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Whether you love the idea or not, CCers, GSers, (and some SEASers if they want to) are gonna have to take a year of Global Core. If you’re extremely passionate about a specific subject and have found a course in the directory that satisfies this requirement, then, by all means, take it. You’re one of the lucky ones—you’ll get to knock this req out of the way while still learning about something you actually care about.

Learning about a different culture does (not to be cliche or pretentious) expand your mind. It’s important to understand how different cultures function and how they relate to and impact our own culture and customs. So, no matter what you take, you’re going to get something important out of it. However, we understand the struggle of finding courses you want to take that won’t have a heavy workload or negatively impact your GPA.

If you’re trying to find the course that will boost your GPA (while still ideally being, ya know, interesting), we gotchu covered. We did extensive research to find the courses with the highest percent of A-range grades and the best professors to take them with.

African and African-American studies

There are a couple of different courses that specifically focus on African and African-American studies. Introduction to African-American Studies (AFAS-UN1001) has 61 percent A-range grades, and will be taught by Josef Sorett, who gets pretty good reviews on CULPA.

  • Professor: Josef Sorett
  • Time: MW 10:10-11:25 a.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? Yes

East African History (HIST-UN2764) is taught by Rhiannon Stephens, who also gets good reviews on CULPA. According to one reviewer, if you just “tie in the themes covered in class [in your essays] in an intelligent way ... you're bound to get an A.” Sounds like a pretty good class to me.

  • Professor: Rhiannon Stephens
  • Time: MW 10:10-11:25 a.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? No

East Asian studies

There are many more options for students wanting to study East Asia for their Global Core. You can take Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: China (ASCE-UN1359), Tibet (ASCE-UN1365), or Japan (ASCE-UN1361). All of these courses have positive reviews; you just need to make sure you’re paying attention to the lectures (which I’m sure you all do… hehe). They also have around 50 percent A-range grades.

China (ASCE-UN1359)

  • Professor: TBA
  • Time: TR 4:10-5:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Four (with discussion)
  • Discussion? Yes

Tibet (ASCE-UN1365)

  • Professor: Gray Tuttle
  • Time: TR 1:10-2:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Four
  • Discussion? The course directory does not mention one, but since it’s a four-credit lecture class, we imagine there likely is one.

Japan (ASCE-UN1361)

  • Professor: David Lurie
  • Time: MW 4:10-5:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Four (with discussion)
  • Discussion? Yes

If you basically mastered Art Hum, then you might want to consider taking Art In China, Japan, and Korea (AHUM-UN2604) or Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture (AHUM-UN2901). They both have generally favorable reviews on the content and professors, and you should be able to use your Art Hum skills well enough to get that A.

Art in China, Japan, and Korea (AHUM-UN2604)

  • Professor: Talia Andrei
  • Time: MW 1:10-2:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? No, although this is a smaller class (limited to 22 people), so it’s likely that discussion will already be integrated into the course.

Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture

  • Professor: Vidya Dehejia
  • Time: TR 2:40-3:55 p.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? Yes

Latin American Studies

If you finished the language requirement for Spanish, then you can take Hispanic Cultures I (SPAN-UN3349) and Hispanic Cultures II (SPAN-UN3350) to completely fulfill your Global Core. There are many different professors, but Orlando Bentancor is the best (because he’s got the gold nugget on CULPA, and because his section isn’t at 8:40 a.m.).

Hispanic Cultures I (SPAN-UN3349)

  • Professor: Alexandra Mendez, Mariana-Cecilia Velazquez Perez, or Orlando Bentancor
  • Time: MW 8:40-9:55 a.m., TR 8:40-9:55 a.m., or TR 4:10-5:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? No, but these sections are capped at 15 people, so prepare to do a bit of talking.

Hispanic Cultures II (SPAN-UN3550)

  • Professor: Anayvelyse Allen-Mossman, Omar Duran-Garcia, David Mejia, Gustavo Perez-Firmat, or Analia Lavin
  • Time: TR 4:10-5:25 p.m., MW 4:10-5:25 p.m., TR 10:10-11:25 p.m., TR 11:40-12:55 p.m., or MW 11:40-12:55 p.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? No, but just like for Hispanic Cultures I, these sections are broken up into 15-person sections, so prepare accordingly.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to speak Spanish, there are plenty of classes for gringos (hehe). Latin American Civilization I (HIST-UN2660) and Latin American Civilization II (HIST-UN2661) (though the latter won’t be taught until the spring semester) both have 47 percent A-range grades, and are both taught by gold- and silver-nugget professors.

Latin American Civilization I (HIST-UN2660)

  • Professor: Caterina Pizzigoni
  • Time: TR 1:10-2:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Four
  • Discussion? One is not mentioned on the course directory, but since this is a four-credit lecture class, we imagine there is one.

Non-specific courses

If you don’t want to focus on just one country or ethnicity, there are plenty of other courses for you to try as well. Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies gives you a sample of every type of ethnic study out there, and has really good ratings.

  • Professor: Frances-Negron-Muntaner
  • Time: TR 1:10-2:55 p.m.
  • Credits: Four
  • Discussion? Yes

Alternatively, Global Urbanism, an upper-level sociology course, has 58 percent A-range grades and a pretty good professor.

  • Professor: Saskia Sassen
  • Time: MW 6:10-7:25 p.m.
  • Credits: Three
  • Discussion? One is not mentioned in the bulletin but this is a 400-person lecture class, so we imagine that there is one.

There are even more classes to choose from of course, but those listed are bound to give you that A while keeping you entertained so you can boost your GPA and have a decent semester. If none of these courses sound interesting to you, give one of the other approved courses a chance. You might actually love it and get an A without trying too hard.

What Global Core courses are you thinking of taking? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Huber Gonzalez is a Columbia College sophomore and Spectrum’s deputy editor. He’s probably gonna take something related to Latin America, because, as a Latino, he loves other Latinos. Reach him at

global core academics requirements core cc gs seas
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