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
Asian Studies
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 2019-2020 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:
Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Chair

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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 2019 we will be offering one First Year Course.

ANTH 194: Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Anthropology

What can a scientific hoax teach us about who we are? This course evaluates the scientific process and how we know what we know about our past. Evolutionary anthropology is marked by debated discoveries that go back more than 100 years, and this class will examine some of the most widespread and contentious of them, as well as some of the more obscure. We will look at both the scientific and cultural contexts in which these hoaxes are produced. Students will learn to critically evaluate evidence related to scientific claims and produce informed critiques about the validity and nature of new discoveries presented to the public that we are told, require “a rewriting of the textbooks!”

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 emphasis in art history and studio art.

New students are welcome to take courses in any medium or area of art history at the entry level. First-year students and non-majors are welcome.  The department is offering two FYCs this year:  ART 194:  Iconoclasm in Art History: From Ancienct Egypt to the Present; and Art 233:  Digital Photography: Picturing the Self.

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 2019, we offer a first year course “ASIA/JAPA/LING/WGSS 150: Language and Gender in Japanese Society.” In this course students will have opportunities to learn about the history of gendered language and find out about current discourse on language and gender in Japan and other parts of the world.  No Japanese language is required.

Contact:
Xin Yang, Chinese

Satoko Suzuki, Japanese

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Asian Studies

Asia has always been at the crossroads of humanity: the heart of a global system of commerce that tied the Old World together, and which brought Arabs, Europeans, Africans, and Chinese to the ports of the Indian Ocean to trade. Asia gave the world everything from yoga to gunpowder, from cinnamon to the printing press, from the idea of diplomatic immunity to the practice of religious tolerance.

Home to more than half of the global population, Asia in the twenty-first century is reclaiming the place it held in world affairs before the rise of Europe in the eighteenth. The Asian continent contains some of the world’s largest economies as well as its largest cities, and Asia’s industrial production leads the world. Its societies are a wellspring of creative energy—the world’s largest film industry, for instance, is in India, and Japanese manga has had an enormous influence on global pop culture.  In everything from the global economy to climate change, Asia’s sheer size makes it a force to reckon with in the dynamics that will shape our common future. A background in Asian Studies is essential to navigating the global spaces of the 21st century.

The Asian Studies major at Macalester is an inter-disciplinary program that weaves together the social sciences, the humanities and the fine arts to introduce you to this dynamic region of the world. It brings multiple perspectives to bear on the challenges of understanding this vast continent and the cultural, political, economic and historical forces that have shaped it. It is an ideal major for students planning a career in Asia in any field but is also highly recommended for students seeking a handle on the region that is among the most significant for our common future.

Our website is https://www.macalester.edu/asianstudies/about/

Contact:
Arjun Guneratne
651-696-6362

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Biology

Biology will offer two first year courses this year, BIOL 101: Creatures and Curiosities and BIOL 194: Biotechnology and Society. These courses count toward a biology minor and can serve as a supporting course 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 with chemistry. Most students interested in majoring in Biology should register for General Chemistry I, CHEM 111 (please note that this class is only offered in the fall semester).  If you have a strong high school chemistry background, you can consider two other possibilities: 1) you could enroll in CHEM 115, Accelerated General Chemistry, which compresses the usual two-semester introductory chemistry sequence into one semester. This course is only offered in the Fall to first year students; or 2) you could skip General Chemistry I (CHEM 111) and enroll instead in General Chemistry II (CHEM 112) in the spring. If you are interested in either of these options, you should take the online chemistry placement exam over the summer or when you arrive on campus. Contact Dr. Marc Rodwogin (mrodwogi@macalester.edu) for instructions and the link to take this exam.

There are four introductory courses required for the biology major (Genetics, Cell Biology, Ecology, and Biodiversity and Evolution).  It is not necessary to register for one of these four classes during the first semester, though if you do, that’s great! Please note: both Genetics and Cell Biology have chemistry prerequisites; we do not recommend taking these courses in your first semester. Instead, consider taking either Biodiversity and Evolution (BIOL 270) or Ecology and the Environment  (BIOL 285).  Both are introductory courses without prerequisites, and both have set aside seats for First Year students. If you decide not to register for a biology core course during your first semester, you should be sure to register for one during your second semester.

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

Contact:
Kristi Curry Rogers

If you have difficulty reaching Professor Curry Rogers during July or August, please contact Mary Montgomery instead ().

