Hey I am looking for some easy humanities and social science classes to fulfill some requirements that will not take a lot of time away from my core science courses or hurt my gpa. I appreciate any suggestions that you might have
Thanks for your post! We actually get this question pretty often, and it’s a difficult one to answer. Unfortunately, at the University of Michigan, no class is truly easy. Students may enroll in “easy” humanities classes with notorious STEM classes, and still struggle more in the humanities if they are not interested in the topic, motivated to do the work, or have enough practice with reading and writing skills. I would recommend that you first look through the course guide to see what looks interesting to you: whether it is music, philosophy, linguistics, sustainability, african american studies, anthropology, women’s studies, etc etc. Try something new! Then, find a course in the 100- or 200-level in that topic. These classes are usually more introductory level and do not require any background in a topic that you may be unfamiliar with. If you really enjoy a certain topic or introductory course, you may be able to find a minor that you want to declare, and that way you can take all of your HU or SS requirement classes in the same type of topic and gain a deeper knowledge. This will also give you a leg up during medical school admissions when you are able to show your unique passion for something outside of biology or chemistry, which every other pre-med has.
If you would feel better enrolling in a course knowing some background or the grade distributions, the course profile tool may be helpful, here: https://atlas.ai.umich.edu/course/CHEM%20210/ . Some courses, especially those with a higher number, may be intended for students specializing in a topic, like majors or minors, and if you feel that you wouldn’t fit in or have enough background, maybe you could take a lower level course that can still explore the same topics. Additionally, a professor or instructor whose teaching style you don’t vibe with can really hurt your motivation for the class. The best way to combat this is to do your research on the instructor and the syllabus before you begin class so you know what will be expected of you. If you’re not a great test taker, there will always be humanities and social sciences courses that don’t have exams; they grade students based on other things like presentations or papers. If you don’t like to write, you can find a class that grades based on class participation, like a seminar-style course. There are hundreds of courses that the university has to offer, and it would be a waste of your four-years here to be too scared to do some exploring.
Ultimately, there will always be certain courses that are “easier” than others, but the distribution requirements were put into place to allow students to explore broader interests outside of the primary field that they come into college wanting to pursue. Remember that you can always take LSA distribution pass/fail (I would recommend taking the course for a week or two before switching to P/F) if you are worried about hurting your GPA. Medical schools want to see well-rounded candidates and will not penalize you for taking risks and exploring your interests.
Feel free to come into advising to talk to us more about making specific course decisions or four year schedules.
Pooja, PMH Co-Pres