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A Sampler from SNU’s Course Menu

Feb 03, 2020

Among SNU’s many merits, one of its best has to be the diversity of its course offerings. Here are some interesting courses offered by the Faculty of Liberal Education that allow you to reap the benefits of SNU’s diversity to the fullest.

Life: An Interdisciplinary Approach

The 21st century has seen some breathtaking discoveries and achievements that shed further light on the ever-mysterious subject of “life.” The findings have also raised some ethical, political, and philosophical issues that call for interdisciplinary debates. In the course “Life: An Interdisciplinary Approach”, renowned professors from diverse fields such as biology, philosophy, and literature share their insights through lectures and assign discussion topics for the students. Under the guidance of experienced TAs, students freely exchange ideas on the topics with their group members and express their thoughts through writing. There are no exams, and students are graded based on how well they express their thoughts and respond to others’ ideas. Students receive either a pass or a fail grade for this course, and are not subject to the stressful relative evaluation system often used in other courses.

“I took this course around the time I was starting to get tired of the endless routine of lectures and exams,” said Choi Jinmyung (Department of Materials Science and Engineering). “It was interesting to see how fellow students from different majors, each equipped with their own domains of knowledge, brought unique ideas to the table. A semester with them not only broadened my perspectives but also blessed me with lasting friendships. Taking this course was one of the best decisions I made in 2019.”

The “Interdisciplinary Approach” series of courses come in other themes too such as happiness and human nature. Check the Faculty of Liberal Education homepage for more information.

Technology and Art: Exhibit-Art-Engineering

Everywhere we hear that creativity is the engine for innovation in this era, and that education should take a more creative approach. What better way to foster creativity than to let students come up with an exhibition on their own?

During “Technology and Art: Exhibit-Art-Engineering,” students in groups of five design an exhibition on a topic of their own interest, receiving constant feedback along the way from professors, curators, and other experts in arts and culture. Each group is given 200,000 won to purchase necessary supplies for their project. Students practice the art of communication as they work together with peers from different majors.

Great Books Reading Seminar

Faust, The Interpretation of Dreams, The Brothers Karamazov, Politics, Thus Spoke Zarathustra… these are some of the classics that we may have always wanted to read but never quite got the chance. During the “Great Books Reading Seminar,” students participate in close readings of the book of their choice. Professors from relevant fields guide the students throughout the entire academic journey, providing them with background information about the book and stimulating their thinking with carefully chosen discussion topics. Students from various academic backgrounds engage in weekly group discussions. The course culminates in a creative project that the whole class participates in, such as writing a short story together or putting on a play. Students receive a letter grade for this course under the absolute evaluation system.

“I’ve read Politics before on my own, and I had a lot of unanswered questions,” said Kwak Dongmin (Department of Economics), who took the “Great Books Reading Seminar” during the Winter 2020 term. “Through our discussions and creative activities, I not only got answers to my questions but also gained some important insights on life. I feel like the course gave my mind a chance to grow further.”

Written by Chae Hyun Kim, SNU English Editor, Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,