Cluster M1

Food: A Lens for Environment and Sustainability

As the world’s human population surpasses 7 billion — with 1 billion people starving and approximately 1.5 billion over-weight — feeding the global population in a healthy, sustainable way in the face of climate change is perhaps the most urgent challenge of our time. Students in the Food cluster explore the complex connections between food and the environment, focusing on scientific, economic, cultural and social factors. The ubiquitous nature of food makes it a remarkable catalyst for interdisciplinary analysis.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Moana McClellan (Coordinator) Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Peter Kareiva Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Ashley Peterson Taylor Sieverling

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 2 Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (1 in Life Science with lab/demonstration credit, 1 in Physical Science with lab/demonstration credit)
  • 1 Foundations of Society and Culture in Social Analysis
  • 1 of the following (student will choose based on need for GE credit): Foundations of Scientific Inquiry in Life Science (without lab), Foundations of Scientific Inquiry in Physical Science (without lab), Society and Culture in Social Analysis, Society and Culture in Historical Analysis

Food Studies Minor

As the world’s human population surpasses 7 billion — with 1 billion people starving and approximately 1.5 billion over-weight — feeding the global population in a healthy, sustainable way in the face of climate change is perhaps the most urgent challenge of our time. Students in the Food cluster explore the complex connections between food and the environment, focusing on scientific, economic, cultural and social factors. The ubiquitous nature of food makes it a remarkable catalyst for interdisciplinary analysis.

Environmental Systems and Society Minor

Completion of this cluster satisfies one lower-division course requirement for the Environmental Systems and Society minor. See more information on the minor and how to apply .

Cluster 20

Interracial Dynamics in American Society and Culture

How can a nation as racially diverse as the United States and a state as ethnically varied as California nurture a sense of unity and community? Looking at social and cultural themes that shape contemporary American life, students explore questions such as, “What is the role of race in society today?” and “How are racial stereotypes produced and sometimes challenged in popular culture?” The cluster engages students in active dialogue and debate to teach them to be culturally fluent in the new multiethnic complexities that have displaced the outdated black-white paradigm of U.S. race relations.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Vilma Ortiz (Coordinator) Sociology
Scot Brown African American Studies; History
Valerie Matsumoto Asian American Studies; History
Brenda Stevenson African American Studies; History
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Renee Romero Sofie Jackson

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 2 in Foundations of Society & Culture (1 in Historical Analysis; 1 in Social Analysis)
  • 2 in Foundations of the Arts & Humanities (1 in Literary and Cultural Analysis; 1 in Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students will satisfy the Diversity course requirement

Cluster 27

Global Islam

Islam, the second largest world religion, has played an enormous role in the development of human culture for well over a millennium. Though Islam and Muslims are often in the news, it is one of the least-understood religious traditions among Americans. This cluster draws on the social sciences and humanities to guide students in the interdisciplinary study of global Muslim communities. Students will also learn how about how to analyze global religions through the diverse lenses of anthropology, history, language, and sociology and will learn how to critically engage with representations of Islam and Muslims in public discourse.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Asma Sayeed (Coordinator) Near East Languages & Cultures; Islamic Studies
Chris Chism English
Jeff Guhin Near East Languages & Cultures; Sociology
Susan Slyomovics Near East Languages & Cultures; Anthropology
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Salma Abumeeiz Hanna Young

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

  • 1 in Foundations of the Arts & Humanities (1 in Literary and Cultural Analysis)
  • 3 in Foundations of Society & Culture (2 in Social Analysis; 1 in Historical Analysis)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students will satisfy the diversity course requirement.

