Department and Program Recommendations for First-Year Students

The information contained in this section is written specifically to address common concerns and interests of first-year students and to give general information about academic departments.

We encourage you to call or email the faculty members designated by each department with your specific questions about their course offerings, recommended sequences, or requirements for majors, minors or concentrations.

Questions?

For general questions, contact the Academic Programs and Advising Office at 651-696-6036, or the Registrar’s Office at 651-696-6200 or visit the Registrar’s webpage.

Academic Departments/Programs A-H Academic Departments/Programs I-W
African Studies Interdepartmental Program
American Studies
Anthropology
Art and Art History
Asian Languages and Cultures
Biology
Chemistry
Classical Mediterranean and Middle East
Cognitive Science
Community and Global Health

Critical Theory
Economics
Educational Studies
English
Environmental Studies
Food, Agriculture, and Society
French and Francophone Studies
Geography
Geology
German Studies
History
Human Rights and Humanitarianism
International Development
International Studies

Latin American Studies Program
Legal Studies Program
Linguistics
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
Media and Cultural Studies
Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization
Music
Neuroscience

Philosophy
Physical Education
Physics and Astronomy
Political Science
Premedical Program
Psychology
Religious Studies
Russian Studies
Sociology
Spanish and Portuguese
Theatre and Dance
Urban Studies
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

African Studies Interdepartmental Program

Macalester’s African Studies program gathers faculty from eight departments (Anthropology, French, Geography, Geology, International Studies, Music, Political Science, Sociology) to offer a range of courses and an interdisciplinary concentration focused on the diverse histories, cultures, and societies across the African continent.  Beyond this, the great majority of our concentrators study abroad in a program on the continent for a semester in their junior year.

For more information or questions, please contact the 2018-2019 African Studies program director David Chioni Moore, .

Our website is http://www.macalester.edu/academics/africanstudies/

Contact:
David Chioni Moore

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American Studies

As the field of American Studies has evolved in the last fifty years, it has shifted from an emphasis on American exceptionalism to consider broad questions of nation, national identity, and difference. At our founding in 2003, we described ourselves as “the academic site for the study of race and ethnicity” on Macalester’s campus. More than a decade later, we remain the key site where Macalester students gain exposure to and become versed in critical scholarship on and central debates regarding race and ethnicity. By providing up-to-date and critical scholarship focused primarily on the racialized dimensions of U.S. history and contemporary social life, we offer an indispensable set of research and analytical tools that we believe enhances the Macalester community and student experience as a whole. Macalester’s  American Studies Department embraces a range of methodologies to consider such complex issues as how we define borders, who is a citizen, and how movements for social change have shaped society. At the start of the 21st century, the President of the American Studies Association, Michael Frisch, underscored the centrality of multiculturalism to the field. “The third axis [of American Studies] is the transformative exploration of multiculturalism, ethnicity, race, class, and gender that has been recasting for several decades now the most basic outlines of American history and culture as a contested, interactive field of forces. It almost goes without saying, but not quite, that this has not simply altered our understanding of things “within” American culture and society, but has been leveraging our capacity to re-imagine the connections of the U.S. and its peoples to everything and everyone else in the world. . .”

Department website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/americanstudies/

Contact:
Duchess Harris (through May 31)

Karin Aguilar-San Juan (beginning June 1)

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Anthropology

The Anthropology Department emphasizes the holistic study of the human condition. Our interests range from world cultures and global challenges, to human rights and human origins.

In the Fall of 2018 we are excited to offer two very different First Year Courses.

ANTH 194: Human Foodways: An Introduction to Anthropology
For human beings, food is much more than nutrition; food is a way that people communicate. What we eat, how we eat, where and with whom we eat transmits messages about status, identity, gender, power and a host of other matters that shape our place and role in society and the ways in which we understand ourselves and others. Human foodways are thus an important window into understanding what makes us human and how human cultures operate. Through an examination of human foodways across time and space, from the origins of Homo sapiens to the present, this course offers an introduction to anthropology, the discipline that specializes in the study of human beings in their biological and cultural complexity. Students will write a 10-page paper based on original field work; in addition, students must cook a culturally unfamiliar dish and write a commentary on it that places it in its cultural context.  The course counts as an introduction to anthropology for students wishing to continue in the field; students who take this course may not take ANTH 369, Food and Culture

ANTH 194-01: The Anthropology of Medicine: An Introduction to the Discipline
This course introduces the anthropological study of health, illness, and healing from evolutionary, cross-cultural, and epidemiological perspectives.  From an evolutionary perspective, we will consider the changing relationships between human societies and human diseases ranging from Paleolithic parasites to the emerging and re-emerging diseases of the present day. From a cross-cultural perspective, we will examine the diversity of beliefs about human health and sickness, and a variety of healing traditions from around the world. Finally, from the perspective of critical epidemiology, we will wrestle with recurrent problems of socioeconomic inequalities, ecological disruptions, and their impact upon the differential distribution, prevention, and treatment of human diseases.  This course is taught by a former registered nurse with dual training in human biology and cultural anthropology. The course counts as an introduction to anthropology for students wishing to take other courses in the department. However, students who take this course may not take ANTH 239, Medical Anthropology, because of significant overlap between these two courses.

For further information see the department website:  http://www.macalester.edu/academics/anthropology/

Contact:
Scott Legge

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Art and Art History

The Art and Art History Department provides students the opportunity to create and study works of art. Studio classes are offered in Painting, Drawing, Design, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography and Ceramics, while Art History courses focus on the historical, social and cultural aspects of artistic production. The Art and Art History Department offers majors with emphases in art history and studio art. A dual degree Architecture Program is also available.

New students are welcome to take courses in any art medium or any area of art history at the entry level. First-year students and non-majors are welcome.

Contact individual faculty to inquire about upper level courses with pre-requisites. Additional information can be found on the department website, http://www.macalester.edu/art/.

Contact:
Kristi Fackel
651-696-6279

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Asian Languages and Cultures

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures serves as a home for the study of Asia, both for broad comparative and cultural studies of the history, geography, literature, film, art, music, and society in Asia, and for the more focused study of Japanese or Chinese language and culture. The department offers an Asian Studies Major and Minor, a Chinese Language and Culture Major and Minor, and a Japanese Language and Culture Major and Minor.  See the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/asian/majorsminors/  for more information on the structure of each major and about the faculty and fields of study involved.  In Fall 2018, we offer a first year course “JAPA 254: Japanese Film and Animation: From the Salaryman to the Shōjo “. This course surveys the history of Japanese film from the “golden age” of Japanese cinema to the contemporary transnational genre of anime.

Contact:
Xin Yang, Chinese

Satoko Suzuki, Japanese

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Biology

Biology will offer two first year courses this year, BIOL 118: Heart and Soul of Biology and BIOL 194: Health in the Anthropocene. Neither of these courses contributes toward requirements for the Biology major.

If you are considering majoring in Biology, the most important thing for you to do in the fall is to get started in the chemistry sequence. Most students interested in majoring in Biology should register for General Chemistry I, CHEM 111. If you have a good high school chemistry background, you could consider enrolling in CHEM 115, Accelerated General Chemistry, which compresses the two-semester introductory chemistry sequence into one semester. This course is only offered in the Fall to first year students. An alternative option if you have a good chemistry background is to skip General Chemistry I and enroll in General Chemistry II in the spring. If you are interested in either of these options, you should take the online chemistry placement exam. Contact Marc Rodwogin () for instructions and the link to take this exam. You may take this exam over the summer or when you arrive on campus. It is not necessary to register for one of the four core biology classes (Genetics, Cell Biology, Ecology, and Biodiversity and Evolution) during the first semester, although if you can get into one of the classes, that’s great. Whether or not you register for one of the four biology core courses during your first semester, you should register for one during your second semester.

