10 Coolest Courses at Rice University

William Marsh Rice University, or more commonly known as Rice University, is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. Rice University offers a plethora of course options, and with the Fall semester having started already, you may still want to explore other possible course options either for this semester or any of the semesters following. Below are the 10 coolest courses at Rice University:

1. ARTS 325 – LIFE DRAWING

artists drawing model in life drawing session class

A life drawing is an illustration of a human figure through the observation of a live model. In this class, students will work from short and long poses on exercises that emphasize gesture, proportion, composition, and character. As a part of this class, students will also get to attend museum and gallery trips to build upon what they practice in class. 

2. ASTR 221 – OBSERVING THE NIGHT SKY

night sky and silhouette of trees

The night sky is made up of various celestial objects, including the sun, moon, and planets. In this class, students will be introduced to celestial sphere and learn about the movements of them. Furthermore, students will also gain hands-on experience using computerized telescopes, binoculars, digital imagers, and planetarium software to study astronomical objects. 

3. CLAS 309 – THE DAWN OF ROME

roman colosseum with sunrise in the background

The Ancient Roman civilization is heavily discussed in literature and is still very much prevalent on our society today. In this class, students will uncover the roots of the eternal city of Rome through the analysis of archaeological remains, art historical methodologies and theories of social spaces, intentionality, structuration and agency. From this, students will question how and why Rome became a city and culture that reshaped the world. 

4. COLL 106 – THE ART OF ORIGAMI

origami crane

You may have heard of origami before, the age old art of paper folding; or perhaps, you have folded origami before. This class teaches students about the concepts, materials, history, culture, and processes of origami in depth. Students will be guided through the folding of a simple but important origami model each class, and ultimately will create original origami figurines through specific guided projects. 

5. COLL 107 – SUPER SMASH THEORY

cover for the game "Super Smash Bros Ultimate"

In this modern age where technology is at the center, gaming is one of the many subcultures that concurrently developed. In this class, students will undergo an in-depth investigation of the social impacts and intricacies of the immensely popular Super Smash Bros. game. Students will study the subsequent competitive scene that has developed around it using a host of analytical methods. 

6. COLL 133 – INTRO TO BEATBOX

black and white image of man beatboxing into microphone

Have you ever wanted to beatbox before? This course focuses on becoming a beatboxer, and will include a brief history of beatbox and the basic music theory behind it. Students will study the social and musical contexts of beatbox, analyze old school, new school, and battle beatbox, and learn beatbox techniques.

7. COLL 137 – PHILOSOPHY OF COFFEE

person brewing coffee

To all coffee and espresso aficionados, this course is for you. In this class, students will gain a deeper understanding of the intricate flavors, colorful history, popular brewing methods, and diverse cultures that go into making every cup of coffee. By the end of this class, you will know much more about the morning beverage that gets us through the day.

8. COLL 202 – COOKING WITH CHEF ROGER

picture of two friends learning to cook and following recipe in cooking book

Cooking in college is particularly confusing for many students who have never cooked much before, especially as you start leading a more independent lifestyle. This class, Cooking with Chef Roger, teaches students the fundamentals of cooking and helps them create healthy delicious meals. Students will have a clear idea about shopping for fresh ingredients and how to host successful parties.

9. LPAP 138 – INTRO TO SALSA/MAMBO & CHA CHA

watercolor painting of people salsa dancing

Latin dance is a term that describes a general category of partner dances, such as Salsa/Mambo and Cha Cha. This class contains a demonstration of and brief lectures on the American Style Salsa/Mambo and Cha Cha. Students will participate in drills created to improve footwork, arm positioning, and leading and following skills.

10. MUSI 187 – HARP FOR NON-MAJORS

woman playing harp

Amongst the various music classes available at Rice University, beginner Harp is one of them! In this class, students will learn how to play the harp and the techniques associated with playing the instrument. This is a great opportunity to play such a historic instrument, dating back to as early as 3500 B.C.!

10 Hardest Courses at Rice University

There are easy classes, and there are hard classes. Then there are some classes that make you wish you had photographic memory. Sometimes you need to suck if up if it’s a major requirement, but often times you can choose another course from the list and avoid the torture. Well we’re here to help, here are the ten hardest classes at Rice University, so think twice before registering for that extra course.

1. CHEM 401 – ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

Chemistry is coming meme

Hearing the words “Organic Chemistry” can strike fear into any science major’s hearts. The course is known for being extremely hard, and here at Rice is no exception. Personal recommendation? If you don’t have to take it, dont. If you do, open up your schedule a bit to account for the extra work this course will require.

2.MATH 410 – CALCULUS OF VARIATIONS

Equations of Calculus

Calculus itself is not easy,  but this course focuses on the classical theories and Euler-Lagrange equations. If you don’t know what those are, trust me you don’t want to learn, it isn’t worth it. Students find the course to take significantly more time than other courses of the same level, and if you fall behind, good luck catching back up.