Cluster 48

Political Violence in the Modern World: Causes, Cases, and Consequences

Everywhere we turn today there are seemingly endless examples of political violence. Political violence, which can include ethnic cleansing and genocide, civil war, riots and pogroms, terrorism and state repression, revolution and counter-revolution, extra-legal warfare, and more, affects communities in every corner of the globe. Even though this topic may be difficult to confront, it requires engagement. Our cluster probes the causes, dynamics, and consequences of political violence with a focus on three specific case studies in every iteration of the course. In 2020-21, the three case studies will be the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and mass violence in Indonesia during 1965. In examining political violence, students will engage with a variety of materials from multiple disciplinary perspectives, including memoirs, literature, and testimony, as well as theoretical and methodological debates about dehumanization, killing, and justice

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Jared McBride (Coordinator) History; Undergraduate Education Initiatives
Ruken Sengul Anthropology
Geoffrey Robinson History
Michael Rothberg Comparative Literature
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist 
Michelle Brasseur Adeeluddin Siddiqui

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 1 in Foundations of the Arts & Humanities (1 in Literary and Cultural Analysis)
  • 3 in Foundations of Society & Culture (1 in Social Analysis; 2 in Historical Analysis)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students in the College of Letters and Science and the Schools of Music and Public Affairs will satisfy the diversity course requirement. Students in the School of the Arts and Architecture should consult with an advisor in the Office of Student Services.

Film Screenings

In the fall quarter, we will watch a powerful drama about the Rwandan Genocide titled Sometimes in April (2005), directed by Raoul Peck and staring Idris Elba. In the winter quarter, we will watch the award-winning documentary, The Look of Silence (2014), directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, which explores the aftermath and legacy of Indonesian mass violence in 1965-66. Both films will be showing in the evening.

Cluster 60

America in the Sixties: Politics, Society and Culture, 1954-1974

The ‘60s. Hippies and tie-dye, afros and Motown, free love and psychedelic drugs—this era is commonly reduced to a montage of cliché images and phrases. This Cluster goes beyond the familiar, and looks at the major social revolutions of that era that transformed America’s cultural character and political environment forever. Students will better understand this period by exploring the 60’s counter-culture, the turbulent political arena and revolutionary youth movements. And as students analyze movies and music, the Civil Rights movement and campus takeovers, and Vietnam and Cold Wars they will make connections to society today.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Jeff Decker (Coordinator) English
Janice Reiff History
Robert Fink Musicology; Herb Albert School of Music
Lynn Vavreck Political Science
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Sylvia Page Michael Lima-Sabatini

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 2 in Foundations of the Arts & Humanities (1 in Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice; 1 in Literary and Cultural Analysis)
  • 2 in Foundations of Society & Culture (1 in Social Analysis; 1 in Historical Analysis)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students will satisfy the diversity course requirement.

Cluster 70

Evolution of the Cosmos and Life

How to put the universe in a nutshell? The Evolution cluster explores the emergence of the universe and its contents — from the Big Bang to the formation of our solar system, and then the development of life on Earth. The emphasis is on the scientific process, answering the question “How do we know that?” and applying this to the astronomical, geological and biological processes that have shaped the evolution of our world from its beginning to the very recent arrival of humans. Experiential learning through labs and field trips allows students to see firsthand the forces that drive evolution, the evidence for the Earth’s past, and the techniques used to explore that past and the universe.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Anthony Friscia (Coordinator) Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Erik Petigura Astronomy & Astrophysics
David Jewitt Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences
Rachel Turba Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Wynn Tranfield Emery Grahill-Gland

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 4 in the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (2 Life Sciences with 1 laboratory credit; 2 in Physical Sciences with 1 laboratory credit)

Field Trips

Field trips have historically been a part of the course. Although they are not required, they give students the chance to see firsthand the forces that drive evolution, the evidence for the Earth’s past, and the techniques used to explore that past and the universe.

Past field trips have been to places such as fossil sites in western Nevada, tide pools in Palos Verdes, exploration of the Peninsular Ranges, Mt. Palomar Observatory, and the San Andreas Fault. Past field trips have been to places such as fossil sites in western Nevada, Joshua Tree National Park Palos Verdes Tidal Pools Malibu Creek & Lagoon , exploration of the Peninsular Ranges; Santa Monica Mts. Mt. Pinos , Mt. Palomar Observatory, La Brea Tar Pits  and the San Andreas Fault.

