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U of T’s most interesting STEM bird courses

Whether you’re into weed, trees, or health, your courses don’t have to make you cry all the time
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These courses will scratch your itch for science without bringing you to tears. JOHANNA FORTES/THE VARSITY
These courses will scratch your itch for science without bringing you to tears. JOHANNA FORTES/THE VARSITY

Have you ever entered a new semester with the thought “I need a break” lingering at the back of your head? Maybe you’re not thinking at all, but silently counting down the days to reading week. Perhaps you’re even dropping courses and looking to replace them with easier ones. 

University is overwhelming — you don’t need us to tell you that. It’s even harder for STEM students, or for non-STEM students left cursing some evil bigwig for deciding that we need to take STEM courses in order to graduate. Either way, our situation is cruel.

However, in the middle of our spontaneous crying sessions and growing eye bags, we are offered a saving grace: bird courses. 

Yes, they exist in STEM too. Sit back, relax, and postpone your thoughts of dropping out while we guide you through the easiest STEM courses at U of T.

PCL218 — Cannabis the Drug

Whether you’re 420-friendly, or simply want to learn more about the effects of cannabis on your body, look no further than PCL218. The course examines how cannabis is discussed in relation to mental health and addiction, highlights and addresses myths and facts about it, and leaves a mark on students from all walks of life. Whether you’re an arts aficionado or a connoisseur of life sciences, this course might just pique your interest.

BPM232 — Buddhist Psychology

Formerly listed under the course code NEW232, this course provides students with an introduction to concepts of Buddhism and how they are intertwined with psychology, including understanding how suffering is created. We recommend this course based on personal positive experiences with it. The professor, Anderson Todd, weaves together personal experiences with complex concepts in Buddhism extremely well, making it a great lecture experience. 

NFS284 — Basic Human Nutrition

This course is a great introduction for students who are interested in examining how diet can impact their health in addition to the intersections of nutrition and disease. Despite its reputation as a bird course for life science students, it is still quite interesting, and could be your next favorite breadth course. Topics covered include vitamins and minerals; Canada’s food guide; and the carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in our diet, as well as their roles in nutrition.

ENV100 — The Environment

Picture this: you took Geography in grade nine, earned your highest grade of the school year, then never explored the topic again. We’re pretty sure this is a universal experience. If you’re missing the subject — and your high grades — ENV100 is the course for you. It explores everyday topics like natural hazards, Earth’s weather systems, forests, and food resources. The best part? A major theme in this course is interdisciplinary crossover between science and the humanities.

STAB23 — Introduction to Statistics for Social Sciences 

If you’re a UTSC student who needs that Quantitative Reasoning half credit to graduate, you’re in luck. We all know that statistics is the easiest math course on campus, but let us present to you a statistics course that’s tailored to social sciences. STAB23 covers only the basic concepts of statistics and explores the statistical methods used most often in the social sciences. To sweeten the deal, you’re allowed to bring a double-sided cheat sheet into the midterm and final exam.

So wipe the tears off your faces, stop stressing about your problem sets, and go explore the wonders of science through one of these courses — without any accompanying existential dread.