UBC Arts First Year Course Review

Disclaimer: This post is written by a nerd who had spent most of her first year in the library studying. And it’s long.


Hey everyone,

First, I would like to say thank you to whoever left this message 4 months ago on my ask.fm: “thanks for your super duper upper helpful blog Linh! I’ve just bumped into your writings about high school/uni survival and they do help a lot. i’m going to ubc too (class of 2018) ;D”

You made my day! Therefore, I decided to blog again, and hopefully able to give some sense of direction to those who needs it.

Without further ado, let me get to the main point. If you recalled my post on which courses I took and how I registered for them, you would remember that I had ASTU 150, ECON 101, ECON 102, FREN 101, FREN 102, MATH 104, MATH 105 (last minute changed from COMM 100), HIST 103, and POLI 100. And below are my experience in each course.

ASTU 150

Professor: Sean McAllister

As I recalled, the course is about writing research on different themes. Each professor chooses different theme for the section that they teach. Prof McAllister chose Media for my section. It was a very relatable, up-to-date theme. I mean, we all grow up with computers and internet, so this theme is very familiar. I would not do well if the theme is ancient/historic works of arts.

My professor is pretty nice and very open for new ideas/discussion. He is always ready to help, and very good with emails. He reminded me of my English 11 teacher, Iain Ferguson. I like their teaching styles.

I struggled quite a bit with ASTU 150 actually due to my lack of vocabulary, my poor writing skill, and lack of experience in academic research (except for the Animal experiment research I wrote in English 12, but I do not think that counts as much). However, I finished the class with an advice to pursue an English Major. Quite a surprise.

I like the class, and I think ASTU 150 is a better choice than Engl 1xx (which are ancient literatures I think) as a requirement for Arts Degree as well as Sauder Transfer.

ECON 101

Professor: Robert Gateman

Introduction in Microeconomics. Aside from its being a requirement for Sauder Transfer and (I think) Arts Degree, it was my most favourite class in first year.

There are mixed reviews about Prof Gateman. You can go on UBC Facebook Groups and ask, “what do you think about Gateman?” you will have more than 10 mixed comments, I guarantee. Some people like him, some don’t. I like him. He is very funny and enthusiastic in lectures. His exams are fairly reasonable to me. Also, I feel that I remember and capture all the fundamental concepts for Microeconomics. He stresses a lot on concepts and not at all on calculation, which is what I preferred.

I love the class. Prof Gateman has inspired me to pursue a minor in Economics. Also, my TA, Melissa Medearis, was good. She knows what she is talking about and able to deliver the content clearly.

Great foundation for Sauder or anything in life. I think people underestimated the importance of Economics. Almost everything around us is dictated by “the invisible hand” – Economy, so understanding how the economy works will really help us moving forward in life.

ECON 102

Professor: Clive Chapple

Introduction to Macroeconomics. Another great course to take.

Prof Chapple tends to like calculation, so there are a lot of calculation. He also uses iClicker to make the lectures more interactive and fun. It’s a good way for me to review my knowledge. Prof Chapple is really nice and helpful, however, I have mixed feeling about him. Sometimes in class he got questioned on an iClicker question, and he either apologized for the mistake, promised to answer it later, or dismissed the question. It just gave me a feeling of being unprepared. That is just me. My TA was very nice too. Sadly, I forgot his name… So sorry my nice TA!

Macroeconomics was not much of my strength I think. I forgot most of the stuffs already, and that is not good I must admit. But still, Macroeconomics is again, a great foundation for Sauder and life.

If you are not convinced, message me and I will tell you how Macroeconomics can help make your tuition cheaper!

FREN 101

Instructor: Yoonbin Min

Fun course, and my instructor is way too cute. I like her. She is very nice, very helpful, and she came from France. She is very fashionable, too. I learned some fashion tricks just by looking at how she dressed. Don’t judge me, I need motivation to go to a 9:30am class.

I do not have much comment for this. Take it if you want something fun and relax. I took this course simply because I want another language, and I wanted to relax my brain from all the economics and mathematics I took.

FREN 102

Instructor: Han Fei

Again, my instructor is cute. She introduced a lot of French musics, movies and cultures, which is very nice.

Not much comment aside from do not take a 9am class. I was late most of the time…

MATH 104

Instructor: William Thompson

Math 104 is about Differentiation and Business Application. Very helpful course. A must for Sauder students. I think that is why the course is one of the transfer requirement. There are two courses with similar content: 184 and 104. I personally think 104 is easier and lighter in term of workload. Math 184 is for students who do not have a strong foundation (or at all) in Calculus, but I think the workload is way too much.

My instructor is again, super nice. He has this little speech disorder, which he stutters here and there in the sentences. I found it’s cute actually (?!?). He is very enthusiastic and helpful. He is willing to spend extra time working on problems with the students. And he made good recommendations for mistakes I made in the quizzes/exams.

I actually enjoyed the course a lot. Also, taking this course together with Econ 101 is a good choice. They tend to complement each other. Taking them together and you will see how things you learn in Math 104 can be applicable in Econ 101, and how Econ 101 can help you solve problems in Math 104.


MATH 105

Instructor: Kevin Doerksen

8 am class. Never showed up in lecture (period). However, all instructors of this course uploaded their notes online. I try to read all the notes and do the recommended practice, and I did ok.

Again, do not take 8am class.

I took this course after dropping out of Comm 100, because I found that course way too boring. Also, I took this course as a requirement for BIE (Bachelors of International Economics) in case I did not get into Sauder. Now, I can use it to pursue my  Economics minor.

HIST 103

Professor: Glen Peterson

History 103 is World History since 1990 (WWI, WWII), more recent and familiar than ancient history (to me at least). This is a 2-term, 6-credit course.

Prof Peterson is a wise and knowledgeable man. He is a Historian, I must say. He travels a lot and usually shows the class pictures from his trips and tells us different stories. He is a great story-teller. History can be very boring, but Prof Peterson managed to make it engaging (sometimes).

My second TA, Christopher Lovins is very fun and enthusiastic as well. He loves movies and has a blogspot dedicated to movie reviews. What my TA did in the second term was choosing a historical figure (an evil one like Adolf Hitler or Harry Truman) then having a trial on him/her. He divided the class into the jury, the witnesses for and against (let’s say) Truman, Truman’s lawyers, and the prosecutors. It was so much fun. My historical figure was Woodrow Wilson, and I was Robert LaFollette, trying to accuse him of bringing the US into the first world war.

I have a generally good experience in this course aside from being surrounded by people with superb knowledge about History (which makes me feel dumb sometimes).

POLI 100

Professor: Chris Erickson

His lecture is engaging and he offers different points of view on politics. His final was on Putin’s entering Ukraine, a very up-to-date event. He really tried to see if the students understand and can see the politics behind events happened around the world.

My TA is a political enthusiast. She loves politics and how democracy and social movement can help make the world a better place. But she is a tough marker (or I was bad at Politics, either way).

This is not my favourite class so I wouldn’t say much.


That is all for now. Hope this review helps you choose which courses to take and which professors to suit your learning styles. If you need any materials, more details or have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me a message.

Lots of Love,


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