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From Zombies to eroticism in the Middle Ages: 10 unique gen-ed classes at the UA

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Courtesy Barry Jones | The Daily Wildcat Fruiting bags of mushrooms at the last stage of the growing process on an off-campus facility at the UA. The MycoCats are a student club as well as a larger organization who work to grow mushrooms sustainably.

Selecting your college courses can be a stressful process. How do you know if a class is going to be fun or a boring lecture that puts you to sleep? The University of Arizona has some pretty unique and exciting classes, but lots of them go unnoticed by students. After talking to students, teachers and preceptors, we have compiled a list of some of the more interesting classes that the UA has to offer.

1. PAH 150A - Video Game Sights, Sounds and Stories 

This course includes weekly assignments of playing video games and analyzing them, the homework that some college students dreams of. 

“We have a video game of the week and write a reflection on how it impacts society,” said Amanda Lewis, sophomore and current student in the course. 

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The course is aimed at helping students learn to critically analyze the social impact of video games in our culture and how developers create the game content. 

2. GEOS 216 - Dinosaurs 

Taught by Dr. Ji Yeon Shin, this science class on dinosaurs combines learning and fun and is made for those who love dinosaur bones or Jurassic World.

To keep the class of 318 students interested, the professor shows clips from dinosaur movies, uses fun pictures and graphics and does in-class activities with the students. 

Mat Schildt, an undergraduate preceptor for GEOS 216, who also took the course last spring, said, “it was one of the most entertaining classes I took last year.” 

3. GER 160 - From Animation to Zombies 

This course takes a look at zombies and what makes them alive. 

“It’s all about what we can classify as living beings … Zombies, are they consciously aware that they’re zombies? The root of zombies, the origin and what it means to be a zombie. It was really interesting,” said sophomore Julia Hoofnagle, who took the class last spring.

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Students learn about what being alive and consciously aware really means. The class also covers artificial intelligence, plants and technology.

4. PLP 150C - Mushrooms, Molds and Man 

This popular class teaches students about fungi in the real world: their uses, where they're found and everything in between. 

“You learn about fungi in medicine, in food and drinks, and how to hunt fungi. At the end of the year you get to do a fungal-related art project. There were lots of opportunities to be creative throughout the class,” said Leah Bondar, who took the course online last spring.

The teacher hosts “Fungapalooza” at the end of the year, where students can come look at each other's art projects, eat food, talk to the professor and hang out.

5. ACBS 102L - Introduction to Animal Sciences Laboratory

Students that want hands-on experience dealing with animals can take this course where, instead of a traditional lab, they travel to a farm. The students recently practiced performing artificial insemination on a sheep. 

Skylar Henry, a junior currently in the class, said, “We work with cows, sheep, horses and all kinds of animals. There’s an in-class lecture, but we drive to the farms instead of going to an actual lab once a week.”

6. HPS 330 - Human Sexuality

This class covers modern topics like prostitution, abortion and pornography,” says Lily Katz, a junior currently enrolled in the course. 

Students have to sign a consent form at the beginning of the semester because a few documentaries and X-rated clips are shown in class. The films are shown to promote positive views of the human anatomy and genitalia and to inform students about topics that are normally seen as “taboo” and not usually discussed.

7. HUMS 150B - Mind-Altering Substances in the Ancient World

This course on ancient use of mind-altering substances teaches students about the uses of drugs in the past, different types of drugs and all the ways that people altered their minds. It also taught students about people who used drugs for religious purposes or to contact spirits.

“It related history to actual substances that were used as drugs … It was a really cool class,” said sophomore Emily Morris, who took the course online over the summer.

8. GER 273 - Wicked Tales and Strange Encounters: German Romanticism and Beyond

Fairy tales and myths are discussed and analyzed in this class. Students get to learn about the fairy tales that were popular when they were kids and discuss the real meanings behind the stories. 

“You also learn about German fairy tales that are somewhat obscure, have interesting morals or are really cute and beautiful,” said Natalie Ross, a junior who took the course last year.

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The class does weekly discussion posts where they get to share their thoughts about the fairy tales and talk about if they enjoyed it or what they may not have liked.

9. GER 160D - Eroticism and Love in the Middle Ages

In this class, students learn about how sex was viewed and portrayed in the Middle Ages. The stories that are covered in the class are the only way that historians know people had sex back then, because it was a very scandalous subject to discuss. 

Students get to read funny and obscure stories about sex. They also learn about the culture of sex during that time and how eroticism was viewed. The course is discussion based, and graphic stories are analyzed by students.

10. TAR 160D - Popular Entertainment

Discussing films, TV shows and musicals is part of what students get to do in this course. It teaches students what makes things popular, and they view popular events as cultural events.

Last fall, students attended an All Souls Procession in Tucson where they took observed the festival and learned about the holiday. They take notes on the event and discuss the entertainment aspect of it.

There are hundreds of general education classes that can be taken at the UA across all interests. From zombies to dinosaurs to sex in the Middle Ages, there is always something new to learn from these classes.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/8)
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Includes tests since August 2, 2021
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Updated December 8, 2021