University of Notre Dame

Voluntary One- or Two-Credit Courses

Voluntary one-credit courses are offered in the areas of music, dance, advanced study skills, and service learning. These may not be substituted for any of the six required courses and do not fulfill University requirements.

The colleges have restrictions on the number of one-credit voluntary courses that may be applied to the total number of credits required for graduation from the colleges. Not all one-credit courses may apply toward graduation credit requirements.

This page was last updated on May 31, 2017, and is subject to change.

First Year of Studies

FYS 10440: Personal Leadership

In this one-credit course students will examine their own views of leadership, the differences between personal/positional leadership, characteristics of leaders within the University and the importance of development. The course introduces leadership using a personal leadership perspective and framework.Students taking this course will have the opportunity to examine their own leadership, examine aspects of identity and difference, learn about the differences between personal and positional leadership, and begin to explore concepts and skills relating to effective leadership and positive change.

FYS 10471: NY Times in the Classroom-Media

This course will discuss current events facing the community and world at-large by examining how stories and issues are presented in the media using a critical eye towards media bias, motive, and importance. The class will use the New York Times as a starting point to discuss issues of local, nation, and global importance from a range of topics including, but not limited to, politics & political opinion, world events, arts & entertainment, science, health, and education. At the end of the course, students will gain better personal clarity on how to critically examine news presentation and interpretation by keenly looking for political or personal media bias and become more critical consumers of news across the political spectrum.

FYS 10472: NY Times in the Classroom-World

The focus of this course will be world affairs. Student will read the World/International Section of the New York Times on a daily basis. Class conversation will focus primarily on issues identified and followed by the students over the course of the week. Each student will write a paper of approximately one page each week on a topic of his/her choice.

FYS 10300: Foundations of Academic Excellence

A structured introduction to the key techniques of Academic Excellence, including academic expectations, self directed and active learning, high-performance study notes (including procedures for math and science classes), task management, and motivation. Includes an on going practicum in which students apply the techniques being learned to their actual work in other courses being taken at the same time.

FYS 10405: Giving Back through Education

Recognizing the fundamental importance of qualified teachers in the unique experiment that is American education, this course explores the connection between strong students and strong teachers. The impetus behind this one-credit class is a practical one: American society needs more of its brightest young minds participating in education beyond their own years as a student. While at its core a discernment tool for First Year students of all major intents considering teaching as a vocation, the lectures and discussions will also preview opportunities for individuals external to the profession to positively impact education in their communities. Topics of study will include: the history of teachers in the United States compared with other industrialized societies, teaching as a vocation/profession, a portrait of elementary and secondary teachers today, where the profession is headed, the importance of intellectually-gifted persons working as teachers at all levels, post-graduate service opportunities in teaching, transition to teaching programs and professional opportunities for students without a degree in education, and the importance of community engagement in education. NOTE: This course begins after mid-term break.

FYS 10412: Reading Globally

This course is your gateway to the exciting world of contemporary global literature. You will read closely works by writers such as Patrick Modiano (France), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), and Haruki Murakami (Japan). In addition to analyzing the literary qualities of these works, you will ask some broader questions about reading globally. How can you read across cultures while respecting differences? How is a work of literature changed by translation? How does literature help us find meaning and community in a diverse world? By the end of this course, you will be a cosmopolitan reader ready to explore global literature on your own.

FYS 10414: First Generation Voices: Exploring the Experiences of First Generation College Students

Students who are the first in their families to attend college face opportunities and challenges. This course will examine literature written by those who were among the first in their families to go to college, as well as some articles about the first generation college experience today. Our discussion of this literature will be a springboard for reflecting on the experiences and needs of first generation students at Notre Dame and elsewhere, as well as on the ways they contribute to the richness of their college communities. This course is open to everyone interested in social issues, in education, as well as to first generation students at Notre Dame.

FYS 10420: FYS Urban Challenge: An Introduction to Community Engagement

This course initiates conversations between Notre Dame students and their neighbors in South Bend, building connections that foster engagement in the larger community. Students will learn various ways that “community” is defined and will examine their social positioning as part of the larger community of South Bend. Students will learn about South Bend’s history, arts and culture, economic development, recreation, and service organizations, through group and independent field trips. Additionally, students will learn about the problems that South Bend faces and how the community address these issues. Student are required to attend in-class meetings and group outings in and around the South Bend community. Student will use ePortfolio for weekly reflection and will submit and present a final photo portfolio and essay.

FYS 10480: Spinning Blues, Hearing Knowledge: An Introduction to the Blues through the Role of Disc Jockey

Through the role of radio disc jockey, students will be invited to explore blues music both as a sonic production and as a tradition of explanation.


MUS 10201 to 10250: Music Ensembles and Lessons

During the first week of classes, you may sign up for voluntary ensembles and lessons, including Marching Band, Orchestra, Glee Club, Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, Collegium Musicum, and many others. See the Music Department when you arrive on campus for a more complete list of lessons and ensembles. All of the ensembles admit members by audition.

MUS 11300 to 11351: Voice and Instrumental Lessons

Some prior study of the instrument is recommended. Credit is variable. Class time arranged according to student schedule. Enrollment must be completed by noon on the first Thursday of the semester.

Thirty-minute lessons are given for one credit, with one-hour lessons reserved for students of upper-intermediate performance ability. A fee is charged for 14 half-hour weekly lessons. No refunds are offered after the second week of lessons. Instruction is available in flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, harpsichord, violin, viola, cello, piano, organ, voice, classical and jazz guitar, and percussion.


During the first week of classes, students may enroll in dance technique classes offered by the Saint Mary’s College Program of Dance. Offerings include improvisation, modern dance, jazz, and classical ballet techniques. They are open to Notre Dame students as voluntary courses. Students receive two credits for these courses the first time they enroll and one credit for subsequent enrollment in the same class.


SUS 20350: Sustainability at ND and in the Holy Cross Charism (2 credit)

This course will address sustainability in the context of the local academic community and its institutions. In light of the recent papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, this course will provide students interdisciplinary opportunities to explore the challenges of sustainability and to develop collaborative strategies for making our common campus homes more sustainable. This course will be offered concurrently at ND, SMC, and HCC, and will be co-taught by faculty from all three campuses. It will meet in rotation on each of the three campuses once per week for two hours. Students will be invited to examine the course materials in conversation with the mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross through immersion at each of the campuses and encounters with the sisters, brothers, and priests of Holy Cross and with sustainability professionals.

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