For further information, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/biology

Contact:
Mary Montgomery

If you are having difficulty contacting Professor Montgomery during July or August, please contact Lin Aanonsen instead at 

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Chemistry

CHEM 111 (General Chemistry I) and CHEM 112 (General Chemistry II) together provide an in-depth introduction to modern chemical ideas.  CHEM 115 (Accelerated General Chemistry) is a more advanced introductory course which covers key topics from both 111 and 112 in a single semester. CHEM 111 and 115 are offered only in the fall, and CHEM 112 is offered only in the spring.  All entering students considering majors in chemistry or biology, and those seeking admission to medical school upon graduation, should take either 111 or 115 in their first semester. One can place into 115 with a score of 4 or 5 on the Chemistry Advanced Placement test, a score of 5 or higher on either the higher or standard level Chemistry International Baccalaureate exam, or with a strong performance on the online chemistry placement test.  (Please contact Dr. Marc Rodwogin () for access to the placement test.) Please see the Chemistry Department web site (http://www.macalester.edu/academics/chemistry/) for more information.

Contact:
Keith Kuwata

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The Classical Mediterranean and Middle East

We explore the languages, literatures, cultures, and archaeological remains of this region in the distant past, from Rome to Greece, Egypt, Israel and beyond. Here students learn Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, or Latin (all of which fulfill the Second Language Requirement), and together with faculty analyze and interpret ancient texts, societies, and material culture, as well as explore art and archaeology, myth, history, and the religions, political structures and ideas that arise from this part of the ancient world.

This fall Professor Beth Severy-Hoven will offer the First Year Course Sex, Satire and Slavery: Life and Literature in the Roman Empire, which addresses the question of how we use literature to help us understand life in an ancient world. Novels, poetry and satire provide a window into the Roman Empire — a window tantalizing for its details, humor, foreignness and familiarity, as well as clouded by its elite and male biases. The course explores a variety of Roman literary texts and how scholars have used them to reconstruct everyday life. These are supplemented with remains of material culture as we delve into topics such as family life, sexuality, slavery, and dining.

Other good approaches for students interested in the field would be to begin a classical language (Latin, Arabic and Hebrew begin this fall) or enroll in an introductory context course, such as CLAS 121 Greek World, CLAS 145 Pagans, Christians and Jews in Classical Antiquity, or CLAS 194 Songs of Lament and Resistance: Crisis Poetry of the Ancient Mediterranean. For further information on majors and minors, study abroad programs, and what faculty and students are up to in the Classical Mediterranean and Middle East, please see our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/classics/. Specific questions can be addressed to department chair Brian Lush at . We look forward to seeing you around the third floor of Old Main!

If you have studied Latin previously, please consult the department website for how to place yourself into the right Latin course:   http://www.macalester.edu/academics/classics/majorsminors/wheretostart/.

Contact:
Brian Lush

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Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is the study of how knowledge is acquired, stored, represented, and used by intelligent systems, both natural and artificial. Over the past 50 years, the study of cognition has developed into an interdisciplinary science by synthesizing aspects of computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology, and is concerned with topics such as memory, decision-making, problem solving, and language comprehension. More recently, the field has developed strong links to neuroscience, behavioral economics, and other disciplines. Because the field developed as an interdisciplinary science, it represents the best aspects of the Liberal Arts and requires students to utilize concepts and techniques that emerge from a broad knowledge base of a variety of related fields.

The Cognitive Science concentration at Macalester exposes students to scientific studies of the mind and other intelligent systems from a variety of academic disciplines. The core of the concentration consists of rigorous coursework on the nature of such systems from the perspective of Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics and Economics.

The concentration requires one statistics course, six content courses, and a poster presentation at the annual Cognitive Science Poster Session. To ensure distinction between the concentration and the student’s major, at least four courses must be independent of the student’s major. In addition, no more than three courses can be drawn from any one department, and at least four courses must be at the 200-level or above. When appropriate, students may propose to meet their concentration objectives by taking other courses, including those offered at other institutions or abroad. In all situations, students are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of a steering committee member in selecting a coherent set of courses that meet their educational goals and complement their major. Students should also consult with a steering committee member regarding the contents and scheduling of their poster presentation.

For more information, see https://www.macalester.edu/cognitivescience/concentration/

Contact:
Darcy Burgund

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Community and Global Health

The Community and Global Health concentration brings together a variety of disciplines and perspectives to important issues in population health and applies these approaches to civic engagement projects, independent research, as well as in classroom settings. The concentration builds on the strong ties between the liberal arts and the core concepts of public health—a diverse, multidisciplinary field unified around the examination of health, illness, and healing in local and international communities.

For additional information, please consult our website (www.macalester.edu/cgh) or the program’s director, Eric Carter ().

Contact:
Eric Carter

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Critical Theory

This concentration provides students an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of Critical Theory, one of the most influential movements in inciting thought and society to critical self-reevaluations.

Critical Theory can be described as the application of philosophical thought to cultural and social phenomena with the aim of identifying formations of knowledge and the relations of power underlying them and making them possible. It is, therefore, defined not through the objects analyzed—which are found across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and even natural sciences—but through its distinctive methodology.

A concentration in Critical Theory consists of a total of 24 credits: five (5) courses—selected from two lists of courses: Core Courses and Elective Courses—and one (1) course or project that involves a major research paper.

For more information and specific courses offered, please see the Critical Theory website:  Critical Theory.

Most of the critical theory courses offered in the fall semester are appropriate for first-year students (regardless of course number), and students are encouraged to contact the instructor of the course they are interested in.

For questions regarding the CT Concentration, please contact the director of the Program.

Contact:
Kiarina Kordela

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Economics

Throughout human history, from early hunter-gatherers to modern industrial societies, people have engaged in the production, trade and consumption of goods and services to satisfy basic needs and improve well-being.  Principles of Economics, the gateway course for the major, introduces students to basic economic concepts and theories so that they can begin to understand how market-based systems function to serve these goals.  There are two sections of Principles being offered as First Year Courses this fall, one of which will be more math intensive, requiring a background in calculus.

The course is split into three parts.  In the first, students are introduced to the methodology of economics — i.e., how to “think like an economist” — and begin to learn about markets.  We investigate cases where markets work well to allocate goods and services and cases where “market failures,” such as the presence of externalities or public goods, necessitate government intervention.

The second part of the course investigates (1) the optimizing behavior of individual consumers and firms, (2) implications of different market structures (i.e., competitive markets versus monopoly), and (3) markets for factors of production (labor, natural resources, capital, etc.) which help us understand the causes of income and wealth inequality.

The final part focuses on the financial system and macroeconomics—the study of economy-wide “aggregates” such as Gross Domestic Product, the Consumer Price Index and the unemployment rate.  One important goal here is to examine why there are disparities in material living standards across nations.  Another is to learn about the business cycle and the role that fiscal and monetary policy play to mitigate them.

For more information about the Economics Department, please see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/economics

Contact:
Pete Ferderer
651-696-6093

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Educational Studies

Educational Studies is an interdisciplinary field centered on social inquiry, imagination, and advocacy. The major includes participation in thematically related courses (32 credits), civic engagement experiences, and completion of an advanced integrative project. Students may select from one of two emphases – Teaching & Learning or Education & Society.

The Teaching & Learning emphasis is designed to support students interested in entering the teaching profession. Students may begin their teacher education at Macalester and then complete their preparation through a variety of different programs immediately after graduation. Areas of teaching supported include a broad spectrum of licenses serving public school students on elementary, secondary, and K-12 levels. The Teaching & Learning track also provides excellent preparation for students intending to enter teaching through programs that do not require state licensing such as Urban Teaching Fellows, World Teach, Peace Corp, JET, Montessori or Waldorf training, adult basic or ESL education, museum education, artists-in-residence, community education, etc.

The Education & Society emphasis provides opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration of pressing social and educational issues on local, national, and international levels. Students selecting this track begin by proposing an integrative theme. Suggested themes include: Education, Equity & Diversity, Education Policy, Environmental Education, Urban Education, Civic Education, Youth Development, Media Literacy, Aesthetic Education, Feminism & Education, International/Development Education, Education for Social Justice, and individually designed focal areas.

Students majoring in Educational Studies are also required to complete a supporting Major relevant to either their interests in teaching or their selected integrative theme. A 20-credit Minor provides opportunities for students to explore their interests in Educational Studies without committing to completion of a second major.

