When dewey-eyed freshman enroll for their first semester at college, they don’t expect to find courses in Harry Potter or Star Trek listed among other courses. However, universities and colleges nationwide, are stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight by offering the strangest courses imaginable.
15. Finding Dates Worth Keeping
While Dr. Phil was considered for this course, University of Sioux Fall’s faculty in relationship therapy, has concocted a no-slack-course in the art of love and relationships. The course capitalizes on dating tips, recognizing infatuation and knowing when a relationship has to stop. If classes spread like wildfire, author John Grey, will be writing his autobiography entitled, “My One Hit Wonder: Men were from Mars, Women were from Venus .”
14. Changing Times: The Music and Lyrics of Bob Dylan
Nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in literature, Bob Dylan’s complex stream of poetic imagery has finally been awarded with this tribute at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. In this colloquium, Dylan’s musical career is examined at length with particular emphasis in his lyrical composition and performance. Downside? Well, none really… unlike the music, lectures are clear, concise and discernible.
13. Far Side Entomology
This sardonic comic strip use to parade profusely in newspapers during the early eighties to mid nineties. Since it’s retirement, Oregon State has resurrected it’s satirical humor in the form of a course –an entomology course that is. Professor Michael Burgett has stood by his claim that students benefit from this course by interacting with insects on both a “humorous and serious level.” The insects, however, were not readily available for comment .
12. Hip Hop: Queen [email protected]#$H Lyricism: Lil’ Kim
This chanteuse certainly has something to sing about now! Offered at Syracuse University, the class emphasizes her lyrical expressions and sexual revolution in the hip hop industry. This upper-level course is actually a budget saver considering the syllabus’ required materials: magazines and discounted Cd’s.
11. Zombies In Popular Media
Nothing could be better than watching horror flicks and playing video games in college –except maybe, experiencing everything in 3-D. Though Columbia College in Chicago has yet to finalize that snafu, the faculty has pulled together a class that focuses on the history of Haitian voodoo and zombie’s effects on popular media by implementing movies, games and comic books as part of the curriculum. Perhaps a course in ‘Zombie Preparedness’ is in the works?
10. Philosophy and Star Trek
One of America’s most trusted and respected schools since 1789, Georgetown University has jumped on the bandwagon by offering this class in lieu of its traditional counterpart: Philosophy 101. Though excerpts from great philosophers are studied in detail, Star Trekkies can all agree that this is just another vehicle for recapitulating episode 28 of the first season: The City on the Edge of Forever –to love or not to love, that is question (at least for Captain Kirk).
9. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows
Let me emphasize that this course is not related to Berkeley’s, University of California’s law program. Though it’s not decisively clear whether this class is still taught, it still has a place on the list. Former “Jeopardy!” champion, professor Daniel Melia, focuses on “logic, argumentation and popular notions of fairness through such shows as “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court.” –not that many of them should reasonable logic to begin with.
8. How to Win the Tour de France
Offered at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, this course is available to those who are hell-bent on becoming the next Lance Armstrongs of their generation. Topics include training techniques, scientific and health considerations, the vocation of bicycling and last but not least, the drugs — a topic Floyd Landis could have scrutinized a little more.
Yes. That is the title. You’re not hallucinating. Once again, Georgetown has made the list with this analytical course simply entitled: Hallucinating. Claiming that we live in an imperfect world populated by imperfect people whose decisions can influence imperfect actions, how can we be sure that what is being said is not a mistake? Confused? Looks like I’m not the only one hallucinating over this question.
6. Muppet Magic
Taught at the University of Santa Cruz in California, this course spotlights the societal and artistic impacts of Jim Henson’s work through guest lectures and viewings. Though it’s not sure whether the quipster, Fozzie, will be making guest appearances, it is certain that the Fraggles have deserted their dark caves to join the Hollywood elite.
5. Simpsons and Philosophy
Dooh! It’s strange to think Homer Simpson, lunkhead emeritus, can be compared to the great Socrates or Plato, but UC-Berkeley has queerly infused philosophy with Simpson-docrination to create a class that will undoubtedly be referred to as: Homer Simpson’s Greatest Quotes.
4. Elvish as a Second Language
While I don’t think this language will be an official language of the United Nations any time soon, I do agree that second languages are imperative in this day and age. Offered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this course has carefully threaded together the language of mythical creatures and linguistics into one package. Next on the list? According to poll results, Pig Latin won by a landslide.
3. The Science of Harry Potter
It’s hard to believe that incantations, sorcery and alot of mumbo jumbo has a place in modern science but this honors course, offered by Frostburg State, has done just that. With textbook in hand labeled, “The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works,” by Roger Highfield, the course explores the possibility of bringing to life the most outlandish characters and objects from the book through engineering and physics. Personally, I would love to learn how to fly on a broom.
2. Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way
Though this course is technically offered overseas, in Belfast,United Kingdom, it had to be ranked high on the list. MA students explore the psychological techniques of the all-inspiring mind tricks of Jediism to create sounder ‘communication skills and personal development’. Though no prior Jedi knowledge is required, the group leader advises students to provide their own light sabres –in the event that a Sith Lord decides to make a cameo for recruitment purposes.
1. “High-Flying” Circus
Most parents can attest to chest pain and high blood pressure when their kids fantasize about joining the circus, however, Florida State is intent on making fantasies into realities with this extra-curricular activity. Geared toward circus-degree-seeking students, this class focuses on presentation, backstage jitters, costume preparation, light and sound performances and Big Top Tent set-ups –which are no doubt timed.