Step 2: Choosing Your Courses

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Now that you have a basic understanding of the QU curriculum and how college-level classes work, it’s time to think about the specific courses you will take in your first semester.

Students entering QU in the fall semester will register for classes during their June orientation day and can make changes to their schedules (if needed) starting in early July. Students who are unable to attend a June orientation will be able to register in early July.  In preparation for orientation, review the information below and begin thinking about the courses you will take in the fall. While you will receive assistance in the actual process of registering at orientation, you need to come to orientation with a solid idea of what you want to take. It is also very important, if at all possible, to bring a computer with you to orientation. Using the registration system on a smart phone or tablet can be tricky.

While you will register for classes during orientation, remember that orientation is just the first part of registration. You will be able to make changes to your schedule starting in early July through the end of the first week of classes. Your schedule does not have to be perfect now!

Note: You need to complete your English, Math, and language placement tests at least 7 days prior to attending orientation in order to complete your fall registration. This holds even if you are expecting transfer or AP credit and even if you are not planning to take math or foreign language in the fall. Learn more about placement tests.

What should I take in the first semester?

    • English 101/101I

      All incoming first-year students will take EN 101 or EN 101I (Intensive) in the fall. EN 101/101I is a foundational course that teaches you to read, assess, and respond in writing to academic texts, thereby preparing you for college-level work.

      In order to know whether to choose EN 101 or EN 101I, you need to complete the English placement process.

      Since all incoming students take EN 101 or EN 101I, there are many different sections available, though the content is largely the same across sections. You will choose a section that fits around your other classes. If you are unable to find an open section of EN 101 that fits your schedule, enroll in EN 101*WL. This puts you on a waitlist and administrators will work to get you into an actual section.

    • First-Year Seminar

      All incoming first-year students will also take a first-year seminar. A seminar is, by definition, a small, discussion-based class.

      Like EN 101/101I, there are many different sections of FYS; however, unlike EN 101/101I, different sections of FYS have different topics. The topics all examine a complex problem, an enduring question, or a new idea from multiple perspectives, not just through the lens of a single subject. You should choose a topic that seems most interesting to you.

      In the course catalog in Self-Service, you will be able to see the titles of individual sections, titles such as “Can What We Eat Save the World?” and “What is Human Nature?”

      Note: Residential living-learning communities each have a designated section of FYS. If you indicated on your housing contract a preference for joining an LLC, you do not need to enroll in FYS at orientation. You will be automatically enrolled in your LLC-paired section prior to orientation.

    • Math

      As a UC requirement, all students must complete a math class at the MA 110 level or higher. Many students will complete this requirement in their first-semester; however, advice on when to take math varies by major (see below for course selection guides by major). Which level of math you start with will depend on your placement test score and your major.

      You need to complete your Math placement test at least 7 days prior to attending orientation. Learn more about the Math placement test.

    • Courses in your major

      Each CAS academic path (including the undeclared path) has recommendations on the courses students should take in the first semester which you’ll find in the curriculum maps below. Note: these are examples of only one pathway for each major. Some students might need slight adjustments to the recommendations (due to AP credit, placement test scores, etc.) Your department will work with you at orientation on any adjustments you need.

      Behavioral Neuroscience Environmental Studies Political Science
      Biochemistry Game Design & Development Psychology
      Biology Gerontology Sociology
      Chemistry History Health, Medicine, & Society
      Criminal Justice Interdisciplinary Studies – Education Hispanic & Latin American Studies
      Data Science Justice and Community Engagement Sustainability & Environ. Policy
      Economics Law in Society Exploring CAS (Undeclared Liberal Arts)
      English Math Exploring Sciences (Undeclared Sciences)
      Environmental Science Philosophy  
    • Courses outside your major & advice for liberal arts undeclared (Exploring CAS) students

      Students in many majors as well as those entering undeclared have room in their schedules to explore classes of their choosing in the first semester. What should you take? Here are some options to consider:

      (Other) potential majors. What (other) majors have you been considering as you applied to college? Be sure to try out each of those subjects at some point in your first year. It is very common for students to change majors. Try out your “back-up” options early. Refer to the major course selection guides above for the courses recommended by other majors.

