The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Gen-Ed's I Recommend: Geology 103 "Oceanography"

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Student giving thumbs up at the New England Aquarium

If you're a non-STEM major looking for a physical science gen-ed that isn't miserable, try Geology 103! This class is an introduction to the oceanography field that covers topics on oceanic chemistry, biology, and physics so you learn about a little bit of everything in regards to how our ocean systems work. 

This class is slightly exam-heavy. There are five exams as opposed to the usual three. However, the increased exams are in place of other coursework. There were a couple short Moodle quizzes, but other than that, the exams made up the main body of the course. Keep in mind that if you know you don't test well, this class may not be the best fit for you!


Exams are set-up using the "pyramid exam" structure, which means that you take the primary 20-25 MC portion on your own at the start of the exam. Next, you're allowed to use notes, the textbook, your laptop, or discuss with peers and go over your exams together. You're required to redo the same MC questions you did on your own, now within the open-note setting, then followed by an extra 5 or so multiple choice that are more calculation-based questions. Your scores between the two main MC portions are averaged for any corrections you've made using the outside help and added to your score on the final group questions portion. The "pyramid exam" process sounds a little confusing at first, but it is really helpful knowing that you'll have access to other people and resources during the majority of the exam so that the class is not too difficult!


I learned significantly more from this course than I was expecting. It was fast-paced and interesting to keep you engaged! I visited the New England Aquarium (pictured above) over the summer with some friends and was able to see a real-life application of things I learned about in oceanography, which was pretty cool! It made the experience more fun, for sure. If you're at all interested in our planet's oceanic systems, I highly recommend taking oceanography over a more traditional physical science class.



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When you picture what business school classes might be like on a college campus, you might picture a large lecture hall with a professor at the front droning on about corporate finance and maybe scribbling a few numbers on the board. What I love about UMass, and specifically the Isenberg School of Management, is that is certainly not the case! To help show you what I mean, here are some examples of some interactive and interesting assignments that I've had this semester: