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Strategizing Your Class Schedule

This is your education. You choose your major, your minor, and the classes you want to take to fulfill all the LSA degree requirements. In order to get the most out of your choices, it is important to plan out what classes you will take and when you will take them. You’ll also want to be sure that you have time to take advantage of the many opportunities UM offers outside of the classroom.

Your first step is to solidify your understanding of the requirements for your degree. This starts with knowing all the requirements for completing your LSA degree including your major, your minor if you choose one, and the LSA degree requirements.

If you have any questions about the degree requirements, you can also ask your academic advisor.

How Do I Decide What Classes to Take Each Term?

Focus First on Your Major

If you have not chosen a major, focus on taking prerequisites for any majors you are exploring. You want to use your time to explore subjects that might lead to long-term interest. You will have plenty of time later to take classes specifically to meet LSA requirements.

If you have chosen a major, select your classes for your major and build your schedule around these. You should plan semesters ahead of time because some classes are only taught once a year. If you are planning to take classes in a spring or summer term, remember that fewer courses are offered. In this case, you might need to look ahead at the spring/summer course offerings when planning your winter classes.

If you are pursuing two majors, make sure that you understand the requirements for both. Some of the classes that you take might count for both majors. It is a good idea to pick one of the majors as your primary focus and center your planning on completing it for certain. That way, if something changes and you cannot complete both majors, you will complete one for certain.

What Else Should I Take?

Since you will typically have quite a bit of space in your schedule for classes other than your major, you have a number of other choices to make when making your long-term plans and choosing classes each semester. Here are some ways to think about what classes to choose:

Fulfilling LSA Degree Requirements

Most students find that they complete most of their requirements just by taking classes that they find interesting. So be purposeful but do not stress out about fulfilling the LSA requirements. You get to choose which classes to take for each requirement. You owe it to yourself to take the time to find classes that are interesting to you when looking to fulfill a requirement. It is a good idea to begin your language classes early because you need to achieve fourth-term proficiency. Students who test into advanced levels usually find it easier to continue their study of the language rather than take a break.

Classes for Your Minor

You are not required to complete a minor, but if you are pursuing one, selecting a class for it is an easy way to fill out your schedule. Remember, you will often have a choice of which classes to take for your minor, so make sure you understand the requirements. You do not want to take a class because you thought it was required only to find out later that it was just one option for the requirement.

Always Be on the Lookout for Something New and Interesting

Spend some time exploring classes in the LSA Course Guide. You are probably not familiar with what each department offers and will probably find classes that spark the thoughts, “Wow, I never thought anyone would teach a class about that and I’ve always been interested in that topic,” or, “Wow, I never even knew that was a subject.”

Check topics courses each semester. Topics courses are courses with a standard number that change topics each semester depending on what topic the professor decides to teach. In addition, some departments offer multiple sections of their topics course every semester, so make sure you look at the description for each section. For example, one semester there were four sections of History 328, Humanities Topics in History: Scotland Since 1603; History of Forensic Pathology and Medicine; History of Jewish Visual Culture; and War and Peace in the Middle East.

Ask your friends or classmates. If you are in a class that you enjoy, you might ask classmates if they have taken other similar courses that they would recommend. It is a good idea to ask fellow students why they liked a particular class because their interests and strengths might not match yours.