Fall-ing in Love: The 2013 Autumn Course Guide

Posted by at 12:29PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.03.03 PM

Explore Courses was down more than four hours before Axess even opened for enrollment. Most claim that it was due to overzealous frosh (hint: you can’t sign up for classes until orientation. Please stop bogging down the server), overzealous-er upperclassmen (please don’t judge us for indulging our need to obsessively research and meticulously plan the remaining time in our academic careers),  the fact that the Stanford computing just has a general tendency to suck (Exhibit A: Old Axess. Exhibit B: New Axess) or some combination thereof. But I know the real reason. The real reason you all crashed Explore Courses is because you knew. You all knew how each and every department at Stanford completely blew their course offerings out of the water this quarter.

I’ve written this course guide for over a year now (except for last Spring  – sorry for any of you who looked for it, I kind of dropped the ball. My bad.) and I have to say that each and every quarter of carefully combing through the Bulletin* leaves me freshly dumbstruck with the sheer number of delightful offerings this school continues to pump out. Seriously. Writing this thing is actually pretty excruciating. I want ten more years here. I want to major in about seventeen different things and minor in eight more. I want to take ALL THE CLASSES. But alas. I can’t. So I write this guide and hope that I can live vicariously through all you wonderful people who can collectively take them all for me. With that, I wish you a fantastic quarter full of vigorous and enlightening academic pursuits and the stress, anxiety, sleep-deprivation, loss of morale, and overall decline in physical and mental health that will inevitably accompany them. Cheers.

*The physical book that used to house the year’s course offerings back when the Marguerite was just a horse and an Apple was just a piece of fruit.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.04.22 PM

Hint: It’s Both.

Best Named Courses

CS 99SI: Callback Me Maybe: Contemporary JavaScript

Kudos to Vivek Nair and Karthik Viswanathan for coming up with hands down the best course name of all time.

LAW 639: Lawyering and Social Intelligence

GES 5: Living on the Edge

EDUC 104Q: “Give Me the Child Until He is Seven…” The Early Roots of Human Behavior

ME 201: Dim Sum of Mechanical Engineering

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.06.14 PM

 Hey Freshman!!!

I cannot stress enough how absolutely clueless I was when attempting to pick classes for the first time. While I love my PMA for both his hospitality and eccentricity, to call him useless as an adviser would be an insult to regular useless things, like Coursework or the Chapparal. Despite my insistence that I was really interested in majors like Human Biology, Biology, and Earth Sciences (Spoiler Alert: I didn’t wind up majoring in any of them), upon my asking whether or not I should consider signing up for classes like Math or Chemistry, he essentially told me not to worry so much and to just “take the classes you feel like taking”. While gentle and well-intentioned, it wasn’t exactly the most directive advice for an overwhelmed freshman. As such, I wound up in the most random combination of classes possible, and behind track for the majors I thought I wanted to study.

I don’t want you guys to feel as helpless, lost, and overwhelmed as I did when I first scaled the behemoth that is the Explore Courses website (that said, I did admittedly wind up getting pretty good at it, as evidenced by this post). So I wanted to take this as an opportunity to first and foremost give a morsel of direction. Whether you’re clueless or your PMA is (or both), here’s a cheat sheet of some good starter classes for your first quarter here. Most of these are general enough to get you started towards a host of majors you might consider later, and – if nothing else – almost all of them fill some kind of requirement. Keep in mind that by no means must you take large, lecture-style introductory classes. You can take any undergraduate (and even many graduate classes) that you feel prepared for, no matter how small or esoteric. This is just a good collection of classes to get your wheels turning.

 CS 106A: Programming Methodology (ENGR 70A)

 POLISCI 1: Introduction to International Relations (INTNLREL 1)

 PSYCH 1: Introduction to Psychology

 ECON 1: Principles of Economics

 PHIL 2: Introduction to Moral Philosophy (ETHICSOC 20)

 POLISCI 3P: Justice (ETHICSOC 171, IPS 208, PHIL 171, PHIL 271, POLISCI 136S, POLISCI 336S, PUBLPOL 103C, PUBLPOL 307)

 ARTHIST 1: Introduction to the Visual Arts: History of Western Art from the Renaissance to the Present

 AMSTUD 150A: Colonial and Revolutionary America (HISTORY 150A)

 COMM 1A: Media Technologies, People, and Society (COMM 211)

 EARTHSYS 10: Introduction to Earth Systems

 FEMGEN 101: Introduction to Feminist Studies (AMSTUD 107, CSRE 108, HISTORY 107)

TAPS 1: Introduction to Theater and Performance Studies


I took my first introsem in Spring of my sophomore year and really regret not taking more. Not to sound like the brochure, but introsems really are a great way to get a first step into Stanford academics, develop close relationships with top-notch faculty, and meet other freshman. They’re usually pretty mellow in terms of work and unit load and are more about getting you interested in the subject. I can’t think of anyone I know who ever regretted taking an introsem. Most introsems can also count toward major credit or GERs. Any class whose name ends in “N” is a freshman-preference seminar; any class that ends in “Q” is a sophomore-preference seminar. Here is a small sampling that stuck out to me while perusing the website….

