaches Economics and the Humanities: Understanding Choice in the Past, Present, and Future with President Morty Schapiro) The class focuses on two significant pieces of literature: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. It comes loaded with deep analysis of literary devices and origins of these ever-so-important texts. Professor Morson has become more than notorious for teaching this class, and for that reason teaches it every fall in the largest lecture room on campus, Technological Auditorium.
This journalism class surely seems one of the more unique ones offered by the Medill School of Journalism. The course offers five different classes, each with a unique topic and location with examples such as Shanghai, Cuba, London and more. Students must apply to get into a global 301-1. They take the course over two quarters, winter and spring, and during spring break they travel as a class to the location that they have been studying. It provides an unparalleled experience for Medill students to learn international reporting as well as learn how to use a translator and expand their knowledge culturally.
If you ever wonder what technology and medicine have in store for the future, take this class. Bioethics deals with how the modernization of healthcare plays a role in what will be deemed ethical in the future. Is it ethical to modify the genes of children before they are born so parents can pick things like eye color and hair color? What are the implications of human and animal testing in the medical community? Professor Mark P. Sheldon teaches this class once a year in the fall and all students can enroll as there are no prerequisites.
Journalism at the Iowa Caucus: Dilemmas of American Power
It does not get more hands-on than this Journalism-353 course. This class examines journalistic history from crucial turning points like the Vietnam War and Watergate. Taught by Professor Peter Slevin, this past quarter, it also took a look at the role of the media under the Trump administration and the changes that have occurred since then. However, arguably the coolest part of the class: a chance to report at the Iowa Caucus. Students that went this past winter quarter could meet with presidential hopefuls like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders and ask them questions about policy and the future of our nation.
Politics of Black Pop Culture
Music lovers, take this class. African American 327 studies the politics behind black music genres. From disco to hip hop to reggaeton, this class teaches the origins of music genres. Also, the course covers how the Black Diaspora plays a role in the formation and origin of these genre types. Much of the class includes listening to music and watching documentaries. This serves as a nice break from traditional teaching methods. It has tons of niche details about music and the industry as a whole. This class provides significant context for students to educate themselves on the issues of race and inequality in this country.
Global History II
Professor Immerwhar’s history classes consistently fill up, so register early on this one to snag your spot. Global History II dives into the main events and themes of modern history. It challenges you to think critically about the origins of important historical events that shaped our world. Also, it emphasizes the importance of analyzing such events in order to make decisions for the future.
Math 300 Foundations of Higher Mathematics
Have you ever thought about why 1+1 equals 2? This upper-level math class goes through proofs as to why certain mathematical things are true. It seems like a dreaded class that probably should not be on this list. But for those interested in numbers, it sets the foundation for the principles they will use for the rest of their education. “I thought it was super interesting to actually know how some things work that we just take for granted,” Northwestern University sophomore Amanda Brown said. If you have any interest in math, you can take Northwestern’s math placement exam to place into Math-300 or take the required prerequisites to take it.