10 Coolest Classes at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a private research university located in Chicago, Illinois. With the upcoming academic semester is right around the corner, you may be looking at fun, interesting courses to take alongside your degree requirements. UChicago offers a plethora of courses to take, so you might have missed out on some cool classes. Here are 10 of the coolest classes at UChicago!

1. ANTH 25908 – Balkan Folklore

balkan folklore being performed on stage

Folklore is one of the oldest traditions of story telling across history, and can tell about some of the most interesting creatures, be it vampires to fire-breathing dragons to vengeful mountain nymphs. In this class, you will learn about an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. You even get to experience this living tradition first hand as the class visits a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, “Balkan Dance.”

2. ASTR 12610 – Black Holes

theoretical black hole depiction

Recently, NASA space telescopes have taken the first ever image of a black hole and its shadow, confirming the existence of these mysterious systems.  In this class, students will learn about the physics of space and time, the nature of black holes, their effects on surrounding matter and light, and so on. Furthermore, you will learn about the modern theory of space and time, as well as black holes in the historical context with focus placed on Albert Einstein’s work on his theories of relativity. 

3. BIOS 23100 – Dinosaur Science

dinosaur remains on display at museum

Dinosaur skeletons and fossils are extensively studied and showcased in museums. This course teaches students about the basics of geology, basic evolutionary biology, and the knowledge needed to discover and understand the meaning of fossils as they are preserved in the field. As a part of this class, students will embark on an exciting ten-day expedition to South Dakota and Wyoming to camp, prospect for, and excavate fossils from the Cretaceous and Jurassic Periods. 

4. BIOS 25407 – Organ Transplantation

cartoon illustrated hands holding heart, first aid kit, liver, blood bag, medical chart, lungs, syringe, and kidneys

Organ transplantation is an interesting subject that is becoming more and more prevalent within our society with the advancement of medical technologies and call for discussion of ethical and economic issues associated with it. In this class, students will learn about the technical aspects as well as the social issues raised in transplantation. By the end of this class, students will be well-informed in this increasingly important topic of organ transplantation. 

5. BIOS 02280 – Drinking Alcohol: Social Problem or Normal Cultural Practice?

four people clinking beer glasses

Alcohol is one of the most widely used psychoactive agent in the world, especially in a social context where drinking plays a role in engaging social bonds from proposing a toast at your best friend’s wedding to get togethers with family, friends, and even co-workers. In this class, students will explore the issue of alcohol and drinking from a trans-disciplinary perspective, as they are confronted with literature on alcohol research from a variety of fields and will consider about the conflicts and contradictions of it. This class will provide a different perspective for our outlook on alcohol, for us to consider and think about.

6. BIOS 29271 – The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress

hand squeezing stress ball

Stress! It is one of the most frustrating emotions and conditions to deal with as you go through your college career. However, it is also a necessary condition that motivates us to efficiently and effectively perform tasks. In this class, students will learn about how factors such as age, gender, and social context interact to influence how we respond to stressors both physiologically and behaviorally, on our mental and physical health. 

7. NORW 10100 – First Year Norwegian – I

flag of Norway

Amongst the vast selection of language courses that UChicago offers, the Norwegian language is one of them. In this class, students will learn introductory Norwegian, provided with minimal proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening with a special emphasis on speaking. How often do you see Norwegian listed as a language course option? How neat! 

8. LLSO 20019 – Mesopotamian Law

figures atop of the stele of the Code of Hammurabi

We’ve all heard of the common expression “an eye for an eye”, or “a tooth for a tooth”, with implications of punishing an offender according to the way with which they offended. Well, that expression comes from Ancient Mesopotamia (home of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians) and their famously preserved set of codes, including The Laws of Hammurabi. In this course, students will explore the rich source materials of such Laws and relevant judicial and administration documents to investigate topics of legal, social, and economic practice.

9. MUSI 17025 – South Asian Music Ensemble

woman playing Indian instrument, the sitar

The South Asian Music Ensemble is offered as a music course at UChicago, exploring a variety of classical, vernacular, and popular song repertories from the Indian Subcontinent. In this class, students will learn knowledge such as vocal techniques and stylistic features of music specific to South Asian diasporas. Beginners and experiences performers with a background in South Asian music alike are welcome to enroll in this class!

