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Brandeis Anthropologist Javier Urcid teaches 2 courses this summer

Photo of Anthropology Professor Javier UrcidBrandeis Associate Professor and Chair of the Brandeis Anthropology Dept., Javier Urcid, will be teaching two classes this summer.  Prof. Urcid will be teaching ANTH 5a: Human Origins and ANTH 116a: Human Osteology. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Prof. Urcid studies the development of ancient complex societies in Mesoamerica: the origin and societal functions of early writing, political economy and settlement patterns, and the social and ideological dimensions of mortuary practices.

Recently, Prof. Urcid was the feature of a video on his work helping students understand ancient societies using Brandeis’ rich collection of artifacts.

Several Anthropology courses are being offered this summer:

ANTH 1a: Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies with Ieva Jusionyte
Sage class number: 2109

ANTH 5a: Human Origins with Javier Urcid
Sage class number: 2070

ANTH 61b: Language in American Life with Laura Ann John
Sage class number: 2110

ANTH 105a: Myth and Ritual with Adam Gamwell
Sage class number: 2111

ANTH 116a: Human Osteology with Javier Urcid
Sage class number: 2072

ANTH 129b: Global, Transnational, and Diasporic Communities with Noah Tamarkin
Sage class number: 2073

ANTH 144a: The Anthropology of Gender with Anna Jaysane-Darr
Sage class number: 2112

To register for 2012 Brandeis Summer Classes, visit:

http://www.brandeis.edu/summer/registration/ready.html

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Basic Guide to Courses for Brandeisians

We all know that the Brandeis students are of a completely different breed.  We can all relate to each other for one reason or another – that main reason being our Brandeisian pride.  Here is an unofficial guide to Brandeis courses:

INTERESTS:
First off, high school and college are extremely different. If you found that you did not particularly excel in something during your high school career, do not be turned off from this subject matter in college. Courses are taught differently and who knows, you may be avoiding a course that you would do really well in. It could be a potential major, minor, or career path to take after undergrad. It is also important to keep in mind that as much as your parents may want you to pursue an undergraduate degree in Art History, Biology, or Mathematics, this is your time to shine and find something that you are passionate in. If you choose a major or minor based off of what your parents want you could ultimately be stuck in a career that you do not enjoy.

SHOPPING PERIOD:
For those of you new to Brandeis, you may not fully understand the “Shopping Period” that we offer during the Fall and Spring semesters. The shopping period is self-explanatory, it is a two week period where you can try out different courses and see what you are most interested in or what fits your schedule best. No one wants to be stuck in a course that might drop his or her GPA. Also, why bother taking a course if you know that you won’t enjoy it and get all that you can out of it?

DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF:
Upon your arrival it may have appeared that every upperclassman had eight majors and sixteen minors. this is not the case! Some people are fortunate enough to have found different subject matters that interest them and they chose to pursue undergraduate degrees in those various subjects, but it is perfectly fine to only have one major. However, if you do find other courses that spark your interest, then take a few more classes in it. If you find that you can devote the time and energy into declaring a major or minor in it, then talk to your advisor and find out if he or she thinks it would be beneficial to you and your academic resumé.

BUILD A SPREADSHEET:
Organization is key. I have found that what helps me most is designing a spread sheet that clearly distinguishes each semester and the possible courses that are available and would fulfill my major, minor, and/or university requirements.  This way, you don’t find yourself in your eighth semester begging a professor to let you into a class before you didn’t realize that you forgot a major/minor/university requirement somewhere along the way.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF SUMMER SCHOOL:
Granted, in high school, Summer School seemed like a punishment for those who didn’t necessarily do as well as they could/should have in a particular course. In College, the concept of Summer School is completely different. In fact, it might be the students that are more proactive in their studies who enroll in summer courses. People enroll for a multitude of reasons. Maybe you have an internship in Waltham, Boston, or the surrounding area. Perhaps you want to double major and you wouldn’t normally have enough time to complete all of the requirements in your seven or eight semesters at Brandeis. These are just a few of the many reasons why students partake in the Summer Program here at Brandeis University.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog to hear about more Summer School updates as well as Brandeis updates.

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Biology Curriculum Change

Attention Prospective Biology majors:

As many of you know, Biology is of one of the largest majors that is offered at Brandeis University.  The graduate school acceptance rates are so incredible that they attract “biophiliacs” from all over the world, literally.  Upon your arrival at Brandeis, you can immediately spot all of the Bio majors, usually by their heavy textbooks, 100 Carbonless Duplicate Paged Laboratory notebooks, and TI-80+ calculators.  These students came here for an understanding of fundamental and current biological knowledge in various areas, and nothing will stand in their way.

Some of you might be s little intimidated by the General Chemistry prerequisite, but fear not, Brandeis has adapted to the needs of its students and has provided alternatives!  Let’s just to take a few steps backwards, Biology is broken up into two sub sections, a bachelor’s degree of Arts and a bachelor’s degree of Science.  Both appear to require a year of General Chemistry before students decide to enroll in basic Biology courses.  Chemistry provides the foundation of Biology; however, if you have found that Chemistry is really not your forté, then read the following to learn how you can still get that degree in Biology:

1. Before you make any rash decisions, be sure to give Chemistry a chance during the shopping period.  It will definitely be helpful to sit in a Brandeis science class before embarking on more advanced courses.  If you seem to be leaning more towards dropping the course at the end of the shopping period, perhaps shop BIOL 15B Human Implications as well.

2.  If after the shopping period you feel that Chemistry is not for you, then talk to the professor and advisor to a second and third opinion.  The BIOL 15B course that was just mentioned is just one alternative for students that still want to pursue the Biology major.  It still satisfies the BIOL 22A/B prerequisite and you learn a lot on an introductory level.

3.  Perhaps you have taken AP Chemistry and/or AP Biology in high school, or a similar course, and you feel very confident in your science skills, then you should meet with your advisor and see what he or she thinks is the next best move for you.  Although the majority of students that enroll in BIOL 22A/B are sophomores, the course is open to exceptionally well-prepared first-year students.

After one has satisfied the core requirements for this major, students have the opportunity to pursue a specific field of interest or can continue to learn about the different biological courses and concepts that Brandeis has to offer.  In addition to the exceptional courses, these students also reserve the opportunity to participate in laboratory research and attend departmental colloquia.

Upon graduation, these Brandeis biology majors have many doors that open for them.  Depending on the courses that were taken and the individual’s interests, the student could pursue his or her graduate level education in dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and allied health professions.  The student can also elect to join the work force as a biological researcher.   Others may choose to combine their other majors and/or minors to go in a completely different direction post-undergrad like law school, business, or education.  The possibilities are endless.  For more information, please visit the Biology University Bulletin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For those interested in furthering their education in graduate studies of medicine, dentistry, and/or veterinary medicine, be sure to research their requirements or recommended requirements before you decide to not take General Chemistry.  Many of these schools strongly recommend some sort of chemistry background as it will be helpful in your future studies.

If you want to get a jumpstart on your Biology major requirements, be sure to keep an eye out for Summer 2012 Courses!