See the department website for more information www.macalester.edu/academics/education

Contact:
Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
651-696-6035

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English

The English department is offering two exciting first-year courses Fall 2018. One is ENGL 150-01, Introduction to Creative Writing, taught by Professor Matthew Burgess. In this course, you will be asked to read and discuss work by major writers, to critique each other’s work, and to write multiple drafts of original works of short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Throughout the semester the focus will be on helping you to discover and nurture your creative voice, and then express that voice with force and conviction. Authors under consideration will include the Grimm Brothers, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, and Alison Bechdel. All literary genres—sonnets, slam poems, personal essays, narrative podcasts, kitchen sink realism, and intergalactic space operas—are welcome here.

The other first-year course is ENGL 137, Novel: On Beauty. In this course, taught by Professor Amy Elkins, you will explore the concept of beauty in its many forms, from feelings associated with beautiful places and people to the history of visual attraction and attention. Reading novels from the late-nineteenth century to the present, you will consider beauty from different perspectives and ask how the visible world intersects with larger social issues. For example, can the beautiful be political? How are shifting gender norms redefining beauty in today’s world? What is the relationship between art and narcissism? How do writers use beauty as a tool of critique, celebration, unity? Can there be beauty in trauma? You will read novels by Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and Zadie Smith, among others, and the course will include multimedia response assignments, film analysis, traditional essays, and lively group discussions.

Other English courses appropriate for first-year students include any numbered from 105-194; these courses have no prerequisite. ENGL 125, which in the Fall semester focuses on travel writing and is taught by Professor Sierra Lomuto, may be a particularly good choice for its combination of a wide range of literary historical periods, its focus on race and colonialism, and its combination of critical and creative writing options (including writing your own travel narrative). 200-level English courses also have no prerequisite, although first-year students are advised to wait until the spring semester to register for them. All 100-level courses will provide an introduction to college-level study of literature or creative writing, with a heavy emphasis on the development of writing, critical thinking, and close reading skills. First-year students who have an interest in creative writing are encouraged to enroll in ENGL 150, Introduction to Creative Writing during their first year. It is the prerequisite for all other creative writing courses at Macalester.

For more information about the English Department, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/english

Contact:
Andrea Kaston Tange, Department Chair

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Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary department that offers students the opportunity to develop a holistic understanding of environmental issues. The program emphasizes multidisciplinary tools and perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The program encourages depth of disciplinary knowledge, breadth of cross-disciplinary perspectives, and integration through core courses and a required off-campus internship. Students may major or minor in environmental studies.  For more information see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/environmentalstudies.

The first year course offered by the ES department this year is Oceanography (ENVI 294 – and yes, it’s designed for first-year students even though it is a 200-level class). The study of oceanography is a multidisciplinary pursuit that applies tools from geology, physics, chemistry, and biology to better understand one of Earth’s most unique planetary features. Oceans cover the majority of Earth’s surface and were the birthplace of nearly all complex life on Earth. Ocean currents carry heat, nutrients, and carbon around the globe, influencing Earth’s climate from global to local scales. However, despite its immense size, the ocean system is also highly sensitive to human impacts such as acidification, overfishing, and pollution. This course will provide an overview of the ocean’s physical, chemical, and biological properties and processes and the complex ways in which they interact. We will use oceanographic data to ask and answer questions about modern and past oceanographic systems. We will also explore human impacts on the oceans in their scientific and socio-political contexts. This course is designed for students with an introductory background in any related discipline, and enthusiasm for approaching science in a multidisciplinary way.

Other appropriate introductory courses for those interested in environmental issues include Environmental Sociology (ENVI 194),  People, Agriculture and Environment (ENVI 232), and Ecology (ENVI 285), among others.

Contact:
Dan Hornbach, Chair

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Food, Agriculture and Society

The interdepartmental program in Food, Agriculture and Society offers a six-course, interdisciplinary concentration involving core and supporting courses as well as an internship. The program exposes students to the social and biophysical aspects of complex food and agricultural questions. It aims to produce graduates who: 1) understand the fundamentals of food and agricultural systems; 2) have broad interdisciplinary training on the theme; and 3) are able to connect their interdisciplinary training on food, agriculture and society to real word experiences and application.

Courses offered in the fall that would be appropriate for incoming first year students include: ANTH 194 Human Foodways: An Introduction to Anthropology; GEOG 232 People, Agriculture and the Environment; BIOL 285 Ecology; and GEOG 243 Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context. Contact the Program Director with specific questions.

For more information see the department website:  https://www.macalester.edu/fas/

Contact:
Bill Moseley
651-696-6126

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French and Francophone Studies

The Department of French and Francophone Studies welcomes all students of French and offers the possibility of studying French at all levels in Fall 2018 (French 101, 102, 111, 203, 204, 305, or 306). Students may enter the sequence at the appropriate level by demonstrating their proficiency in the language. If you have taken French in high school or elsewhere, your proficiency level is verified by the score attained on the Macalester language placement test. For advanced students, your level is verified by the score obtained on the French AP exam or the SAT II exam for French. If you are in an IB program, please consult the department chair or one of the professors listed below in Summer Contacts. For more specific placement information, including test scores, please refer to the guidelines on our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/french/languageplacement/

In Fall 2018, Professor Andrew Billing will be offering a First-Year Course in English titled “From ‘68 to (17)89 and Back: May 1968 and the French Revolutionary Legacy.” This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the student and worker demonstrations that took place in Paris in May 1968 and that nearly overthrew the French government. In this course, we will explore the causes, ideas, and importance of May 1968 in light of the French Revolution of 1789-1799, often understood as the defining event in modern French history. Our question will be: to what extent was May 1968 a continuation of and attempt to complete the Revolution of 1789 and its inspirations, ideals, and energies? What did May 1968 owe to the ideas and principles of eighteenth-century figures such Rousseau, Sièyes, Robespierre, Olympe de Gouges, Madame de Staël, and Babeuf? Where, and why, did thinkers linked to 1968 (Debord; Foucault; Cixous) break with the ideas and commitments of Revolution? And what lessons might we draw from the successes and failures of 1789 and 1968 today? Our focus will not be on history per se, but on the political, social, and economic ideas and values at stake in these periods. The course is open to all students, including those with no background in French.

The FRENCH MAJOR is nine courses:
1) 306 and either 305 or an equivalent 300-level course (308, 309, or 310)
2) six advanced courses (300 and 400 level courses) beyond 306, including a) at least one course on a Francophone region, b) one course on a period preceding the 20th century, and c) one course on French or Francophone culture.
3) the Senior independent study (which includes a capstone project or an Honors Project)
4) a study abroad experience in a French-speaking country (two of the six advanced courses may be taken during the study abroad program)

The FRENCH MINOR is five courses:
Two courses at the 300 level (usually 305 and 306) and three additional French courses at the 300 or 400 levels. The department also strongly recommends that minors take 306, as it is required for all 400-level topics courses.

For more information on the French academic program, French House, study abroad, and other student opportunities, please visit our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/french/

Contact:
Andrew Billing, Chair (May 15 to June 6, August)

Martine Sauret (June 7 to June 30)

Juliette Rogers (July 1 to July 31)

 

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Geography

Macalester’s nationally and internationally recognized Geography Department is unusually broad in scope for an undergraduate liberal arts college. The department leads students through an exploration of urban and regional planning, environmental geography, cartography, geographic information science and socio-economic development in various regions of the world. Students may major or minor in geography.

Human Geography of Global Issues (GEOG 111) and World Regional Geography (Geography 113) are gateway courses, which each introduce students to issues of human settlements, land use and political order. Regional Geography of the US and Canada (GEOG 242), and Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context (GEOG 243), are being offered as First Year Courses in the fall and would likewise be excellent introductions to the department. Additionally, courses at the 200 level without prerequisites are open to incoming students, such as Urban Geography (GEOG 241), Geography of Africa (GEOG 243), and Medical Geography (GEOG 256). Other upper division courses may be appropriate for students with the necessary background (such as AP Human Geography). Contact the department chair with specific questions or see the department website at www.macalester.edu/academics/geography.

