What are the “gut” courses at Stanford?

Posted by at 3:43PM

Gawker ran an interesting piece today essentially just showing an e-mail send out by a TD’09-er at Yale listing all the “gut” courses by department. “Gut courses” means “easy courses” although I’ve never heard the term used before. Maybe it’s an East Coast thing, something lost on the West Coasters/Best Coasters. The comments at the bottom of the post were particularly vicious, and illustrate just how good some people are at getting by without doing very much work, or anything at all.
Anyway, what interests me is what are the easiest courses at Stanford? The ones that tend to fill up with people looking for an easy GER, boost their law-school GPA, and people looking to make their 12-unit slackerdom into 17-unit respectability.
Some nominations:
Biosci 1. Human Evolution and Environment. I personally took this class and maybe spent two total hours on the class outside of lecture, which I never went to anyway. If you took AP Bio in high school, you know all you need to know.
Sleep and Dreams. Every humanities major’s favorite NatSci GER, no one really takes the class seriously but apparently it’s harder than it looks. But I still can’t take the class seriously.
Introsems in general. Did anyone really have to do any work in their introsems freshman and sophomore year? The only work I had to do was the old standby “every student has to summarize the reading and lead the discussion for one class.”
The “global human geography” series in history. You can take three of these and be halfway to be a history minor, which is ludicrous because these classes aren’t even really history per se. The textbook looks like it could be for high school freshmen.


Music 19. Introduction to Music Theory. According to the very useful (but shamefully under-used) CourseRank, all ten students who reported their grades got between an A and an A+. That’s pretty gosh-darn high.
Calculus 20 series. I heard about this while taking Math 51–that there’s a calc class below Math 41. I am sure most Stanford students come in with AP Calc AB or BC, which puts them in 41 at least. Who takes the 20 series? And why?
Come on folks! Contribute to the list!
What is interesting is that this list is also relatively consistent with the list of “fun classes.” I suppose there’s a correlation between fun and easy? Or are classes fun because they allow for truly fun things to do be done in the time you aren’t doing work?

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4 Responses to “What are the “gut” courses at Stanford?”

  1. h says:

    stats 60

  2. anonymous says:

    took an amazingly easy class on Greek Culture, forget the name. 1x a week, watch movies, easy assignments, no final. 3 units. Fulfills world culture GER.

  3. b says:

    how in the world can you forget good old Group Comm – or is that just a blast from the past? Twice a week, 90 minutes of communicating… CAKE!

  4. spitz says:

    “10 things” (or something like that taught by Michael Shanks. It was incredibly interesting, and your grade is ONE PROJECT. This is a 4-5 unit class we’re talking about.

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