Nature and Culture

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The Program in Nature and Culture, unique in the nation, offers an integrative, flexible, and rigorous curriculum steeped in natural science, social science, arts, and humanities.

One of the most unusual majors offered at UC Davis is that of [WWW]Nature and Culture. This 80+ unit degree is housed under the College of Letters and Science. Students pursuing a degree in Nature and Culture receive an education that is well rounded and greatly stimulating. Courses in Nature and Culture (NAC) encourage students to "think outside the box" about the relationship between human culture and the non-human natural world.

The Courses

To achieve the flexibility desired by the eclectic group of NAC majors, the powers at be have allowed for two "tracks" of lower division course work. The Life Sciences track requires Chemistry (2A + 2B) and Biology (1A + 1B +1C) whereas the Physical Sciences track substitutes Chemistry for Geology (3 + 50) and does away with Bio 1A. Students wishing to pursue medical or advanced life science course work are advised to go the Chemistry route. Further details on major requirements can be found on the major web page. It cannot be emphasized enough that due to the flexibility of the program, students wishing to pursue a degree should contact the friendly faculty advisors. They hold the key to the long list of approved electives that may be taken. These electives, outside of the NAC core courses, are what makes the major so special. 24 upper division units outside of the major must be chosen off of The List (substitutions are allowed). These include many of the most interesting courses from a great variety of majors on campus. NAC majors often find themselves in courses with people who have struggled through tons of grunt work in their own major in order to take what is often considered to be "the best class" offered to them.

Many of the core courses are team-taught by faculty members from the sciences and humanities. This can make for some amazing insights into life, the universe, and everything. It can also get a little crazy as the professors sometimes take completely different approaches to teaching.

NAC 1: Intersections of Nature and Culture

NAC 100: The Culture of Nature: Theoretical Frameworks and Case Studies

NAC 120: Environmental Ethics

NAC 130: Explorations in Nature

NAC 160: Art in the Natural World

NAC 140: Animal Rights

NAC 180: Fieldwork in Nature and Culture

The People

NAC attracts a wide variety of student scholars. Many people assume that because of the name it is the Hippy or Tree Hugging major. There is some, but not much, truth to that. Hippies are drawn to a wide variety of other majors at UCD. Truth be told, NAC majors, while largely liberal, come from a wide variety of religions, backgrounds and cultures. It is also fairly popular with Reentry Students. One thing that can't be argued with is that there are more females than males in the program. This cool group of involved people is made all the better through their relationships with each other. Being a small program with small classes, students in this major often get to spend a lot of time together and thus evolve close friendships.

Slightly similar in its dual name and desire to bridge man and nature is the Science and Society program. Courses in each are quite different however. Also, Science and Society is a part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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