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Suggested Courses

These are primarily 100- and 200-level courses that have few or no prerequisites. Many of them fulfill General Education requirements. Included are new and unique offerings, courses that provide a good introduction to a major or field of study, and courses that are great for challenging your ideas about the Areas of Knowledge.

Quarter: Winter

GEN ST 348: Are Do-Gooders Doing Good? Critical Perspectives on Civic Engagement

with Kathryn Pursch Cornforth and David Hlebain
Are you committed to giving back? Trying to make a difference? Want to get more out of your volunteer experience? During Winter Quarter, we invite you to join in a critical reflection on what it means to “do good”. General Studies 348 will offer a hands-on opportunity to explore the concept of civic engagement. Students will critically reflect on their own service experiences through the lens of academic theories, engage with principles of community work, and learn from the experiences of community leaders. The course will draw heavily on students' involvement in service and will weave these together with elements of other academic coursework and future academic/career goals. The course has a required service-learning component; students are encouraged to utilize current service commitments toward this requirement, though individualized support will be offered to those looking for a service opportunity. This is a three-credit course that is offered as credit/no credit. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:20PM in Mary Gates Hall. Those interested in the course should email engage@uw.edu with questions and/or to request an add code.
Credits: 3
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

INTSCI 301: Integrated Sciences Careers Seminar

with Brian Buchwitz
Are you interested in a career in the sciences? Would you like to explore a wide variety of careers available to students with a broad science background? Network with professionals in science careers, including science education, science writing, and science policy? Learn about successful pathways to careers in science, as wells as the skills required for those careers? Weekly guest speakers in INTSCI 301 expose students to a variety of possible careers and provide students with tips and insight based on their own careers in the sciences. Students complete a final "field experience" consisting of a visit and informational interview with someone working in the sciences. Open to undergraduates at all levels with an interest in learning more about science careers.
Credits: 1
Recommended by Meghan Oxley
November 5, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 119: Lab Tours in Earth and Space Sciences

with Victor Aque
Are you interested in the scientific research that occurs at the UW? Take a look specifically at the cutting-edge research that is happening in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences including the Rocket Lab, Isotope Lab, and many others! Each week the course leader will take you to a lab within the department where the researchers in those labs will teach you about their research!
Credits: 1
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 100: Dinosaurs

The name of this course says it all! Explore the exciting world of dinosaurs with Ruth Martin, Ph.D, who is a Research Associate at the Burke Museum! This course will cover the biology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and extinction of dinosaurs, and a history of their exploration. With dinosaurs as focal point, course also introduces the student to how hypotheses in geological and paleobiological science are formulated and tested.
Credits: 2
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

SPH 480: Research Methods

with Janet Baseman & Lonnie Nelson
Do cell phones cause cancer? Is climate change real? Maybe you'll find out for yourself in SPH 480, the most fun you'll ever have in research methods! SPH 480 takes a case-based approach to focus on how research findings impact the world around us and our health. Students will learn how to understand the research process and how to interpret scientific findings, thus becoming a better consumer of public health information. No need to be a scientist--students should be curious and ready to explore! Please note, this is also the only time students outside of the Public Health Major will be able to take this course!
Credits: 5
Recommended by Ardith Feroglia
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 239: Sustainability: Personal Choices, Broad Impacts

with Kristi Straus and Megan Horst
What does sustainability mean? How do you make sustainability choices in your everyday life? How do you effect change? Engage in personal sustainability experiments and explore key pillars of sustainability, the history of sustainability movements, and sustainability in action. Course open to students of all majors and years.This new course is offered as a 3 credit, lecture only version or a 5 credit version where you attend the lecture and do about 50 hours of service learning with organizations working on sustainability. Heard a lot about sustainability? Want to get involved, but don't know where to start? Start here!
Credits: 5
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

URBDP 498: Planning as a Profession

with David Blum and Reema Shakra
Want to learn about urban planning, real estate, or community development? Want to network with professionals? Take this one credit class and hear from a professional each week! Past speakers have included: Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10; Marshall Foster, Deputy Director, City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development; Ellen Miller-Wolfe, Director of Economic Development, City of Kirkland; Mandi Roberts, Principal, OTAK, Inc., Kirkland; Jeremy Eknoian, Manager, Internal Operations – Real Estate Office, University of Washington.
Credits: 1
Recommended by Kelly Hostetler
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENGL 285: Writers on Writing

