All undergraduate students get frustrated when forced to put in hours of work for a seemingly pointless gen-ed, in a subject that’s irrelevant to your major, and won’t help you in the “real world.” Yes, we’ve all been well warned that “college is hard,” and have become accustomed to living the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. But, what if you didn’t have to work as hard this semester? Whether you’re looking for a GPA booster or just a little something to lighten your course load, these easy courses at James Madison University will help you play hard, without the 50 page readings and long nights in Carrier.
1. ART 200 – Art in General Culture
This course is given as an option to fulfill gen-ed cluster two, visual and performing arts. You will learn about general, cultural space arts, such as architecture, painting, sculpture and industrial design. The quizzes typically include matching and labeling photos, but it is an introductory level course and doesn’t require any extensive artistic research. There should be minimal papers and very straightforward tests. It will consist of far less memorization, reading and long study hours than one of the art history courses, a popular other choice for this cluster. Very manageable for a gen-ed.
So channel your inner Picasso and appreciate art in all it’s forms!
2. ISCI 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 171, 172, 173, basically any Integrated Science and Technology course as long as it is with Cynthia Klevickis.
This woman is without a doubt the most caring, bubbly and upbeat professor you will ever have at JMU. She brings snacks such as candy, fruit snacks, granola bars, gold fish, cookies etc. for students to eat during class, and I’m not talking about one of these options, she brings them ALL. She doesn’t give ANY tests or quizzes, and lectures consist mostly of interactive activity and discussion, She treats each and every student like one of her own, in a grandmother-ly loving way. I took Cindy for a physical science lab for teaching majors, and was nervous coming in because science has never been my forte. However, this woman made the class a breeze, while also keeping it interesting and low stress. There is also tons of group work making it really easy to make friends in your class. I have no doubt that every student in her classes receives an A, while also enjoying themselves.
3. ISAT 280- Projects in ISAT (Community Service)
This is a community-service based class where students can earn 1-3 credits while volunteering in our local community. You volunteer a few times over the semester, during class time, with the rest of your peers. It is a fun way to get involved in the Harrisonburg community while also getting credits for it. The class consists of volunteering and writing reflections afterwards. Easy A, and you also benefit yourself and others in the process. It was very uplifting to take a class that takes you outside of the “JMU bubble”, you get to discover that there is more to Harrisonburg than the Walmart shopping center and Mr. Jays bagels. Although you think you’ve seen it all since you’ve visited apartments in Forest, Manor, Aspen, Sunchase, Copper Beech, Foxhill, Squire, Southview… the list goes on… Take this course and influence those who share our community!
4. Math 103- The Nature of Mathematics
Are you someone who shivers at the thought of factoring, and can feel your heart racing while trying to solve an equation with too many numbers, letters, and symbols? This mathematics course is basically designed for a student who has no interest in any type of mathematical career and is just looking to fulfill a bare minimum math requirement. It is in cluster 3, Track I, Group 1. If your major has no math requirement, you may be able to get by the bare minimum mathematics by just taking this class. However, most students do not have it that easy. If you aren’t a “math person” and struggle in your math classes, this is an easy Elementary level math course that could help you become more comfortable with numbers and learn to breathe before you gear up for your upper-level requirements.
“Patterns and shit. Easiest A ever.” – anonymous
5. For your health requirement, Take KIN!
These classes are split into half lecture, half exercise. Rather than your other option, Health 100. Health 1oo requires an expensive book, long lectures, logging UREC hours, mostly mandatory attendance, 4 long multiple choice exams (that you actually have to study for, not as common sense based as you think.) Why not get your exercise in for the day, instead of having to push yourself to go to urec. They offer cardio, swimming, and strength training sections. The exercise isn’t extremely vigorous, although it does encourage students to push themselves. Learning how to stay active at school is something that will benefit you in the long run, all four years. And quite frankly, who really wants to sit in a 200-person Health 100 lecture and be forced to memorize the statistic of americans who develop lung cancer? Better options are out there.
And for those who already fulfilled your health requirement, did you know JMU offers other Kin Classes such as Fencing, Skiing and Snowboarding, and even SCUBA DIVING?! (KIN 128, 131, 156) Definitely worth taking a look to see if these fun sports could fit into your schedule.
6.HEALTH 357 – Coping with Stress
My whole goal here is to reduce your stress from courses, so why not take a course that does EXACTLY this?! This is an elective you should definitely consider if you are someone who feels constantly taken over by anxiety. College comes with so many stressors outside of just the classroom, including family, friends, relationships, staying active and healthy, money, we all have our own problems. This one credit course could be an opportunity for you to earn credit while also remembering to relax and improve your well being.
Wait— you mean eating a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream isn’t the only way to cope with stress?
7. GEOG 200- Geography: The Global Dimension
Another gen-ed that’ll be guaranteed to not take up too much of your time, or involve any complicated crap that has no relation to your life. Geography is useful for understanding our world and it’s people. When taken with Mace Bentley or Case Watkins, the course is generally an “easy A.” It consists of labeling a map, a mid term, and final, and occasional canvas quizzes and maybe playing around with google maps. Geography is an option for Cluster Four: Social and Cultural Processes, Group Two: The Global Experience. Choosing this course to fulfill this requirement is something you will not regret. All you really need to do is show up to class and read the power points. Can you label all 12 regions of the world on a map?
8. IS 275 – Dollars and Sense
This class may not be the easiest at JMU, but it will indeed lead you to an A if you are willing to take it seriously and will also have a lasting effect on your future as a member of society. It is a 3-credit course that will review personal philosophy on money, and management of personal finances. Students will learn real life skills in the areas of eliminating debt, creating a budget, understanding investments and insurance, saving money, planning for retirement, shopping for a house and other topics dealing with financial issues faced in daily life.
At this time in our lives many of you are probably still financially dependent on your parents, but where will you be after graduation? Many of these topics actually scare me to even think about, so taking a course to benefit your success as an individual seems it could be very worthwhile.
*takes this class*
*learns how to make investments*
9. MUS 204- History of Rock
Although Jack Black won’t be instructing it, maybe this school can still rock. This course is 3 credits concerned with music appreciation. It will cover both musical and cultural roots of rock music and will relate it’s roots to current day popular rock music. You’ll be sure to have a rockin’ semester with this interesting course!
10. ITAL 101 – Elementary Italian
Sure, languages aren’t for everyone. But at this elementary level, you will mostly be focused on phrases, colors, the alphabet, basic verb conjugations, etc. and you might even get to go to some cultural event requirements that involve movies, pizza, or some wine and cheese. And, JMU’s Italian language department is known to have great professors, so you’re in luck!
*starts planning trip to Rome*
*and hopes to meet a Paolo*
What are your favorite easy courses at James Madison University? Comment below!
Featured photo source: pinterest.com
"My name is Natalee and I'm a sophomore at James Madison University. Some of my favorite things include exercising, shopping, eating a good meal, the beach, passing time with my best friends and family, getting hooked on a good tv show, playing with puppies, and traveling to new places and trying new things! I am a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma national sorority."