Contact:
Laura Smith
651-696-6505

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Geology

The introductory courses in geology are designed to serve students interested in learning more about the geosciences and environmental sciences.  They provide an appreciation of the scientific principles and techniques used to investigate the Earth, and serve to inform students about the composition, materials, major processes, and history of our planet.  Our introductory courses count toward the major and minor, and fulfill general education requirements in the Science/Math category. Many of our intro courses satisfy part of the quantitative thinking requirement at Macalester. We are offering two First Year Courses in Fall 2018 – Dynamic Earth and Global Change (GEOL160) and Flying Dinosaurs and Walking Whales (GEOL 194). Any of our intro courses, including our two fantastic First Year Courses, would be an excellent way of exploring the department and the field!

See the department website for more information  www.macalester.edu/academics/geology

Contact:
Ray Rogers
651-696-6434

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German Studies

The Department of German Studies covers all levels of German language; German literary, intellectual, and cultural history; and literary and critical theory in conjunction with the Critical Theory Program. Beyond the language program, we offer interdisciplinary courses in German or in English; critical theory, cinema, and first-year courses are routinely taught in English. Other highlights are residency in the Deutsches Haus and our half-year study abroad program in Berlin and Vienna (also open to qualified non-majors).

Our Fall 2018 first-year course is German Cinema Studies:  Art/Horror; featured on the German Studies website. Also, for students interested in theory/philosophy, “Value: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Cheap” explores how aesthetics relate to ethical and economic values.

Language Placement: Students with no background in German should register for German Studies 101; students who have studied another foreign language may alternatively register for German Studies 110: Accelerated Elementary German. Students with any prior training in German or any extended exposure to the language must take the placement test. Advanced students (scoring above 550 on the placement test or above 620 on the SAT II) should consult with Prof. Rachael Huener about which course is best for them. Some possibilities are German Studies 305: German Through the Media; German Studies 308: German Cultural History I; and German Studies 309: German Cultural History II.

For more information, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/german

Contact:
Linda Schulte-Sasse

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History

How does the past continue to influence the present? How can we distinguish between what really happened versus what is invented? To answer these questions, historians practice what we study: We re-construct and re-present events and cultures of the past using a broad range of written, visual, oral and material evidence. This increases our understanding of how, and why, humans constantly reshape narratives about people and events while at the same time trying to preserve their original essence. In this spirit of rooted reinvention so characteristic of the discipline, the Macalester College History Department has recently refashioned itself around a new current in the profession: global history. Global history emphasizes zones of interaction rather than individual areas or discrete time periods; it highlights trans-regional and chronology-busting phenomena such as migration, conquest and trade. Students and professors of history at Macalester therefore have the shared opportunity to study multiple times, places and sources in addition to choosing one or two avenues of specialty to pursue in depth. This wider-ranging comparative approach allows us to address the contradictory and often clashing presence in the human record of conflict as well as consensus, trauma as well as triumph, difference as well as similarity, fact as well as fiction, and discontinuity as well as pattern.

For further information on the department and course offerings, please consult the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/history/about/

Incoming students are welcome to enroll in 100- and 200-level classes.  Examples of Fall 2018 courses that First-Year Students might find interesting include:

114-01 History of Africa to 1800
 137-01  From Confederation to Confederacy
140-01 Intro to E Asian Civ
181-01 Intro to Latin America
194-01 Governing the Body
225-01 American Indian Hist to 1871
244-01 US since 1945
251-01 Pirates, Translators, and Missionaries: Indian Ocean World Connections
275-01 Modern China
277-01 Modern Japan

The History Department has two classes for Fall 2018 that are designed specifically as First Year Courses.

HIST 294-01: First Encounters in History. This course invites first years to pause at a frontier in their own lives to reflect on how past peoples have confronted the other and the alien. How do we behave in the intense moments of first encounters with substantially different people? What are the patterns, pitfalls or unspoken protocols? Case studies we will consider may include first meetings between Vikings, Spaniards, Englishmen, and Native Americans (1000, 1500s and 1620s), missionaries and native peoples in Canada and Africa (1600-1700), Dutch merchants and Chinese warlords (mid-1600s), Europeans and Australian aborigines (late 1700s), doctors and Goliath pygmies (early 1900s), and humans and extraterrestrials (1950-present). In revisiting these moments, we will practice four mainstays of academic conversation. We will read closely and critically, and often quickly and widely, for the purposes of scholarly analysis; we will respond to and make use of the work of others; we will draft and revise texts; and we will make our writing public. These skills are applicable across disciplines and outside of college, but this course focuses on them through the particular lens of History. Class assignments are designed for students to become familiar with the conventions followed by professional historians, culminating in a final assignment to present an original interpretation of a firsthand report of encounter.

HIST 137-02:  From Confederation to Confederacy:  US History from Independence to Civil War.  In the Plan of Union prepared during the 1754 Albany Convention,  Anglo-American colonists met to consider uniting as a loose confederation for their common defense and to ally with the Iroquois confederacy. That plan failed, but a later experiment in unity succeeded when the united colonies declared independence. Nevertheless, social, cultural, and ideological differences persisted, and the union formed in 1776 was tried and tested before finally fracturing with the secession of South Carolina, precipitating the Civil War. In the intervening years, Americans grappled with how they should govern themselves, who should be included in the polity, and how society should be organized. Reformers considered the controversial issues of women’s rights, the role of Native Americans within the US, and the place of slavery in a nation founded on the precept that “All men are created equal.” This course covers the periods of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the early national and antebellum periods, before concluding with the Civil War. It also considers the global causes and consequences of the war and the rise of the new United States. The course will also delve into the myth and historical memory of Alexander Hamilton, the founding father who has captured the imagination of people in the modern U.S.  Through a study of the recent biography of Hamilton and the music from the stage production of Hamilton, we will consider both the biographical and mythical Alexander Hamilton in order to understand his era and our own.

Contact:
Karin Vélez

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Human Rights and Humanitarianism Interdepartmental Program

This concentration provides students an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of human rights and humanitarianism. The objectives of the concentration are to cultivate in students:

  • a familiarity with major developments in the history of human rights and humanitarianism;
  • an understanding of the institutional frameworks governing human rights and humanitarianism, including international law, international organizations, and civil society movements;
  • an understanding of the theoretical and philosophical debates about the meanings of human rights and humanitarianism;
  • a capacity to understand and evaluate practical debates over the methods, motivations, and consequences of human rights and humanitarian action, including but not limited to questions of policy-making, fieldwork, and media and artistic representation;
  • a familiarity with a range of current and past global (including local, national, and international) human rights problems.

Given that students and faculty approach the study of human rights and humanitarianism from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the program permits students to complete this concentration in conjunction with a wide array of majors.

A concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism consists of five courses selected from two lists: Framework Courses and Specialized Courses. Of these five courses, at least two courses must come from the list of Framework Courses and one from the list of Specialized Courses. The HRH concentration also includes an optional 2-credit Senior Colloquium.

Students in the HRH program are encouraged to pursue internships and take study away courses in the areas of human rights and humanitarianism. These may be counted toward the completion of the concentration with the approval of the program coordinator.

For more information, see our website:  https://www.macalester.edu/hrh/

Contact:
Wendy Weber

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International Development

The International Development concentration examines long-run transitions in social, economic, political, and cultural institutions that have accompanied industrialization in modern states, particularly focusing on states in the Global South. The field seeks to understand how these historical and contemporary shifts affect people’s welfare and opportunities and how change has affected patterns of wealth and resource distribution within and between countries.

A concentration in International Development requires six courses. These six courses must come from at least three different departments and no more than three courses may come from any single department with no more than two courses coming from a department in which a student is majoring. In addition, a student completing a concentration, minor, or major in an area studies department or program may include no more than two courses from that area studies plan on an International Development concentration plan.

