20 courses you didn’t know you could take at uOttawa: 2023-2024

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Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. This updated list of prerequisite-free electives gives you the opportunity to explore other disciplines. Meet new people, open your mind and wow your friends with your well-rounded knowledge. To help you with course enrolment, here’s just a sample of courses you can take. (And yes, we know you want to build that ideal schedule…)

1. Global Environmental Challenges —ENV1101

Crashing biodiversity, melting glaciers and devastating adverse weather events – welcome to the world we live in. This course uses contemporary case studies to examine societal responses to the threat of human-induced environmental degradation. Why do we act or not act the way we do?

2. Introduction to Indigenous Studies —EAS1101

With growing awareness surrounding the importance of truth and reconciliation, learning about the history and contemporary conditions of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world seems like an important part of becoming a well-rounded and informed human.

3. Introduction à l’enseignement — PED1501

No matter what you’re studying, you could one day be interested in sharing your knowledge as a teacher in an elementary or secondary school. This French-language course helps you understand the fundamentals of how students learn. Through lectures, group discussions, workshops and class assignments, you’ll get a practical overview of the Franco-Ontarian school system, French-language teaching in a minority setting and the art and science of teaching.

4. Introduction to African Studies — AFR 1100

For many decades, Africa has experienced profound social, demographic and political transformations, which have propelled it to the forefront of the international scene, not as a place of concentrated suffering (wars, epidemics, etc.) but as one of immense potential for its own population and for the entire world. Learn general knowledge about the African continent – its history, ecology, demography and social and cultural diversity – and begin to deconstruct myths.

5. Earth: Natural Disasters Explained — GEO1301

What causes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, avalanches and floods, and how can we better predict these devastating natural disasters? Explore the geological origins behind these events. You’ll learn about how the Earth was formed, what’s the impact of plate tectonics, how mountains rise and why glaciers move and melt.

6. Social Context of Business — ADM1101 

This course situates business within its changing socio-economic, political and technological environments. Managers must learn to both distinguish between and properly utilize the confrontational world of lobbying, as well as the collaborative governance mechanisms that join private, public and civic organizations. Students will address real-world predicaments of ethical management, corporate social responsibility, and strategic governance that arise within the social context of business.

7. Introduction to Animal Studies I — AHL2110 

An introduction to the emerging field of animal studies. Topics include animal representations in the arts and literature, companion animals, the intersections of science, advocacy and animals, and human and non-human animal relations.

8. The Human Animal — BIO1300

Learn about the biology of the human species and our place within the animal kingdom. This course covers evolution, basic anatomy, physiology, reproduction and sexuality. You’ll also learn about the biology behind family structures, cultures and societies.

9. History of Cinema I: 1895-1960 — CIN2101

A study of various international film schools and movements from the inception of cinema to the 1960s: the pre-cinema screen tradition, the invention of cinema and its first years (1880s-1904), the inception and development of sound cinema (1929-1945), and post-war cinema (1949-1960s).

10. The Sound of Rock — MUS2304

Long live rock! It will outlive us all. From the first twangy notes to jet-engine decibel power chords, follow its evolution from decades past to the present day and beyond. Develop your listening and analytical skills with an in-depth look at the sound and history of rock music. Sorry, not taught by actor Jack Black — but there will be organigrams!

11. Introduction to Linguistics — LIN1315

This course provides a foundational overview of the scientific study of natural language, focusing on the core areas of theoretical linguistics. These include the articulation and acoustics of sounds (phonetics); the rules governing the organization of sounds and intonation (phonology); the internal structure of words (morphology), phrases, and sentences (syntax); the compositional interpretation of linguistic expressions (semantics); and aspects of meaning that depend on the context of language use (pragmatics).

12. Language and Mind — LIN1303

This course intruduces you to the challenges faced by scientists who study how languages are represented in the mind. This course will tackle some of the fundamental questions about how language is represented and processed. You'll investigate these questions by looking at research using a variety of techniques.

13. Women, Gender, Feminism: An Introduction — FEM1100

An interdisciplinary approach to women and the intersection of social relations of gender, race, class, sexuality and disability in Canadian and global contexts. An introduction to basic conceptual debates in feminist and gender studies and to feminist theoretical positions. A great opportunity to develop your critical analytical skills.

14. Witchcraft, Magic and Occult Traditions — SRS1110

A historical, psychological and cross-cultural exploration of traditions and practices built on a belief in paranormal phenomena, including witchcraft, magic, occult, and related experiences, in relation to traditional notions of religious behaviour.

15. Introduction to Criminology — CRM1300

This course explores different conceptions of criminology and notions of crime and deviance. It will look at social problems and social control, how the criminal justice system functions, crime statistics and public opinion and the criminologist's role.

16. Canada and the Challenges of International Development and Globalization — DVM1100

A study of the impact of globalization on Canadian society. This course analyzes the role Canada plays in international development and globalization and examines government development institutions and policy, the private sector and civil society organizations.

17. Introduction to the Study of Conflicts and Human Rights — ECH1100 

An overview and analysis of types, origins and prevalence of violent conflicts. A study of the conditions for sustainable peace, with a special focus on the protection and promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law. 

18. Principles of Sociology – SOC1101

An introduction to the principal fields, concepts and essential methods of sociological analysis. This course examines the craft of the sociologist and the critical thinking and techniques of their intellectual work.

19. Determinants of Health – HSS1101

An introduction to health sciences including models and concepts of health and wellness, illness and disease. Biological, psycho-behavioural, socio-political and environmental determinants of health will be examined. 

20. Learn French, Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, or Russian.

Modern language courses are included in the list of electives without prerequisites offered by the Faculty of Arts. If you have no prior knowledge of the language you wish to study, just enrol in the Elementary I level course.

Unsure when you can enrol in or drop a class? See the important academic dates and deadlines. Unsure if the classes are offered in person or online? Check the course schedule