10. ARTV 20700 – Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production

Fortnite Season 5 (example of Alternate Reality Game)

One of the most influential and prominent forms of media in modern times are games; lately, there has been an emerging genre of “alternate reality” or “transmedia” gaming. In this class, students will learn about this new media theory through history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. As a part of this course, students will get the opportunity to design modules of an Alternate Reality Game in small groups!

10 Hardest Courses at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a private learning institution located in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1890 and is among the highly ranked universities not only in the United States but also all over the world. The secret behind this success lies in the high-quality education offered by the university. Quality course offering is good for every institution that wants to stay at the top. Below are some of the hardest courses at the University of Chicago:

1. MENG 26020 – Engineering Electrodynamics

The sub cycle of quantum electrodynamics

To start with, this is a very hard course. Students cover topics in vector fields, electric machines, power equipment, etc. It is advanced and requires a very strong background. Students taking this course must have passed exemplary calculus, magnetostatics, and electrostatics.

2. PSYC 25750 – The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress

Diagram showing the distress modelling spiral

Students are stressed and learning about stress and not being to handle theirs is equally stressful. This course tackles various stress mechanisms an how they apply in the social context. In addition, the notes are too much and overwhelming to read.

3. STAT 27725 – Machine Learning

Machine learning involves a wide range of topics seen in this chart

This course is a problem-centered intro to machine learning. Topics covered include graphical models, Perceptron and Online Algorithms, and Boosting, among others. Students are required to handle very tough weekly assignments which make learning cumbersome.

4. BIOS 21207 – Cell Biology

picture of an animal cell labelled with different organelles

This course aims at teaching fundamental concepts in RNA processing and gene expression. Students need to acquire experimental approaches to this course because it’s vast. There are many concepts to master, and that’s where students fail. Additionally, there are numerous assignments to make the course even more boring.

5. BIOS 20242 – Principles of Physiology

The illustration of homeostasis in physiology

This course is a major for students majoring in health sciences. It focuses on animal psychological problems, the solution, and general reasoning. What makes this course difficult is the fact that students have to apply logic and reasoning- something many students don’t fancy!

6. CHEM 26700 – Experimental Physical Chemistry

picture of chemical apparatus.

This course focuses on the study of physical chemical measurements. Students learn the design and manufacture of chemical apparatus, computerized lab instrumentation, optics, and vacuum techniques. It involves very many practical lessons and only a few pass the course.

7. NSCI 20130 – Systems Neurobiology

The illustration of brain function in neurobiology

If there is a course that medical don’t want, it must be this one. The course focuses on both vertebrates and invertebrate systems. It relates to physiology and anatomy, and the passing rate is meager. Many students retake the course multiple times.

8. CMSC 23200 – Introduction to Computer Security

Picture of locks and protection privacy and security

Students without a strong IT and programming background tend to fail in this course terribly. Although it is a foundation for learning computer systems, it is so wide and requires lots of time to understand the various concepts of computer systems.

9. GEOS 13100 – Physical Geology

The internal structure of the earth.

If you didn’t study Geography in high-school, you might be in the wrong place. It assumes you have a knowledge of geographical studies. Students learn about the geology cycle, plate tectonics, the scenery, and minerals and rocks.

10. MATH 20300 – Analysis of Real Numbers

The number system in mathematics.

This is a mandatory, rigorous course for mathematics majors. It is a very critical course, and the bar is set too high. Topics covered are such as the Heine-Borel and Bolzano Weierstrass models, mappings, compact sets, etc. Besides, the quantity of work to cover is too much for a short duration of one semester.

For a highly rated university like this, you shouldn’t expect an easy life. As a matter of fact, the courses are harder than they sound on paper. Regardless, the smart and hardworking students still pass through the tides. students should, therefore, show high levels of commitment when pursuing these courses.

