Colleges Course Spotlight - Spring 2024


This Spring 2024, the colleges at UC Santa Cruz are offering unique classes to all students, regardless of their college affiliation. 

All courses are held in person unless otherwise noted. Visit the Schedule of Classes for current course information. 


Personal Finance and Investing (Online)

An overview of the financial responsibilities that young adults take on after college. Topics include taxes, budgeting, student loans, credit, and investing in the stock market. Terms such as 401(k) are defined and financial principles are used to develop a framework for personal financial decision-making.

COWL 52 - 5 credits
Instructor: Patricia Kelly

Meaning, Paradox, and Love (Hybrid)

Mary Holmes--legendary founding faculty member of UCSC, keen observer, painter of mythic images, and profound thinker--had a visionary's insight into the mysteries of love, paradox, and meaning. This course explores her art, teaching, and wisdom.

COWL 65 - 5 credits 
GE Code: IM
Instructor: Addi Somekh 

Introduction to Systems Theory

Multidisciplinary overview of the problem-solving methodology known as Systems Theory. The word “system” is used every day, but few people understand what a system really is. What do different systems—from a digestive system to a legal system to a solar system—have in common? What are the laws that govern how systems operate, and how do problems arise? Our goal is to appreciate the fundamental roles that systems play in making daily life functional, in order to diagnose problems better and to generate novel and functional solutions.

COWL 66 - 5 credits
GE Code: MF
Instructor: Addi Somekh

Advanced Book Arts

Students learn fundamental skills in fine letterpress printing, including hand typesetting and instruction in the operation of printing presses. Basic typography explored as students design and print a small edition of a selected text. Prerequisite(s): COWL 70B or contact instructor for permission: Gary Young,

COWL 70C - 5 credits
GE Code: IM
Instructor: Gary Young

Mock Trial Workshop (Online)

Offers opportunities to improve students’ public speaking and communication skills through weekly exercises which challenge a student’s ability to think quickly, organize information effectively and speak persuasively. Students also learn and practice courtroom procedures and legal argument styles. Each week students learn about a facet of mock trial.

COWL 111 - 2 credits
GE Code: PR-E
Instructor: Caitlin Stinneford

UN-Contemporary Issues (Online)

Introduces the Model United Nations through discussion of contemporary issues. Students learn parliamentary procedures and U.N. protocols, as well as how to work collaboratively to research and to present position papers. Students learn resolution writing, alliance building, and persuasive speech.

COWL 122 - 2 credits
GE Code: PR-E
Instructor: Caitlin Stinneford

Designing Your Life (Hybrid)

Do you ever think, ''I want to make a difference!'' but don't know where to start? In this class, students learn design thinking theory and methods and apply them to their lives, specifically to the question of what to do after college. Students build deeper awareness of their values and goals, define areas of life and work they want to grow in, ideate multiple life paths, prototype elements of careers of interest, and take small steps to try these out. For juniors and seniors at any college.

COWL 140 - 5 credits
GE Code: PE-H
Instructor: Remy Franklin

Social Change (Online)

Students spend the quarter learning about how one non-profit organization of their choosing creates change in their community. Students research an agency, focusing on who is served, how funding works and how real change is created.

COWL 168 - 2 credits
GE Code: PR-S
Instructor: Caitlin Stinneford

Education for Sustainable Living 

Analyzes sustainability and its application in daily life and on campus, involving collaboration between students, faculty, staff, administration, and the community. Guest lecturers, discussions, an optional UC-wide retreat, and essays allow engagement with aspects of ecological and social sustainability.

CRSN 61 - 2 credits
Instructor: Julianne Hazlewood

Environment and Society in Film 

Students write about and discuss a variety of films and articles about environment and society. Topics may include water, food systems, wilderness, wildlife, pollution, global warming, nuclear energy, conservation, and environmental activism. Students from other colleges, contact instructor for permission: Neil Schaefer,

CRSN 82 - 2 credits
Instructor: Neil Schaefer

Intro to Radio Broadcasting 

History of noncommercial radio as a mass-communication medium. Course also serves as an introduction to UCSC's radio station KZSC-FM and broadcasting. Contact Shavit Melamed, for permission. Must be concurrently enrolled in CRWN 70L.

CRWN 70 - 3 credits
Instructor: Shavit Melamed

Broadcasting Production 

Practical application of technical and creative skills in the KZSC studios. Production of audio content and promotional materials for broadcast. Contact Shavit Melamed, for permission. Must be concurrently enrolled in CRWN 70.

CRWN 70L - 2 credits
GE Code: PR-S
Instructor: Manel Camps

Theory & Practices for a Purposeful Life 

Learn to understand our ability to impact the world around us and recognize that while we cannot control it, we are able to control the ways in which we respond to the various situations that life brings us. Includes lectures and active engagement with texts and videos, shared experiences, physical exercises, and games.

