13 Unique Ivy League classes to take online

Want to learn more about what’s going on in the world today? Looking to fulfill your intellectual curiosity by reading up on history and culture? Or perhaps you’re ready to take your career to the next level? Penn LPS Online has an online course for you. Because our Ivy League courses are designed and led by Penn’s world-class faculty, each term offers a range of fascinating subjects and skills for you to explore—and with our one-of-a-kind online learning platform, you can learn from experts and experience the best of Penn no matter where you are.

Spring 1 and spring 2 course registration opens on November 19. If you’re looking for exciting electives to fill out your bachelor’s degree or certificate curriculum, or even if you just want to test the waters and see what makes online education at Penn so special, here are 13 unique Ivy League classes you can take online this spring.

Because you want to understand the world today

CLCH 220: Atmospheric Science

To understand and talk about climate change as a whole, it helps to break it down into its different but interconnected systems—such as the atmospheric system. Even if you don’t have a background in science, you can discover the fundamental structure of the atmosphere and learn how phenomena such as greenhouse gases, rising air temperatures, acid rain, and air pollution can have long-term and short-term impact at the local, regional, and global levels.

  • Instructor: Maria-Antonia Andrews, Associate Director, Undergraduate Programs in Earth and Environmental Science Department
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to the Certificate in Climate Change
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Physical and Life Sciences

 

MODM 260: Oil and Politics in the Middle East

Attacks on a petroleum processing facility in Saudi Arabia; US troops pulled out of Syria and re-stationed in Iran and elsewhere: today’s news is preoccupied with oil and politics in the Middle East. To understand the significance these international events will have on the United States and around the world, you can take a long view of the history, economics, and politics of this region. From the first major oil discoveries in Iran in 1908 to the present, this unique course covers topics including economic development, colonialism and foreign oil exploration, the rise of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the US-Saudi relationship, and the role of climate change in the Middle East.

  • Instructor: Nathan Shils, PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

SOSC 102: Addressing Contemporary Social Issues

How do we decide when a social pattern becomes a social problem? How do different groups of people try to address social issues such as poverty, education, crime, immigration, and global warming? Sociology is the social science toolkit you can use to take apart and examine the social structures that define us locally, nationally, and globally. In this interesting course, get to the heart of the issues that challenge us today while developing a strong foundation in sociological concepts of inequality, social conflict, and community.

  • Instructor: Jerry A. Jacobs, Professor of Sociology
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to the BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies

Because you want to unlock your career potential

APOP 200: Positive Psychology at Work

Approximately 50% of our waking hours are spent at work. What would it take for your working hours to contribute positively to your overall wellbeing? What can you do in your workplace to help yourself and others thrive? Positive psychology applies scientific reasoning and research to questions of leadership, social behaviors, professional relationships, and finding meaning in your work. Experience your workplace in a new light and develop research-informed strategies to influence and flourish in your environment.

  • Instructor: Meredith Myers, Senior Fellow in the Wharton School's McNulty Leadership Program and Executive Director of Job Crafting, LLC
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Data Analytics and Psychological Sciences, Individualized Studies, Leadership and Communication, or Organizational Studies

 

PROW 301: The Power of Storytelling

If you’ve ever been tasked with raising funds or raising awareness, pitching an idea or pitching yourself for a job, you’ve probably heard that storytelling is one of the strongest tools for communication and persuasion—but turning your story into a powerful narrative is easier said than done. In this course, have fun learning and practicing the art of storytelling in a wide range of professional communications, from case studies to biographical notes to personal statements and cover letters.

  • Instructor: Fayyaz Vellani, lecturer in critical writing
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to the Certificate in Professional Writing
  • May be applied to BAAS concentration in Individualized Studies

 

ORGC 330: Building Influence Across Cultural Boundaries in Organizations

Organizational anthropology applies social science methods to the interpersonal dynamics in the workplace: relationships between teams, departments, individuals, and leaders can influence what does and does not get done. In this course, study and practice techniques for communicating, negotiating, and developing professional relationships with others across cultural differences. 