10 Easiest Classes at the University of Chicago

No matter what your major is or what you decide to spend your time on, college always requires hard work, dedication, and time–so much time. In the midst of complex core classes such as Chemistry, Computer Science, and Shakespearian Literature, there is a need for balance. College is not just about pushing your brain to a stress-inducing limit and fulfilling requirements, so take a peek at some engaging, interesting classes at the University of Chicago that also make for an easy “A!”

1. TAPS 10100—Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

Let’s face it: performing arts are always enjoyable. Sometimes you just need a moment to shed your skin and become someone new. In this class, students examine the aesthetics and performance of two dramatic works. Not only will students be acting, but they will be developing a thorough understanding of the techniques, processes, and cultural contexts of theatrical pieces. Students are able to act, direct, and design during this course. This course also fulfills the General Education requirement of the “Dramatical, Musical and Visual Arts” category. (100 units)

A show, with over fifteen actors, taking place on a stage set.

2. BIOS 23100/1—Dinosaur Science

While this class is introductory level, the knowledge that it provides digs so much deeper—literally!  In this class, you will study basic geology, including rocks and minerals, stratigraphy, Earth history, and mapping skills, and basic evolutionary biology, which includes vertebrate and skeletal anatomy, systematics, and large-scale evolutionary patterns. You will learn the information and skills necessary to discover and examine fossils. Now for the best part: at the end of the course, students will go on a ten-day expedition to South Dakota and Wyoming, where they will camp, prospect for, and excavate fossils from as far back as the Cretaceous and Jurassic Periods. The class is simply worth it just for the once-in-a-lifetime experience. (100 units)


3. CRWR 10206/1—Beginning Fiction Workshop

As stated by the University itself, “Fiction writing is part magic and part mechanics.” In this course, you will learn how to build a story through the architecture of structure, the methods of character development, the dynamics of dialogue, as well as plot, point of view, and setting. To better understand how to write a story, you will be reading stories, specifically those that are short and sweet. This class, however, is particularly easy for students that like to write, as they will be required to write reading responses to writing exercises throughout the class to hone their skills. Still, all students are encouraged to try, whether they are writing aficionados or not! At the end of the class, students will be able to show off their shiny, polished short story or novel chapter to the whole class for a reading and critique. Who knows—maybe you will leave this class as the new J.K. Rowling or F. Scott Fitzgerald! (100 units)

A pencil laying on a notebook, and two hands typing on a laptop.

4. BIOS 12114/91—Nutritional Science

In this course, students will examine the underlying biological mechanisms of nutrient (food!) utilization in humans as well as the scientific truth behind nutritional requirements. You will finally learn if it is truly necessary to “eat a rainbow” or to “eat the food pyramid!” Students will also explore the relationships between food choices and health. Is it really beneficial to eat vegetables, and is it truly damaging to consume the chocolate cake that you’ve been eyeing? Lastly, you will learn how to assess the validity of scientific research, and through assignments, you will learn how to critique your own nutritional lifestyle, nutritional health claims, and nutrition policy issues. This class is fun, relevant, and important! (100 units)

 nutritional science word cloud

5. MUSI 10200/1—Introduction to World Music

Canta con migos! Sing with me! This course is a survey of a wide variety of music and musical traditions from all around the world, ranging from classical to popular to folk. In this class, students will augment their skills as listeners, and work towards understanding how they define music. The role of music as ritual, mode of communication, aesthetic experience, and artistic expression will also be explored. Students will examine music more deeply than they ever have before to gain true knowledge about why it is important and influential. Luckily, this fun and engaging course also fulfills the General Education requirement for “Dramatic, Musical, and Visual Arts.” Musicians and avid earbud users, look this way! (100 units)

Earth wearing headphones.

