Thinking Matters Course Listings

For a full description of courses and recent changes, visit the Thinking Matters Catalog page.Most of the 2019-2020 courses you see below will return next year, and that list will autoupdate when ExploreCourses is released in mid-August with 2020-2021 information. 

So many courses! How do you pick one?

A good start is to consider which topic among the 20+ classes arouses your curiosity and motivates you to engage in deep critical inquiry. Read beyond the course title to learn about the fundamental questions and problems that the class investigates. Another way to decide is to learn about the faculty teaching the class – is this person active in a research or a professional field that you’d like to explore? Be assured that there is no single ‘right’ choice!  You can take two Thinking Matters classes if you want, and you can change your mind after you get your course placement in August. 

What do you do in a Thinking Matters class?

The size of each course varies from 40 – 100, but all sections have no more than 15 frosh. Each week you attend two faculty lectures and two discussion sections led by instructors with Ph.D.’s selected in a competitive search (more than 250 applicants annually compete for 6-8 positions!).  Three times per quarter you have a personalized tutorial meeting with your instructor, organized around support for your particular learning goals and interests. Weekly assignments focus on readings carefully selected to be both accessible to all first-year students and challenging new ways of understanding. Discussions emphasize critical analysis of texts and practice skills in argumentation and respectful discourse. One major written assignment gives you the chance to rewrite and revise your work with close attention to improvement. Most classes culminate in a project where can apply your new knowledge to studying a topic of your choice. 


Title Instructor(s) Quarter Day, Time, Location
How Does Your Brain Work?
O'Connell, L. 2019-2020 Autumn
Tuesday Thursday
9:30am - 10:20am
Shriram Ctr BioChemE 104
What is Love?
Harrison, R. 2019-2020 Autumn
Monday Wednesday
10:30am - 11:20am
Stories Everywhere
Johnson, A., Vermeule, B. 2019-2020 Autumn
Monday Wednesday
11:30am - 12:20pm
The Spirit of Democracy
Diamond, L., Fishkin, J. 2019-2020 Autumn
Monday Wednesday
11:30am - 12:20pm
American Enemies
Chang, G. 2019-2020 Autumn
Tuesday Thursday
10:30am - 11:20am
School of Education 128
Justice and the University
Reich, R. 2019-2020 Autumn
Monday Wednesday
11:30am - 12:20pm
What Makes Music Classical?
Hinton, S. 2019-2020 Autumn
Tuesday Thursday
10:30am - 11:20am
Campbell Recital Hall 126