In this class the collective UW Creative Writing faculty, along with other visiting artists, will remember in public why they do what they do. On ten sequential Tuesdays, they will speak in depth about what interests them most, including the ways and means of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and the joys and vagaries of inspiration, education, artistic practice, and the writing life. Thursdays will constellate a literary reading series. Discussion sections will be scheduled in between. This course is intended to bring infectious literate passion within earshot of as many people as possible at the University of Washington. No formal prerequisites. Everyone is invited.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Kimberly Swayze
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

EDUC 210: Education and the Playfield

with Sara Lopez
This course examines the intersection of education and sport from early childhood to college experiences. Explores educational themes related to physical development, sport's influence on individual and community development, access to physical activities, equity and inclusion within the sports environment, and the role of sports in social change. This course is open to all students during registration period 2 beginning November 24th.
Credits: 3
Recommended by Lisa Murakami
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

GEN ST 344: How Can I Help? An Introduction to Service and Community

with Talya Gillman and Jackie Mena
Many UW students are interested in exploring service and volunteer opportunities in Seattle; however, it can be difficult to know where to get involved, how to find a good fit, and how to most effectively work in a community-based setting. How Can I Help? An Introduction to Service and Community is a three-credit service-learning course that will offer a basic foundation on community service for students in their first or second year at the UW. Through participating in a quarter-long service-learning commitment, visiting local non-profit organizations, and participating in in-class discussions, readings, and activities students will gain a deeper understanding of the wide array of ways they can most effectively partner with their local community and integrate a commitment to service into their academic and professional futures. This three-credit seminar course is offered on Wednesdays from 3:30-6:20PM. Request an add code by emailing engage@uw.edu.
Credits: 3
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ATM S 220A: Exploring the Atmospheric Sciences

This course consists of weekly lectures from faculty, graduate students and research scientists within the field of atmospheric sciences. It provides information on their research projects, background and career paths. Areas of focus within the lecture series typically include lectures based on research on global warming, hurricanes, air pollution, climate change and other specialized topics.
Credits: 1
Recommended by Melissa P. Pritchard
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

Geog 258: Digital Geographies

with Sarah Elwood
From the use of Google’s MyMaps or geo-tagged Tweets to coordinate street protests for democracy, to ‘check-in’ apps that alert when us when a friend is nearby, to online or smart-phone citizen data collection apps, making and using digital maps and geographic information is an increasing part of everyday life in many parts of the world. This class explores the key components, applications and societal impacts of contemporary geographic data and technologies, including online mapping software, handheld geographic devices, the geoweb, location-based services, crowdsourced spatial data sets, and open source geographic technologies. You will develop hands-on experience using these forms of geographic information and technologies, and develop a framework for critically assessing the digital geographies emerging through these new data, technologies, and applications.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Rick Roth
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 315: Environmental Earth Science

with Terry Swanson
This course is open to anyone who has taken ESS 101! Don't be put off by the high number! Take another class with Terry Swanson and continue your base knowledge of Geological Sciences while exploring applications to Environmental Science! Analysis of geologic constraints upon human activity and the environmental consequences of such activity. Topics include hillslope processes, fluvial and groundwater processes, earthquake and volcanic hazards, and environmental aspects of deforestation and atmospheric pollution.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

SOC 201D: The College Experience

with Annie McGlynn-Wright
Your life, as a college student, has been studied by sociologists who have researched everything from "hook ups" to studying. This course asks YOU to become the sociologist and explore college life using a sociological lens. In the course, you will become familiar with the ways that sociologists have explored and explained contemporary college life. You will learn and use qualitative methods and sociology theory to study your own lives. As a class, we will ask: what is the college experience?
Credits: 5
Recommended by Autumn Yoke
November 18, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENGL 243: Reading Poetry

with Jane Wong
This course is for anyone curious about poetry and willing to experiment with ways of close reading poems! Some questions we will wrestle with throughout the quarter include: how can we “enter” a poem? What formal techniques do poets employ (or break) and why? What is the relationship between form and content? What are the stakes of poetry today? In addition to reading poems, we will engage essays on poetics, including essays and letters from poets such as Aimé Césaire, John Keats, Frederico García Lorca, Marianne Moore, Claudia Rankine, and others. This course also seeks to consider poetry not as a dusty old book, but as something alive, current, and full of potential. Students will be required to attend and reflect on at least one poetry reading in the local Seattle literary community.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Kimberly Swayze
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ATM S 101A: Weather

with Darren Wilton
The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the physical processes responsible for weather and related atmospheric phenomena. The emphasis will be on how and why processes occur in the atmosphere, while fostering familiarity with the commonly used terminology.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Melissa P. Pritchard
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