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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.  In addition, this fall, CHEM 115 will be a first-year course. (Please contact Dr. Marc Rodwogin () for access to the placement test.)  Please see the Chemistry Department website (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 Andrew Overman will offer the First Year Course Cosmopoleis: Building Global Diverse Cities which will study some of the great cosmopolitan cities of the late antique world: Alexandria, Rome, Palmyra, Baghdad, Venice. These cities were the intellectual and cultural centers of the world in their time. They had enormous reach and impact. These global, cosmopolitan centers drew the world to them. How did these centers fashion such diverse, vibrant, and culturally innovative environments? In examining this question we will be looking at elements like physical space, urban planning, and architecture, the city’s engagement with the natural surroundings. And we will read what the leading minds of the day had to say about the city, what makes it strong, enduring, how does it obtain and keep its place in the global cultural economy? Did these Poleis have a deliberate religious and political identity and philosophy which contributed to their impact and enduring influence? What can the modern city learn from these extraordinary cities of an earlier era? We will study these great ancient Cosmopoleis and also explore on foot the cities which surround Macalester. What can an earlier wisdom from these global and staggeringly diverse civic centers teach us about modern cities?

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. 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.

See https://www.macalester.edu/cognitivescience/ for more information.

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

Unless otherwise indicated, most of the critical theory courses offered in the fall semester are appropriate for first-year students, particularly the “core” courses. This is certainly true of courses numbered on the 1xx- and 2xx-levels, but because some 3xx-level courses are also appropriate it is always best to contact the instructor of the course you are interested in.

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.

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, which is being offered as our first year course this year, introduces students to basic economic concepts and theories so that they can begin to understand how market-based systems function to serve these goals.

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:
Sarah West, Mitau Professor and Economics Department Chair
651-696-6482

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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. The Education & Society emphasis provides opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration of pressing social and educational issues on local, national, and international levels.

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 in Fall 2019. One is ENGL 150-07, Introduction to Creative Writing, taught by Professor Peter Bognanni, who explains, “In this course we will dive right into the study of creative writing by reading and writing poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and personal essays. We will study how published authors craft their pieces then you’ll try your hand at each literary form we study. What I hope will happen this semester is that you’ll lose yourself entirely to the daring act of creating literature. I hope you’ll disappear into what John Gardener calls the ‘vivid and continuous dream.’ I hope you’ll use your growing knowledge of writing technique and literary history to say something fearless and artful about the world around you. And I hope you will see that what you write matters.”

The other first-year course is ENGL 125, Studies in Lit: Ecstasy and Apocalypse, Literature of the Extreme. In this course, Professor Daylanne English says, “we will study how literature and other art forms represent extreme human experiences. We will ask aesthetic, political, and ethical questions: How can an author help us to understand the end of a world? How can we imagine environmental apocalypse so as to avoid causing it? How might the current political climate contribute to our concern with the extreme? How do we meaningfully represent the joyful? We will read fiction, poetry and nonfiction, and we will view films and listen to music as we explore ecstasy and apocalypse. Octavia Butler, Cormac McCarthy, and Ross Gay will be among the authors we study.”

Other English courses appropriate for first-year students include any numbered from 105-194; these courses have no prerequisite. 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.

The department has also added a new course for Fall, ENGL 125-02: Studies in Lit:  Shakespeare and Company.  In Elizabethan and Jacobean England, collaborative writing was common.  Adaptations and sequels were popular.  Few playwrights operated in a vacuum.  This course focuses on the collaborative, creative, and competitive processes behind early modern playwriting.

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 interdisciplinary 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 Psychology and/of Climate Change  (ENVI 194). This course examines the behavioral causes of, and solutions to, climate damage. The course will discuss the many ways our changing climate affects people around the world, and how it may affect human society in the long term. Students will take a broad psychological perspective on the question, “Why are we not doing enough to address the global climate crisis?”, drawing upon research from many psychological sub-fields (evolutionary, biological, cognitive, social, industrial/organizational). Throughout the course, students will engage with the community, hearing from climate activists, local politicians (both Republican and Democrat), scientists, city planners, business owners and health care workers to understand their experience and perspective on the issue.

Other appropriate introductory courses for those interested in environmental issues include: Soil: Science and Sustainability (ENVI 104), Environmental Geology (ENVI 120), Lakes, Streams and Rivers (ENVI 144),  Climate and Society (ENVI 150), Dynamic Earth/Global Change (ENVI 160), People, Agriculture and Environment (ENVI 232), Ecology and the Environment (ENVI 285) among others.

Contact:
Roopali Phadke, 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 contribute to the program can be found here, https://www.macalester.edu/fas/schedules/. Contact the Program Director with specific questions.

