Built into every major at USC is the “general education” (GE) curriculum which effectively allows you to explore disciplines outside of your major and help build you into a well-rounded scholar. As an engineer, I’m particularly grateful for these classes as they allow me to take some well needed time away from textbooks centered around math and science and into an arena where I’m forced to practice different skill sets. Now, as a senior, I’m just about done with my GE curriculum and I wanted to take some time to reflect on some of my favorite GE classes that I’ve taken at USC.
1. GESM 131: A Seminar in Social Analysis
This was one of the first classes I ever took at USC and it was taught as a seminar which means that the class was small (only about 13 people) and very focused on group discussion. The focus of the class was on examining the bilingual and bicultural experience of LatinX people in the United States. As a first-generation American myself, I found this class particularly enlightening because I saw so much of myself in the text and it was so nice to see my own experiences reflected through an academic lens. The class was taught by the wonderful Dr. Eugenia Mora-Flores from the USC Rossier School of Education & Public Policy and I cannot recommend her enough.
2. REL 115: Jerusalem, City of Three Faiths
Offered through the religion department, this class used the history of a single location, Jerusalem, to contextualize the rise and development of three key Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The class covered a whole lot of history, starting from 1800 BCE and spanning up until 1947, and it was so fascinating to see how a single city could become such a cornerstone to so many key religious faiths. Not only did the class give me a new appreciation for religious history but also invaluable context for a modern day middle-east.
3. CTCS 190: Introduction to Cinema
This class is one of the most popular classes at USC and for good reason. Hosted in the fancy Eileen Norris Theater on campus and taught by famous film historian Drew Casper, the class is divided into two parts – one part actual lecture, one part film screening. So in addition to getting an interesting and dynamic lecture on all things that make a film engaging you also get to view movies for free in an absolutely amazing theater. USC has such a history and relationship with American cinema (a byproduct of being located in the heart of LA) and all of that is on full display with this class.
There are so many cool and exciting fields that exist outside of engineering and I am so grateful for my GE curriculum for showing me the tip of the iceberg for so many of those fields.