Curricular Journal Examples
Example 1 Jeremy Sanchez '14
I might decide to major in history, French, biochemistry, or a combination
of two of them. Four Courses for Next Year:
- FRN-221: Intermediate French I
- CHM-210: Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry
- MAT-133: Calculus II
- HIS-239: The Collapse of the Eurocentric World Order
Why these courses?
- ENG-120: Literary Analysis
- POL-101: Introduction to Political Science
- REL-115: Major Western Religions
Overall, I want to know more about people out there in the world,
what they do, what they believe. My changes to my original plan include
taking out Chinese (though that's not completely out of the question)
and taking more history courses than I once thought.
Example 2: Molly Gallagher '14
I still am intending to major in physics and possibly have a concentration
in Global Development Studies. I find ENVS- 154: Natural Hazards and
Disasters interesting. I would prefer to take PHY-132, MAT-218, SPAN-217
(perhaps in conjunction with SPAN-204), and ECON-111. If these choices
fill up, I would like to take ENVS- 154, TECH- 154, or REL-117. This
has changed from my previous plans because I decided it would be more
beneficial to continue in Spanish than start Chinese. I also looked
closer at the requirements for GDS and included some required classes
or prerequisites for required classes.
As far as my goals for this semester, PHY-132 will help me continue
picking up skills for my intended major. MAT-218 will do the same.
Both of these will also serve as prerequisites to future courses I
must take for my intended major. SPAN-217 will help improve my Spanish
and prepare me for possible study abroad opportunities in Spanish-speaking
countries later in my college career. ECON-111 is a prerequisite for
two courses for a Global Development Studies concentration and I have
never taken a course in economy before so it will let me see if I
like it or not. ENVS-154 is about material I am interested in and
it also applies to a GDS concentration. TECH-154 applies for a GDS
concentration. REL-117 applies for a GDS concentration and I have
never taken a religions class before.
As far as a liberal education goes, PHY-132 addresses science. MAT-218
addresses math. SPAN-217 addresses a foreign language and culture.
ECON-111 addresses social sciences in a way I have never learned them
before. ENVS- 154 covers a topic familiar to me, natural disasters,
from a point of view I have never looked at it before. TECH- 154 looks
at technology from a humanity perspective. REL-117 covers a part of
humanity I have not devoted much time to.
As far as preparation for life after college goes, PHY-132 will prepare
me for grad school and possible physics research work. MAT-218 will
do the same. SPAN-217 will help me communicate with and understand
a much larger group of people. Since economy is such an important
part of society today, it will be beneficial for me to have some idea
of how it works. ECON-111 will give me that knowledge. ENVS-154 will
help me if I ever want to go into meteorology, which I am considering.
If I ever use my degree to develop technology, TECH-154 will help
me do so more responsibly. Since religion is such a large part of
why people act a certain way, REL-117 will help me understand people
better when dealing with them after college.
- I will further my knowledge of a foreign language, become
immersed in language while learning about French culture, and speak
with other native speakers should it become helpful in travel or a
- I will learn about the dynamics of the chemical world
in which we live. I am partaking in a science, which will help me
understand more about the medicine I take, the new chemicals that
are being produced, and what to recommend to others as effective medications,
- I will learn about the way physics is explained mathematically.
A mathematics course expands my liberal arts education into areas
that are more concrete with less room for interpretation. I might
be able to help others, including my descendants, on math if they
- I will learn about how European influences collapsed
during the 20th century, and how to analyze documents from the past.
Taking a social science helps one understand our species, definitely
a part of a liberal arts education. I can view the world in a more
tolerant way if I understand differing points of view; I will also
be able to write more effectively and teach others to do similarly.
- I will learn about the ways to interpret literature as
well as dive into some of the literature itself. An English class
helps one understand this nation's language as well as appreciate
some of the classic ideas others have written in books, plays, etc.
Similar to history, I will learn about different points of view and
communicate much more effectively.
- Political Science
- I will understand the inner governmental workings
of this country as well as the ways I can participate in this representative
democracy. Another social science, it adds to the liberal arts experience
by allowing an individual to understand how and why the world?s governments
act as they do. I may be able to make better decisions if I know how
the nation works.
- Major Western Religions
- I hope to understand the doctrines
behind some of the sects of other Christian faiths beyond my own.
Understanding customs is an important part of a liberal arts education,
as religion is omnipresent, whether one is religious or not. I hope
to know how I may further tolerate and empathize with other religions
even if I disagree.