For more information see www.macalester.edu/academics/internationaldevelopment

Contact:
Amy Damon
651-696-6862

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International Studies

International Studies is one of Macalester’s flagship majors, and is configurable – often in conjunction with other majors, minors, and concentrations – for a vast range of purposes and interests. It focuses on the interdisciplinary confrontation with globalization, across all regions and in many domains. We offer introductory courses (any of INTL 110-114) that explore key questions in today’s international life and introduce students to our department. Each version has its own focus, and students may choose any of them. There are no prerequisites: thus anyone interested in internationalism at Macalester is warmly welcomed to enroll. Our 200-level courses (especially those on human rights and public health) are suitable for first-years with some prior familiarity with, and/or very keen interest in, their specific subject matters.

For more information about the International Studies Department see www.macalester.edu/academics/internationstudies

Contact:
Nadya Nedelsky

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Latin American Studies Program

Students with an interest in Latin American Studies (LAS) should follow these steps:

  1. Send a brief email to LAS Director Olga Gonzalez () communicating your interest in Latin American Studies. This will allow you to be informed about opportunities to meet Latin American Studies students and attend LAS events.
  2. Register for a 100- or 200-level Latin American Studies course.
  3. Register for an appropriate Spanish or Portuguese course.

4.  Visit Latin American Studies Program to learn more.

Contact:
Olga Gonzalez

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Legal Studies Program

The Legal Studies Program offers students a variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students who have interests in law—whether as a career or an intellectual pursuit. In the curriculum, the Legal Studies concentration provides students a course of study that places law within the tradition of the liberal arts, encouraging students to develop a deeper, lasting engagement with Macalester’s mission and their future work. As an interdisciplinary concentration, students find sustained engagement of law-related issues from a variety of perspectives intellectually stimulating and rewarding. As a six-course concentration, it is not essential for students to begin a legal studies concentration during the first year; however, we often find that first year students really enjoy our courses and that they build on these course experiences throughout their time at Macalester.

See www.macalester.edu/academics/legalstudies for more information.

Contact:
Patrick Schmidt
651-696-6147

or

Erik Larson
651-696-6309

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Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, the medium in which we do almost everything that makes us human.

Here are a few introductory courses suitable for first year students.  These courses have no prerequisites.

Ling 194 Being Human: An Introduction to Language
Language is a uniquely human skill; no other animal possesses anything like it.  This course will make you aware of the complex organization and systematic nature of human language. In a sense, you will be studying yourself, since you are a prime example of a language user (for example, how do you pronounce  pecan? Do you call carbonated beverages soda, pop, soda-pop, or Coke? How is plural expressed in your language? )  Most of your knowledge of language, however, is unconscious, and the part of language that you can describe is largely the result of your earlier education, which may have given you confused, confusing, or misleading notions about language. This course is intended to clarify your ideas about language and bring you to a better understanding of its nature. By the end of the course you should be familiar with some of the terminology and techniques of linguistic analysis and be able to apply this knowledge to the description of different languages.  This is the department’s First Year Course for Fall 2018.

Ling 150 Language and Gender in Japanese Society
Japanese is considered to be a gendered language in the sense that women and men speak differently from each other. Male characters in Japanese animation often use “boku” or “ore” to refer to themselves, while female characters often use “watashi” or “atashi.” When translated into Japanese, Hermione Granger (a female character in the Harry Potter series) ends sentences with soft-sounding forms, while Harry Potter and his best friend Ron use more assertive forms. Do these fictional representations reflect reality? How are certain forms associated with femininity or masculinity? Do speakers of Japanese conform to the norm or rebel against it? These are some of the questions discussed in this course. Students will have opportunities to learn about the history of gendered language, discover different methodologies in data collections, and find out about current discourse on language and gender.

For more information, check out our webpage: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/linguistics/

Contact:
Christina Esposito

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Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) has faculty expertise and course offerings in theoretical math, applied math, statistics, data science and computer science. We have chosen to stay together as a single department because we value the many important interconnections between these disciplines. The MSCS Department offers three different majors ー Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Computer Science ー and four minors ー Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science, and Computer Science. Course descriptions, information about our majors and minors, advice on course selection and placement information can be found on our department website, www.macalester.edu/academics/mscs.

We will offer one first-year course next year: COMP 123, Core Concepts in Computer Science. It is our introductory course in computer science, and it has no prerequisites. The FYC version of this course will be organized around several major topics, including turtle graphics, text and data analysis, image processing, and graphical user interfaces.  The popular programming language Python will be used.  Throughout, the class will apply  techniques to simulations, data analysis, and visualizations that explore topics that make the world a better place.

The most common starting place in mathematics is in our calculus sequence: Applied Multivariable Calculus (AMC) I, II, or III (Math 135, 137, and 237). Many majors across campus require at least one calculus course. Incoming students who have taken high school calculus are typically ready to start in AMC II or AMC III. See www.macalester.edu/mscs/wheredoistart/ for placement information. Another popular starting place in the mathematics curriculum is Discrete Mathematics (MATH 279).

The most common starting places in the statistics and data science curriculum are Introduction to Statistical Modeling (MATH 155) and Introduction to Data Science (MATH / COMP 112).  MATH 155 is substantially different than AP statistics; thus all incoming students would start here.

The most common starting place in the computer science curriculum is Core Concepts in Computer Science (COMP 123), though students with prior experience such as high school AP computer science may be allowed to start in Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures (Comp 124) by permission of the instructor. Students unsure about where to start in the computer science curriculum should email Susan Fox () or one of the other Computer Science faculty.

Contact:
Tom Halverson

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Media and Cultural Studies

The Media and Cultural Studies major analyzes the poetics, politics, and production of media texts, in alignment with the College’s commitment to internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement, using theories and methods drawn from the humanities.

The department offers an innovative ten-course major that includes opportunities for students to combine analysis, history, criticism, and production.  The major provides students with a working knowledge of historians and critics of new media, film, newspapers, radio, and television; helps students develop an ability to explicate a specific body of culture or type of media in depth; and provides students with opportunities to appreciate different kinds of media and to produce original work.

Students take at least ten courses toward the major. Four courses are required:

  • The introductory course, Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies (MCST 110), which covers the history of cultural analysis, broadly defined, from traditional to contemporary approaches, providing students with a foundation in major writings and acquainting students with issues of continuing debate in media studies. Completion of or enrollment in 110 is required for admission into the major program.
  • MCST 128, Film Analysis and Visual Culture.
  • MCST 126, Local News Media Institutions, or INTL/MCST 202, Global Media Industries.
  • MCST 488, capstone Advanced Topic Seminar, in which students work on an independent project in line with the theme of the seminar and share their scholarship with a scholarly community, integrating what they have learned in the major. The capstone experience involves close analysis of cultural artifacts that examine at a higher level issues first raised in the introductory course. In exceptional cases, students with sufficient preparation may take the seminar prior to their senior year. Students may complete their honors projects in the capstone seminar.

The major also requires one advanced course in media/cultural theory, two courses on race or gender/sexuality and the media, one course in analyzing or making media, and two approved electives in media studies. Additional professional courses are available at the University of St. Thomas and other ACTC schools.

The media studies minor is for students interested in journalism or media studies or a combination. It requires five courses, including MCST 126, Media Institutions, or INTL/MCST 202, Global Media Industries. The minor concentrates on media studies and offers opportunities for critical research as well as for pre-professional experience in media production.

The Twin Cities is a vibrant and creative urban area, and students in the department have found opportunities for internships with arts and other nonprofit organizations and with media companies. Graduates have found employment in the media, in government, and in social and cultural institutions as well as opportunities for further study in doctoral programs and professional schools.

Students who enroll as majors or minors are invited to department events and notified of internships, conferences, and other off-campus opportunities. While enrolling as a major or minor requires a tentative course selection, students may change their selections before their last semester, provided they remain within major or minor requirements.

More information is available  at: Media and Cultural Studies.