AMSTUD 114Q: Visions of the 1960s

ARTHIST 123N: Thinking about Visual Attention : from Balzac to Facebook

BIO 34N: Hunger

EE 14N: Things about Stuff

STATS 48N: Riding the Data Wave

ITALIAN 75N: Narrative Medicine and Near-Death Experiences (FRENCH 75N)

ME 14N: How Stuff Is Made

RELIGST 14N: Demons, Death, and the Damned: The ‘Other’ and the Otherwordly in America

* Note to Engineers and the quantitatively-inclined: If you are moderately secure in your plans to study an engineering or more scientific field, I hope you know what to take in order to keep yourself on track. But for those of you who don’t, I would consider the following: the 40 and 50 Math series are required in certain doses for most quantitative majors; the CME 100 series also is pretty ubiquitous. For those interested in Natural Science-related  fields, I strongly recommend taking Chem 31A or X as soon as you can – it’s only offered in the fall, and – like the math courses above and CS106A –  it checks a box for a lot of scientific majors.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.43.53 PM

Lifesaver GERs

For anyone who ever posted “Hey, does anyone know of any cool easy classes that fulfill *blank*?!?!?!” –  hopefully this list can help answer that question.

Fulfills GER: Math : 

PHIL 50: Introductory Logic

Fulfills GER: Hum: 

ARTHIST 120: Living in a Material World: Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish Painting (ARTHIST 320)

ARTHIST 157A: Histories of Photography (ARTHIST 357A)

ARTSTUDI 131: Sound Art I (MUSIC 154A)

ENGLISH 148: Family Drama: American Plays about Families (TAPS 248)

ENGR 131: Ethical Issues in Engineering

FILMSTUD 101: Fundamentals of Cinematic Analysis (FILMSTUD 301) 

FILMSTUD 141: Music Across Media: Music Video to Postclassical Cinema (FILMSTUD 341, MUSIC 185, MUSIC 385) 

MUSIC 2C: An Introduction to Opera 

MUSIC 20A: Jazz Theory 

MUSIC 149: Reactions to the Record: Early Recordings, Lost Styles, and Music’s Future (MUSIC 249)

Fulfills GER: SocSci: 

ANTHRO 128: Visual Studies

ANTHRO 177: Environmental Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ANTHRO 277, HUMBIO 114)

FILMSTUD 115: Documentary Issues and Traditions (FILMSTUD 315) 

HISTORY 202G: Peoples, Armies and Governments of the Second World War (HISTORY 302G)

HISTORY 243G: Tobacco and Health in World History (HISTORY 343G)

LINGUIST 150: Language in Society 

Fulfills EC: EthicReas : 

CLASSGEN 116: Ecology in Philosophy and Literature 

Fulfills EC: Gender : 

ECON 145: Labor Economics

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.08.52 PM

 Double Dippers

Fulfills DB: Hum,  EC: GlobalCom

AFRICAAM 30: The Egyptians (CLASSHIS 105)

MUSIC 7B: Musical Cultures of the World

RELIGST 136: Buddhist Yoga

Fulfills DB: Hum,  EC: AmerCul

AMSTUD 132: American Art and Culture

Fulfills DB: Hum,  EC: Gender

CLASSGEN 17: Gender and Power in Ancient Greece

MUSIC 14N: Women Making Music

Fulfills DB: Hum,  EC: EthicReas

SLAVIC 190: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in Dialogue with Contemporary Philosophical, Social, and Ethical Thought

Fulfills DB: SocSci,  EC: Gender

ANTHRO 15: Sex and Gender

Fulfills DB: SocSci,  EC: GlobalCom

HISTORY 106B: Global Human Geography: Europe and Americas

HISTORY 125: Dark Century: Eastern Europe After 1900


Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.10.04 PM

Around the World in 80 73* Days

So you couldn’t swing a trip to Australia, Paris, Florence, or Kyoto this quarter? Fear not! With one of these classes, you’ll spend the quarter enjoying the culture and spirit of far off places without jet-lag, weird food, a language barrier, inclement weather, or homesickness bogging down your enthusiasm.