  • Instructor: Mario Moussa, President of Moussa Consulting
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 2 (March 16 – May 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to the Certificate in Organizational Anthropology
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Organizational Studies

Because learning about the past can enlighten the present

ENLT 300: Radical Literature from the American Revolution to the Civil War

American literature was forged in the fires of resistance: early American letters were defined by iconoclasts such as revolutionary writer Thomas Paine, ambassador and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the experimental poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. In this unique course, explore writers who made an art of political or social dissent, and consider how resistance remains a relevant American value today.

  • Instructor: Catherine Turner, Senior Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Creative Studies, Individualized Studies, or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

RELC 200: Gods, Ghosts, and Monsters

Fascinated by the supernatural? Every religion and culture on earth has stories about unseen forces and unearthly beings. This course draws examples of gods, ghosts, and monsters from mythologies and religions around the world and from ancient history to the present. Looking at a range of sources from murals and manuscripts to comic books and film, this course will help you develop fluency in material and visual studies as well as critical reading and religious studies.

  • Instructor: Justin McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

CLSC 250: Ancient Cities

What was a city like in the era of Alexander the Great or the peak of the Roman Empire? In this interesting online course, you’ll explore the architecture and sculpture of the world’s oldest cities as well as literary and historical records of these urban centers, and discover not only how ancient people planned and built cities but how they lived, worshipped, and formed communities.

  • Instructor: Mantha Zarmakoupi, Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman Architecture
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 2 (March 16 – May 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

GLBS 100: Introduction to Global Studies

Perhaps you love history and want to learn about the rise of Buddhism or medieval trade routes in a rich, interactive online environment. Perhaps contemporary news stories on international relations or The 1619 Project caught your interest, and you want to understand how global movements four centuries ago still reverberate in the present day. This broad-ranging course brings all of these topics to life with historical photographs, interactive maps, and persuasive writing assignments.

  • Instructor: Deborah Harrold, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science and Liberal and Professional Studies
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 1 (January 15 – March 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to the BAAS concentration in Individualized Studies

Because you want to have fun and get cultured

CRWR 160: Modern and Contemporary US Poetry

Whether poetry puzzles you or you want to immerse yourself in verse, there is no better introduction to the genre than Modern and Contemporary US Poetry. Through the boundary-pushing work of leading modern poets—from the early avant-gardists to turn-of-the-20th-century auteurs to contemporary poets—you’ll have fun learning everything poetry can teach you about writing. 

  • Instructor: Anna Strong Safford, curriculum specialist, and poet
  • 12-week course, offered in spring (January 15 – April 8, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Creative Studies, Individualized Studies, or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

MUSI 200: Contemporary African Music

Discover the sounds of Africa today by exploring contemporary music created in eight distinct regions of the land, from the Maghreb to the Cape. Through the musical variations of this culturally diverse continent, you’ll learn about the history and people of Africa as well as how to talk about and write about music in this unique course.     

  • Instructor: Carol Muller, Professor of Music
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 2 (March 16 – May 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

 

CINM 201: Monsters of Japan

What can we say about Monsters of Japan? This is a class about monster movies! You’ll watch classic Godzilla films and “pocket monster” anime for college credit! You’ll also explore the history of monstrous creatures in Japanese mythology and literature, combining historical and cultural analysis with critical cinema studies skills. But let’s be real: we had you at “monster movies.”

  • Instructor: Frank L. Chance, affiliated faculty member in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
  • 8-week course, offered in spring 2 (March 16 – May 12, 2020)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied to BAAS concentrations in Creative Studies, Individualized Studies, or Literature, Culture, and Tradition

This is just a fraction of what’s on offer this spring—there are many other fun and interesting Penn LPS Online courses to choose from! View our course calendar to see the full range of what’s available in any upcoming term.

If you are already enrolled as a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences or Penn LPS Online student, you can register for online courses now through Penn InTouch. For all other intellectually curious and ambitious lifelong learners, the deadline to enroll as a casual course-taker or certificate student is December 15; learn how to enroll if you’re ready to get started!

Apply Today

Ready to apply to Penn LPS Online?

Apply Now

Learn more about Penn LPS Online