1. Chemistry 30A/B: Introductory Chemistry

A warning for any student taking this course: it is very lab-intensive. If chemistry isn’t your strength, the three to six hours you spend in lab each week will pass by extremely slowly. On top of lengthy lab hours, the lectures are only 50 minutes long, compared to a normal 75 minutes, so most of your learning will have to happen in lab, when you’re already supposed to know what you’re doing. For a lab-less chemistry alternative, which is essential to general education requirements, keep reading!

2. The Humanities Honors Program: Humanities 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B

This 24-unit course sequence is quite possibly the most reading-intense program on campus. On its own, each class is worth 6 units, instead of the normal 3. Each lecture is nearly twice as long as normal lectures at San Jose State. According to the Humanities Department at SJSU online, the point of this program is to examine “ the interrelationship of the arts, world literatures, philosophy, and social institutions” from antiquity to the modern era. At home reading assignments are just as killer as the lengthy, fast-paced lectures. So why would any student subject themselves to this kind of torture? Completion of this program covers all but 6 General Education requirements and often counts for several upper division GE classes depending on a student’s major.

3. Math 42: Discrete Mathematics Lecture and Workshop

When students enroll in Math 42, they must also sign up for the Discrete Mathematics Workshop, which is the math equivalent to a lab in a science course. The workshop is designed to let students work together on what they learn in lecture, which has more value to some students than others. The workshops, however, are not supervised by professors. Equations in Math 42 are wordy and long, and most students still can’t explain what exactly discrete mathematics is even after taking the course.

4. Science 002: Success In Science

While this is a 3 unit General Education course, the class consists of a 2 hour lecture plus a 2 hour activity per week. Many advisors recommend this course to freshman because, according to SJSU online, this class is designed to help students develop “study skills, time management, and personal growth needed to transition from high school to university.” So basically this class has nothing to do with science. Also, this course is run by miscellaneous SJSU advisors and staff, not professors or lecturers. While this may not be an intellectually challenging class, it requires a lot of time and work with little academic value.

5. Mexican American Studies 10A/B: Mexican Americans and the Development of U.S. History and Government

This is one of those times when the the textbook is necessary to pass the course, as is nearly perfect attendance. Falling behind in this course will haunt you until the end of the semester, as the information in each intense lecture has an equivalent piece of reading (100+ pages a week) that is never really due. However, the information in the readings plays as big of a role in essays, exams, and assignments as anything you hear in lecture. One of the trickiest things about this class is that there aren’t many assignments, which means that each essay, quiz, and exam is worth an even bigger percentage of your grade.

6. Physics 51: General Physics/Electricity and Magnetism

When the material itself is hard, there’s not much you can do. Redditors have commiserated about this class since 2 and a half years ago, proving that the course has always been a challenging one. For some it was the professor, for some it was the copious amount of notes. Multiple students have reported exam scores as low as 7/27 being graded as high as a C due to extremely low test scores. Some recommend reading the textbook extra carefully, as the concepts are rudimentary, but for most students the Physics 51 course is a challenge no matter what.

7. Psychology 30: Intro to Psychobiology

If you’re a student who’s been forewarned about this course, you won’t take it until you have to; most students in this class are upperclassmen who have been putting off this General Education and major required course as long as possible. The other half of students enrolled in this class are fearless second-years who end up totally caught off guard at the speed and vocabulary of the lectures. However, this is a required class which must be faced eventually. Embrace the biology!

8. Math 071: Calculus for Business and Aviation

Most people just don’t get along well with calculus. Still, this course is incredibly major specific, but it still counts toward General Education requirements. Especially for those outside of the aviation or business programs, this calculus will prove to be extra challenging. Coursework is spread out evenly throughout lectures, so missing a day or two of class will be fatal. The textbook is no replacement for a skilled professor, so unless you know calculus like the backside of your hand, make sure to pay as much attention as possible in class every day.



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