Making of the Modern World (MMW) Course Overview

Students entering UC San Diego as freshmen take a five-course sequence from MMW 11 to MMW 15. Transfer students, entering UC San Diego as upper-classmen and having already fulfilled the college writing requirement, take a two-course transfer sequence, MMW 121 and MMW 122. View the overview of MMW learning outcomes and assessment information [PDF].

MMW courses are taught during the academic year and during the summer.

MMW 14 and MMW 15 are also taught as five-week summer Global Seminars abroad in such destinations as Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, and London. Transfer students may substitute a Global Seminar abroad for MMW 122.


Five-course Sequence for Students Entering as Freshmen

Required MMW Courses

MMW 11: Pre-history and Ancient Foundations (4 credits) (Fall Quarter)
MMW 11 explores human origins, the development of social organization, the strategies
early peoples and societies used to negotiate their physical and social environments,
and the rise of the ancient world’s classical traditions (to ca. 100 BCE).

MMW 12: Classical and Medieval Traditions(6 credits) (Winter Quarter)
Covering ca. 100 BCE to 1200 CE, MMW 12 examines the development of classical empires from China to the West, their collapse, and their transformation into distinct medieval forms. It also examines the rise and spread of Christianity, Islam, and Mahayana Buddhism. This course is the first of two writing-intensive quarters in the MMW sequence.

MMW 13: New Ideas and Cultural Encounters (6 credits) (Spring Quarter)
MMW 13 provides a framework for understanding developments in the global past from 1200CE to 1750CE and the transition from the medieval to the early modern world. This course is the second of two writing-intensive quarters in the MMW sequence.

MMW 14: Revolution, Industry and Empire (4 credits) (Fall & Winter Quarters, Summer Session)
This quarter examines the great changes in European society occurring from the late Seventeenth Century to the time of the Russian Revolution and considers the impact of those changes on the non-Western world. Topics include absolutist states and the Enlightenment, the French and American revolutions, industrialization, the rise of nationalism and the nation-state, mass politics, Western imperialism, and the colonial experience. Developments in non-Western countries during this period will be examined from their own internal perspectives

MMW 15: Twentieth Century and Beyond (4 credits) (Spring Quarter, Summer Session)
The course begins with a consideration of the causes and consequences of World War I, and then looks at the post-war crisis of liberal values and institutions. It addresses the deepening of that crisis in the 1930s, especially evident in the emergence of ideological politics and extreme nationalism in the context of world-wide depression. That period provides the background for understanding World War II. Attention is then devoted to the Cold War, the competition between capitalism and communism, and the process of decolonization. The course ends with a discussion of the collapse of communism and the emerging world order (or disorder).

Two-course Sequence for Students Entering as Transfers

Required MMW Courses

MMW 121: Exploring the Pre-Modern World (Transfer Students only) (4 credits) (Fall Quarter, Summer Session)
MMW 121, the first of two required courses for ERC transfer students, addresses themes and topics from the pre-modern world (from antiquity to the eighteenth century) and strengthens students’ analytical, research, and writing skills. 

MMW 122: Exploring the Modern World (Transfer Students only) (4 credits) (Winter Quarter, Summer Session)
MMW 122, the second of two required courses for ERC transfer students, addresses themes and topics from the modern world (from the eighteenth century to the present) and strengthens transfer students’ analytical, research, and writing skills. NOTE: In place of MMW 122 you may take either MMW 14GS (Global Seminar) or MMW 15GS.

MMW Serves/MMW 14 (or 122)

MMW Serves is a service experience embedded within the Making of the Modern World general education world history and culture program. MMW Serves combines academic preparation, experiential learning, and volunteer service on the Navajo Reservation. A specially-designed MMW 14 (or 122) course will provide the necessary preparation, situating the history and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the region in a comparative and global context. Students will enroll in a 4-unit MMW course during Winter quarter and embark on a domestic service trip on the Navajo Reservation during Spring Break.

MMW Global Seminars

MMW Global Seminars (GS) are intensive five-week academic programs offered in the summer. GS programs fulfill general education requirements and, in addition, include upper-division credit which will help advance participants to graduation. GS programs are not limited to students of any college at UCSD or even to UCSD, rather they are open to students in good standing at any college or university. Each GS program consists of a package of two UCSD courses (8 credits total; students must enroll in both classes), taught by a UCSD professor. All lodging, site-visits, intra-city transportation, and many meals are included. Classes generally meet on three days of the week with excursions after class and longer excursions on days without class meetings. For information about the GS programs and the application process, see:

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