Example 1: Charles Frantz '11
As far as the elements of a liberal education, my courses for my major
and concentration are sure to develop my quantitative reasoning, and
in Computer Vision I will be introduced to abstract models, specifically
of the human visual system, an important component of an education
in the natural sciences. My free course
is meant to continue to develop my skills of reading, analyzing, and
writing. Taking Computer Vision is one of the critical steps in my
4-year plan toward preparing me for possible high level neuroscience/computer
science research work after Grinnell. Intro to Performance Studies
is highly complementary to activities I am involved in on-campus,
including Grinnell Singers, improv, and open mic stand-up. Furthermore,
it may give me helpful perspective as I contemplate a more concerted
exploration of stand-up this summer and possibly after graduating.
That said: It might be a good time to use some of the credit-cushion
I came to Grinnell with to just take the first four classes listed,
even though one of them is worth 1-credit. Since I consider the first
three courses listed to be core to my
specific interests and major/concentration, I want to be able to concentrate
on them and to avoid some of the compromises I find myself making
this semester in classes of greater interest in order to keep my grades
afloat in classes of lesser interest. I'd be open to enrolling in
a fifth course with the intention of testing how demanding it will
be and keeping dropping or auditing as a possible (even likely) outome.
Example 2 Dugan Knoll '12
- MAT-218-01 Combinatorics
- I of course need this to complete my
major, but the subject seems to keep popping up in areas of special
interest to me. For instance, combinatorial explosion has been problematic
in attempts to model complex systems like the mind (Daniel Dennett's
- CSC-207-01 Algorithms and Object-Oriented Design
of this course is required for my major. It introduces object-oriented
programming, the biggest gap in my basic programming arsenal (and
a useful and marketable one, I am told).
- CSC-295-01 Special Topic: Computer Vision
- This class works
brilliantly with my interests in both computer science and neuroscience
(i.e., computer modeling and emulation of neural systems). The timing
is also right, since I will be taking my neuroscience seminar in the
fall, where I will be able to further explore a topic of special interest
that I discover in Computer Vision. The course will also introduce
concepts that may well be relevant to my post-Grinnell pursuits, which
may involve some yet-to-be-determined confluence of computer science
- PHE-100-17 Advanced Racquetball
- I have never really tried to
develop skills or strategies for a competitive game. I think this
class would be a good opportunity to do that. It would also give me
regular playing time, so I wouldn't have to depend on my one friend
to stay active.
- THE-111-01 Intro to Performance
- Studies Something lacking
in my academic life at Grinnell so far is the study of creative expression.
Since I have always engaged in and been drawn to performance in many
forms, I hope for this course to enhance my understanding of where
the drive to perform comes from (why it is so prevelant, including
cross-culturally), and to broaden my concept of what it can and has
been used to achieve.
- HIS-276-01 Chinese History II
- I have also not taken a history
class while at Grinnell, and I have been seeking to cleanse my palette
of the roteness of what is called Social Studies in high school. I
have also been trying to be a better citizen by increasing my awareness
of current events, so I think this particular course would be good
for me since it covers the history of China (a major global force,
I'm told) into the present.
- MAT215 Linear Algebra
- In my four year plan, it is necessary
for me to take Linear Algebra to graduate in CS. Linear Algebra will
deepen my understanding of mathematics and computational logic to
improve my critical thinking and problem solving skills.
- CSC213 Oper. Sys. & Per. Alg.
- This course will help me
understand the computer's operating system, to help me better understand
how the world of computers works. With this knowledge I will be able
to write programs for different operating systems, which is useful
for my future goals of writing software.
- MUS120 Perf:Guitar
- As an intended music major, this will be
beneficial because of my interest in the methodologies of teaching
and playing guitar. This would help with my future goals of developing
- MUS120 Perf:Voice
- These lessons are mostly for personal enjoyment.
However, they will help deepen my understanding and appreciation of
vocal music as well as providing credits in the music major.
- SOC111 Intro to Sociology
- I expect this class to develop my
critical thinking skills about society. I also expect this class to
help me understand diversity at Grinnell and in future environments.
In the fall of 2010, I hope to broaden my knowledge in the liberal
arts, while furthering my knowledge and passions for music and computer
science. Besides classwork, I expect my free time to be consumed by
baseball, practicing music, a side project for computer science, and
potentially a choir on campus. The baseball and music are primarily
for enjoyment, time spent in both areas are highlights to my day.
For the computer science side project, that is a consequence of the
enjoyment I get out of creating and learning something useful. I hope
to develop an enjoyable personal computer science project over the
summer so that I can get additional programming practice in an area
that I am interested in. Hopefully with additional time spent in music
and computer science next fall, I can perform above expectations.
- Literary Analysis This course would help me by developing
my writing, reading and critical thinking skills, which is crucial
to a liberal arts education. This class would look good on a transcript
as well as giving me an advantage in my career.
- POL101 Intro to Political Science
- Going to a college that
is known for its social justice and political activism, this class
would help me understand politics and how my personal beliefs fit
in with my classmates and the rest of society.