Take Control Of Your Education
This is your education. You choose your concentration, 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 concentrations and all the LSA degree requirements. Once you understand all of these requirements, you can use the following guidelines for planning your long-term and semester schedules. Go to the bottom of this page to download blank four-year, semester, and weekly schedules.
Focus First On Your Concentration
If you have chosen a concentration, select your classes for your concentration 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 concentration, focus on taking prerequisites for any concentrations you are exploring. 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 concentrations, make sure that you understand the requirements for both. Some of the classes that you take might count for both concentrations. It is a good idea to pick one of the concentrations as your primary focus and center your planning on completing it for certain. That way, if something changes and you cannot complete both concentrations, you will complete one for certain.
How Do I Decide What Else To Take?
Your concentration, 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 semester.
MEETING LSA DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Do not stress out about Meeting the LSA requirements. Most students find that they complete most of them without thinking about them. 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 semester more than 50 classes meet 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 meet 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 ACADEMIC MINOR
You are not required to complete an academic minor, but if you are pursuing one, selecting a class 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 academic minor, so make sure you understand the requirements. You do not want to take a class 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 semester. Topics courses are courses with a standard number that change topics each semester depending on what topic the professor decides to teach. In addition, some departments offer multiple sections of their topics course every semester, so make sure you look at the description for each section.
For example, one semester there were four sections of History 328, Humanities Topics in History:Section 1, Scotland Since 1603: History and Culture
Section 2, History of Forensic Pathology and Medicine
Section 3, History of Jewish Visual Culture: Vision and Images Ancient to Modern
Section 4, 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.
How Can I Fit Study Abroad Into My Schedule?
Many students feel that the requirements for their concentration and the LSA degree requirements make it too difficult to fit a semester abroad into their plan. This is not true. Any student with any concentration can complete a study abroad program and easily graduate on time. Some concentrations might require a bit more planning than others but with planning it can be done.
Taking classes for your concentration during study abroad. Depending on your concentration, you might find classes that count for your concentration. If taking a class or two for your concentration is your goal, then you can use that as a search criteria when exploring study abroad programs. As a general rule, the more proficient you are in the language of your study abroad country, the wider the class choices. If you struggled to satisfy the language requirement, you can choose a program in an English speaking country that offers classes in your concentration.
If you are interested in concentrating or minoring in a language, study abroad is a great way to take a large number of credits in one semester. You can work with your concentration advisor to find classes that can count for your concentration or minor.
Many students meet distribution requirements during study abroad. You will need to get your classes pre-approved for distribution credit by your academic advisor, but you should not have trouble taking classes that help you complete your degree requirements. In particular, students have found it fairly easy to find humanities, social science, and creative expression credits because most programs offer classes covering the history, culture, and politics of the host country.
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