With courses for more than 90 majors, Penn’s course catalogue can be overwhelming. Here are some recommendations from graduating seniors who have spent the past four years learning to navigate the system.
If you’re looking for courses with real-life application:
Wharton senior Lena Antin’s favorite course at Penn was “Internet Law and Policy” (LGST/OIDD 222), which she took during her junior year. She appreciated her professor’s discussion of net neutrality and its possible implications under the Trump administration.
College senior Jack Bannenberg took many courses in the psychology department at Penn, but especially enjoyed learning about the development of young people during his “Modern Young Adulthood” seminar (PSYC 480) last semester.
To complete his research requirement for the psychology major, Bannenberg took “Sexuality and Attraction” (PSYC 370) which he said was extremely interesting. Assignments included violating social norms in public such as holding doors for people who were far away and speaking loudly over the phone in a quiet library.
Varun Venkatesh, an Engineering senior, said his core Engineering Entrepreneurship classes (EAS545 and EAS546) taught him the necessary skills — legal, marketing, managerial, financial — to achieve his future goal of forming a tech startup.
“There was an ungodly amount of work for [this class]” he said, “but the amount I learned was definitely in proportion.”
If you’re seeking an excellent professor:
To fulfill her natural sciences requirement, Engineering senior Ankita Chadha took “Humans of the Environment” (BIOL 140) with professor Daniel Janzen. Though lacking prior knowledge of biology, she said she adored Janzen’s class because he used his research in the Galapagos Island as a way to enhance their coursework. Every lecture was a story, she said, complete with a lengthy powerpoint with plenty of photos.
Danny Fradin, a senior in the College, praised English Professor Jed Esty for learning all his students’ names in the lecture course entitled “The Twentieth Century” (ENG 104).
He also appreciated that Esty made the dated content more accessible for students.
“It’s not really easy to get people excited about ... things as archaic and kind of out of the normal scope of life as high literature from the early twentieth century,” Fradin said. “But [Etsy] made it really relevant to us.”
If you’re seeking a new interest:
Nursing senior Chad Haddad took his favorite class at Penn, “Intro to Directing” (THAR 121), during the first semester of his freshman year. The course eventually led him to pursue a minor in theater studies.
Haddad said he relished the small class size, as opposed to his large nursing courses, and he welcomed the opportunity to pursue a passion.
Meanwhile, Venkatesh said he had the most fun in “Computer and Information Science” (CIS 110). He liked his professors and appreciated the resources available to him. He added that the course sparked his love of coding and prompted him to take a second level class in the department.
If you want to avoid course regret...
Antin wishes that she took a computer science course, as it seems to be “the new skill that everyone wants you to have.”
Haddad regrets that he was never able to take a fine arts course, as the three-hour courses did not fit into his schedule, and as for Fradin, his lost opportunity was in the sciences. He felt that he might have spent too much time taking liberal arts classes and did not give science a “fair shot.”
Bannenberg said it may have been beneficial for him to take a positive psychology class. While many psychology classes discuss societal ills and human dissatisfaction, positive psychology focuses specifically on “research, training, education, and the dissemination of positive psychology, resilience and grit.”
Chadha said he regrets taken an introductory acting class — “never in my life will I probably get the opportunity to take something like that.”
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