16 cool courses to take at UBC


It is registration time at Vancouver’s biggest university, and thousands of students are scouring the web for course suggestions from their fellow classmates. Some might be looking for the easiest GPA-boosters, but others could be after a unique course that opens their mind to a less run-of-the-mill topic.

Here are 16 courses at UBC for those looking for something different:

FNH 330/335 – Introduction to Wine Science

One of the most popular courses at UBC, students in FNH 330 and 335 get to study wine production, industry regulations, classic regional wines of the world and trends. And yes, this includes a lot of wine tasting.

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CRWR 230 – Writing for Comedic Forms

Local comedian Charles Demers leads this writing for comedy class that teaches joke writing, comic structures and style, and issues of comedy and free speech. It is an interesting, and funny class, as the professor doesn’t hold back on the jokes himself.

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CRWR 203- Writing for Children and Young Adults

Students will write and workshop a number of creative writing pieces for children, including picture books, poetry and novel ideas in a number of genres. Who knows, someone might start the next Harry Potter in this class.

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ASIA 305 – Asian Horror Cinema

Looking at not just horror films, but Asian horror films, this class will crack open a fascinating, and terrifying, part of Asian cinema. Students will engage with the ideologies, industrial histories, socio-cultural contexts, and aesthetics of horror films – and the genre itself.

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ANTH 215 – Japanese Popular Culture

Ever heard of Harajuku girls? This course will look at Japanese pop culture, including television shows, dramas, movies, advertising, marketing, manga, anime, theatrical forms, popular literature, popular music, fashion fads, tourism, toys, and sports. Kawaii!

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CENS 303 – Representations of the Holocaust (In English)

A close examination on how the Holocaust was and is represented in a diverse range of texts, including firsthand accounts by victims and perpetrators, interviews, documentaries, feature films and literary fictionalization. This is a sombre course but offers an unparalleled education into the representation of the Holocaust in international media.

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CLST 260 – Gladiators, Games and Spectacle in the Greek and Roman World

History, development, and social function of various forms of spectacle in ancient Greece and Rome, from the Olympic games to the Roman arena. Studying for final exam may or may not include rewatching Gladiator with Russell Crowe for the umpteenth time.

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FIPR 131 – Introduction to Screen Acting

Learning how to act on screen for course credit? Sounds like fun! Beware of divas.

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FMST 316 – Human Sexuality

Sexy times take center-stage in this Human Sexuality course that looks at the physical, cognitive and social aspects of sex and sexuality. Students will also look at the sexual development throughout the life span and the impact of sexual issues on personal development, attitudes and relationship decisions. Can we rename this to the inter-course?

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GRSJ 307 – Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Popular Culture

By taking a closer look at the movies and television shows we watch, the clothes we wear, and the music we listen to, students will understand the role of popular culture in maintaining and reproducing the kind of society we live in.

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HIST 339 – The United States since 1945: The Limits of Power

American history from the Second World War to present is one of the most fascinating periods of history to study, and lucky students in this course will delve into the atomic age, the crazy 1960’s, consumerism and immigration, social movements like civil rights and gay rights, the New Right and the impact of 9/11.

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HIST 418 – The 1960s in Global Perspective

One of the most culturally impactful decades in history, this course on the 1960’s looks at culture, social change, student activism and global conflict, not just in North America, but all around the world. Get ready to analyze the profound meaning behind Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock national anthem rendition.

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ENGL 468A – Children’s Literature

Students in this English course will get to read texts like The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Little Women and a variety of classic children’s tales – then write term papers on topics you never noticed when you read these stories as kids. This writer wrote a research paper on the representation of Edwardian patriarchy in J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. It’s all fair game.

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KIN 383 – The Modern Olympics: Power, Politics and Performance

This course examines the Modern Olympics as they have emerged over the past century to become one of the most pervasive sporting festivals and mega events in the world. Students will explore international conflicts, organizational power struggles, gender, race and disability debates, sites of corruption, Olympic symbols, and athletic issues around access, drugs and performance enhancement associated with various Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

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POLI 320B – The Politics of Policymaking in the U.S.

Ever question some of the policy decisions made by the powers that be? So does Professor Paul Quirk, and he will teach students various ways to look at complex policy issues like health care, debt, wealth inequality and climate change. Quirk is also unexpectedly funny and makes every class a fascinating delight.

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POLI 369D – Issues in International Security: Terrorism

Another one of UBC’s most popular classes with the Arts students, this course on terrorism may not be easy but it will make students think deeply about terrorists and terrorist organizations around the world. The structure and dynamics of terrorism, terrorist weapons, strategies and tactics, their use of the media, and theories of counterterrorism are all covered. The course will also explore Jihadism/Islamism, a political movement dating from the early-20th century Middle East given the extensive coverage in today’s contemporary media.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com

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