3. PHYS 311 – INTRO TO QUANTUM PHYSICS I

One does not simply understand quantum physics meme

Another subject known for its difficulty is Quantum Physics, so even though it’s an intro level course that doesn’t make it easy. Luckily, there are few majors that require it for graduation (sorry physics majors!) so if it isn’t essential, dont’t risk it as this course is a big big time consumer.

4. CHBE 310 – INTRO BIOMOLECULAR ENGINEERING

Man with pipet in lab

Covering topics such as enzyme kinetics and bioreactor design, Intro to Biomolecular engineering is a course to be reckoned with. This course takes significantly more time than your average science requirement, so if there are options for you to take, it might be a better option. Especially if you have another difficult course in your schedule for the semester

5. HIST 207 – SPATIAL HISTORY HISTORICAL GIS

historical picture of the city of Memphis when founded

This course focuses on the geography of historical events. Students will map out historical events with GIS software. Based on personal experience, GIS takes a long time to learn and even longer to make maps once you have learned. Unless you’ve already taken a GIS course, or know the software applicable in your future, it is not worth the time to learn the software for one course.

6. ENGL 341 – VICTORIAN LITERATURE & CULTURE

Victorian Statue

English classes range from sitting and listening to the teacher talk about themes, to having to reread each book multiple times to figure out what the professor is even talking about. This one definitely falls in the second category. Victorian literature can be interesting, but it is difficult to understand the language without reading a few times. This one is only recommend taking if you LOVE reading.

7. SOCI 425 – POPULATION HEALTH SEMINAR

Strong population pictured by crowd in the shape of bodybuilding flexing arm muscles

This course is referred to as a “graduate level overview” so the course level is considered higher level than their average course in the 400s. That was the first sentence of the class description. If that doesn’t scare you, then the number of topics covered in the class will. This is a course that requires a lot of self teaching, so it is quite difficult and could be hard to fit into a busy schedule.

8. BIOC 212 – EXPERIMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE

Neurons of the brain

There is a reason Neuroscientists get paid the big bucks. Neuroscience isn’t easy. This course definitely belongs on this list. This course focuses on record keeping and research strategies, which seem simple, until you’re trying to figure out how to experiment medical procedures. Not the easiest.

9. MUSI 211 – THEORY I

Music notes

Music is something everyone loves, but does that mean you need to learn the theory behind it? Not really. This course, considered an “intensive study” by the university,  breaks music down into a science, something that doesn’t really need to be done unless you’re a music major. This course requires an extreme amount of reading, so unless you have a relatively open schedule, it isn’t recommend this unless it’s a graduation requirement.

10. ANTH 324 – DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION

Producers filming in Africa

Documentaries seem like a good break from the constant lecturing going on in your other courses, but this one isn’t just watching documentaries. In this course you’ll learn how to make one. Seems simple, but documentaries require hundreds of hours of outside research and development. Not the easiest course of study.

If you are able to avoid these courses, your sleep schedule and GPA will thank you. If it is an unavoidable requirement, make sure you put the effort in. Sometimes the hardest work pays off the best, but make the commitment to finishing homework and readings on time and attending every class session. Good luck with your next semester!

10 of the Easiest Courses at Rice University

Have you ever been stuck with trying to find an easy course that will help your cumulative GPA? Well look no further! Rice University offers plenty of courses that are sure to get you the A you want! Below is a list of some of the easiest courses to take at Rice University!

1. ANTH 376 – Art and Activism

This course will examine art and social changes throughout the world and how it has evolved into modern-day times. Students will examine mass displacement, oppression among different races, and uprisings throughout the world’s history. It also explores how people go about to seek justice through art and how they advocate for various movements through artwork.

2. ANTH 201 – Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology

The field of anthropology is very broad and can relate back to other fields as well. This course will examine and explore the main concepts and terminology in social and cultural anthropology. This course will also give a brief overview of the history and methods used. A special emphasis on cultural diversity will be brought up throughout the semester.

3. ARTS 101 – Drawing for the Non Art Major

This course is intended to help those who want to draw but aren’t art majors. It establishes a basic fundamental of art and helps students to hone in on the practice of drawing. Students will be able to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces throughout the duration of this course. Students will mainly work with black and white media and tools.

4. CHEM 121 – General Chemistry

This course will give a brief overview of the field of chemistry. Students will not only learn about the job of a chemists, but they will also learn about how chemists solve some of the world’s most complicated problems with science. Students will analyze problems and practices to solve these problems in any field using the tools learned in this chemistry course.

5. HART 110 – The Parthenon

This course will establish the basic fundamentals of the Parthenon in historical and mythological contexts. Students will learn about the various sacred traditions of Acropolis and explore this classical city as a whole as it converted to what is now called the Parthenon in today’s history books. Students will also learn about how the Parthenon was created into a church, as well as the destruction and reconstruction of it.