EDUC 300: Creativity and Design in Education

with Iain M Robertson, a design faculty from Landscape Architecture, and Professor Leslie Rupert Herrenkohl in Learning Sciences and Human Development.
EDUC 300 explores education pedagogy through a series of interactive creativity exercises derived from design studio methods and practices. Exercises encourage and challenge participants to see their education from diverse perspectives. The process of exploration & discovery will be followed by discussion & synthesis, with subsequent reflection & integration recorded and memorialized in participants' journals. Exercise experiences will be linked to pedagogical theories and will consider how these tangible, spatial, social, and experiential 'creativity exercises' may be adapted for application in K-12 settings. Participants will be required to surprise themselves weekly. Own up! Only you can own your own education! OPEN TO ALL UNDERGRADUATES
Credits: 5
Recommended by Lisa Murakami
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 495 F: Environmental Communication, Messaging and Outreach

with P. Sean McDonald
You walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? Effective environmental communication is critical for practitioners and engaged citizens alike. This course will explore the variety of media and methods for conveying environmental information in the digital age. Learn to develop clear and concise messaging; practice techniques for improving presentation content and delivery; discuss tools for reaching appropriate audiences.
Credits: 2
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 485: Environmental Planning and Permitting in Practice

with Todd Wildermuth
Advanced survey of the applied environmental regulation for project managers or students (juniors and seniors) from any major with an interest in environmental law, policy, and planning.This course includes: a case-study focus to explore the planning and permitting requirements of major state and federal environmental regulations; special emphasis on environmental impact statements (NEPA and SEPA), the Growth Management Act, development projects in and around water, and endangered species regulation; frequent connections to controversies in the regional and national spotlight such as coal and oil transport, endangered salmon, and climate change adaptation.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 203: Glaciers and Global Change

with Edwin Waddington
This course is open to non-science majors who are interested in the changing climate of the Earth! This course explores how glaciers record climate change and human activities through bubbles of ancient air and trace impurities in the ice. Also reviews glaciers impact on societies through sea-level, coastlines, water supplies, and transportation routes.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

SOC 201B: Scientists Are People Too! The Role and Practice of Science in Modern Society

with Kelly Kistner
When sociologists look at the social phenomena they consider aspects of organization, coordination, and institutions; authority, trust, and power; material tools, places, and technologies; conflict, change, communication, and cooperation. This course will introduce students to a sociological way of thinking about science as a social phenomenon. We will consider science in its different forms and in comparison to other ways of knowing. We will consider the historical development of modern science and the social structures that support its practice and place in society today. We will consider how the broader social world is imprinted in scientific practices, and how science permeates modern life. By more fully examining these social dimensions of science, students will gain an appreciation of science as a collaborative and adaptable source of social order, while recognizing the potential challenges of scientific work and within modern techno-scientific societies.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Autumn Yoke
November 18, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 495 E: Grant Proposal Practicum

with Frederica Helmiere
Apply your environmental literacy to real-world problems by developing and presenting a project proposal targeting sustainability goals, using the UW Campus Sustainability Fund as a model. Develop skills in grant-writing, project development, and project management for projects targeting sustainability goals. Open to students from any major (no freshmen).
Credits: 3
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer