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 2019 (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 2019, Professor Juliette Rogers will be offering a First-Year Course in English titled “Parisian Women in the Arts, Politics, and Culture.” In this course we will examine the lives of “Parisiennes” – women who have lived in or come from the city of Paris from the Revolution of 1789 to the present. We will begin with the powerful salonnières of the aristocratic 18th century, the peasant women’s march on Versailles during the French Revolution of 1789 and the Declaration of the Rights of Women from 1791. For the 19th century, we will examine women’s roles during the industrial revolution and the modernization of Paris, and the activists of the first wave of French feminism, including Louise Michel, Jeanne Déroin, and Hubertine Auclert. In the first half of the 20th-century, we will study women artists and writers in Paris, including some Americans who lived in Paris during that time such as Josephine Baker and Gertrude Stein. For the second half of the 20th century, we will look at changing roles for Parisian women, including the second wave of French feminism, women in politics, and the changing attitudes toward women in French law and society during the 1970s and later. Readings for this section will include a novel by the author Colette and excerpts from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. We will conclude with a look at Parisian women today and their contributions to contemporary activism, such as the Me Too movement.

In Fall 2019, Professor Joëlle Vitiello will be offering a First-Year Course in English titled “Food in French and Francophone Cultures: The Local and the Global.” France is famous for its food and cuisine. What makes it unique? How does French food translate French culture? What changes occurred throughout history? From medieval recipes to the first public restaurants, from the introduction of the first tomato dish to the new trends in branding water, chocolate, tea or coffee, we will explore different topics related to food in France and the Francophone world, such as the impact of travel and colonial development on French food and on food in French colonies. What of rituals and traditions associated with food? These questions will be addressed through a variety of films, media and texts. The course will provide a frame to engage with creative ways to think about sustainability in Western and non-Western Francophone cultures and communities through the study of representations, production, circulation and consumption of food. From cheese stories to existentialist cafés in Paris, from Haitian sugar to North African couscous and Bourbon Island vanilla, the course will explore our connection to food, locally and globally. The course has a double objective: to familiarize students with French and Francophone cultures and to introduce students to different and innovative ways of considering sustainability issues from different cultural perspectives. The format of the course is a seminar, based in student discussions, research, and presentations. It satisfies the WA (Writing Argumentative) and Internationalism requirements, and counts toward the African Studies and the Food Studies Concentrations.

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 (May 13-31)

Moustapha Diop (June 1-30)

Joëlle Vitiello (July 1-10)

Claude Cassagne (July 10-24)

Andrew Billing, Chair (July 25-August 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 human-environment interactions, urban geography and planning, health 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. Contemporary Mongolia (GEOG 294) and Geography of Environmental Hazards (GEOG 258), 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 People, Agriculture and the Environment (GEOG 232), Regional Geography of the U.S. and Canada (GEOG 242), Geography of Asia: the Political Economy (GEOG 244), Political Geography of Nations and Nationalism (GEOG 248), Medical Geography (GEOG 256), and Geography of World Urbanization (GEOG 261).  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 2019 – Dynamic Earth and Global Change (GEOL160) and Environmental Geology (GEOL 120). Any of our intro courses, including our two 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 2019 first-year course is German Cinema Studies: Art/Horror, which explores horror cinema in terms of aesthetics and ways horror works through social anxieties. Also, for students interested in literature and philosophy, “A Kafkaesque Century” explores what the word “Kafkaesque” means in the context of modernity.

Language Placement: Students with no background in German should register for German Studies 101; students who have had minimal German in high school or 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 2019 courses that First-Year Students might find interesting include:

HIST 154-01 African Life Histories

HIST 181-01 Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean

HIST 194-01 Enslavement, Resistance, and Emancipation in Comparative North American and Caribbean Perspective

HIST 194-02 History of Childhood

HIST 252-01 Conversion and Inquisition: Religious Change

HIST 262-01 Revolutionary Russia and the Soviet Union, 1856-2000

HIST 271-01  Uses and Abuses: Drugs, Addiction and Recovery

HIST 274-01 The Great Tradition in China before 1840

HIST 277-01 The Rise of Modern Japan

HIST 294-01 Indigenous Americas

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.

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: https://www.macalester.edu/internationalstudies/

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:
Ernesto Ortiz-Diaz

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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 100: 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.

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.

Ling 294: Language and Music

Language and music are two uniquely human enterprises with a number of parallels: both rely on sound and convention, display hierarchical organization and culturally-specific practices, and can convey both communicative and social meaning. This course examines the intersection of language and music from a linguistic perspective. We will engage with questions such as: How can syntax, phonology, and morphology change between spoken and sung language? How do speakers of tone languages understand lyrics in sung melodies? Is hip hop different in different languages? What does it mean to study melody and rhythm in speech? Can music help people learn languages? How do drum- and whistle-languages work? How does music contribute to language revitalization? No musical ability is required.