CRWN 81 - 3 credits
Instructor: Lisa Berkeley

Social & Creative Entrepreneurship

Helps students discover and develop their own business idea that does the world good. Examines leadership and provides tools to research community issues and to develop sustainable business models. Guest lecturers and project mentors introduce students to business and civil leaders.

CRWN 92 - 5 credits
GE Code: PE-H
Instructor: Alexandra Loken

GetVirtual Business Assistance (Online)

Community service-oriented class provides a supervised learning experience for students who deliver real solutions to local businesses while gaining valuable practical skills and an opportunity to integrate their academic coursework with community involvement. Teams are formed and businesses assigned while students are trained to do interviews, write proposals, project-manage, design websites, and marketing campaigns. Please contact instructor Yuliya Monastyrska for more information.

CRWN 95 - 5 credits
GE Code: PR-S
Instructor: Yuliya Monastyrska

Fake News (Online)

Teaches students how to take skillful possession of their power as citizens by participating in community focused news literacy service learning projects. Recently, debates about fake news in entertainment, politics, and news media have centered on the threat American citizens' waning news literacy skills pose to the democratic process. This course develops those skills, focusing on critical thinking, the history of fake news and journalism, differences between journalism and fake news, news and propaganda, news and opinion, bias and fairness, assertion and verification, and evidence and inference.

MERR 60 - 5 credits
GE Code: TA
Instructor: Nolan Higdon

Field Study Practicum 

Offers students an opportunity for practical field study experience with preparation and support for practical skill development and critical reflection on service-learning experience. Taught by former Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin.

MERR 90F -  2 credits
GE Code: PR-S
Instructor: Mike Rotkin


Kresge Lab: Creative Writing 

A course of guidance and exercises to assist in developing independent writing projects, and a group setting for critique and feedback. Students do in-class and out-of-class writing assignments; read and discuss texts; and work to develop a final project.

KRSG 65W - 3 credits
GE Code: PR-C
Instructor: Daniel Pearce

University Learning with Intention and Purpose

Learn practical ways of maximizing the resources of a public education and research institution. Students collaborate across disciplines, broaden impacts of higher learning, and develop strategies for effective interaction with faculty and the broader professional communities to which they aspire. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors at any college.

KRSG 100 - 2 credits
GE Code: PR-E
Instructor: Juliana Leslie

The Politics of Food: Labor and Social Justice 

Engages the themes of Oakes College (respect for diversity and social justice) and the interests of UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Topics include the racial politics of food, farm labor, organic farming, and activism. Students from other colleges, please contact instructor to add: Robin King,

OAKS 67 - 2 credits
Instructor: Robin King

Writing Resistance: Creative Writing Workshop

Students will create a portfolio of their own poetry in response to weekly creative exercises and will study the poetry of contemporary writers whose work inspires social justice and resistance. Course discussion will focus on theories of poetics as well as poetry analysis and interpretation within the context of social and cultural identity. Students will inspire others by sharing their work, including performing their poetry, sharing their poems online, and creating a workshop to engage their community.

Oakes 130 - 5 credits
GE Code: PR-S
Instructor: Lindsay Knisely

The Deep Read: Trust 

Small, discussion-based seminar held in conjunction with The Humanities Institute's community reading initiative, The Deep Read. The Deep Read aims to bring together UCSC undergraduates, faculty, and alumni to discuss and think deeply about a text and its key themes and issues. This year, we will read Trust, the 2023 Pulitzer-Prizewinning novel by Hernan Diaz. To learn more, visit

PRTR 151 - 5 credits
GE Code: TA
Instructor: Laura Martin

Navigating the Research University 

Explores critical engagement in education in the context of a research university. Introduces first-year issues and success strategies and ways to participate in the institution's academic life. Investigates strategies for clarifying education goals and devising a plan for success. For first year students at all colleges.

STEV 26 - 2 credits
Instructor: Kevin Mac Claren

Critical Thinking for the Misinformation Age 

Focuses on the acquisition of critical thinking skills and their application to issues that affect today’s students. Topics include rationality, fallacies, cognitive biases, bullshit, propaganda, the internet, and artificial intelligence.

STEV 38 - 2 credits
Instructor: Geoff Childers

Stevenson Alumni Careers in Law 

Connecting students with alumni who provide practical advice for careers in law. Topics covered include career possibilities in law, preparing for law school, internships, networking, applying for jobs, and interviewing. This class does not accept new students after Week 2. Students from other colleges, contact instructor to add: Geoff Childers,

STEV 50 A - 2 credits
Instructor: Geoff Childers

Stevenson Alumni Careers in Science and Technology 

Connecting students with alumni who provide practical advice for careers in science and technology. Topics covered include internships, graduate school, networking, applying for jobs, interviewing, and adapting to a rapidly changing job market. This class does not accept new students after week 2. Students from other colleges, contact instructor to add: Geoff Childers,

STEV 50 B - 2 credits
Instructor: Geoff Childers