LING 200: Introduction to Linguistics

This course investigates language as the fundamental characteristic of the human species. It covers topics on the diversity and complexity of human languages, phonological and grammatical analysis, dimensions of language use, language acquisition, and historical language change. This course is a great option for students interested in language and/or linguistics, as well as anyone who would like to learn more about how and why they speak.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Katie Manlove
November 18, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 101: Introduction to Geological Sciences

with Terry Swanson
After taking this course students will never look at the Earth the same! Students will learn about how the Earth evolved from primordial dust to form the compositionally zoned planet upon which life now exists. Students will learn about the unifying concept of plate tectonics, which will provide them with a framework to understand the *why* and *where* of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain belts, ocean basins and rock types in their surrounding world. Students will become amateur geologists and drive their friends and families crazy with their *new-found* knowledge. Students will also learn about time and its importance to the geologic record. Students will learn that geologists pay more for their dates than Hollywood s most elite stars! This course will provide students with important information about geologic hazards, which will perhaps one day save lives or personal property. If students love the outdoors, this course will give them many opportunities to visit spectacular geologic sites around Washington state through the ESS 101 optional weekend field trip program. The entire class will be invited to attend a special IMAX viewing of a geologic film at the Seattle Center.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ESS 106: Living with Volcanos

with Michael Harrell
This course is relevant to anyone who lives near a volcano, or has an interest in volcanology, or the social ramifications of life near a volcano! This course explores volcanoes and volcanic eruptions on Earth and in the solar system, examines how volcanoes work and how they affect the environment, life, and human societies. Illustrates principles using local examples of recent volcanism and ancient examples of mega-eruptions. Additionally, the course will discuss and evaluates the possibility of predicting future eruptions.
Credits: 3
Recommended by Noell Bernard-Kingsley
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

SOC 201C: Contemporary Chinese Societies

with Lake Lui
From a sociological perspective, this course will begin with an introduction on the main institutions of traditional Chinese society and investigate how these institutions have changed under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. The course will also focus on the post-1978 reform period and discuss the social changes in various aspects of contemporary Chinese societies, including the economy, family, social stratification, internal and international migration, politics, and the civil society. Wherever relevant, examples will be drawn from other Chinese societies in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Autumn Yoke
November 18, 2014
Quarter: Autumn, Winter

ESS 102: Space and Space Travel

with Erika Harnett
Take your education to the limits, of the solar system that is! ESS 102 is a great introduction to the upper limits of the Earth's atmosphere and what lies beyond. Compare the differences between Earth and the other planets in our solar system, as well as how to travel to them. Get to know the complex features of the sun, such as, how it gives us a source of energy and life, but also the deadly affects of solar radiation. This optional writing class can also count as I&S or NW credits. Plus, you get to build your very own water rocket!
Credits: 5
Recommended by Dana Hansen
August 4, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENGL 207: Superheroes

with Tom Foster
This course will turn to American popular culture as a source of reflection on the idea of the superhuman. We will consider how this concept has been gendered, so we will examine examples of both the superman and the superwoman. The course will begin with some readings in science-fictional representation of this concept in order to define some of the problems associated with representations and narratives of the superhuman.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Kimberly Swayze
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

General Studies 297H (Career Planning)

with Tina Wang
This course (taught by a Lead Career Counselor) assists freshmen and sophomore students (first and second year students) with self-exploration and exploration of career and academic options. General Studies 297H (“Career Planning”), is a 2-credit course (CR/NC) where students attend two 50-minute classes each week. This course is designed for first and second-year students who have earned roughly 0-89 credits. No pre-requisites are required. Learning objectives are to build self-awareness and appreciation for your strengths, skills, values, and interests and learn how to use this self-knowledge to make decisions when exploring and pursuing academic and career options; develop and apply learned skills to effectively research career options and learn how to be successful in the job market and hone your professional networking skills (including online, social media, and traditional networking); learn how to create effective resumes, cover letters and build interviewing skills and confidence.
Credits: 2
Recommended by Patrick Chidsey
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer

LING 100: Fundamentals of Grammar

with Clarissa Surek-Clark
This course introduces students to the basics of grammatical concepts and terminology, moving beyond the mundane world of prescriptive 'grammar rules.' Students will learn how to analyze grammatical structures in English, delving briefly into other languages. The curriculum is designed for students taking (or preparing to take) foreign languages as it provides a new perspective of language structure; students interested in linguistics are also encouraged to take the course.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Katie Langr
August 7, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENGL 200E: Surveillance in American Politics & Literature

with James (Ben) Wirth
The goal of this course will be to, from a variety of angles, examine texts that investigate the role of surveillance and observation in modern culture. This theme has become even timelier in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks—a confirmation of our lingering fears of a massive network of domestic and international surveillance. Apart from the obvious intrusions of personal privacy and the, at best, iffy information this level of surveillance provides, what are the stakes of living in a culture of surveillance and control? How does this reorient how an individual knows their world, other people, and themselves? How does this control manifest itself in the knowledge of our bodies, or the policing of them? We will be looking at texts in this course that engage in some way with those anxieties, whether from a personal, academic, or literary perspective. As well, this course is multimodal, incorporating film, graphic novels, and various types of literature and writing into our exploration of this theme.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Kimberly Swayze
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

