Back in May my father told me that his cousin’s son was taking a few summer college courses. He rolled his eyes when explaining that one of the classes was golf. I didn’t think anything of it and I couldn’t understand why my dad did— after all, I’m his daughter and I earned a degree in music!
The other day I read an article about a new college course centered on none other than music sensation Lady Gaga. It’s actually a writing class in the English department at the University of Virginia, but it’s definitely about all things Gaga. Anyway, that got me thinking, what other cool college courses are out there?
I did a bit of research and came up with a list of ten that sounded pretty good to me. A few are going on during the current fall semester, a few of them are over and done with, and a few are even online classes. Hope you enjoy the list—or at least get a good laugh out of these college courses!
1 Harry Potter
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling may have retired the boy wizard after seven novels, but his popularity lives on. The Harry Potter series has received its fair share of praise and criticism, and college courses focusing on the books have popped up across the country. These classes are giving students the ability to study theology, children’s literature, globalization studies and even the history of witchcraft. One such course is Yale University’s Christian Theology and Harry Potter.
2 Interpreting Halloween to Children
Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, part of Penn State, provides a mix of educational and recreational opportunities. One of their most popular fall semester courses deals with something most adults and children enjoy: Halloween! Interpreting Halloween to Children provides the ability to learn to interpret the natural origins of Halloween to visitors of the annual Shaver’s Creek Children’s Halloween Trail and Festival.
3 iPhone Application Development
Smart phones are a way of life for today’s college students, and iPhones are among the most popular. It’s no surprise, then, that college courses dealing with iPhone apps are out there. The Department of Computer Science, part of the Stanford School of Engineering at Stanford University offers iPhone Application Programming. Videos of the classes and copies of the slides shown in class are made available at Stanford on iTunes.
4 Joy of Garbage
Ever stop and think about what happens to your junk after you throw it in the trash? If you were a Santa Clara University student, you’d be able to learn about the whole process. An environmental science college course known as the Joy of Garbage covers the path of waste products as they are burnt, decomposed, landfilled, treated, recycled, reused and more.
5 Lady Gaga
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned the Lady Gaga college class. University of Virginia Graduate Arts & Sciences student Christa Romanosky’s ongoing class, GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender, and Identity, has students analyze how the musician pushes social boundaries with her work.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers an undergraduate class dealing with a childhood favorite—Legos! This crazy college course features a large selection of ideas for Legop robotics projects and contains an archive of content from a related course called Robotics and Mechatronics. Ready for the best part? It’s available online for free thanks to MIT Opencourseware.
7 Reality Television
It’s gotten to the point that “everyday people” have become celebrities thanks to reality TV shows and America has gotten caught up in the whole craze. Colleges and universities have noticed, and college courses like the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Perspectives on the Politics of Reality Television are the result.
8 Tree Climbing
The Cornell Outdoor Education program’s Tree Climbing Institute offers physical education college courses—for credit!—in tree climbing. Judging from the photographs on their website, it’s harder than it sounds, especially since these tree climbing courses cover tree hazard assessment, line placement, ascending, descending and more.
9 Washers, Dryers, Dancers
College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California allows arts students to celebrate Laundromats as community gathering places. College of the Canyons students perform a 10-minute dance wearing slips and dresses climb on top of washers and dryers and even hop into the machines.
Zombies, those once human but now undead creatures that have become oh so popular, are the focus of a new college course for students minoring in pop culture at the University of Baltimore.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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