Going beyond the standard class

As quarters begin to blend together, students might grow bored with the traditional 15 credit course load. Three standard classes every quarter can make self-motivation more difficult, as taking nothing but the same types of courses can become monotonous. Spicing up  courses with something different can reenergize a student. There are currently a variety of opportunities being offered at UW Tacoma to earn credits, but come detached from the typical classroom setup. Beyond just shaking things up, these alternate routes can also yield invaluable resources which last long after the bachelor’s degree is finished.

One of these alternative means of acquiring credits is directed readings, projects which involve writing an essay that qualifies for a varying number of credits depending on its length. If a student is interested in doing a directed reading with a professor, they can approach said professor and request the opportunity to do so. Once the professor is on board, both they and the student agree upon a reading list and the topic for a final essay. The only responsibilities that come with a directed reading course are typically having a one-hour meeting once a week in the professor’s office and turning in the final essay at the end of the quarter. For each credit you wish to earn, you must write five pages, so if you want the full five credits, you will be required to write a twenty-five page essay. Three directed readings, or other similar course opportunities, may be taken during a student’s undergraduate program. One of the most useful aspects of directed readings, other than better connecting a student to a professor, is that the papers are often used for either future publications or as entry papers for grad school.

There are also opportunities for internships — both paid and unpaid — which come along with credits in addition to being fantastic resume builders. A good number of majors already have internships which can function as capstone courses — classes which are required for graduation in several majors — but you can still get credit from non-capstone internships if you discuss it with an advisor and have it approved by the school. These internships are also ideal for networking, and can help boost your chances of getting a job soon after graduation.


Lucas Waggoner

Lucas is a PPE major in University of Washington Tacoma, and he is graduating with a Bachelor's in philosophy. His primary interests are philosophy, politics, and law. He is currently working as a teacher at a secondary school while preparing to attend law school immediately following graduation.