Unique Electives You Can Take at Ryerson

When thinking about the universities you want to apply to, it’s natural to focus on the courses offered in your desired program(s). One thing I’ve found that a lot of students take for granted is the knowledge you develop through your lower and upper level liberal studies courses, also known as electives. Electives are a chance to explore topics outside of your major, or even outside of your faculty. As a Ryerson student, you typically complete your lower level electives during your first and second years of school and your upper level electives during your final two years. Our school has a wide selection of liberal studies courses available, and many of them are classes you probably won’t find anywhere else. This post will focus specifically on some of Ryerson’s lower level electives to give you a sense of the kind of topics you can discover early in your time here.

Please keep in mind that not all electives are available to all programs. Refer to a program’s calendar for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

CHY 183 – Introduction to Forensic Sciences

If you’ve always pictured yourself solving crimes with the team on the show CSI (or its various spinoffs), then the Introduction to Forensic Sciences course offered through the Department of Chemistry might be for you. This course introduces the topic of forensic science and how various elements like witnesses and physical evidence impact the investigation of a crime scene. You also learn about some of the skills and abilities required by great investigators to get the job done. If you need another reason to consider this course, know that it is designed specifically for students not enrolled in a science program, so don’t worry about how much you may remember from your last high school science class!

ENG 203 – The Literature of Native Peoples

Personally, I haven’t learned a lot about the Aboriginal community in our country. If you’re like me and want to expand your knowledge, this English course is an opportunity to learn about their history through various works of literature. Through this engaging course, you will be able to take these famous pieces of work and apply the stories to current social and cultural events happening in the world. A university-level English course might seem scary, but ENG 203 is a great introduction to the critical thinking and dynamic discussions you’ll be exposed to during your time at Ryerson.

GEO 312 – Viva Las Vegas!

Yup, you read that right: a course that teaches you about the famous city of Las Vegas! This geography course uses this popular region as a starting point to explore the various topics and issues associated with urban cities in North America. You’ll learn about the uniqueness of Vegas (seriously, look at the photo above and try to convince me that it doesn’t look amazing), as well as understand the commonalities between this and other urban cities. The course also allows you to take your research skills and use and develop them in a university environment, which will be essential to your assignments and projects as you go through your degree program.

PHL 360 – Philosophy of Beauty


Source: We Heart It

Ryerson offers a ton of philosophy courses as both lower and upper level courses, but PHL 360 is special because of its uses of theories to dive into the idea of beauty. This course will have you thinking about the definition of the word, how beauty is determined on a personal and group level, and the role it plays in society. PHL 360 is a course that will force you to challenge what you thought about the concept and introduce you to perspectives and ideas outside of what you’re usually exposed to.

SEM 101 – Sign, Sense, and Meaning

As the only lower level course covering semiotics, SEM 101 gives you a great introduction to the field. Using a variety of media like advertisements, film, and logos, you use hands-on examples to learn how we process signs and symbols. Your theory knowledge on the topic will also be built using concepts from some of the earliest researchers in the field. Of all the courses I’ve written about for this post, this is the one I am kicking myself for not taking. SEM 101 is a cool opportunity to learn more about the way our minds interact with the symbols around us and is a topic that you wouldn’t really get to learn about otherwise.

Featured Image: We Heart It

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