Course Selection Myths
Students often end up with courses they hate because of profound misunderstandings about how things work
at Texas A&M. Here are the most common myths about Texas A&M courses.
1) History 105 and 106 are required
NOT TRUE. Students have to take two semesters of US history - but they can be ANY courses in US history.
Even Texas history can count for one of them. History is one of the best teaching departments in the University
and the non-105/106 options are fascinating. Texas history is a lot of fun - given the kind of raw material
the profs have to work with. The upper level US history courses are especially interesting - and it is unlikely
that you won't be able to find a subject matter or a prof that you will like.
2) If you are bad at math, you can make your life easier by taking Logic - Philosophy 240
NOT TRUE. Philosophy 240 is a very rigorous mathematical development of logic. Calculus is far easier
than Philosophy 240 - and that tells you a lot. Logic is for students who are GOOD at math, the same way
that physics is for students who are good at math.
If math courses are a problem for you, see a sociology advisor. We have some low stress strategies for
coping with math courses that offer a good shot at getting a decent grade.
The least painful way to get through the math requirement is - strangely - in the math department.
3) Freshman and sophomores should not take 300 or 400 level courses because they are too hard
ONLY TRUE SOMETIMES. Certain departments, such as those in science and engineering, really do organize
their teaching sequentially. If you haven't had Engineering 101, you will be in no shape to take Engineering 315 or 415.
Many liberal arts departments are different - and sociology is definitely different. We do have some courses
that have to be taken sequentially - notably Sociology 220 before 420 and Sociology 230 before 430. However,
many of our other courses are largely free standing - and are fully appropriate for anyone interested in the
Especially good offerings can be found in the Sociology 489 series. These are new courses on exciting subject
areas that have the generic 489 number merely because they are new. They don't count for distributional credits,
but they DO count for major credit. These classes typically are taught by professors rather than graduate students.
They are small and have a lot of discussion with the professor. These are often some of the finest offerings we have
in our catalogue - and most do not have prerequisites.
Check out the 489s when you are shopping for classes - even if you are a freshman or sophomore. You don't
have to sit in a giant lecture hall if you don't want to.
4) The only English literature courses you can take to meet your requirements are the ones on the standard lists
NOT TRUE. In most cases, core curriculum requirements are narrowly those that are appear on the standard lists -
and substitutions are not permitted. This is virtually always the case with the math and science classes. The English
lit courses are a little different. The English department will generally allow you to take 300-400 literature courses
for the requirement - so long as you have taken a 200 level literature course off of the standard list first. Please be sure to see an advisor for an acceptable course. For the most part, you may take any upper level ENGL literature course with the exception of Children's and Adolescent Literature (360/361). It is best to check with us ahead of time to avoid any confusion.
This works out to be a very good deal because the upper level English literature courses are often fascinating. Small
class sizes, great reading lists, good professors and a huge choice of topics make these upper level English courses
a tremendous experience.
One bureaucratic note: you must file some paperwork if you wish to use an upper level English course to fulfill your
English requirement. This is a rapid and simple procedure and is done after you have taken the course.