For many students, taking courses is the foremost action we complete as part of our respective degrees. While, for some, the idea of choosing and working on courses can be mundane, several departments at Mt. A employ the use of “special topic” courses to shake things up. Not only do these courses, often coded with the ending “991,” diversify the offerings of each department, but they also foster more buzz about new and exciting subject matter! The main benefit to us students is an opportunity to study in a course that focuses on a very specific topic of our major or minor field. These are topics that usually go underrepresented in offerings, or are being trialed for potential inclusion in a department’s yearly courseload. What is so thrilling about these 991 courses is they are often only available for just one semester. Think of them almost as a “limited-edition” version of your regular course.
This semester, there are some incredibly interesting 991 courses being offered, at varying levels and in various departments. Here is an outline of some current special topics:
Firstly, in the department of classics, they are offering a 3991 course entitled Tragedy in Film: Sophocles and the Cinema. This course, cross-listed with screen studies, contains a detailed look at the ways in which the themes and styles found in classical Greek tragedy translate to films of assorted genres. It is taught by Matthew Ludwig, this year’s Crake fellow in classics, from the University of Toronto. From Oedipus to The Elephant Man, film noir, western, adaptation, and horror, there is something for everyone in this amazing exploration of a relatively new field of classics research.
New for this year, first-year students in a Faculty of Arts program can take a university special topics course, UNST-1991. Entitled Wicked Problems, the course examines issues students may encounter in their communities. The course is meant to be an engaging and collaborative way for students entering their liberal arts education to begin tackling some of these “wicked problems” we see in our lives. The university describes the course as “interdisciplinary and collaborative,” a new and innovative way to aid students in the transition from high school to university.
As someone who is interested in pursuing a career in law, there are two very intriguing special topics courses being offered by the department of Psychology. PSYC-3991 is called “explanations of criminal behaviour.” This course goes deep into the idea of criminal behaviour, attempting to answer the definitive question: “Why are some individuals more likely to break the law than others?” In addition to this, there is a PSYC-4991 called “children and the law,” which examines, as the name suggests, ways in which children are impacted by the legal system. Emphasizing situations in which children are victims of a crime, this course aims to generate a greater understanding of the impacts the law can have on a child.
These are just some of the many special topic courses being offered this year. If you want to shake up your syllabus, maybe consider taking one of these courses next year!