Contact:
John Kim

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Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization Interdepartmental Program

The broad goal of this concentration is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Somewhat more specifically, the objectives of the concentration are to cultivate in students (a) a basic familiarity with culture, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, economy, and geography of both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world; (b) an understanding of some of the major theoretical and/or methodological approaches to the study of both the Middle East and the Islamic world; (c) an appreciation of the social, political, and cultural diversity/complexity of the Middle East and Islamic World; (d) a sympathetic understanding of a relevant worldwide or cultural perspective different from his/her own; (e) a capacity to engage thoughtfully and constructively in potentially difficult dialogues regarding some of the more contentious issues affecting the region/civilization (e.g. US intervention in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict); and (f) if possible, facilitate knowledge of a language that is spoken natively by people of the Middle East or Islamic world.

Given that students and faculty approach the study of Middle East and Islamic civilization from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the program permits students to complete this concentration in conjunction with a wide array of majors. The program promotes breadth by requiring that students complete courses (in several departments) dealing with both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world; it promotes depth by requiring a capstone project focused on a relevant topic.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/mesic

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Music

All students may participate in the Music Department, which offers courses, ensembles, and lessons in a variety of musical traditions. Our first-year course, “33 1/3,” will be appropriate for any student interested in studying music at Macalester. Students considering the major or minor in music should register for Theory I (offered in fall semesters only). Courses appropriate for general students include World Music as well as Music and Freedom. Students are encouraged to audition for any of our ensembles—African Music Ensemble, Asian Music Ensemble, Macalester Concert Choir, Macalester Chorale, Macalester Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Mac Jazz Band, Jazz and Popular Music Combos, Pipe Band, Early Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles—at the beginning of each semester. Private lessons are available for an extra fee to all Macalester students. Registration for lessons and ensembles takes place during the first week of classes.

See the department website for more information www.macalester.edu/academics/music

Contact:
Rachel Hest

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Neuroscience

Macalester’s Neuroscience Program provides a rigorous introduction to the study of the nervous system that is, like the field itself, rooted in biology and psychology. Students interested in majoring in Neuroscience should plan to complete Chemistry 111 (General Chemistry I), Chemistry 112 (General Chemistry II), Biology 265 (Genetics) or Biology 260 (Cell Biology), and Psychology 100 (Introduction to Psychology) during their first year. The Neuroscience program does not offer a first-year course, and students are encouraged to use their first-year course to explore their non-science interests.

See www.macalester.edu/academics/neuroscience for more information.

Contact:
Darcy Burgund

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Philosophy

This fall the Philosophy Department is pleased to offer two First Year Courses:

Ethics – Happiness and Philosophical Inquiry (Prof. Diane Michelfelder)
Introduction to World Philosophy (Prof. Joy Laine)

Both these courses also have non-FYC sections. In addition, the department will offer 2 sections of Symbolic Logic with several seats reserved for first year students.

More information about these and other philosophy courses can be found at the Registrar’s website or the department website or by contacting the department chair, Prof. Geoffrey Gorham.  http://www.macalester.edu/academics/philosophy/

Introduction to Philosophy (Phil 100), Ethics (PHIL 121) and Symbolic Logic (Phil 111) each provide excellent introductions to the field of philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy addresses a wide range of philosophical topics and enables students to gain an understanding of philosophy in general. Ethics provides a more focused introduction to the field of moral philosophy and is required for a major in philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics sometimes have a special focus even though they cover a range of topics. This year, the foci are World Philosophy and Happiness, respectively. Symbolic Logic focuses on the standards of good argument, including validity and soundness. All three courses provide students with important tools of criticism and analysis that are useful in all coursework and beyond college.

Hope to see you in a philosophy class in the fall!

Contact:
Geoffrey Gorham

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Physical Education

The department of physical education provides students the opportunity to develop or improve skills in activity classes and/or compete in a wide range of recreational, intramural, club and intercollegiate sports.  Visit our website  to learn more.

ACTIVITY COURSES

Students may earn a maximum of four credits toward graduation for participating in four different physical education activity classes. Each class is one credit and all activity classes are graded S/NC.  Consult the Fall Schedule  for current options and availability,

Contact:
Athletics and Physical Education
651-696-6260
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Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy will offer two first year courses (FYCs) in 2018.

Professor Tonnis ter Veldhuis () will teach PHYS194-01, “Rocket Science”.  This is a rocketry themed calculus-based introductory physics course for first-year students only. The course covers standard material such as Newton’s laws, conservation of energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum, oscillations and orbital dynamics, but with a strong focus on applying these basic physics principles to rocket propulsion and flight dynamics. Instead of a conventional lab, the course includes a hands-on semester-long project where students design, simulate, build, and fly their own high-power rockets. Apart from the rocket building project, evaluation will take the form of regular problem sets, exams, short papers, and a research paper. Some high school physics and calculus are recommended.  “Rocket Science” can be substituted for the course Principles of Physics I towards the physics major and provides a solid foundation for Principles of Physics II.  “Rocket Science” is designated as Writing (WA) and Quantitative Thinking (Q2), and will contribute toward meeting those General Education requirements, as well as fulfilling part of the Natural Science and Mathematics Distribution Requirement.  This FYC will meet at the same time as PHYS194-02 in order to allow simultaneous sessions when needed.

Professor John M. Cannon () will teach PHYS194-02,  “The Cosmos”. This FYC will allow students to explore various current topics of interest in astronomy. After building a foundation in basic physics, the course will include discussions about: planets (both within the Solar System and the exploding field of extrasolar planets); the birth, life, and death of stars; exotic remnant objects (e.g., white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes); galaxies (including our own Milky Way and external systems); cosmology and the fate of the universe; the “unseen 95%” (dark matter and dark energy); and astrobiology and the question of life in the universe.  This course covers the same material as PHYS113 and PHYS114 (“Modern Astronomy I” and “Modern Astronomy II”), but at an accelerated pace. “The Cosmos” is an ideal FYC for students who are interested in astronomy and who might be considering the physics major with astronomy emphasis. This residential course is designated as Writing (WA) and Quantitative Thinking (Q1), and will contribute toward meeting those General Education requirements, as well as fulfilling part of the Natural Science and Mathematics Distribution Requirement.  Previous exposure to physics and calculus are recommended.  This FYC will meet at the same time as PHYS194-01 in order to allow simultaneous sessions when needed.

For first-year students interested in physics and not enrolled in either of the the physics FYCs, the recommended starting point is to enroll in PHYS226 (“Principles of Physics I”) and MATH135 (“Applied Multivariable Calculus I”) during the fall semester of the first year.  Previous experience and testing may warrant placement in more advanced courses; please contact Professor Cannon or Professor ter Veldhuis with any questions.

Details about the physics major and required courses can be found at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/physics/majorsminors/.

Contact:
Tonnis ter Veldhuis
651-696-6838

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Political Science

Political Science is offering two First Year Courses. Professor Patrick Schmidt’s POLI 294: The Politics of Architecture and the Built Environment takes a close look at something many people take for granted: how the buildings and space around you can be deeply political, in what they say and how they shape our behavior. Professor Andrew Latham’s POLI 223: The Politics of the World Wars looks back at the First and Second World Wars, both through the lens of History and the lens of International Relations, to help us understand the origins of war, the nature of military strategy, the wider forces of political economy, and how the world order was changed in the process.

In addition to the sections of these courses being taught as First Year Courses, the department also reserves places for entering students in all of our Foundations courses, including Foundations of U.S. Politics, Foundations of Comparative Politics, Foundations of Political Theory, and Foundations of International Politics. Also, students may consider any of the more focused courses that we offer at the 200-level, and you should feel free to contact individual faculty members if you would like to talk over whether those courses would be a good fit for you. For more information, also visit: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/politicalscience/ or contact the department chair, Paul Dosh.

Contact:
Paul Dosh

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Premedical Program

For those of you interested in medical school or veterinary school or dentistry, you should seriously consider enrolling in General Chemistry 111 or 115 during your first semester (see the Chemistry section for details). All medical schools require the equivalent of one year (2 semesters) of general chemistry and an additional two to three semesters of advanced chemistry.

