There are a lot of colleges, community colleges, and universities out there. There are also a number of tech schools and certification programs one can get into if they want some specialized education in a particular field or on a particular subject post high school. Most colleges and universities are not for profit, but they do need to keep the lights on and the faculty paid. With so many other options, a school without the name power of a Harvard, Yale, or Stanford needs to do a little something extra to become a prospective student’s school of choice. This is usually achieved by having a really good program for a certain field, but this can also be achieved by a number of other perks a student can see when visiting your campus or going through a school’s course book. Maybe the school can boast a beautiful campus with a prime location or above average student housing. Maybe the school has an interesting pool of elective courses that a student can take. When the latter is the case with a school, the gloves seem to come off. Take a look at some of these unbelievable class options and the schools that offer them.
13. Create Your Own Religion – Alfred University
Alfred University is a rather small comprehensive school in Western New York. The establishment has five different locations and is mainly focused on the arts and engineering. It’s interesting such a small school would have a class like this.
This class is not intended to teach someone how to rake in cash through offerings from the congregation. The idea of the class isn’t really to teach one how to start a religion and bring in followers. What it actually does is allows students to build their own belief systems without the influence of outside sources. As we know, most religions already have their systems of belief and their guidelines set in stone. This allows students a free and open environment to establish their own set of spiritual beliefs.
12. Elvish: The Language of Lord of the Rings – University of Wisconsin
Unless you’re a big fan of the world that J.R.R. Tolkien has established in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other books – you may not know that he actually developed the language of the Elves. Tolkein didn’t stop at the translations of a few words; he built the whole language from the ground up. It is this language that is actually used by the actors and actresses playing the Elves in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. The class was even taught by an expert in the language.
We’re not entirely sure if the class could be taken for credit.
11. Philosophy and Star Trek – Georgetown University
You often see a lot of books like this in bookstores. Books on the philosophy behind a number of television shows and movies can be seen at almost any Barnes and Noble. Some of these shows and movies have had such a cultural impact that the idea has been built up into a full on class.
The class room watches Star Trek and reads the philosophical works of great philosophers in conjunction with their viewings. A good number of questions surrounding metaphysics come up repeatedly in Star Trek, so why not tackle these questions and analyze them. The course tackles questions like “What is time?”, the concept of free will, and whether Data is a person or not.
10. Harry Potter: Literary Tradition and Popular Culture – Otis College of Art and Design
This is actually a pretty good idea for a class when you think about it. This is not a class where the students just read Harry Potter and analyze the work itself; they’re actually reading the book and discussing how literary phenoms like this happen and how they affect popular culture on a deeper level. The class also delves into the myths and folklore that author J.K. Rowling used to build the wizarding world of Harry Potter. These angles seem like they could give anyone some great insight into creating a cultural phenomenon, which is a great idea at an art school.
9. Science from Superheroes to Global Warming – University of California – Irvine
This is a pretty interesting college course from the University of California. Students learn about a number of different scientific topics, including how the abilities of a number of different superheroes could become a reality. The class explores things like how Superman’s heat vision could be obtained or how he could fly. They discuss Spider-Man’s “spider sense”. Engineering topics are discusses as well, such as ways to make Wonder Woman’s invisible jet a reality. All of this is used to ponder ethics, the scientific method, and what makes “good science”.
8. Underwater Basket Weaving – Reed College
You might be surprised to see that this is actually a course. The term “underwater basket weaving” is generally used as a turn of phrase to describe a generally useless college course elective. Not one, but actually a number of colleges and universities has added it to their curriculum.
It started in 1980 with Reed College in Portland, Oregon. A number of other schools added it as part of a snorkeling class. The U.S. Scuba center has actually trademarked the term, and offers one-off courses where individuals can learn to scuba dive, but also leave the class with a little souvenir.
7. Zombies in Popular Media – Columbia College – Chicago
It’s actually not very surprising to think that a school for the arts would offer a course like this. Zombies have become huge in popular culture and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. At one point you’d see a zombie film pop on occasion, but now several are released a year. There are a number of zombie television shows, and there are even several books featuring the creatures published in recent years.
These days it sometimes feels like if you want to get your foot in the door in entertainment you should just make something with zombies. For this reason and this reason alone, the class seems totally worthwhile.
6. Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – University of Michigan
This class isn’t quite what you’d think. The class actually covers a number of doomsday style scenarios (widespread disease, loss of resources, nuclear holocaust, etc.), and discusses what would happen to the planet on political, industrial, and technological levels. In addition to discussing the side effects of worldwide catastrophes, the class also plots out survival techniques that could be utilized if any of these scenarios came into fruition. You almost have to wonder if the class is taught by Max Brooks.
5. Political Ceramics – Bennington College
At first glance you might think ceramics is being used in some other way. Perhaps it’s a statement on how easily broken a political system can become? Nope! It is exactly what it sounds like. This is a ceramics and pottery class where you make figurines, statues, teapots, and the like, that have something to do with politics. Have you ever wanted to figure out how to make that William Howard Taft teapot
I saw in my you saw in your dream? Well, now you can take the elective that turns that dream into a reality…provided you attend Bennington College.
4. Learning from YouTube – Pitzer College
It’s not surprising that this course was offered as a Media Studies course. It actually doesn’t seem like such a silly idea when you look at it from that angle.
This class was taught by Professor Alex Juhasz at Pitzer College in Claremont, California and quickly gained a large amount of media attention. The catch to the class was that everything was done on YouTube. The lectures were posted to YouTube, the projects were posted as YouTube videos, and all research was done on YouTube.
It’s interesting that a college would offer this when a lot of people are beginning to question the worth of higher education and a number of people already turn to YouTube when they want to learn how to do something on the fly.
3. Media Genres: Media Marvels – University of Baltimore
Here we see a class that studies the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a little hard to believe a class like this would exist. However, when you think about it, Marvel broke a lot of ground in the realm of media when they began to interconnect all of their films, television shows, and even their upcoming Netflix exclusive programs. Prior to this, no one had done this on such a grand scale and certainly not with this kind of success. Since other franchises are now trying to do the same thing, studying the concept is actually a great idea. Since Marvel’s the only entity that’s really pulled it off at this point, it makes even more sense that the class is centered exclusively on the connected Marvel properties.
2. Cyberporn and Society – State University of New York
This kind of class isn’t all that hard of a pill to swallow. There have been a number of classes that discuss porn in relation to societal ethics and morals. If you’ve ever taken a Women’s Studies course, the topic will pop up a number of times. Cyberporn is very easily accessible to anyone with even rudimentary computer skills. There is so much of it out there that there is something for every fantasy no matter how dark or disturbed it might be. There are a number of things worth discussing that this topic brings up.
Still, a class where you spend a large amount of time looking at porn on the internet and openly discussing it does seem a bit unbelievable.
1. Simpsons and Philosophy – University of California – Berkeley
As stated before, there are a number of shows with books on the shelves that delve into philosophy and how it pertains to the program. Even the series Seinfeld had a book on the subject.
The Simpsons has been on the air for 26 years and a cancellation doesn’t seem to be in the near future. There are people in the world who already have a Master’s Degree that have never lived in a world without The Simpsons. Something with that kind of staying power that has gone that deep into our culture should probably have several more classes related to it. The surprising thing here is there aren’t more classes that are focused on The Simpsons.