Skip to main content


Earn course credits quickly while exploring engaging topics in the humanities and social sciences. Maymester courses last three weeks during the month of May and offer opportunities to discover something new, learn by doing and fulfill General Education Program academic requirements.

brick building next to trees

2020 Maymester Courses

Note: As part of NC State’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), these courses will be adapted to fully online formats.

Understanding Latino Migration (ANT 471/571)

What causes Latin American citizens to emigrate to the U.S. without a visa? How do people undertake the journey? And what are the consequences of their travels for immigrant health, well-being and integration into North Carolina? Students in this collaborative, hands-on class will learn what ultimately drives migration, and how families, communities and policy-makers respond to migration in ways that can keep the process going. This course focuses on emigration from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Course Fulfills: College Social Sciences (not a GEP Social Sciences course)
Professor: Nora Haenn

Language, Communication and Culture (COM 292)

We use different modes of communication, depending on whether we are participating in classroom discussion, talking with our parents or boss, hanging out with friends, or visiting a different country. Rarely do we have the opportunity to consciously reflect upon our communicative behaviors. In this class, we will unpack some of the ways culture and society influence our communication and how our communication affects the culture and the society in which we live. Understanding how our words, shared meanings and contexts can affect how we express ourselves can be the difference between positive and negative communicative experiences. This course satisfies a GEP Social Science requirement and the GEP US Diversity requirement.

Course Fulfills: GEP Social Science, GEP U.S. Diversity.
Professor: Lynsey Romo

From Quills to Smart Phones: The Tools of Texts (ENG 298/IPGE 295)

The Tools of Texts offers a lightning tour of the history of textual communication. This course proceeds through case studies of diverse text technologies from feather quills to cell phones, augmented with critical readings and keywords for media analysis. Additionally, students are invited to try their hands with some of the technologies in question. We will write with feather quills, sew book bindings, record audiobooks, create etexts, try text analysis software, and speculate about the future of reading. Students will maintain a course journal and write a final essay.

Course Fulfills: If taken as IPGE 295, GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives.
Professor: Paul Fyfe

Note: When searching for IPGE 295 in the Enrollment Wizard, use the course subject, “GEP-IPGE.”

Women and Literature: Women in Comics (ENG 305)

This course looks at the history of women depicted in comic books and graphic novels, as well as the increasingly prominent role of women and LGBTQ+ writers and in creating works of graphic literature. How has this increase shaped (or reshaped) how women are written and visually represented in such texts? How are comics and graphic novels being defined by a more broadly diverse creative community, including a variety of minority voices? What perspectives on gender and sexuality are put forth in comics? What affordances or constraints does the graphic form offer in representing complex individual positionalities? How do we evaluate comics and graphic literature in a literature class?

Course Fulfills: GEP Humanities, GEP U.S. Diversity, College Literature II
Professor: Margaret Simon

Literature, Art and Society: Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife (ENG 340)

This course surveys some of the great works of literature focused on heaven, hell, and the afterlife, including classical works such as Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, European works from the medieval through modern eras, including Dante’s Divine Comedy, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and diverse accounts of the afterlife from world literature, such as “The Descent of Inanna from the Great Above to the Great Below” (Sumer) and “The Feather of Maat” (Egypt). These will be paired with films and visual depictions of the afterlife, such as renderings of The Last Judgment (showing both heaven and hell) by Giotto, Bosch, and Michelangelo and Egyptian and classical funerary art. We will make virtual excursions to museums worldwide to view artworks from a variety of world cultures related to the afterlife.

Course Fulfills: GEP Humanities, GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives, College Literature II
Professor: Timothy Stinson

Film and Literature: Adapting Animation (ENG 382)

How have literature, comics, and other media shaped the production and technologies of animation? How is the influence reciprocal? While animation is often considered children’s entertainment, this course situates it as the technical coincidence of life and movement while examining its relation to multiple media. From hand-drawn work to claymation, stop-motion cutouts, or CGI, animation’s illusions generate wonder and are also put in the service of narrative effects. This class will explore this relationship between animation and literary genres by asking how they mutually constitute, constrain, and give shape to one another while analyzing the source material and cinematic versions of industry films like Coraline and Alice in Wonderland as well as artisanal films like Persepolis and the work of Lewis Klahr.

Course Fulfills: GEP Visual and Performing Arts, GEP Global Knowledge, College Literature II
Professor: Andrew Johnston

Early American History (HI 253)

This course covers themes in early American history with an emphasis on diversity in the U.S. We will attend to the colonial clash and mix of cultures, the generation of an American consciousness, federalism and democracy in national politics, expansion and immigration, and racial and sectional division. This course will focus on questions related to four key topics: 1) the development of an American Self and the resultant Othering; 2) the symbiotic relationship of enslavement to freedom; 3) the incorporation of immigrants into the concept of whiteness; and 4) the evolution of gender and sexuality in American culture.