CEP 200: Introduction to Community, Environment, and Planning

with Christopher Campbell and Marty Curry
This is a fantastic course for freshmen and sophomores interested in the natural environment, community development, and urban planning. This class looks at the intersection of all three of these fields and how they influence human experience in the built environment. This is a collaborative, interdisciplinary course that forces students to learn professional facilitation and leadership skills, all while introducing them to the CEP major in the College of Built Environments.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Kelly Hostetler
November 12, 2014
Quarter: Winter

PHG 302: Forensic Genetics

with Bruce Weir
Do you still have an inner Crime Scene Investigator even though you've stopped watching CSI? This new course introduces the field of forensic genetics. It does so through discussion of emerging genetic and statistical issues that have come about since the introduction of DNA profiling. A great way for students to develop the skills to: interpret the evidence of matching genetic profiles; perform calculations relevant for parentage determination; identify remains; and consider the implications of familial searching of DNA databases. Open to all undergraduate who have comp leted a basic statistics course - BIOST 310, STAT 220, STAT/CS&SS/SOC 221, STAT 311, Q SCI 381, or Q METH 201.
Credits: 3
Recommended by Tory Brundage
November 17, 2014
Quarter: Winter

HSERV 481: Issues in Public Health

with Sara Mackenzie
This course focuses on practical solutions for real life public health problems. For years it has been our most popular public health course, taught by our enthusiastic program director. This is the last time it will be offered at the UW and is the first-time in quite a few years that it has been open to non-majors. It IS a perfect opportunity for upper division students with an interest in the public health discipline and/or graduate programs. It is NOT appropriate for students intending to apply to the public health major as the content has moved to another required course.
Credits: 3
Recommended by Susan Inman
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

GWSS 290

with Chandan Reddy
This is a special topics offering about force and violence related to Fergusen and college campuses.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Sara Fleehart
November 14, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 439: Attaining a Sustainable Society

with Elizabeth Wheat
Is a sustainable society possible? Building a sustainable future depends on restructuring the global economy and dramatic changes in values and lifestyles. Is sustainability a reasonable goal? What is the timeline? Grapple with these and other questions in this 3 credit course. Identify major impediments to achieving a sustainable society.Choose from among one of four hopeful movements and explore how that movement is helping our society move toward a more sustainable future. o Food o Energy o Economics o Governance Open to all majors.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

ENVIR 100: Environmental Studies: Interdisciplinary Foundations

with Yen-Chu Weng, Jorge Tomasevic
Learn about contemporary environmental challenges and responses, including topics on climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, and natural resource management. Recognize the complexity in environmental issues and our connections to these issues at multiple scales, from local to global. Participate in a dynamic and unique learning experience with an interdisciplinary teaching team. Practice environmental communication and critical thinking skills through peer engagement, iterative writing assignments, a team project, and a public poster presentation.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Joe Kobayashi
November 13, 2014
Quarter: Winter

Geog 295: Living in the Borderlands: Gender, Race and Place

with Megan Ybarra
We tend to think of borders as fixed lines that divide Us from our Others. In recent years, geographers, political scientists, poets and activists have debated the meaning of borders, focusing on borderlands as a concept that transcends physical borders between nation-states. This class will direct scholarly inquiry towards a broad array of sources to think through living in the borderlands. We will pull out key themes from a classic feminist Chicanx text, Borderlands / La Frontera, to direct our analysis towards a relational understanding of place and identity. While the class will start with the case of the making of the US-Mexico border, we will also draw from other cases around the world in articles, movies, and podcasts. Themes include: settler colonialism and ethnic identities, bilingualism and belonging, transnationalism and diaspora, and how people make claims on gendered, raced and place identities.
Credits: 5
Recommended by Rick Roth
November 13, 2014

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