This is your education. You choose your major, your minor, and the classes you want to take to satisfy all the LSA Degree Requirements. In order to get the most out of your choices, it is important to plan out what classes you will take and when you will take them. Your first step is to solidify your understanding of the requirements for your degree. This includes prerequisites and requirements for your major and all the LSA degree requirements. Once you understand all of these requirements, you can move on to planning your long-term and semester schedules.
Your LSA Degree Requirements
You are responsible for knowing and meeting the LSA degree requirements. You can find the degree requirements by using the handy-dandy search bar at the LSA Academics and Requirements webpage, http://www.lsa.umich.edu/students/academicsrequirements/. Remember that you graduate under the requirements in place the year you started, so if there is any change to degree requirements while you are here, they do not apply to you. If you have any questions about the degree requirements, ask your academic advisor.
How Do I Decide What Classes to Take Each Term?Once you understand the requirements for your degree, you will need to plan each semester's schedule. Here are tips for getting the most out of each semester.
Focus first on your major
If you have chosen a major, select your classes for your major and build your schedule around these. You should plan semesters ahead of time, because some classes are only taught once a year. If you are planning to take classes in a spring or summer term, remember that fewer courses are offered. In this case, you might need to look ahead at the spring/summer course offerings when planning your winter classes.
If you have not chosen a major, focus on taking prerequisites for any majors you are exploring. You can find the prerequisites for each major on the LSA Academics and Requirements webpage. You want to use your time to explore subjects that might lead to long term interest. You will have plenty of time later to take classes specifically to meet LSA requirements.
If you are pursuing two majors, make sure that you understand the requirements for both. Some of the classes that you take might count for both majors. It is a good idea to pick one of the majors as your primary focus and center your planning on completing it for certain. That way, if something changes and you cannot complete both majors, you will complete one for certain.
What Else Should I take?
Your major, including prerequisites, will only take up about a quarter of the credit hours of the 120 credit hours you need to graduate. Therefore, you have a number of other choices to make when making your long-term plans and choosing classes each academic term.
Satisfying LSA Degree Requirements
Be purposeful but do not stress out about satisfying the LSA requirements. Most students find that they complete most of requirements just by taking classes that they find interesting. Then, after a couple of years, students might need to take one or two classes to complete distribution.
You get to choose which classes to take for each requirement. For example, each academic term more than 50 classes satisfy Race and Ethnicity and there are more than 200 natural sciences, social science, and humanities classes. You owe it to yourself to take the time to find classes that are interesting to you when looking to satisfy a requirement.
It is a good idea to begin your language classes early because you need to achieve fourth-term proficiency. Students who test into advanced levels usually find it easier to continue their study of the language, rather than take a break.
Classes For Your Minor
You are not required to complete a minor, but if you are pursuing one, selecting a course for it is an easy way to fill out your schedule. Remember, you will often have a choice of which classes to take for your minor so make sure you understand the requirements. You do not want to take a course because you thought it was required only to find out later that it was just one option for the requirement.
Always Be on the Lookout for Something New and Interesting
Spend some time exploring classes on the LSA Course Guide. You are probably not familiar with what each department offers and will probably find classes that spark the thoughts, “Wow, I never thought anyone would teach a class about that, I’ve always been interested in it.” Or, “Wow, I never even knew that was a subject.”
Check Topics courses each academic term. Topics courses are courses with a standard number that change topics each academic term depending on what topic the professor decides to teach. In addition, some departments offer multiple sections of their topics course every academic term, so make sure you look at the description for each section.
For example, one academic term there were four sections of HISTORY 328, Humanities Topics in History:
- Section 001 — Scotland Since 1603: History and Culture
- Section 002 — History of Forensic Pathology and Medicine
- Section 003 — History of Jewish Visual Culture: Vision and Images Ancient to Modern
- Section 004 — War and Peace in the Middle East
Ask your friends or classmates. If you are in a class that you enjoy, you might ask classmates if they have taken other similar courses that they would recommend. It is a good idea to ask fellow students why they looked a particular class because their interests and strengths might not match yours.