Course Fulfills: GEP Humanities, GEP U.S. Diversity
Professor: Craig Friend

Black Culture Through Sports (HUMU/IPUS 295)

This course uses the history of American sport, as viewed through multiple perspectives, to examine political, economic, social, and cultural questions relating to the history of ideas and contexts concerning equality, citizenship, ethics, culture, identity, and commercialization. Themes include the tensions between amateurism and professionalism, the relationship between American sport and notions of nationalism and foreign policy, the intersection of sport and race, class, gender and sexuality, and debates concerning the parameters of fair play and competition.

Course Fulfills: If taken as HUMU 295, GEP Humanities and GEP U.S. Diversity; if taken as IPUS 295, GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives and GEP U.S. Diversity.
Professor: Stephen C. Ferguson, II

Note: When searching for HUMU 295 or IPUS 295 in the Enrollment Wizard, use the course subjects “GEP-HUMU” or “GEP-IPUS.”

Seminar in Liberal Studies: “Collections, Collectors and Collecting” (MLS 501)

What do we collect, both as individuals and as societies? What motivates us to collect, and informs our choices about what to keep and preserve? What do our collections tell us about our relation to the world around us? This interdisciplinary course looks at collection from a broad range of perspectives, tracing it from the early modern “cabinet of curiosities” through contemporary digital archives. Along the way, we will consider such topics as: the looting and “collecting” of art treasures in war, conflict and colonization; obsessive collecting and hoarding; the rise of consumer culture, with mass produced “collectibles;” data collection and surveillance; and the paradoxical “collection” of what we deem “trash.” In order to accommodate MALS program students’ schedules, the course schedule will be concentrated on weekends.

Course Fulfills: N/A (Graduate Course)
Professor: Michael Garval

Introduction to Philosophy (PHI 205)

One of the main aims of philosophy is to use a rigorous, logical approach to understand some of the big questions of “Life, the Universe and Everything.” In this course, we will see how philosophers have applied their logical tools to inquire about the existence of God, the nature and content of morality, justice, science, human minds and the very existence of a real external world. We will learn how arguments work, how they should be evaluated and how they have been used by real philosophers to answer each of these “big questions.”

Course Fulfills: GEP Humanities, College Philosophy
Professor: Catherine Driscoll

Contemporary Moral Issues (PHI 221)

This course is intended to enable students to apply ethical analysis and theory to a broad range of contemporary moral issues, including euthanasia, suicide, capital punishment, abortion, famine relief, animal rights, and environmental concerns. Students can expect to gain not only training in the concepts and main theoretical approaches of moral philosophy, but also critical thinking skills needed for assessing morally difficult questions that we routinely face in our world today. The course will include a mixture of lectures, documentary viewings, and lively class debates and discussions. This course fulfils a GEP Humanities and/or the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Philosophy requirement.

Course Fulfills: GEP Humanities, College Philosophy
Professor: Sanem Soyarslan

Children and Childhood (SOC 295/SSUS 295)

What are the family, school, neighborhood, community and cultural forces that influence children’s lives? How has childhood changed over time? What are the sources of inequality among children and what inequalities are apparent among children today? How do children navigate the challenges and pressures they face? What are the implications for children’s opportunities to succeed and to live a rewarding life? In this class, we will learn about: 1) family, neighborhood, school, community and cultural forces that act on children and their role in generating and perpetuating class, race, gender and other inequalities, 2) how children and adolescents perpetuate and/or challenge inequalities, and 3) how these processes influence the life chances of children from diverse backgrounds. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the experiences of poor and minority children, including how segregation, school discipline and contact with the criminal justice system influence children’s paths in life. The course will include hands-on activities to assess local children’s experiences with class segregation, race segregation and school discipline.

Course Fulfills: If taken as SOC 295, College Social Sciences (not GEP); if taken as SSUS 295, GEP Social Sciences and U.S. Diversity.
Professor: Martha Crowley

Note: When searching for SSUS 295 in the Enrollment Wizard, use the course subject, “GEP-SSUS.”

Intro to Gerontology: An Interdisciplinary Field Practice (SW 260)

This course is an integrative seminar that introduces students to gerontology as an interdisciplinary field of practice. It helps students understand the demographics and psychosocial trends among older adults globally and in the United States, in order to provide a context for practice. Students will explore characteristics of diverse aging populations, social pattern, projections, myths and realities of aging, based on current data and scholarly reports. This course also addresses cultural issues and family dynamics, pathological and physiological changes in aging, theoretical and conceptual approaches that address disparities and impact ethical practice.

Course Fulfills: GEP Interdisciplinary Perspectives, GEP U.S. Diversity
Professor: Karen Bullock

students sitting in outdoor classroom

Register for Maymester

The 2020 Maymester session begins May 13, and the last day of classes is June 2. You’ll register for a Maymester course through MyPack Portal.

  1. After logging in to your Student Homepage, click Planning and Enrollment > Enrollment Wizard.
  2. Select 2020 Summer Term 1 from the “Term” drop-down list.
  3. Click the Add To Cart tab to search for Maymester courses (e.g. ENG 382).
  4. After locating the course you want to take, click Add to Cart to add the course to your shopping cart.
  5. Click My Shopping Cart to review your added course(s).
  6. Click Enroll to enroll in the courses listed in your shopping cart.