Ling 104: Sounds of Languages

Nearly all natural languages are spoken. Biological properties of the human ear, pharynx, larynx, tongue, and lung impose limits on the sounds of human languages, which can be studied from both a biological and an acoustic point of view. In this course you will be trained to produce and recognize (almost) all the sounds which human languages make use of, and to develop a systematic way of analyzing and recording them. Since sounds are perceived as well as produced, you will also be introduced to the acoustic analysis of speech, learning how acoustic signals of frequency, amplitude, and duration are translated into visible, quantifiable images. You will learn the art of decoding these spectrograms into sounds and words and sentences. The linguistics laboratory contains several different programs for practicing and listening to sounds from many of the world’s languages. This course is recommended for students of foreign languages, drama, music and anyone who wants to become more aware of their (and other people’s) pronunciation.

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. This vibrant multi-disciplinary department reflects the value we place on the 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.

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 for placement information. Another popular starting place in the mathematics curriculum is Discrete Mathematics (MATH 279). Send questions about the mathematics curriculum to Tom Halverson (halverson@macalester.edu).

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

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 Abstraction (COMP 127) or in Data Structures (COMP 128); consult with CS faculty for the best placement. Send questions about the computer science curriculum to Susan Fox ().

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Media and Cultural Studies

The Media and Cultural Studies major analyzes the history, 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, Local 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, “Music and the Meaning of Life,” 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 and Music Appreciation. Students are encouraged to audition for any of our ensembles—African Music Ensemble, Asian Music Ensemble, Macalester Concert Choir, Macalester Chorale, Macalester Orchestra, Wind Symphony, 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 260 (Genetics), 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:

Introduction to Philosophy with Film (Prof. Geoffrey Gorham)

Digital Ethics (Prof Diane Michelfelder)

Philosophy with Film also has a non-FYC section. In addition, the department will offer 2 sections of Symbolic Logic, and a section of Ethics, 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 Symobolic 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 (including Digital Ethics) provides a more focused introduction to the field of moral philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics sometimes have a special focus even though they cover a range of topics. This year, the foci are Film and Digital Ethics, 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 at Macalester in the fall!

Contact:
Geoffrey Gorham

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Physical Education

The department of physical education provides students the opportunity to learn about sport and develop or improve skills in a variety of activity classes.  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.

Contact:
Steve Murray

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Physics & Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy will offer one first year course (FYC) in 2019.

Professor James Heyman () will teach PHYS194-01, “Nanotechnology”.  Nanoscience is the science of matter on the atomic and molecular scale.  This interdisciplinary field sits at the convergence of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Materials Science and Electrical Engineering.  Our course will introduce science at the nanometer length scale, the fabrication of nano-scale systems and some of their technological applications.  This quantitative course will use mathematics at the introductory calculus level, and high-school physics and calculus are recommended. Assignments will include readings, problem sets, short papers and a research paper.

For first-year students interested in physics and not enrolled in the physics FYC, 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 Heyman () with any questions.

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

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Political Science

Political Science is offering two First Year Courses. Professor Lesley Lavery’s POLI 203: Politics and Inequality explores how political institutions and policy mechanisms contribute to diversity and inequality in social, economic and political outcomes, based in race, class, gender, dis/ability, and region. Professor Lisa Mueller’s POLI 140: Foundations of Comparative Politics uses comparison to analyze political outcomes within and across countries, such as why Mexican presidents exercise centralized authority while Brazilian presidents contend with powerful governors; why Muslims and Hindus fight in some Indian states but not in others; and why Rwanda has so many more female legislators than the United States.  

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 introductory courses, including Political Argumentation and Debate, Foundations of U.S. Politics, Foundations of Comparative Politics, Foundations of Political Theory, 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, Co-Director of the Health Professions Advising Committee/Biology; Professor Ron Barrett/Anthropology, Professor Devavani Chatterjea/Biology, Professor Kristi Curry-Rogers/Biology/Geology; Professor Liz Jansen, Co-Director of the Health Professions Advising Committee/Biology; or Professor Mary Montgomery/Biology] very early in your first year for academic advice. You should also contact Professor Lin Aanonsen, Co-Director of the Health Professions Advising Committee/Biology to be included on the Health Professions mailing list (). For information on health professions advising at Macalester go to: www.macalester.edu/hpa/.

Contact:
Lin Aanonsen

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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 remember, learn, and make decisions? Philosophers have considered these questions for millennia, but in the last century 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:
Eric P. Wiertelak
651-696-6111

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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: Virginity:  From Mary to Millennials with Professor Susanna Drake.   

