Feel Free to Explore!

When you are choosing your fall courses, we strongly encourage you to think outside the box, try new things, and explore!

Important things to know:

  • You have the time and scheduling space to branch out and take a variety of classes. Now is the time for guilt-free academic exploration! Don’t worry: every course you take counts toward graduation.
  • Classes listed as “First-Year Friendly” are just that; they were designed with first years in mind.
  • Read the course descriptions of First-Year Friendly courses on the online course schedule in Hornet HQ. Titles are often short and don’t fully tell you what the class is about.
  • If you are a prospective pre-med, math, or science student please remember to consult the science-specific guidelines and advice.
  • The following is a sampling of fall courses, with some additional perspective from past and present Departmental Student Advisors (DSAs), who are student leaders in their departments. See the online course schedule for a full listing of available fall courses.

Selected courses to explore – Fall 2021

African Studies

“African Studies courses are a great way to expand one’s own thinking and to challenge one’s preconceived notions about the role of Africa in the global context.”

Emily Wittman, K21 DSA

Suggested Course:
Civilizations of Africa (AFST/HIST-276)

Anthropology & Sociology

“Being an AnSo major has helped me to become a more aware and self-reflective person. The AnSo classes I have taken provided me with an understanding of my position in society as well as the complex structures that make up our lives.”

Savanna Kinchen, K18 DSA

Suggested Course:
Intro to Society & Culture (ANSO-103)

Art & Art History

“Art courses at K encourage students to explore different artistic avenues, whether that be new mediums or alternative concepts to enrich their work with more substance and discipline. Furthermore, these new sets of skills will translate into additional endeavors in your college career.”

Jorence Quiambao, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Digital Photography (ARTX-115); Painting: Traditional Practices (ARTX-128)


“By studying Classics, we bring the far-off ancient world into the modern day. We learn to connect with the people who have had a profound influence on our society today by reading their words as they were written.”

Kyle Neuner, K20 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Beginning Latin (LATN-101); Greek Civilization (CLAS/HIST-225); Women in Classical Antiquity (CLAS/HIST-230)

Computer Science

“Take a computer science course to gain insight into how our computer systems are created as you join our welcoming circle of coders led by kind and understanding professors. Not only will you learn or improve upon important communication and teamwork skills that are necessary in any workplace, you will also gain a community that you can always count on.”

Marissa Lewinski, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Intro to Computer Science (COMP-105); Intro to Scientific Computing (COMP-108)

Economics & Business

“Economics courses are not all about math and policies! These courses provide an opportunity to explore the broader context and implications of many social issues that students at K are passionate about. Economics incorporates social, economic, and political elements into our learning.”

Caryn Hannapel, K20 DSA

Suggested Course:
Principles of Economics (ECON-101); Accounting Basics (BUSN-100)
(NOTE: Principles of Economics is a required course for Economics or Business majors)


“No matter which discipline you end up in, English has something to offer you. The ability to understand narratives and make sense of the world around you will serve you far beyond your time here.”

Kit Charlton, K21 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Intro to Journalism (ENGL-105); Intro to Creative Writing (ENGL-107); Reading the World: Classical Hollywood (ENGL-153)

Film & Media Studies

“In an increasingly media-driven society, the ability to critically examine one of the most prolific forms of entertainment and communication is a necessary skill.”

Brianne VanderBilt, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
19th-Century Philosophy (PHIL-208); Lighting Design (THEA-210); Reading the World: Classical Hollywood (ENGL-153); Theatre of Illusionism (THEA-270)

First-Year Seminars

Your First-Year Seminar provides a great chance to delve into something different and exciting. Every first-year student is required to take one First-Year Seminar in the fall. The topics vary widely and no prior knowledge of or experience with the subject is required.

Think about trying one of these:
Contested Spaces in the Urban Environment (SEMN-149); Coping and Caring: A Kaleidoscope of Grief (SEMN-169); Epic Epics (SEMN-150); Frozen in Time: The Ancient City of Pompeii (SEMN-151); It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Innovative Economic Growth in Kalamazoo (SEMN-179); Let Freedom Swing: Jazz Music, Social Identity, and American Culture (SEMN-166); Migration, Community, and Self (SEMN-104); Radical Belonging (SEMN-132); Storytelling: The Power of Oral History (SEMN-163); The Complex Legacy of Christopher Columbus (SEMN-175); Truth, Lies, and Politics (SEMN-144); Writings from the Heart (SEMN-157)


“Everything has its history. History isn’t all wars and politics: history touches every experience, from art to science, language to sports, and the social spaces we live and work in. Everything that is came to be in processes across time and space, and those processes are understood in different ways. Explore them!”

