MacEwan Staples: Courses to Take in Your First Year

Photo by: @brucemars on Unsplash.

Picking courses is serious business. While certain courses are mandatory for some programs, MacEwan offers a lot of choices in how to fill the nasty credit requirements. Here are some of MacEwan’s most popular courses and some of students’ favourite professors (according to RateMyProf).

Psychology 104/105

Psychology is one of MacEwan’s most popular departments and for good reason. Staffed with industry leaders (just like all of MacEwan’s departments), Psychology offers insight into humans that everyone, no matter their life goals, can take advantage of. These two courses are the introductory courses for psychology and are usually taken back to back in the first year, 104 in the fall and 105 in the winter. Taking these gives you the pre-reqs for all the cool 2nd- and 3rd-year psychology courses. 

Psychology has awesome professors and you’ll learn loads no matter who you have. Some of the more popular professors in the department include Dr. Trevor Hamilton, Dr. Sean Rogers, and Dr. Eric Legge. They don’t always teach the intro courses though, so snap them up quick if you see their names.

Biology 107/108

Just like PSYCH 104/105, these two biology courses are the stepping stones into the upper-class biology and science courses offered at MacEwan. They are taken back to back, with 107 in the fall semester and 108 in the winter semester. Consisting of both lecture and lab components, 107 and 108 will introduce you to the basics of science that will set you up for the rest of your university scientific career (and beyond if you’re aiming for a job in STEM). What’s a lab you may wonder? The lab component of biology is where you get to be in an actual laboratory doing experiments and gaining hands-on experience in what you are learning about. This means that when you sign up to take one of these courses, you have to sign up for both the lecture and the lab parts. It’s like having two classes in one. Each has their own time slot with their own homework, and oftentimes a different professor. So make sure you plan accordingly.

Favourite professors for Biology 107/108 include Dr. Ross Shaw and Kathy Davies

Anthropology 101

Anthro 101 just might be the most taken course offered at MacEwan. ANTH 101 teaches students about where we come from, which definitely is not a bad thing in today’s world. This is a fun and energetic course that always has lots of class options so you can pick what time works best for you. It’s not too hard yet not too boring, it’s always interesting and you learn something new every time you sit down for class. Positive aspect of this course is that it fills part of the humanities requirement for all students. One of the only bad things about this course is that it always requires the textbook, no matter who teaches it. Try to find a second-hand copy because buying it from the bookstore is expensive!

Favourite Professors include Dr. Leslie Dawson and Dr. Katie Biittner. 

A History or Classics Course

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

Truer words have never been spoken, especially now. Unless you absolutely hate history and actively plan your degree around not taking a history or classics course, you are going to have to take one or more of them eventually. It’s best to get them over with right away so you can take more interesting courses later on. Good news is that there are lots of options for you to choose from. There are over 20 courses in history alone with no prior course requirement, meaning there is bound to be something to catch your interest. While not all are offered every year and every semester, there is always lots of variety and it’s not hard to find at least one interesting subject. The Ancient world of gladiators and Greek Gods more your thing? Take a classics course and immerse yourself in antiquity. 

International Students: Learning about the history of Canada is a great way to connect with your temporary home!

Popular Professors: Dr. Michael Carroll (hands down the best prof in the entire department), Dr. Colin Bailey, Dr, Jessica Romney, and Dr, Robert Irwin

Political Science 101

POLS 101 is a great alternative to more math and statistics courses. It fills the analytics requirement for most programs (double check with your specific program’s planning sheets) Ya! Less math! POLS 101 is the introduction to political science and it teaches about governments and politics here in Canada and around the world. The course is very basic in some respects, some things are repeated from high school, but lots of cool new info to keep you engaged. Depending on your professor, you may end up having to get the textbook. But don’t worry, used copies are easy to get and the previous edition usually works perfectly fine.

Profs to watch for: Dr. Andrea Wagner and Dr. Gaelan Murphy.

These 7 courses are just some of the many courses you can take in your first year and in the following years. First year is the time to experiment with different courses, figure out what you like and what you don’t. By experimenting early on, picking your major and minor becomes so much easier. Do your best, have fun and see where it takes you. University is about growing and finding your life. Be yourself and you’ll find your path.

Published on September 6, 2021

About Skylar Brebrich

Skylar is a recent graduate of the History program at MacEwan University who spends most of her time buried under towers of dusty old books. When she manages to dig her way out, you'll find her travelling the world in search of castles and curios, or curled up in bed rewatching CSI for the millionth time.