6. SIGN 26038/1 or ENGL 12320/1  —Critical Videogame Studies

Video games are one of the most profitable and unique mediums of this era, and there is so much to learn about them! In this course, students will study all kinds of video games, including popular arcade and console games (yes, PS and XBOX), experimental art games, and educational games. If you’re a fan of Pac-man and Dark Souls, you will be happy. If you are a fan of Cuphead and JumpStart, you will also be happy! Students will analyze the technical properties and sociopolitical dynamics of videogames, partially through reading the works of theorists such as Jane McGonigal, Lisa Nakamura, and Ian Bogost. If you don’t recognize their names yet, you will soon. This course is limited time and special, as it is a Signature Course specifically for the 2018-19 school year. Sorry… I have to cut this short so I can play Fortnite. (100 units)

A pile of video game controllers, including SONY and Nintendo controllers.s

7. SIGN 26006/1 or EALC 10600/1 or CMST 24603/1—Topics in EALC: Ghosts & the Fantastic in Literature and Film

BOO! Did I scare you? Have you ever thought about what a ghost truly is? In this course, you will learn how and why ghosts are represented the way they are in culture, historical moments, and the media, and how the forms of ghosts change as stories travel and develop between cultures. You will explore the literal and figurative meanings of ghosts and supernatural forces through traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean plays, tales, and films. What is better than learning about ghosts by watching spooky ghost movies? Students will explore issues including: the relationship between the supernatural, gender, and sexuality, the confrontation of death and mortality, anxiety over the loss of historical past, and the visualization and exorcism of ghosts through performances. This course is limited time and special, as it is a Signature Course specifically for the 2018-19 school year. It is hauntingly interesting! (100 units)

A "ghost," or a white sheet with drawn black eyes and a mouth (with a human underneath).

8. CMST 25505/1—The Detective Film

The game is on! In this thrilling course, students will survey the detective genre of films, which includes films like Vertigo and Sherlock Holmes (the Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. varieties). You will study the genre from its origins in the silent serial film through its development into film noir and neo-noir film. Students will even learn about the genre’s transformation into “Metaphysical Detective Films” which, in their complexity, explore the limits of the detective film genre. Luckily, you will get to watch a great number of movies during this course. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson would certainly approve of this! (100 units)

Martin Freeman portraying John Watson (left) and Benedict Cumberbatch portraying Sherlock Holmes (right), image from BBC Sherlock.

9. MAAD 24410/1—Transmedia Puzzle Design and Performance

If you enjoy Best Fiends and Candy Crush, this course is definitely for you. Students will be introduced to the multi-dimensional and unique field of immersive puzzle design. If you take this course, you will be able to develop, implement, and playtest puzzles—from scratch! Students can create puzzle games that are meant for a range of experiences: tabletop games, immersive games, online puzzle hunts, and alternate reality games (ARG). What is the best part, you ask? Here it is: students will work with master puzzler and commissioner of The Mystery League, Sandor Weisz. His company of creative puzzle makers stages live mystery games that utilize all kinds of puzzles, so his experience is far and wide. (100 units)

A Candy Crush: Saga poster, picturing two characters, a logo, and gameplay.

10. CMSC 27100/1—Discrete Mathematics

1…2…3…Go! This is not your average math class. This course emphasizes not just mathematical discovery, but solid proof for mathematic theories, illustrated through interesting and relevant topics. Basic counting and its uses throughout mathematics, such as for sequences, is a recurring theme, so make sure you know your numbers! Many other topics are explored, including but not limited to graph theory and trees, number theory, random variables, recurrences and Fibonacci numbers, factorials, and binomial coefficients. Math lovers and newbies to math alike should consider taking this interesting course! (100 units)

Blue-colored numbers, of a variety of sizes, scattered.

While college may seem difficult at times, remember that there are always easy, fun, and interesting classes that can balance your schedule. Hopefully out of these ten recommended courses, you can find one that intrigues you, or one that you have never experienced before. Even if a class is considered easy, it does not mean that it is not worthwhile—an easy class may lead you towards your new major, minor, or career goal and provide you with an expanse of knowledge! Plus you may even get a boost in GPA! Comment below and let me know which class is your favorite!

11 Reasons NOT to Attend the University of Chicago


1. Food is everywhere

2. It has a horrible national and global reputation

3. Because living in a student-based city is totally unsafe

4. There is absolutely nothing to do

5. It has a campus that looks absolutely disgusting

6. Students are ashamed to go there

7. School Spirit Doesn’t Exist

8. Clubs don’t exist

9. Not a Job in Sight

10. Hate Speech is Common

11. No Diversity