Notre Dame offers a vast variety of courses that count towards everything from University requirements to extensive major and minor programs, and there is truly something for everyone. Below, read about some current students' favorite classes so far, and what makes them so enjoyable.
Funding New Ventures / Innovation and Design Thinking
Kimberly Hogan '20
Major: Accounting // Minors: Musical Theatre; Innovation and Entrepreneurship
I have two favorite classes because I just can’t pick, and both of them come from the innovation and entrepreneurship minor. I liked both of these classes because the lessons applied to real life and the learning was relevant to what I would love to do one day, which is running my own business. Furthermore, the professors of both of these classes were not only passionate about the course material, but also about their students. Professor Hubbard (Ventures) gives his students his contact information and freely gives out financial advice to past students, who still call him. Professor Angst (Innovation) always helps her students by connecting them with professionals in their industries, and she takes her Design Thinking students on super fun trips, which gave me the opportunity to visit firms in Chicago and pitch an idea to a large company in L.A.! I would strongly recommend any student—business or not—take these classes.
The Ethics of Emerging Weapons Technology
Cristina Chavez '20
Major: Mechanical Engineering
I loved this course because of the professors and the content. The course was co-taught by Jeremy Graham, a political science Ph.D. candidate, and General Robert Latiff, a retired Air Force Major General. Jeremy provided us with the ethical foundations for the course, while General Latiff taught us how to apply these ethics to real life situations. And while the majority of the course is about ethical frameworks, General Latiff also presented on the up-and-coming weaponized technologies that he felt we should know about such as AI and big data. As a bonus, this class counted towards one of my required philosophy courses!
Physics D: Modern
Dillon Hasenour '21
Majors: Physics; Honors Mathematics
Physics D has been my favorite so far for two reasons. First, the subject material caught my attention. The class is primarily an early introduction to quantum mechanics, and I loved learning the theory that I have read about for so long in a class setting. Secondly, my professor was incredible. The class was structured as a discussion-heavy environment, which greatly supported my understanding.
Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
Kimani Krienke '22
Major: English // Minor: Journalism
The professor that taught this class knew how to keep us engaged, was young, and also concentrating in English, which made the class feel more laid back and manageable. I didn't feel like I was competing against everyone or that my writing should be more advanced because I'm an English major. The class also focused on modern situations and styles used in the media, making the topic and whatever we wrote about more interesting. This class showed me how to look at the way information is presented in the media in a different light and also see how even a little change can drastically affect the way the audience perceives what they're looking at.
Andres Walliser Wejebe '20
Majors: Industrial Design; Mechanical Engineering
Rapid Visualization was my introduction to the major of industrial design. Simply put, the class is a product sketching bootcamp. This was one of my favorite classes in three years at Notre Dame because it was equally enjoyable and useful. As an artistic person, learning the ground rules and techniques behind product sketching was fun and rewarding. As an intern at a product development firm, I use the skills I learned in Rapid Visualization every day. This class is not only useful for industrial design majors, but for anyone interested in learning how to quickly and efficiently communicate three-dimensional ideas. Designers, engineers, artists, and anyone who thinks they might deal with product development in their career could seriously benefit from taking this class.
The Catholic Imagination
Derek Gallo '20
Major: Political Science
I took this course, taught by Professor DeLorenzo, to fulfill my second theology requirement. The class explored the grace of God through works of literature by Flannery O’Connor, Marilynne Robinson, Graham Green, and C.S. Lewis. I learned along with the characters, so the class was very personal. I was inspired to appreciate the grace all around me every day.
Solutions: Science, Politics, and Saving the Planet
Patrick West '20
Major: Environmental Engineering // Minors: Energy Studies; Theology
Taught by Debra Javeline, this class is nationally unique in focusing not only on environmental obstacles but also the technical and political solutions needed to address them. Her class brought together a distinct group of undergraduate and graduate students, including engineers, economists, sustainability minors, biologists, architects, political scientists, and entrepreneurs. Her class style consisted of laying the groundwork of knowledge and key takeaways from the readings and then asking thought-provoking questions having no clear or “right” answers, opening the floor to the students to discuss. The paper assignments allowed me to choose topics that aligned with my interests and study them in more detail, with topics including coastal resiliency, carbon capture and sequestration, and civic and organic farming. Her dedication to bridging the gap in understanding between technical and political solutions has shown me the importance and need for interdisciplinary perspectives in my professional career.
Introduction to Gender Studies
Emily Mills '21
Major: Accounting // Minor: Korean
I took this class second semester of freshman year and I remember always looking forward to class. I enjoyed looking at world issues through the critical lens of gender and felt that the class enhanced my critical thinking. I liked the format of the assignments and the professors were really helpful in guiding our research and encouraging all points of view to be shared. Overall, the class combined elements of philosophy, sociology, and history, which made it really interesting!
Social Concerns Seminar: Recovering from Mental Illness through Work and Community
Liz Smith, '20
Majors: Psychology; Film, Television, and Theatre (Theatre concentration) // Minor: Science, Technology, and Values
Through class discussions and an immersion during Fall Break, I was able to learn about the various options available for those living with a severe mental illness. In this class, we learned a lot about the Clubhouse International movement, which I had never heard of before. Clubhouse offers those with mental illnesses a chance to re-enter a community and gain the confidence they need to succeed in the workforce and within their daily lives. It was incredible to be able to visit and talk with Clubhouse members in South Bend and Fort Wayne because it's hard to describe exactly what Clubhouse is like without personally participating in a day's work at one of the houses. If you haven't taken a CSC seminar yet, I would highly recommend it; they give you a new, real perspective on social issues from those affected by it.
Charlotte Probst '22
Major: Biological Sciences
Philosophy was unlike any class I'd taken in high school, and it introduced me to questions and ideas I'd never considered before. More than that, it challenged me to think critically about the world around me and develop logical argumentation skills. As a science major, I also appreciated the breadth that this class brought to my education at ND. It gave me an opportunity to step away from hard experimentation and consider analyzing the world through different means.
Biophotonics and Biomedical Optics
James Weitzel '20
Majors: Electrical Engineering; Theology
This class truly destroyed my former view of what I thought was possible for electrical engineers. The limits of the field I once skirted the edges of simply do not exist: EE’s can and will do it all. Not only did this class reignite my passion for engineering, it also helped me explore the intersection between all these seemingly different fields. Imaging in the medical world is rather important—non-invasive imagine with visible light is even more revolutionary—and this class has done it all, with one of the best people leading the charge of discovery himself, Professor Thomas O’Sullivan. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who breathes.
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