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Will that fill the math credit?

The Daily offers advice on getting through the distribution requirements

Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Updated: Sunday, August 17, 2008 17:08

There have been debates for years about whether Tufts' requirements are too strenuous, but the bottom line is, they aren't changing anytime soon. However, if you force yourself not to settle for the notoriously easy classes that exist solely to fill the requirements, the distribution requirement can be sort of fun. Distributions force you to look outside your primary interest and take a class in something new. There are many creative options for such courses, and if you look hard enough, you can find something that intrigues you.

To aid that quest, the Daily presents you with our choices for filling the requirements, compiled from advice of our editors.


What the bulletin says: the humanities consists of disciplines addressing cultural, literary, and philosophical questions, both from a critical and historical perspective.

What we say: Unless your only interests are nuclear physics and advanced biology research, changes are you can easily find a way to fill this requirement. It's likely that whatever you took to fulfill your culture requirement counts for humanities. If not, all comparative religion, all history, most classes, and almost all English classes will do. Course suggestions:

History 172: Sports in American History. Workload is sizeable, but Professor Gerald Gill is a fascinating lecturer. The material will engage even students who could care less about history classes.

Judaic Studies 65: Introduction to Yiddish Literature. Sol Gittleman is a legend, and the course is legendarily easy.

English 67-67: Shakespeare. The literature is classic, and the two professors who take turns teaching the class are fantastic. Recitations require students to do a lot of smaller papers, but even students who have never taken an English should be able to do the literary analysis.


What the bulletin says: The arts include study of critical and historical aspects of the creative and performing arts, as well as studio experience in those areas.

What we say: This is the most fun requirement to fill. There are a plethora of courses ranging from fluff to challenging that fill it, and requirement, for most students, is a chance to pursue something different and fun.

Course suggestions:

Music 13, 40, XX: History of Rock, Jazz, or Blues: History of Rock and Roll is a cakewalk if you're good at memorizing artists and songs. All three courses give you indepth knowledge and require little knowledge of music.

Music 54: Gospel Choir. If you sing, this is an experience too good to pass up. This class is huge but it's also one of the most personal classes at Tufts _ with spiritual music and attitude to feed the soul.

English 5 and 6: Creative writing (except journalism). These courses assign a good amount of work, but it's fun to do because it is so different than your typical long-winded scholarly reading. It doesn't matter which instructor you choose _ all are excellent.

Drama 10: Introduction to Acting. A fun way to diversify your schedule. The class is a stress reliever.

FAM 24: Introduction to drawing. Otherwise known as "I can't draw," this class is great for a non-serious art students looking to dabble in a new field.

Social Sciences

What the bulletin says: The social sciences are concerned with the study of human behavior and human institutions.

What we say: If you're not a strong writer, these courses are some of the most feared at Tufts. But, there are enough options that you can likely find a class without too much writing. If memorization and problem sets are your strong suit, most economics classes will count as social sciences. Or if you are a majoring in a science, check out the community health options that fill the requirement.

Course Suggestions:

Anthropology 10: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology. A snoozer. While the readings are good, there is just too much. Lecture and recitation are a waste of time.

Economics 01: Introduction to Microeconomics. A nice introductory course. Lecture is big and boring _ but notes are online. Recitation not completely mandatory... but consider going since it is helpful.

Political Science 11: Introduction to American Politics. Okay, so there's a good amount of reading, and a bit of writing. But Professor Glaser is so fabulous that you won't care.

Political Science 171: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy. While there is a lot of reading for this course, the thoughtful selections certainly can not be called busy work.

Natural Sciences

What the Bulletin says: The natural sciences examine systematically the inanimate and animate world, of which human beings constitute a part.

What we say: There are many creative ways to fill this requirement that range from boring and easy to easy and exciting to quite challenging. If you're just taking this to fulfill a requirement, avoid all classes with labs, as you will just be frustrated by the number of people in the class who take it seriously.

A warning on the science requirement: you can choose to take the boring classes because they are easy, but you're really wasting your time and money. There are plenty of engaging classes that fill the science requirement that are not overburdening.

Course Suggestions

Biology 2: Biology and the American Social Contract. This course is great because it shows you how biology is important in the lives of non-science majors. The weekly discussions on current social issues make the technical material come alive.

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