ARCHLGY 145: Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Maritime Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean (CLASSART 145)

ARTHIST 263B: The View through the Windshield: Cars and the American Landscape

ARTHIST 213: Renaissance Print Culture: Art in the Cantor Arts Center

ITALIAN 127: Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca

JAPANGEN 75N: Around the World in Seventeen Syllables: Haiku in Japan, the U.S., and the Digital World

FRENCH 124: The View from Paris: Key Moments in French Culture

FRENCH 132: Literature, Revolutions, and Changes in 19th- and 20th-Century France

ITALIAN 273: Past Imperfect: Revisiting World War II in Italian Fiction and Film

JAPANGEN 57: How to Find Modern Japan: A Gateway Course

SLAVIC 145: Age of Experiment: Russian Literature in 1820-1845 (SLAVIC 345)

 * Number of days in Fall quarter 2013Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.11.55 PM

Topical Sh*t

If you spent more than five minutes on Facebook, Reddit, watching the news or reading a newspaper (LOL) this summer, you know that there’s a lot going on in the world that exists beyond Palm Drive. Sign up for one of these classes to get clued in and fired up about what’s going on out there.

SOC 152: The Social Determinants of Health (SOC 252)

MS&E 193: Technology and National Security (MS&E 193W, MS&E 293)

CSRE 145F: Race and Power (ANTHRO 145, ANTHRO 245)

SOC 218: Social Movements and Collective Action (SOC 118)

SOC 155: The Changing American Family (SOC 255)

CSRE 28SI: What is Whiteness? Historical and Contemporary Definitions of White Racial Identity in the U.S.

POLISCI 121L: Racial-Ethnic Politics in US (AMSTUD 121L)

HUMBIO 120: Health Care in America: An Introduction to U.S. Health Policy

MED 71N: Hormones in a Performance-Enhanced Society

EARTHSYS 185: Feeding Nine Billion

NATIVEAM 121: Discourse of the Colonized: Native American and Indigenous Voices

 Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.13.14 PM

Real World Knowledge  

In classes like these, the question of “when am I ever going to need to know this?” will never cross your mind.

ARTSTUDI 173E: Cell Phone Photography

EARTHSYS 11SI: Grow It, Cook It, Eat It: Personal Empowerment in Interdisciplinary Food Systems

DANCE 67: Being Scene: Dance, Fashion and Art as Exhibition

ECON 161: The Finance of Retirement and Pensions

BIO 15N: Environmental Literacy

ECON 157: Imperfect Competition

COMM 104W: Reporting, Writing, and Understanding the News

CS 193P: iPhone and iPad Application Programming

SOC 129: Social Psychology (SOC 229)

ATHLETIC 192: Foundations of Mindful Eating

ATHLETIC 201: Flourishing

ECON 25N: Public Policy and Personal Finance (PUBLPOL 55N)

 Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 9.15.46 PM

There’s a Class for That

 So many classes. Too little time.

ARTSTUDI 174B: Internet Art

SIS 60: Investigating Stanford’s Treasures

FILMPROD 105: Script Analysis (FILMPROD 305)

FILMSTUD 110: Science Fiction Cinema (FILMSTUD 310)

RELIGST 2: Is Stanford a Religion?

RELIGST 55: Exploring Zen

RELIGST 237: Heavenly Bodies: Saints’ Bodies, Relics and Miracles in Late Antique and Medieval Europe (HISTORY 207F, HISTORY 307F, RELIGST 337)

ARCHLGY 124: Archaeology of Food: production, consumption and ritual (ARCHLGY 224)

ARTSTUDI 180: Color (TAPS 180P)

GERMAN 233: Cultures of Forgetting: On the Ethics and Aesthetics of Dementia

CHILATST 53J: Love Notes: Queers of Color on Politics of the Heart (CSRE 53J)


4 Responses to “Fall-ing in Love: The 2013 Autumn Course Guide”

  1. Ron Miller says:

    Great class guide!

    San Diego Wedding Photographer

  2. Erik says:

    Excellent list! But don’t forget MS&E 187: FEED the Change. One of few design school classes targeted specially on undergraduates!

  3. Uber-fuzzy says:

    Any chance you can post some cool/easy classes to satisfy GER: EngrAppSci?

  4. Leigh says:

    Hey Uber-fuzzy! I definitely looked into the elusive Engr-App GER when putting the Autumn guide together – this quarter’s offerings are (by my standards) either not unique enough to write about (you’ve got your CS105/106A etc. – the usuals) or not fuzzy enough to seem enticing to lovers of the liberal arts like yourself (unless you think the EE core sounds like a nonstop party). However you can check out Winter and Spring offerings by using the “Term Offered” and “UG Requirements” filters in Explore Courses. I also definitely encourage you to check our course guides from past quarters (like Winter 13: http://tusb.stanford.edu/2012/11/the-one-the-only-the-2013-winter-course-guide.html). Lastly, if you’re a sophomore or freshman, you should seriously explore Introsems – there are a TON of awesome, fuzzy-friendly Engr-App classes there!


Comments are moderated and will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. Please do not be alarmed if your comment does not show up immediately. We will get it posted soon.