Cluster M71

Biotechnology and Society

In the early days of genetic engineering, few people would have predicted the creation of three-person embryos. As advances in genetics and molecular biology continue, the next generation of leaders must be challenged to think about hard questions, including, “Who should benefit from this new science? How do we determine what modifications of human and other life forms are safe and appropriate?” And, most broadly, “How do advances in biotechnology affect our understanding of ourselves, our relationships with each other, and our role in the natural universe?” In the Biotechnology cluster, students explore this new science from biological, ethical and sociopolitical perspectives.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Michelle Rensel (Coordinator) Institute for Society & Genetics
Rachel Vaughn Institute for Society & Genetics
Michael Scroggins Institute for Society and Genetics
Rachel Lee English
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Simon Lee Max Grollman

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 1 course in Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (Life Science without lab)
  • 1 course in Arts and Humanities (Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis)
  • 2 courses in Foundations of Society and Culture (1 in Historical Analysis and 1 in Social Analysis).

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students will satisfy the diversity course requirement.

Human Biology and Society Major

Completion of the first quarter of this cluster satisfies a pre-major requirement for the Human Biology and Society major. See more information on the major and how to apply .

Cluster 73A

Mind Over Matter: The History, Science, and Philosophy of the Brain

The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe and the last major organ system to be understood. Our brains give us the power to see and hear, learn and remember, interpret others behaviors, and act purposefully in our environment. This cluster course looks at brain function from historical, biological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives to enable students to better understand the organ responsible for all our mental processes and behavior in health and disease. Students will gain a solid foundation in neuroscience that last beyond their academic career in order to make knowledgeable decisions about scientific policy.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Scott Chandler (Coordinator) Integrative Biology & Physiology; Neuroscience
Marcia Meldrum David Geffen School of Medicine
Barbara Knowlton Psychology
Efrain Kristal Comparative Literature; Spanish & Portuguese
Romy Sutherland Comparative Literature
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Katherine Kapsidelis Jacy Black

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 1 course in Arts and Humanities (Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis)
  • 1 course in Society and Culture (Historical Analysis)
  • 2 courses in Scientific Inquiry ( 2 in Life Science without laboratory credit)

Cluster 80

Frontiers in Human Aging

Today’s college freshman can expect to live decades longer than their ancestors. Since the aging process is both biologically influenced (beginning even before birth) and socially constructed, lifestyle and social opportunities are just as important as genes and biology, if not more so. While advances in medical technology and public health have significantly increased life expectancy, our perceptions of age are still deeply rooted in culture, religion, literature, music, and film, all of which shape our views of the human life course. This Cluster incorporates hands-on education through “Elder Interviews” and “Service Learning” in the Los Angeles community, and is perfect for those who wish to explore fundamental issues that relate to living longer and more fulfilling lives.

Benefits

Satisfy 4 GEs requirements

Satisfy Writing II requirement

College Honors units including Honors Collegium

Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

18 units toward degree

Faculty Department
Paul Hsu (Coordinator) Fielding School of Public Health
David Whitaker David Geffen School of Medicine
Sharon Merkin David Geffen School of Medicine
Library Liaison Inquiry Specialist
Miki Goral Fayez Kanj

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 3 in Foundations of Society & Culture (2 in Social Analysis; 1 in Historical Analysis)
  • 1 in Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (Life Science without lab/demonstration credit)

Diversity Requirement

Upon completion of all three quarters of the cluster, students will satisfy the diversity course requirement.

Gerontology Minor

Students who have completed General Education Clusters 80A with a grade of B or better may petition to have the course applied toward the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor (GIM)  core course requirement. Students who have completed General Education Clusters 80CW may petition to have the course applied toward one of the elective requirements.