College of Charleston classes begin August 19, 2014. For many first-year students, class schedules will include courses to fill the College’s general education requirements. Figuring out how to meet these requirements isn’t always easy, which is why the Academic Advising and Planning Center is a good resource. They offer individualized, technology-enhanced advising to help students explore their interests and discuss course options.

Actually completing general education requirements can be many things – challenging, eye opening, fun – but boring is not among them. From natural science courses with field trips to the beach to history classes focused on serpents, demons and divas in western civilization, the College’s liberal arts core of requirements offers something for each student. Check out some unexpected twists on classes that fill general education requirements offered this semester!

 HIST 115 – 04, 08, 11 and 14:  Serpents, Demons, and Divas in Western Civilization

Department: History

Fills: Pre-modern history requirement or portion of general education humanities requirement

Adunct Professor of History Beth Phillips, who teaches all sections of this course, said “This course analyzes the relationship between religion and gender from the earliest Mesopotamian societies to the early modern European period.”

History professors offer several themed 115 and 116 courses – for a full list click here.

To find out more about general education humanities courses, click here.

 SOCY 109: Sociology of Food

Department: Sociology and Anthropology

Fills: Portion of social science requirement

Professor of Sociology Idee Winfield described the goal of this course as exploring “how what we eat and the way we eat it expresses our social identities; how preparing and consuming (or not consuming) food reproduce gender roles; how the system for producing and marketing food affects what (and how much) we eat; and how food is both an object of politics and a basis for social movements.”

Find out more about sociology courses here, and check out additional options for social sciences courses here.

JPNS 101: Elementary Japanese

Department: Japanese Studies

Fills: Portion of foreign languages requirement

If you’re interested in fulfilling your foreign languages requirement with a language you haven’t taken before, then good news! The College offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, Ancient Greek, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

According to Japanese Studies Program Director Yoshiki Chikuma, elementary Japanese teaches students “to read and write three Japanese writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and some kanji,” along with “some basic expressions related to making friends, shopping, interacting with the (hypothetical) host family, and even going out on a date!”

ENGL 110: Introduction to Academic Writing

Department: English

Fills: first-year writing requirement

Unless you’re exempt through transferred credits, English 110 is required of all first-year and transfer students. Whether or not writing is your thing, written communication is a crucial skill in the academic and professional worlds, at least according to these notable alumni.

See more information on filling the first-year writing requirement here, and learn more about the Department of English at this link.

GEOL 103, 103L: Environmental Geology

Department: Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Fills: Portion of natural sciences requirement

The course description for environmental geology reads, “This course provides an introduction to the study of environmental geology. The course emphasizes how humans live with geological hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods.”

The co-requisite lab for both Environmental Geology and Dynamic Earth (GEOL 101) include field trips to Folly Beach to “to examine coastal processes, such as dune formation, coastal erosion, effects of changing sea level on coastal structures, and much more,” according to Laboratory Coordinator Robin Humphreys!

Check out more geology courses here. Students can fulfill their natural sciences requirement with courses in astronomy, biology, chemistry or physics in addition to geology – learn more here.

MATH 104: Elementary Statistics

Department: Mathematics

Fills: Portion of mathematics or logic requirement

You can take math 103 or higher to fill your math or logic requirement, or, if it’s right for you, Symbolic Logic (a philosophy course) can fill part of this requirement. Elementary Statistics is required for various majors at the College, and the subject matter is actually applicable to your life after college.

Learn more about about applicable math and logic courses here.

The Office of the Registrar and the Academic Advising and Planning Center offer many great resources to help you plan your college semesters effectively, including the new major road map tool, available here. The add-drop period for the fall 2014 semester ends August 25, 2014. Be sure to consult your academic advisor when considering your course selections!