In addition, all medical schools require two – five semesters of biology with lab and two semesters of physics with lab. For biology courses, we recommend taking at least Genetics (BIOL 260) and Cell Biology (BIOL 265). If you are considering taking a biology course your first semester, you should take Genetics (BIOL 260) or Biodiversity & Evolution (BIOL 270). Cell Biology is generally taken in the sophomore year due to the prerequisite of Chemistry 112 or 115. In addition to these courses, medical schools are also increasingly requiring a course in the behavioral sciences, which can be satisfied by taking either PSYC 100 or SOCI 110. Statistics and courses that demonstrate writing proficiency are also common requirements for medical school.

If you are interested in any premedical area (medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, etc.) you should consult one of the health professions advisors [Professor Lin Aanonsen, Director of the Health Professions Advising Committee/Biology, Professor Ron Barrett/Anthropology, Professor Devavani Chatterjea/Biology, or Professor Mary Montgomery/Biology] very early in your first year for academic advice. You should also contact Patty Byrne Pfalz (HPAC Administrative Assistant) in the biology department to be included on the Health Professions mailing list (pfalz@macalester.edu). For information on health professions advising at Macalester go to: www.macalester.edu/hpa/.

Contact:
Mary Montgomery (Biology)

If you are having difficulty contacting Professor Montgomery during July or August, please contact Lin Aanonsen instead ()

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Psychology

The Psychology Department will offer a First Year Course called:

How We Remember, Learn, and Decide: Applied Cognitive Science
How do people think, remember, learn, and make decisions?  Philosophers have considered these questions for millennia, and in the last century or so the questions have been taken up in the relatively newer fields of psychology and cognitive science. Recently, significant progress has been made in applying our understanding of human cognition to larger societal goals and challenges.  In this FYC, we will take a psychological approach to the study of human mental processes such as memory, attention, problem solving, and learning. Equipped with evidence-based theories of the mind’s sophisticated yet quirky workings, we will examine how recent advances can be used to dispel popular myths about human cognition, and point the way to societal improvements in the areas of criminal justice, education, and bias-reduction. Our readings will include both primary sources and popular writing from scholars and public intellectuals.

​If you scored a 4 or a 5 on the AP exam in Psychology, received a 5, 6, or 7 on the IB higher level Psychology exam, or submitted qualifying GCE A-level grades, you may get credit for PSYC 100 and are welcome to take any intermediate-level class in the psychology department. If you ultimately decide to major in psychology, you will get placement credit for intro psych but you will still take 11 courses for the major.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/psychology

Contact:
Joan Ostrove
651-696-6775

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Religious Studies

Religious Studies is a broadly interdisciplinary investigation that takes its place among the humanities and social sciences. The department works with students who wish to focus on the academic study of religion, as well as those who seek courses in religion to help them frame and interrogate issues provoked in other academic areas. As a key part of human culture and history, Religious Studies encourages critical thinking about cultural, moral, and ethical processes unfolding in the world. Majors bring this perspective with them when they enter fields as diverse as journalism, law, medicine, education, professional life in the parish ministry/rabbinate, and community activism.

First year course for fall: Martin and Malcolm with Professor William Hart.  In this course, students explore the complicated lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. – the convergences and divergences. They will analyze the intersections of racial identity, religious affiliation, and political orientation and their relations to the prevailing notions of manhood. How did Malcolm and Martin enter the black freedom movement? How did their religious affiliation facilitate or hinder entry? How did their participation in the movement inform their understanding of religion? Within their respective imaginations, what kind of “religio-political and ethical figure” is America – Egypt, or Promised Land, Zion or Babylon; messianic nation or apocalyptic, dystopian nightmare? How do Martin and Malcolm perform, enact, and embody the notion that “black lives matter?”

These classes may also be of interest:
RELI 100 Introduction to Islam (Brett Wilson)
RELI 111 Introduction to Buddhism (Erik Davis)
RELI 121 Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Mary (Susanna Drake)
RELI 136 World Religions and World Religions Discourse (Jim Laine)
RELI 194 Jews and Judaism in Film
RELI 311 Ritual

Introductory courses are broad in scope, even as they seek to be selective enough to allow an in-depth encounter with source documents situated within their historical, literary, and social contexts. Methods of instruction include not only lectures and small group discussion, but also opportunities for independent study and research, one-on-one engagement with faculty, and site-specific projects in the Twin Cities and beyond.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/religiousstudies

Contact:
Susanna Drake
651-696-6544

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Russian Studies

Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union comprise the vast geographic space called Eurasia, stretching from St. Petersburg to Beijing. The former Soviet Union is composed of Russia, the Central Asian republics, the Caucasus nations and Siberia, and the Baltic states. If a student of international affairs were to journey into that space to explore its unknown cultures and geographies, and could do so knowing only one language, that language would be Russian. Current events tell us that becoming familiar with that world is imperative; but in the longer term, its cultural and historical riches alert us to the benefits of entering the post-Soviet world. Macalester students and faculty have keen interest in regions like East Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe – and countries such as China, North Korea, Iran, and Afghanistan. Only the former Soviet Union borders all of those regions and countries, and Russian language is understood throughout that space. Russia itself is both European and Asian, and has more Muslim citizens than Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories combined. The speaker of Russian can travel from St. Petersburg to Beijing, confident that they will be understood.

Russian scholars in literature, history, anthropology, politics, cultural and postcolonial studies are fully engaged in globally important comparative studies of race, ethnicity, class, gender, world culture, and more. Studying Russian is an integral part of Macalester’s internationalism.

Our courses explore Russia’s language, literature, visual arts, theater, and cinema; we offer comparative courses on such topics as revolution and the theory and practice of translation. Most of our courses are taught in English, and students at all levels of preparation are welcome.

For detailed information about the Russian Studies faculty, course offerings, the structure of the major and minor, study abroad, and opportunities to get involved with the Russian-speaking community in the Twin Cities, see the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/russian

Contact:
Jim von Geldern

Julia Chadaga

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Sociology

We invite you to visit our webpage: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/sociology/index.html

A piece of advice to first year students: Discover sociology at Macalester early. Many students who take their first course in the department during their junior or senior year regret not having the earlier exposure. Why? Because studying sociology:

  • Provides new insights about your life and the world around you;
  • Builds a range of tangible skills, related to the variety of evidence we use (from richly detailed accounts based on observing people as they go about their daily lives to analysis that reveals broad patterns that might otherwise remain invisible);
  • Fosters creativity by providing a variety of perspectives on the topics that we study; and
  • Involves learning about interesting and relevant topics, including how inequalities emerge and affect people’s lives; how practices of social life affect interaction and ideas; how distinct ways of arranging activities matter; and how organizations operate.

The department has reserved seats for incoming students in the following courses, none of which require prior experience, for Fall 2018:

SOCI 110 – Introduction to Sociology
How can we understand the influences on the wide range of inequalities that characterize the contemporary United States?

SOCI 190 – Criminal Behavior/Social Control (First Year Course)
The use of imprisonment as a form of criminal punishment is only about as old at the United States. Currently, 1 in 100 adults in the United States are in prison or jail. How should we understand the growth of this form of criminal punishment? How is it similar to other methods to react to and to attempt to control unwanted behavior? What are the social consequences of these formal institutions of social control? In this course, we examine these developments in the processes and organization of social control, paying particular attention to criminal behavior and formal, legal responses to crime. We study and evaluate sociological theories of criminal behavior to understand how social forces influence levels of crimes. We examine recent criminal justice policies in the United States and their connections to inequality, examining the processes that account for expanding criminalization. Finally, we compare the development of formal, bureaucratic systems of social control and informal methods of social control, paying attention to the social and political implications of these developments.

SOCI – 194 Environmental Sociology
This course provides an overview of environmental activism, politics, and policy making in the United States in historical and comparative perspective.

SOCI 250 – Non-Profit Organizations
This course takes a sociological approach to non-profit organizations, that panoply of private associations devoted to public purposes..  Political, economic, and culture dimensions of the third sector will be considered.

SOCI 290 – Islam and the West
How can we best understand the complexities of the present U.S. “War on Terrorism”? Should it be understood as a clash between two different cultural systems, one modern and democratic and the other feudal and fanatic? Or, is the violence systemic, taking a variety of forms in different parts of the globe? What role does power and inequality on a global scale have to do with it? These and many other questions will be dealt with in this course.