In this course we will explore the diverse understandings of Christian sexual renunciation from the first century, C.E. to today.  From the veneration of the Virgin Mary in early and medieval Christianity to the more recent celebration of virgins and born-again virgins in U.S. pop culture, many Christians have understood the practice of virginity as a mark of spiritual progress or perfection.  Students in this course will examine the rise of Christian sexual renunciation in the first through fourth centuries, C.E., the veneration of virgin saints in the Middle Ages, the shifting attitudes toward virginity in the Reformation era, the recent development of Christian chastity movements in the U.S. (True Love Waits, Silver Ring Thing), and the proliferation of Christian chastity advice literature.  In written assignments, writing workshops, and class discussions, we will explore how Christian practices of renunciation draw upon and contribute to cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body.

These classes may also be of interest:
RELI 100 Introduction to Islam (Candace Mixon)
RELI 110 The Big Questions: How to Think about Religion (William Hart)
RELI 111 Introduction to Buddhism (Erik Davis)
RELI 120 The Jewish Bible (Nicholas Schaser)
RELI 194 Islam, Race and Politics (Candace Mixon)

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 2019:

Inequalities in the United States (First Year Course)

Introduction to Sociology

Criminal Behavior/Social Control

Prius or Pickup: Political Divides and Social Class

Sociology of Sexuality

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, cultural studies and linguistics, all taught in Spanish or Portuguese. 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.

We have two courses in Fall 2019 that may be of special interest to first-year students. First, Prof. Toni Dorca will teach a first-year course (FYC) titled Masters of Spanish and Latin American Fiction: from Cervantes to García Márquez. The course pays homage to four masterpieces from Spain and Latin America: Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1605 and 1615), which gives birth to the modern novel; Joachim Maria Machado de Assis’ Dom Casmurro (1899), an original take on adultery by Brazil’s greatest writer; Mercè Rodoreda’s Time of the Doves (1962), a supreme expression of female resistance published in Catalan by an exile of the Spanish Civil War; and Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), arguably the most influential novel ever written in Latin America.The course aims both at refining the analysis of literary works from a variety of perspectives (historical, political, social, ethical, aesthetic, and so on) and providing a comprehensive view of the evolution of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian fiction. It is especially targeted at those students who enjoy literature and believe in the pleasure of the text.  

In addition, we are offering a new course titled Spanish for Heritage Speakers, which is also open to first-year students. The course is designed for heritage learners of Spanish: those who grew up speaking Spanish at home, with extended families and in their communities. These students are comfortable speaking Spanish, but their literacy in it was not necessarily developed by formal schooling. Leaning on all of their previous experience with the language, the course seeks to enrich and complement the students’ linguistic repertoire by further developing their communicative abilities, both verbal and written, especially in an academic context. Class content will focus on Latin America and the U.S. Latinx population. Students will gain increased confidence in the language and will strengthen their identity as bilinguals and abilities to interact with a more diverse group of speakers, pursue higher-level courses and/or apply this knowledge in their professional endeavors, inside or outside the United States. Upon successful completion of this course, students may enroll in a variety of upper-level courses in Spanish.

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

Contact:
Cynthia Kauffeld

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Theater and Dance

Welcome to the Theater and Dance Department!

Our department offers small academic and studio courses in which students are closely mentored by expert faculty. 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.

This fall 2019, the Theater and Dance Department will offer the FYC, taught by Professor Beth Cleary.:

THDA 105 – Seeing Performance in the Twin Cities:  In this course, first-year students 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.

Theater and Dance Audition Information

Our Dance Fall Concert will feature choreography by professors Jill Lile (Ballet), Patricia Brown (African-based Movement), and guest artist Li Chiao-Ping (Modern & Contemporary Dance). The Theater production is the musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, directed by Professor Harry Waters Jr.

Auditions for theater productions and dance concerts are open to all students. First-year students are regularly cast in shows and dance concert pieces.

Auditions for both the Fall Dance Concert and The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be held on September 6, 7, and 8!

Arts @ Mac: An Open House

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 Theater and Dance. Meet faculty, returning students and guest artists, and get information on auditions, backstage work opportunities, the curriculum and courses, and special events.

For more information visit our website: http://www.macalester.edu/theater-and-dance

Contact:
Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento – Chair

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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.  Education Studies 240, Geography 241, 261, or 262, History 284, or Political Science 204 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:
Ruthanne Kurth-Schai

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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.  WGSS classes are based in that historical understanding of injustice and ongoing struggle, and thus prepare students to better understand and see how systems of oppression are interlocked and connected.  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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