6. HIST 329 – Streets and Urban Life

Modern-day times have come, and the society we live in today has emerged because of the people who have come before us. But what exactly happened throughout those times? This course explores the streets of urban life of the 18th and 19th century. Students will examine how people adapted to society, the livelihood of communities, and the transgression of cities. There will be a main focus on cities such as Paris, Long, Istanbul, Amsterdam, and Cairo.

7. HUMA 107 – Greek Civilization and Legacy

This class will explore literature, artistic expression, and the intellectual accomplishments of the ancient and classical Greeks. Students will explore Greece from Homer through the golden age where Athens once dominated the world. Students will also learn about how ancient Greece has impacted modern-day Western culture. There will be many case studies throughout the course relating to different works of literature, philosophy, history, and Greek art.

8. LEAD 102 – Intro to Civic Leadership

There are different types of leaders. Some are quiet, while others are loud. No matter the type, people make a change whether it be big or small. The goal of this course is to allow students to establish a basic understanding of what civic leadership is through theory and different practice methods. Students will examine their own leadership qualities as they relate to various case studies throughout the duration of this course.

9. MUSI 117 – Fundamentals of Music I

This course is designed to help music majors and non-music majors establish their own sense of musicianship. Students will learn the basic fundamentals of music. Topics to be discussed include rudiments, pitch, duration, scales, chords and their structures, tonality, and forms of music. Students will also learn the historical background of music and the that of which it originated from.

10. UNIV 110 – First Year Foundations

In this course, students will be provided with basic traditions of Rice University. Students will be engaging in class discussions, activities, and even campus field trips throughout the duration of the semester. This class is designed to help first year students get established with college life and transitioning from high school to college or even transferring to a new college.

Classes, such as the ones listed above, are designed to help students boost their overall GPA. By signing up for these courses, students will get much-needed free time as well because that is one less class they have to worry about studying for outside of the actual class time. So go ahead and register for a course or two! Your GPA and sleep schedule will thank you in the long run.

The Best and Worst Things About Greek Life at Rice University

You’ve seen them in movies, caught them on TV, and heard all about them from your older friends. But which Greek life rumors are actually true? Here’s why pledging a fraternity or sorority could be the coolest and craziest decision you make in college.

1. The letters

Think of all the Greek life swag you’ll get! There are t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and, heck, probably even socks—all with your chapter’s letters on them. Make sure to leave a little room in your closet on move-in day.

2. The friendships

You’ll meet plenty of people at college. However, the friendships formed through Greek life are next-level deep. Pledging brings fraternity and sorority hopefuls together, and, if all goes well, initiation makes them brothers and sisters for life.

 

3. The parties

Let’s be real—you probably won’t make it through the front door of at least one party this year. (Pro tip: When in doubt, say you know “insert popular name HERE” and hope for the best!) If you join Greek life, though, you’ll get guaranteed access to mixers, theme nights, and some memorable chapter house parties. 

 

4. The formals

If you missed your high school prom or felt like the night ended too soon, then here’s your chance to do it again! Most fraternities and sororities hold formals near the end of each semester. Grab a date, toss on your dancing shoes, and appreciate the lack of parent/teacher chaperones.

 

5. The networking opportunities

Remember that bit about becoming brothers and sisters for life? Well, it’s no joke—especially when alumni weekends roll around. Greek life grants you instant access to a network of career people who carry their chapters’ letters with them wherever they go. And who knows? Sharing a CEO’s letters could land you an interview!

 

Worst

1. The price tag

Before joining Greek life, you’ll want to have a serious conversation with your wallet. The clothes, formals, and events are great perks, but each comes at a price. And, on top of those costs, the dues will definitely set you back a bit.

 

2. The not-so-fun pledge tasks

Just because hazing’s been on the chopping block for years doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make it through the pledging process with your dignity fully intact. You’ll most likely lose sleep, and you might even be forced to wear a mascot suit in the middle of campus. Hope you don’t embarrass easily.

 

3. The time commitment

Greek life takes up a lot of time. Between the weekly chapter meetings and mandatory events, it may end up feeling like you’re constantly on-the-clock for your fraternity or sorority. Make sure you keep an updated planner or calendar app by your side at all times.

 

4. The chaos

Hanging out with your Greek life family is fun…until you’re trying to study for a midterm but can’t think straight because everyone’s in the living room playing Super Smash Bros. Weekends are notorious for loud parties, but, unfortunately, weeknights may be just as wild.

 

5. The Greek life bubble

Some Greek life members get so caught up in their chapters that they miss out on opportunities to spend time with the world beyond the bubble. Sure, your fraternity or sorority is home to some of your best friends. But don’t let that stop you from chatting up your other classmates.

 

Greek life is unforgettable. The experience has its ups and downs, but, if you think the pros outweigh the cons, go for it!