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Intellect

Six Must-Take Elective Classes at BYU

With so many elective classes at BYU, which ones are worth taking? Below are six classes selected by students and the reasoning behind what made the classes their top pick.

wilderness survival class


  1. Wilderness Trek

    RECM 223R – Professor: Jacob Paul

    taught Fall/Winter

About: Learn the basic skills of surviving in the wilderness including building a shelter, making fire, purifying water, identifying plants and navigating.


"Trek is a must-take for multiple reasons; the most basic of reasons being simple preparedness. The class also offers a time to self-reflect and to learn about oneself during the final exam: a three-day outdoor practical exam where each student is tested on the skills of the class. It is said that 'the greatest factor in surviving is the will to survive.' Wilderness Trek offers more than just skills. This class offers a window for you to know more about yourself, to see your tenacity, to see your will to fight, to see your will to survive." -Joseph Murphy, MBA

wilderness survival class

  1. Individual Development: The Science and Practice of Positive Living

    STDEV 141R – Professors: Dallas Jensen, Jared Klundt and Natalie Kirtley

    taught Fall/Winter

About: Learn the underlying science of psychological well-being, apply it intentionally for a week in your actual life, talk with people about what your practice taught you, then rinse and repeat. This is a course that takes students through twelve modules centered on improving emotional health.
"This is an amazing class because it teaches you that happiness is not simply the absence of sadness. There are practical ways of living that promote happiness and this class not only teaches you what they are, but it allows you to put those things to the test." – David Snell, Journalism

  1. Innovation

    TECH 312 - Professors: Geoffrey Wright, Paul Skaggs and Stephen Wright

    taught Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer

About: Through a series of hands-on experiences, students explore principles, methods and tools of innovation and design-thinking in technology and engineering.
"The class only meets twice. Learning is hands-on from the start, so you get to see the principles you are learning in action. It is not major-specific, but there is a lot to learn from your peers." – Nicole Rindlisbacher, Dietetics

"The class was really fun. Even though I'm not really interested in technology, it was very hands-on and it made me feel like a kid again. We were supposed to basically invent something, but it was more focused on promoting creativity. It's an easy one-credit class that's fun and could be useful." – Riley Oliphant, Public Relations

Tech 312 Innovation Class


4. World Religions
REL-C 351 - Professors: Alonzo Gaskill, Gregory Wilkinson, Andrew Reed and Mauro Properzi
taught Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer

About: Explore the origins, theological doctrines, scriptural works and religious practices of several international religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto. Students find comparisons between these religions and Latter-day Saint belief and practice.

"This was the class that I learned the most that is applicable to everyday life. We spend so much time in our own culture that we forget to step outside of ourselves and see the world from another perspective. World Religions gives you so many new views and helps you appreciate just how much you have in common with other religions and beliefs. The class teaches you that truth can be found no matter where you go. Plus, Professor Gaskill is the most entertaining professor. Ever." – Mark Hansen, Computer Science and Spanish

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  1. Interior Plants and Landscapes

    PWS 213 – Professor: Norah Hunter

    taught Fall/Winter

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About: Students learn about identification and culture of plants used in the interior landscape industry; they then apply principles of design to the plants’ placement and use in interior landscapes.

"Professor Hunter and the TA make the class. They're both so excited about what they're teaching that it makes you excited. Even if you don't like plants or don't think they're cool, Professor Hunter will scream out in excitement and make your day. They are very personable and want to help you. It's pretty low-stress because she makes it so fun, but there's still work to do; it's a nice balance. It's a very visual, hands-on class, which is one of the reasons why I loved it. Hands-on is so much better than reading a textbook and watching slides. And there's a bonus! You get to take a plant home almost every week." – Porter Charles, Exercise and Wellness

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  1. French and Italian Cinema

    FREN 317 – Professors: Daryl Lee and Robert Hudson

    taught Fall/Winter

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About: What could be a better way to get credit toward graduation than by watching some of the best movies French and Italian cinema has to offer? Discover Gallic wit and Italian charm through the best acting outside America, review twentieth-century history on the big screen and get a feel for how different cultures tell their stories and document the world through cinema.

"This class helped me analyze the media I consume more thoroughly and in different ways. The discussions were always engaging and the professor taught me how to view movies from a different perspective. I took the class two years ago and still think about the topics we discussed all the time." – Brooke Adams, Public Relations

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***Bonus Class***

Diving, Springboard
STAC 121 - Professors: Tyce Routson and Matthew Hopper
resuming Winter 2018 with the newly renovated Richards Building pool

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About: Learn the fundamentals of diving in eight different dives from five different groups using the 1-meter springboard.

"Not a lot of people have the chance to learn how to springboard dive in their everyday life. It’s not your typical sport like basketball or volleyball where you can play at any location. Take the opportunity to learn a unique sport that is new and fun. For me, it also helped me overcome my acrobatic fear and the fear of heights." – Andrew Garcia, Information Technology

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