Quantitative Queasiness: The Best QR Courses for Humanities and Social Sciences Majors

math answers

Are you allergic to math? Maybe Bunsen Burners have a personal vendetta against you. Or perhaps Econ just doesn’t really float your boat. Who knows? If your QR requirement is giving you numeric nightmares, fear not! Well, err, maybe don’t fear as much. If you are less inclined to explore the mathematical side of your mind, we’re here with potential solutions provided to you by your peers. Read on to settle your quantitative queasiness!

For the infinitely curious:

  • Surprises at Infinity: As for this course, Hanna Washburn ’14 tells us,  “I always really recommend Surprises at Infinity to people looking for a QR. There definitely is some math involved, but it is fairly accessible, and Milnikel is a really great and helpful professor. We also spent a lot of time discussing fractals, which I really like to think about.”
  • Solar Energy: Daily Editor Jack Quigley ’16 says, “This intro Chem class focuses on Energy and the environment. Like all QR classes, there is some basic math, and in this case some basic chemistry (balancing equations, unit conversions, calculating efficiencies), but there is also some great discussion on the greater issues facing our society: how much oil do we have left on this planet? What are some possible alternative energy sources? Why can wind energy not be our only replacement to fossil fuels?”

For those who are straight-up biolo-Gs:

  • Biology in Science Fiction: Focusing on aspects of biology through the lens of science fiction, the biology department describes the quantitative component of this course as,  “introduced through problem sets applying calculation to test current and future biological phenomena.” While math is present in the course, students will also read Vonnegut, Wells, and others.
  • Scaling in Biology, Why Size Matters: Described as exploring “how size determines the form, function, pace, and complexity of life”, the course poses questions that, “span realms from the minuscule (can bacteria see?) to the gigantic (how many species are there on Earth?) to the fantastic (what would it cost to feed King Kong?).”

For those who want to get physical:

  • Good Nukes, Bad Nukes: Described in its course description as directed at, and accessible for all students, the course focuses on nuclear issues.
  • Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies: Also meant to be accessible for all majors, this course includes a survey of astronomical knowledge in addition to “telescopic observation.” Though its course description might make it sound like a breeze, students note that it is harder than one might think.

9 responses

  1. As someone who has tutored for all of these courses, if you’re planning on pass/fail-ing one of these courses, email the professor and ask before you enroll. I’ve seen way too many people who have been forced to mulligan because they weren’t paying attention when the professor mentioned it at the beginning of the course. These are all definitely do-able, but it can’t hurt to know.

  2. Do not do Biology in Science Fiction. We had a good group sob session in that class because we all wanted to die.

  3. Why is it that science people treat taking humanities courses as an annoyance but humanities people treat taking QR courses as a nightmare?

  4. Pingback: Kenyon Klexicon: Q is for QR | The Thrill

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