When you start a liberal arts degree, you may come in with the expectation you’ll never have to take a math or science course again. You would be wrong.
Every Western University program is unique, with their own requirements to complete a degree, but whether you’re a medical science or anthropology student, you have to complete 1.0 credits from each of three categories, with a few exceptions. Category A focuses on social science, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary courses, category B includes arts, humanities and languages and category C covers maths and sciences.
Students completing a bachelor of arts degree can struggle choosing category C courses, luckily, we’ve researched them so you don’t have to. Here are some of the most popular category C courses and what Western students think of them.
Recommend: Earth Science 1023 and Earth Science 1086
Math not really your thing? No problem! Earth Science 1023: Planet Earth: Shaken and Stirred and 1086: Origin and Geology of the Solar System are great category C courses for non-science students.
Both worth half a credit, these courses emphasize memorizing of content rather than needing a mathematical base to succeed. Earth Science 1023 focuses on introductory content of the origins and developments of the Earth and the Solar System, while Earth Science 1086 focuses on the inner workings of the solar system and how the Earth’s geology applies to the Solar System.
“I’m not a maths, physics, biology or chemistry person,” says Sydney De Cicco, a third-year King’s University College student in criminology and human rights, who took earth sciences. “They were very straightforward and pretty interesting. I didn’t feel at a disadvantage [being] a non-science student.”
Recommend: Math 1228 and Math 1229
Math in university doesn’t have to be scary! Both Math 1228: Methods of Finite Mathematics and Math 1229: Methods of Matrix Algebra are often cited as some of the easiest in category C courses on “‘Must Knows’ for courses at UWO,” a popular Western Facebook group. These half-credit courses are offered back-to-back, with 1228 running in the fall semester and 1229 running in the winter.
Math 1228 covers the basics of counting, probability and variables. Any grade 12 math is a prerequisite for this course and the content is more application-based, as students will have to complete mathematical word problems.
“I found [the word problems] the most real-world applicable and I was able to succeed in the course. Some students may struggle with them though, it depends on your learning style,” explains Sophie Luo, a second-year student in Psychology.
Math 1229 only requires a university or mixed grade 11 math. The content is focused on vectors and progresses at a slow pace that is easy to follow along with.
“I think anyone can do well in it — you really don’t need any strong technical skill in math,” Luo says.
Recommend: Computer Science 1033 and 2033
You don’t need to be a coding genius to excel in these courses.
Computer Science 1033: Introduction to Multimedia and Communications and its continuation, Computer Science 2033, explore how to use different media components with topics including how to use media and editing tools to create innovative websites, graphics, sound, animation and video files.
“I’m definitely not someone who loves math and science courses so Comp Sci 1033 was perfect because I love graphic design and I got to learn about coding, design websites and working with photoshop,” explains Kamae Dinnall-Nget, a fourth-year student in Media, Information and Technoculture.
Computer Science 1033 and 2033 are different from any other category C course offered at Western as they focus on learning different types of computer software to produce media rather than more traditional math and science.
Maybe not? Astronomy 1021 and Data Science 1000
Astronomy 1021 is a full-year course many non-science students take, but it requires a large time commitment. Last year, there were close to 40 listening assessments which take anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes to complete, says second-year computer science student Dylan Patrascu.
“The course is very textbook-heavy, the lectures tend to be dense with content [that’s] often taught in an overwhelming manner,” he explains. “I was looking forward to learning more about space and I was unfortunately let down.”
Another popular course is Data Science 1000, which is a half-credit course that focuses on how to visualize and analyze continuous and categorical data using modern data science tools.
Data Science 1000 is typically thought to have less engaging material and recommends students have a background in coding, as well as needing to take any math in grade 12.