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. 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 2020

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 Courses:
Intro to African Studies (AFST-104); Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (AFST/POLS-248)

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

“Take art courses in order to provide you an outlet for creativity, as well as yield a different way of thinking. Art and Art History courses help broaden and discover ways to analyze your modern visual culture through learning about the past. We see between 3,000-8,000 images a day, and taking an art and art history course can help you to understand and evaluate those images more critically.”

Mattie Del Toro, K20 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Art and Gender (ARTX-290); Basic Drawing (ARTX-105); Survey of Art I: 1100-1600 (ARTX-145)


“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 Course:
Beginning Latin (LATN-101); Greco-Roman Slavery (CLAS-295)

Computer Science

“Study computer science because computers and technology are used in all careers and areas of study. The skills learned in CS classes benefit students of all majors and can be applied in many different situations.”

Josh Gibson, K20 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)
Note for potential Business majors: ECON-101 is a pre-requisite course (i.e., it must be taken before) for Business courses.


“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); Reading the World: Classical Hollywood (ENGL-153); Reading the World: Global Stages (ENGL-154); Reading the World: Identities (ENGL-155)

Film & Media Studies

“Studying films is about more than just watching films for their entertainment value. It gives us different ways to view life across boundaries of time, place, and culture.”

Kim Schmidt, K21 DSA

Suggested Courses:
19th-Century Philosophy (PHIL-208); Art and Gender (ARTX-290); Japanese Culture through Film (JAPN-240); 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:
Hello World: Geography, Identity, and the Internet (SEMN-147); Political Education and Student Activism (SEMN-126); Romance and Revolutions (SEMN-117); Stalin and the Art of Fear (SEMN-165); Theatre and the Other (SEMN-123); Whose Homer? (SEMN-116); 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, Memory, and Identity (HIST-254); History of the US I (HIST/AMST-110); Latin America, 1491-1820 (HIST-291); Modern China (HIST-280); Modern Europe (HIST-102)


Kalamazoo currently offers language courses in Chinese, French, German, 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!):
Japanese Culture through Film (JAPN-240); Modern Chinese Literature in Translation (CHIN-235)

“Japan is one of the most important political and economical partners for United States in East Asia. Studying about them will expand your understandings about the world.”

Younghoon Kim, K19 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

“Music courses and ensembles strengthen the mind by providing opportunities to learn about many different disciplines, such as history, culture, language, math, and the arts. Music also serves as an outlet for creativity and is accessible to everyone, allowing students of all musical backgrounds to learn more about ourselves and the world around us!

Jenna Sherman, K20 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Intro to Music (MUSC-105); Program Music: Stories in Sound (MUSC-100)


“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)

Political Science

“Exploring courses in political science can help you make sense of a lot of the political processes that have affected us in the recent months, since the effects of policy have been more distinguishable. Political Science helps you see the world and the people within it from different perspectives and contexts.”

Jonah Bolton, K21 DSA

Suggested Courses:
Congress & the Presidency (POLS-230); Politics of Latin America (POLS-245)


“Consider studying religion because during your college experience, studying and taking classes outside of your comfort zone would only give you that much more perspective regarding the complexities of our world. Even if you are not personally affiliated with a religion, taking the time to study how they have impacted societal structure, whether good or bad, is meaningful when striving for a better future and creating lasting social change.”

Destiny Hutcherson, K21 DSA

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

Theatre Arts

“Theatre is really about learning to work as a team for a common goal. In no other field do you learn so thoroughly what it means to collaborate than through mounting a show. Performing can also help you develop skills in public speaking, and working in production is an exercise in problem solving. Theatre also engages with social issues in intersectional ways through the most simple form: telling stories.”

Lukia Artemakis, K21 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)