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Every year during the first week of school, students scramble to perfect their schedules on Penn InTouch. The Daily Pennsylvanian rounded up some of Penn’s most in-demand courses for those looking to round out their schedules or those who are already scoping out their classes for next semester.

Engineering Entrepreneurship I with Thomas A. Cassel (EAS 545)

In this engineering course, Cassel brings his 20 years of entrepreneurial experience to the classroom by teaching students how to turn their ideas into businesses. Students learn about how tech entrepreneurs start their own companies, from finding opportunities in the market to attracting investors. Cassel supplements his lectures with guest speakers who have created their own businesses.

“At the end, I would feel comfortable creating my own startup and getting people to invest,” said Engineering junior Elizabeth Walton, who is currently enrolled in the course. “That’s a really cool thing — there are a lot of us who are really creative and have ideas. We know how to build them, but don’t have all the business skills.”

The Third Reich with Thomas Childers (HIST 430)

Childers, who has taught at Penn for 40 years and specializes in World War II history, teaches some of the most popular courses in Penn’s history department. His Third Reich class covers the rise and fall of the Nazi regime in Germany.

“He’s a storyteller — he makes [history] less dry by telling it in a very oratory way,” College sophomore and current student Sammy Krouse said. “He’s a dramatic speaker. He just goes up and talks and knows everything.”

Childers has won numerous awards for outstanding teaching, including the Spotlight on Teaching Award as the Best Lecturer in the Humanities in 2004.

Childers told The Daily Pennsylvanian that he will be retiring at the end of the year.

Organizational Behavior with Adam Grant (MGMT 238)

Grant’s beloved organizational behavior course deals with the how to manage people in work environments. Grant is the author of an award-winning book and a contributor to The New York Times. He has also been rated the top professor in Wharton by his students for four straight years, and is one of Businessweek’s favorite professors. Students wishing to get a spot in the 74-person course must complete an essay application.

“He relates the course material back to his own personal life and really relates it to what we would be experiencing,” said Wharton senior John Hoffman, who took the course last year.

Grant’s course creates an introspective environment in which students develop into stronger leaders through personal reflection and learning about group dynamics. He brings in guest speakers, as well as MBA students, who serve as mentors for the class.

“[The mentors] are there to help you understand the application of the concepts to your own life and thinking about what you want to do career-wise. It’s more personal than academic,” Hoffman said.

For Hoffman, Grant’s availability as a professor made the class worthwhile in and of itself.

“What makes the class most interesting is the fact that he’s so available to students, especially during office hours. Being able to talk to him about how to apply course concepts to your life in a meaningful way created a lot of value,” he said.

Victimology with Kathleen Brown (NURS 333)

Victimology is popular, especially among Wharton students, because it fulfills the Science and Technology graduation requirement. The course also has a reputation of being less difficult than traditional sciences, with a 1.5 out of 4 rating for difficulty on Penn Course Review.

The course focuses on the study of trauma and abuse victims and their families. Brown brings in guest speakers who have dealt with trauma like sexual assault and stalking, as well as experts who work with trauma patients.

Though the subject matter is somber, “hearing about their perspective is really enlightening,” Nursing senior Ian Alexander said.

Chinese Politics with Avery Goldstein (PSCI 219)

Many students were out of luck this year in enrolling in this beloved staple of the Political Science Department; the class’ 90 spots were surpassed when students filled the chairs and the floor space on the first day of class, students said.

“Professor Goldstein is a fantastic professor and lecturer,” College sophomore and current student Stephanie Tang said. “It’s an increasingly relevant subject and I think more people just want to understand it so they can have a better grasp. Some of my friends have been trying to get into the course and just haven’t been able to.”

In Avery’s class, students can expect to study Chinese politics from 1949 on, and will benefit from Goldstein’s expertise without needing any prior knowledge of Chinese history and politics.

Intro to the Theory and Practice of Counterintelligence with Frank Plantan and Mark Castillo (INTR 290)

In Plantan and Castillo's course, counterintelligence serves as a unique lens for studying international relations, American and British history. Students study counterintelligence from multiple angles including motivations behind espionage and figures in military, civilian and corporate espionage.

“You learn crazy things. You absolutely would never have thought that history happened this way,” Engineering and Wharton sophomore Robert Patrick Dowling, who took the course in part because his family is connected to the military and counterintelligence, said.

The class, which is offered in the spring, requires students to apply and write an essay about why they should be accepted. Chosen participants are given access to guest speakers who are experts in the field and spend two days in Washington D.C., where, in the past, they have visited the Central Intelligence Agency and met with different intelligence experts.

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