Top Five Courses I’ve Taken at UVic
I know that when you start university, choosing which courses you should take can seem like a daunting task. Of course there are some that you have to take to fulfill different degree requirements, but you are always left with a few spaces for electives, and sometimes you have no idea where to start.
Never fear, I am about to drop some knowledge on some of the coolest courses I have taken during my time at UVic, both within my degree in history and outside it.
But first a sneaky hint. When looking for electives, one of the best things you can do is look at the courses being offered in different programs. Are you a Biology major? Check out Germanic Studies. Is Linguistics more your thing? Try a Greek and Roman Studies course. UVic has so many amazing classes that they offer each semester, but people get so caught up in their own programs that they don’t look elsewhere and can sometimes miss some of the best ones! Anyway, back to business.
These courses are not in a particular order of favourite to least, but are all just courses that I really enjoyed!
1. MEDI 360 Topics in Medieval Culture
This course is interesting because the topic discussed changes every semester, so you can always check to see if what is being offered interests you! When I took this course the theme was Anglo-Saxon Art and Archeology.
Now I know what you thinking, that doesn’t sound very exciting at all, but honestly it has been one of my favourite classes in my four years at UVic. The professor who taught it was Michael Reed, and he was amazing. I really learned so much that semester and he really tried to make the class engaging, even though most of us were looking at the topic for the first time.
2. HSTR 320B Homicide in Modern Britain
This really was such a cool class. We looked at case studies of different murders starting in the 18th century, working all the way up to the present. It combined the technical aspects of things like homicide rates with the most spectacular stories like that of Jack the Ripper.
We even looked into crime fiction and discussed authors like Agatha Christie and the Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was taught by Simon Devereaux, and you can really tell that this subject is his bread and butter.
3. GMST 454 A Cultural History of Vampires in Literature and Film
How could I not mention this class. It’s basis is literally watching vampire movies from the early 20th century to the present. You also read novels like Dracula, but I would definitely say that most people signed up for the class for the movies, and before you ask, no, you don’t watch Twilight.
The class itself is really interesting, and is great if you are looking to boost your GPA a little bit. The professor for this is Peter Gölz, and I dare you to find someone who know more about vampires than him.
4. ASL 100A/B American Sign Language
I had never really considered taking a language at university. I always thought that I would need more prior knowledge than my two years of Japanese from high school, but I had always found sign language fascinating, and it is offered at UVic as an introductory class.
It was so worth it. I took ASL 100 in my first year. I’m now in my fourth and I can definitely say that I still know more sign than any other second language that I have ever taken.
I took the class with Nigel Howard and he was an amazing teacher. Being deaf himself, we were thrown right into the deep end and he would only sign with us in class. There was no talking allowed, but I would say that was what made it so great. You really had to soak up everything that you were learning, as it was the only way you could communicate with both your classmates and your instructor.
Please take it, you won’t be disappointed.
5. HSTR 336T The Created Medieval History of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
Tolkien is with a doubt my favourite author (I should hope so, or my Tolkien tattoo would look really silly right now), but my love for his writing was never something I imagined I could combine with university credit.
Take this course, taught by Tim Haskett, and have your mind blown at the amount of detail Tolkien put into his world building, both within the story of Lord of the Rings, and the thousands of years of history that precedes it
So there you have it, a sweet little list to help get you started on your road to picking classes. I hope it helped, even just a little bit. If you have any classes that you think I should add to the list let me know below!