      What sparks your intellectual curiosity?

          • Are you involved in your community or interested in the way society works? Try Sociology, Legal Studies, Criminal Justice, History, Political Science, Philosophy, or Women & Gender Studies
          • Are you a creative person? Try Art, Music, Game Design, or Drama
          • Are you fascinated by people and the way they behave? Try Psychology, Gerontology, Anthropology, or English
          • Do you have a passion for social change? Try Political Science, Legal Studies, Sociology, Environmental Studies, or Women & Gender Studies
          • Are you logical or like puzzles? Try Math, Data Science, or Economics
          • Do you love travel or are fascinated by other cultures? Try Anthropology, Irish Studies, English, History, or take a language. Helpful tip: several of the language departments have culture classes that are taught in English.

      Try something new. We teach many subjects at QU that you most likely did not have the opportunity to take in high school. Spend some time browsing the different subjects in the course catalog or scroll to the bottom of this page to view the list of subjects taught within CAS. You never know when you might find a new intellectual passion!

      Consider taking language. You may or may not choose to begin the CAS modern language requirement in your first semester. However, if you plan to continue with a language you studied in high school, taking the class sooner than later is a good idea – without practice, you’ll begin to forget what you’ve already learned! You may also want to begin a new language and that is encouraged. We offer courses in American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. During the summer, we also offer Polish. Note: if you intend to continue the language you studied in high school, you need to complete your language placement test at least 7 days prior to attending orientation.

    • One-credit Courses

      Standard tuition allows students to take 16 credits in a semester. If you are taking a science course with a lab, you’ll be in 16 credits. If you are taking 5 three-credit classes, you might consider adding a 16th credit through a one-credit class such as:

        • A Fitness, Leisure & Wellness (FLW) class
        • Private music lessons (MU 110) in piano, guitar, voice, violin, viola or woodwind instruments. No prior musical training is required.
        • ED 140: Introduction to Public Education and the Teaching Profession, a class for first-years and sophomores who are thinking about becoming a teacher
        • Spanish lab classes (SP 101L and 201L), which help students practice their Spanish, whether they are enrolled in a three-credit Spanish class or not
        • A Micro Course Initiative offering (MCI in the course catalog), which cover a discreet topic or skill
        • Biology majors: consider CAS 105, “Biology at QU and Beyond”.
    • Information for Honors Students

      Students in the honors program have additional course requirements as well as special sections of some courses reserved for them.

How do I know what courses are appropriate for me?

  • In general, 100-level courses are appropriate for first-year students and even some 200-level courses without prerequisites could be good options. If you have any doubts, you can ask the advisors at orientation.
  • When exploring courses outside your major in the first year, we encourage you to stick with courses that also fulfill UC requirements.
  • If you are coming in with transfer credits (including AP credits), you may meet the prerequisites for other classes. The complete list of UC classes includes those with prerequisites (scroll to the middle of the page to see the list). Note: if you click on the course number in this list, you’ll see a pop-up window that gives you a short description of the course and any prerequisites required, as shown below:

List of course catalog subjects taught within CAS

Anthropology (AN) Environment (ENV) Math (MA)
Arabic (ARB) French (FR) Music (MU)
Art (AR) Game Design & Development (GDD) Philosophy (PL)
Biology (BIO) German (GR) Physics (PHY)
Chemistry (CHE) Gerontology (GT) Political Science (PO)
Chinese (CN) Hebrew (HBR) Psychology (PS)
Criminal Justice (CJ) History (HS) General Science (SCI)
Data Science (DS) Irish Studies (IRST) Sociology (SO)
Drama (DR) Italian (IT) Spanish (SP)
Economics (EC) Japanese (JP) Sports Studies (SPS)
English (EN) Legal Studies (LE) Women’s & Gender Studies (WS/WGS)