When I was applying to Tufts’s School of Engineering, I knew for sure that I wanted to study Computer Science. After a year, I’m still in love with the major, the fun classes, the software engineering internship I did over the summer, and all the cool projects I’ve gotten to make, but Tufts has also given me an opportunity to explore another passion I’ve always had: architecture.
Students in the School of Engineering are required to take Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) electives as part of their degree requirements. Students have to take 3 SHUs of Humanities and 3 SHUs of Social Sciences courses at Tufts, but the rest can be from other distributions or filled with pre-matriculation credit. I decided that my first HASS elective would be FAH 1: Introduction to World Art Great Monuments from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages and halfway through the course I can confidently say that I made the right decision.
The class has lectures twice a week for 50 minutes (unfortunately at 9 AM) and is accompanied by a smaller 50 minute recitation. Its goal is to teach students about major works and themes of world art and architecture from ancient times to the Middle Ages. It focuses on Europe, North Africa, and the Near East and how images and buildings reflect the ideas and beliefs in those parts of the world. Since it’s an art history course, the class is really visual and involves a lot of memorizing of works and important details about them. Professor Alice Sullivan makes sure to make the most of the 50 minute lectures with engaging content about selected works. In recitation, we have small group discussions where we can apply our own interpretations of the art we’ve seen in the past week. We’ve also had the opportunity to view art that’s over thousands of years old at the Tufts Art Galleries and next week we’ll be viewing manuscripts from the Tufts Archives. The class also offers optional trips to local museums like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
At first, I was really overwhelmed with my first HASS elective. I wasn’t prepared to memorize works of art, their mediums, dates of creation, and significance, but I made sure to visit my TA’s office hours and ask for help when I needed it. I also went to a Writing Fellow, a resource offered by the STAAR Center to help students with their writing, when I had to write my first paper for the class. Now I’m always ready and excited to participate in recitation discussions with my ideas on Etruscan temples or Sumerian ziggurats. I loved being able to see pieces in the Tufts Art Galleries that we had previously studied in class in real life.
After my first amazing experience with an architecture course, I’ve decided to double major in Computer Science and Architectural Studies. Double majoring can be a challenge, but the Computer Science department has a really helpful major guide which includes information about double majoring with a major in the School of Arts and Sciences. I’m super excited to explore more of the architectural courses Tufts has to offer!