CJ Martonchik, K21 DSA

Suggested Courses:
History of the US I (HIST/AMST-110); Latin America, 1491-1820 (HIST-291); Early China (HIST-282)


Kalamazoo currently offers language courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. To allow yourself plenty of options for study abroad, don’t be afraid to start a completely new-to-you language. Remember: Proficiency in a second language through the intermediate level is a degree requirement at K.
The 101 introductory course of all languages is offered in fall quarter.

Additional Suggested Courses – taught in English (no prior language experience required!):
Modern Japanese Literature in Translation (JAPN-239)

“Enrolling in a German class is not just about studying the language, you will also be taking a close look at both German culture and German history. Being able to understand both the history and culture of Germany helps students understand the position that Germans occupy in our contemporary world as leaders in the Democratic free world, and in the European Union. Through the use of speaking, reading comprehension, and writing skills, students will be able to pick up a great deal of knowledge in the many German courses that are offered.”

Alex Fahle, K22 DSA

“Seize the opportunity of communicating with 1.3 billion people in our world. Today, knowledge of Chinese language and culture is crucial for careers in science, business, and politics, so take your year of required language in Chinese and expand the networks you are connected to!”

Daniel Mota-Villegas, K21 DSA

“Learning a language is a good way to understand a country and a culture. Someone who might interested in Japanese movies or anime could find that those work is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, so something gets lost in translation for viewers who miss out on the sounds of Japanese in the original Japanese dialogue. Understanding the Japanese language a little better can help you better appreciate certain aspects of the film.”

Selina Ma, K22 DSA

“Music teaches about philosophy, anthropology, physics, languages/linguistics, collaboration/teamwork, and (of course) art. Taking courses in music allows for a better vantage point to see the vast interdisciplinary connections that can be made between seemingly unrelated subject areas (and Kalamazoo College offers a number of music courses for which prior musical knowledge is not a requirement!).”

Rushik Patel, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Music of World Cultures (MUSC-160); Program Music: Stories in Sound (MUSC-100)
Music lessons or ensembles (taken in addition to your three other full-unit courses)


“Studying Philosophy fosters not only the ability to think critically, but also the ability to engage in constructive dialogue. It prepares you to think holistically about a variety of subjects and gives you the vocabulary to discuss them.”

Hannah Kim, K17 DSA

Suggested Courses:
19th-Century Philosophy (PHIL-208); Logic and Reasoning (PHIL-107)

Physical Education

Students are required to complete 1.0 total unit of Physical Education (PE) activities to graduate. You can find the available options on the online schedule by choosing Physical Education in the Subjects column. You can also find detailed information about potential classes in the academic catalog. Course categories include Fitness, Dance, Sport Skill, Life Skill/Health, Outdoor, Independent Study, and Varsity Sport. PE classes are completed in addition to your three full-unit courses.

“Physical activity helps develop students’ competence and confidence to pursue a healthier lifestyle. The College believes in a ‘sound mind in a sound body’ approach by requiring physical education be a part of our curriculum. There is such a variety of classes offered that everyone can find a class that suits their needs and interests. I encourage students to try something new.”

Katie Miller, PE Department Chair and Women’s Basketball Coach

Political Science

“Political Science studies the social, political, and structural aspects of the political process. Students obtain a thorough understanding of international regimes, the fundamentals of democracy, opposing political ideologies, and various avenues of political thought.”

Kushi Matharu, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Congress & the Presidency (POLS-230); Politics of Revolution (POLS-205)


“Study psychology because human behavior is everywhere. You will learn skills like critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills, that will help you grow in all aspects of your life.”

Ellie Jones, K22 DSA

Suggested Course:
General Psychology (PSYC-101)


“Study religion because it offers an intersectional look into how individuals and groups navigate their lives through the different lenses of their religious beliefs.”

Olivia Anderson, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Hebrew Bible (RELG-160); Intro to Jewish Traditions (RELG/HIST-107)

Theatre Arts

“Theatre Arts courses push you to understand and faithfully represent other people’s stories. It’s a great challenge, and you might just learn a little bit about yourself along the way.”

Rebecca Chan, K22 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Fundamentals of Acting (THEA-120); Lighting Design (THEA-210); Theatre of Illusionism (THEA-270)

Women, Gender, and Sexuality

“Courses in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality department become closely connected to every other discipline at the college, whether it be history to STEM. I think the courses allow students to learn more about methodology — why scholars and authors write things the way they do, why they perform the research they do, etc. — and allow space for reflection in students’ personal lives.”

Karina Pantoja, K20 DSA

Suggested Course:
Intro to Women, Gender & Sexuality (WGS-101)