SOCI 294 – Immigrant Voices
How do the process of immigration and the experience of being an immigrant vary for different people and in different times and places?

Contact:
Erik Larson

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Spanish and Portuguese

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese welcomes students into dynamic language courses in elementary and intermediate Spanish and Portuguese, as well as advanced courses in literature, culture and linguistics, all taught in Spanish. All of our courses emphasize active language acquisition and application within meaningful, contemporary contexts. We believe that language is the pathway to true understanding of culture.

Macalester students take language courses for many practical reasons: as requirements for their major or minor area of study, as linguistic preparation for study abroad, to achieve a deep knowledge of the cultural, intellectual and artistic traditions of the countries they study, and to enhance career opportunities.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers a First Year Course every fall semester. In 2018, Prof. Ernesto Ortiz-Díaz will teach Brothers from Another Mother: Exploring Latin America’s Giants, Brazil & Mexico (short title:  Intro to Hispanic Studies: Brazil and Mexico). Brazil and Mexico are Latin American giants rivaling each other for regional hegemony, but they are also more similar than most people think. Located on opposite geographical, cultural, and linguistic sides of the Americas, Brazil and Mexico share common history, politics, and economy, which has traditionally been overlooked or ignored. Both countries have surpassed their former colonizers –Portugal and Spain– economically and demographically, and they have cemented vibrant individual cultural identities that are recognized across the world.

This class will introduce students to the rich cultural universes of Brazil and Mexico from the 1500s to the present. In and outside the classroom, students will follow the historical paths of both countries through the lenses of their geography, literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and cinema. While we explore these artistic and cultural manifestations, we will reflect on how concepts like nation, identity, race, ethnicity, and class have transformed the face of these countries—and the fate of Latin America. The course, SPAN305, will be conducted in Spanish and is appropriate for students who test in at that level (fifth semester) on our placement exam.

If you have questions about satisfying the foreign language requirement through Spanish or Portuguese, or about majoring in Spanish, please contact Cynthia Kauffeld, chair (), or visit our website: www.macalester.edu/spanish

Contact:
Cynthia Kauffeld

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Theatre and Dance

Welcome to the Theatre and Dance Department!

Our department offers small academic and studio courses in which students are closely mentored by expert faculty. In our class schedule, you will find a variety of theatre and dance courses at all levels.  We encourage students without previous experience to try a beginning course in acting, dance, design, or playwriting. With the exception of dance technique courses, THDA classes count for your Fine Arts requirements.

THDA prepares the next generation of performers, directors/choreographers, designers, researchers, technicians and playwrights. Macalester is in a privileged location for students interested in the arts: the Twin Cities have the second highest number of theatre companies per capita in the United States, after New York. Courses in THDA commonly bring students to on- and off-campus theatre and dance productions. Here you will find nationally-recognized LORT theatres such as the Guthrie and exciting companies such as Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood, Jungle Theatre, and many more. You will learn the vocabularies of our disciplines, take master classes with guest artists, and become part of a vibrant arts community.

The following Fall 2018 courses are open to first-year students and excellent for exploring THDA:

THDA 105 – Seeing Performance in the Twin Cities is a first-year course, where students will critically attend live dance and theatre performances in the exciting arts scene of the Twin Cities, and articulate their individual reactions by writing reviews, responses, and essays. In this process of studied spectatorship, students acquire the vocabularies of the field. Readings include seminal texts in dance and theatre criticism, as well as manifestos and scholarly articles. We will attend dance and theatre performances at professional venues such as the Walker Arts Center, the Guthrie, Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood, Northrop Auditorium, and Cowles Center.

THDA 120 – Acting Theory and Performance I  is an introduction to the techniques of acting. Through daily physical and vocal exercises, students will rediscover play and imagination, develop a detailed understanding of the actor’s craft, and hone their work ethics and disciplines.

THDA 21 – African-based Movement I focuses on dance inspired by West Africa, as well as other regions of the continent, the Caribbean, Americas, and the African Diaspora at large. This physically rigorous class is rooted in a communal environment and is accompanied by a drummer. Students will learn African- based dance technique, characteristics, and the fundamental connection between the drums and the dance. They will also create in-class movement projects and presentations. Though this class may focus on traditional dance at times, it is not a tradition-specific class. All are welcome.

THDA 41 – Modern Dance I is an introductory level course and is a joyous and demanding exploration of the theory, technique, and terminology of modern dance as a performing art. Students engage fully with their bodies and minds as they deepen their strength, sense of rhythm, flexibility, and coordination. The course develops skills in inversions, floorwork, and balance based in clear alignment.

THDA 235 – Fundamentals of Scenography is a study the fundamentals of scenography holistically, including scenic, lighting, costume, sound, and projection design. Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and critique elements of performance design, articulating design ideas verbally and through writing, and completing a design project from analysis to tangible object.

RECENT THDA GRADUATES
Macalester’s Theatre & Dance Department has, for decades, had an impact on performance culture, regionally, nationally and internationally, through our graduates’ work as company founders, performers, designers, playwrights, stage managers, educators and in other professions.

Theatre & Dance alumni have achieved successful careers in professional theatre and film, pursued graduate programs at prestigious universities worldwide—such as the Yale School of Drama, Brown University, London International School of Performing Arts, and Ecole Jacques Lecoq—and are present in the faculties of institutions such as Reed College, M.I.T., and San Francisco State University. Alumni have also had a significant impact on young people as teaching artists in public schools and through educational programs connected to professional theatres, and have pursued successful careers in fields outside of Theatre & Dance such as politics, activism, photography, fiction writing, and social work.

Just a few examples of our alumni in professional theatre and film include Obie award-winning playwright and actor Danai Gurira; actor, dramaturg, director and Pillsbury House Theatre Co-Director Faye Price; Mixed Blood Theatre founder Jack Reuler;  actor, director and TransAtlantic Love Affair co-founder Isabel Nelson; actor and Guerilla Shakespeare Project co-founder Jacques Roy; playwrights Kim Hines, Aditi Brennan Kapil and Rob Gelberg; award-winning scenic and lighting designer Paul Whitaker; lighting designer Janine Myers; and costume and makeup designer Christine Cover Ferro.

THEATRE AND DANCE OPEN HOUSE FOR NEW STUDENTS
When you arrive on campus, keep an eye out for information on Arts @ Mac Welcome Week, sponsored by the departments of Music, Art and Art History, and Theatre and Dance. Meet faculty, returning students and guest artists, and get information on auditions, backstage work opportunities, the curriculum and courses, and special events.

Theatre and Dance Audition Information
Auditions for theatre productions and dance concerts are open to all students. First-year students are regularly cast in shows and dance concert pieces. Auditions are generally held in the first or second week of classes- stay tuned!

For more information visit our website: https://www.macalester.edu/theatreanddance/

Contact:
Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento

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Urban Studies Interdepartmental Program

The Urban Studies concentration is designed for students who major in a variety of disciplines and are interested in urbanization and wish to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on city life.  Geography 241 or any of the 100- or 200-level electives from contributing departments (e.g. American Studies, Educational Studies, History, Political Science, Theatre and Dance) provide an appropriate introduction to the urban studies program for first-year students.  Please see the website for further information: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/urbanstudies/

Contact:
Dan Trudeau

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Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) as an academic program grows out of a history of struggles by women and other minorities for social and political justice.  The classes are based in that historical understanding of ourselves as people who enjoy the privileges and bear the responsibilities of those efforts. Students in WGSS develop practical and theoretical skills for understanding and engaging the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts shaping our world.  If you are interested in taking a WGSS course in your first semester, we recommend either “Introduction to WGSS—Transnational Perspectives” (WGSS 100-01) or “Gender & Sport” (WGSS 102-01). “Gender and Sport” examines the institution of sport through feminist and queer theoretical perspectives. “Introduction of WGSS” will provide a theoretical foundation that prepares you for intermediate and advanced level courses in WGSS.    Please see the WGSS website for course descriptions and more information about our major and minor (www.macalester.edu/WGSS).

Contact:
Corie Hammers

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