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Freshman issue preview: 21 classes for the Great Class of 2021

Choosing classes can be an overwhelming process at the beginning of freshman year, so the 'Prince' has selected a palette of fall offerings to help you get started — all with no prerequisites and open to first-years. Picked out for the Class of 2021, here’s a wide-ranging selection of 21 courses, in no particular order.

GEO 102/ENV 102/STC 102: Climate: Past, Present, and Future (STN or STL)


This course will address important questions about our climate and is open to students in any field or prospective field. GEO 102 is offered in two sections, with and without lab.

CLG 101: Beginner’s Greek: Greek Grammar

Learn a new language — learn Ancient Greek!

CBE 262/EGR 263: Fundamentals of Bioengineering (STN)

The field of bioengineering has taken the world by storm, tackling transformative, age-old problems to improve our lives. Learn about genetically modified organisms, insulin pumps, and more in this class, which is open to both engineering and non-engineering students.

ATL 498/MTD 498/THR 498: Princeton Atelier — Reimagining a Masterpiece: Mozart’s Symphony #40 (LA)


Atelier classes never fail to be innovative and exciting. In this course, you will be part of a design process using light, visual art, theater, dance, and music to create a novel rendition of Mozart’s Symphony #40.

ENG 215: Introduction to Science Fiction (LA)

The reading list includes such well-loved classics as Gulliver’s Travels, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Frankenstein, and The Martian Chronicles. Enough said.

PSY 252: Social Psychology (SA)

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Feeling a bit awkward after your first ’zee group meeting? Through this course you might be able to better understand social interactions, behavior, and group dynamics. You will study social phenomena and learn intriguing terms like “foot-in-the-door,” or, even better, “door-in-the-face.”

POL 388: Causes of War (SA)

Word on campus is that this class is a must-take. Study how and why wars start, as well as what can be done to avoid them, through the study of various cases from the Peloponnesian War to Sept. 11, 2001.

SLA 219/RES 219: Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky: Introduction to the Great Russian Novel (LA)

The name says it all — in this class, you will read and discuss great Russian literary works by these revolutionary authors.

CEE 102/EGR 102/MAE 102: Engineering in the Modern World (HA or STL)

Known colloquially as “Bridges,” this class is presented in two forms: one focusing primarily on historical analysis, and the other with a lab component studying the technical aspects of fundamental systems of engineering, including railroads, power plants, steamboats, telegraphs, highways, aircraft, and more.

ART 100: An Introduction to the History of Art: Meanings in the Visual Arts (LA)

In this introduction to art history, you will learn about a variety of visual arts including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and prints. Plus, precepts are held in the beautiful University Art Museum!

HUM 216/217: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture I (LA, HA)

For bookworms who love reading deeply and widely, this is the course for you. The lineup of professors comes from departments across the humanities and social sciences, and you will be taken on an adventure through defining moments in European civilization from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Guest lectures, museum visits, and other cultural activities included — this is a course for which the University will pay for your travel!

ISC 231/232: An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences I (STL, QR)

As the course description states, this is an integrated, mathematically and computationally sophisticated introduction to physics, chemistry, molecular biology, and computer science. Taught by faculty from various departments, including a Nobel laureate, ISC is a wild, fantastic ride, and not for the faint-of-heart. Expect deep learning and bonding experiences, and unlimited access to the breathtaking Carl Icahn Laboratory.

LIN 260/AFS 262: Languages of Africa (EC)

Did you know that a third of the world’s languages are spoken in Africa? Learn more about the linguistic structure, history, and culture behind these languages in this class, which is open to anyone and has no prerequisites.

EAS 303: Japanese Film & Media Studies (LA)

The East Asian studies department offers a multitude of courses every semester, from film studies and art history to literature and politics. In this particular class, you will study Japanese culture from various angles by watching movies and analyzing relevant visual media.

COM 351/TRA 351/ENG 361: Great Books from Little Languages (LA)

From South Korea to Finland to Estonia, expand your literary worldview by studying translations of books in languages you might not normally come across.

VIS 308: Short Comedy Filmmaking (LA)

If you are familiar with filmmaking software and sound technology, this class presents an interesting and fun challenge — what makes something funny and how does one convey that through short films?

ANT 225: Debt (SA)

A new fall course offering, this class hopes to answer all of your questions about debt, and take you through the history, politics, economics, and anthropology of debt in various places over the course of time.

CWR 201: Creative Writing — Poetry (LA)

Poets come from all walks of life. When will you ever get a chance to take a course with Beyoncé’s former lawyer, or someone who once starred in a Steven Spielberg film? Take a chance and wander through the world of poetry with any of these wonderful professors. No prerequisites.

HIS 201: A History of the World (HA)

This course uses an innovative design that involves online lectures, live town hall forums with the professor, and collaborative historical case studies to teach you the entire history of the world.

DAN 216: Uncertainty (LA)

Uncertain about taking this course? A new fall offering, this studio course hopes to explore the roots of art-making and uncertainty through the medium of dance.

JRN 447: Politics and the Media — Writing about Washington and the Economy (SA)

Consider taking a journalism course during your time at Princeton. The humble writer is not biased at all, given that she is a journalist herself. The journalism department invites award-winning experts in the field from major publications around the world every semester. Through a journalism course, you will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with these writers. In this particular course, learn how to write and tell stories through the lens of political and economic issues the world faces today.