The Sophomore Fall Curriculum

First semester of sophomore year is the final semester of core for most students. Personally, I have mixed feelings about leaving behind the core and moving into my major. It’s exciting to think about all classes I am now cleared to take in my major, but that also means we will be working more with students who are in the same major, and will see the others less.


A fun E82 class: “measuring the time it took for the heat from the sun to convert to kinetic energy.” Photo and caption by Marissa Lee ’18

The sophomore core curriculum includes Electricity and Magnetism (Physics 51), Multivariable Calculus and Advanced Linear Algebra/Differential Equations (Math 60, 65), and Systems and Signals (Engineering 59), and Core Lab. You can read more about Core Lab in Bailey’s blog post from last week! While it seems like much of our schedules are still taken up by the core, in comparison to last year at this time, we have more flexibility and time to take non-core classes. These might include major requirements, a technical elective, or an HSA (Humanities/Social Sciences/Arts) class. There are a number of options, depending on what you feel like taking in addition to core. Students who have already declared their majors might start fulfilling those requirements. For the engineering major, this might include any of the classes in the E80 series. Some popular choices among sophomore engineering majors are E82: Chemical and Thermal Processes and E85: Digital Electronics and Computer Engineering. I also know students who are taking the freedom we have this semester to decide between two majors. A common dilemma is deciding between majoring in computer science, engineering or math, so students tend to take the next level of each class to keep both major tracks open for when they do choose their major. There are so many electives, both technical and non-technical, that we can take. I am currently taking two engineering electives – Law and Technology, as well as Life Cycle Assessment. These two classes are samples of a broad selection of engineering electives ranging from Engineering Management to Intro to Biochemical Engineering to High Speed PC Board Design. I’m hoping that taking the right set of electives will help me decide on which branch of engineering I want to go to grad school for after Mudd.

Here’s what other sophomores have to say about their electives:

Richard Liu is taking Philosophy of Mind at Pomona and says: “Within weeks, “Philosophy of Mind” made me question and delve into specific and well-supported theories of how the mind operates. The technicality and detail in these arguments highlight how little about ourselves we understand.”

Bailey Meyer is taking Modern Dance at Pomona and Financial Economics at Mudd: “Modern dance involves a lot of improving your stretching ability, talking about body movement and control, and space design. We spend the first half of the class working on technique with various movement exercises before talking about theory in design for the second half. Financial econ is an introduction to financial instruments and markets that can be used in investments after college (or during if you are really motivated). The class has lecture twice a week, and all of the course material is online.”

Courses beyond the core are already begging to look exciting so we can’t wait to see what comes next!