With the cost of higher education spiraling out of control, families are contemplating whether or not taking out student loans with sky-high interests rates and years of debt are worth the investment.
It’s no question that times have changed. College is more of a four-year summer camp now than ever before. More and more studies are finding that students are studying less and less each year.
But really, who needs studying when accredited universities are offering classes with ZERO real world application – meant for those living in fairytale land?
Here are the 15 most ridiculous college courses that you won’t believe are being taught at our institutions of higher learning.
15 – What if Harry Potter is real?
College: Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.
Course Description: This course will engage students with questions about the very nature of history. Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or mis-used? How does this use or misuse affect us? How can the historical imagination inform literature and fantasy? How can fantasy reshape how we look at history? The Harry Potter novels and films are fertile ground for exploring all of these deeper questions. By looking at the actual geography of the novels, real and imagined historical events portrayed in the novels, the reactions of scholars in all the social sciences to the novels, and the world-wide frenzy inspired by them, students will examine issues of race, class, gender, time, place, the uses of space and movement, the role of multiculturalism in history as well as how to read a novel and how to read scholarly essays to get the most out of them.
14 – Zombies in popular media
College: Columbia College, Chicago, IL
Course Description: This course explores the history, significance, and representation of the zombie as a figure in horror and fantasy texts. Instruction follows an intense schedule, using critical theory and source media (literature, comics, and films) to spur discussion and exploration of the figure’s many incarnations. Daily assignments focus on reflection and commentary, while final projects foster thoughtful connections between student disciplines and the figure of the zombie.
13 – Oh, look, a chicken!
College: Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Course Description: Students must write papers using their personal research on the five senses. Entsminger reads aloud illustrated books TheSimple People and Toby’s Toe to teach lessons about what to value by being alive. Students listen to music while doodling in class. Another project requires students to put themselves in situations where they will be distracted and write a reflection tracking how they got back to their original intent.
12 – Demystifying the Hipster
College: Tufts University, Medford, MA
Course Description: The hipster is a divisive cultural figure that elicits both envy and outrage, and some argue that it has run its course — but what exactly is (or was) the hipster? Are hipsters part of a counterculture, or are they just another marketing niche in the mainstream? How can we tell the difference? In this course, students will interrogate contemporary writing–both academic and popular–that claims to define the hipster, examining these arguments beside exemplary texts that have warranted the hipster label. We will focus on film, fiction, fashion, and music (among other genres and media) produced in the last twenty years, connecting these more contemporary examples to a longer history of the hipster that dates back to Norman Mailer’s controversial 1957 essay, “The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster.”
11 – How does it feel to dance?
College: Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
Course Description: This course is a guided exploration of the social and cultural phenomenon of dancing. We will dance in various contexts, exploring both structured and improvised approaches to moving to music. Whether you say ‘I don’t dance.’ or ‘I love to dance.’ this course is for you. We will experience dance, watch dance on video and live, read and discuss dancing, and ask the question: How does it feel to dance?
10 – Patternmaking for dog garments
College: Fashion Institute of Technology, N.Y.
Course Description: Learn to make patterns to take dog and pet-related design concepts from sketches to reality in this hands-on workshop. Instruction starts with the fundamentals of proper measuring on the doggie dress form to get the correct specifications for the needed pattern, including slopers for size variety. Learn to work with various dog body types to produce pattern pieces for garments, collars, and sleeves. Make patterns in creative muslin for dresses, coats and collars.
9 – The joy of garbage
College: University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Course Description: This class aims to highlight some of the major trends and issues wrapped up in the current global garbage crisis. We will look at policies here on the UC Campus, in the Bay Area, as well as national and international issues. Further, we will constantly be returning to the questions of why such problems exist as they do today, trying get to the roots of the matter. This requires a very multi-disciplinary approach, as these issues certainly are complex and often rooted in subtle cultural attitudes. Thus, we hope to bring ethical, political, economic, social, and other perspectives into our discussions and search for solutions. Guest speakers will talk to us about issues they specialize in, from environmental-justice, landfill design and operations, zero-waste philosophies, the pros and cons to recycling, composting, etc.
8 – Queer musicology
College: University of California- Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Course Description: According to this course, those who are homosexual create and experience music differently than their straight counterparts. While many experts in the field see this as a growing field of study, most outside were quite critical when this course was introduced in the 90s.
7 – The Hunger Games: Class, Politics and Marketing
College: American University, Washington, D.C.
Course Description: The Hunger Games trilogy is a publishing phenomenon that has dramatically impacted American popular culture. Using the series as a case study, this course examines the interplay of class, politics, and ethics. Over the course of the semester, students will read The Hunger Games trilogy and theory discussing the text, exploring aspects of The Hunger Games and its cultural impact. Topics covered include oppression, feminism, food deserts, rebellion, the publishing industry, and social media marketing.
6 – Learning from YouTube
College: Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Course Description: Students meet in a classroom but mostly work online, viewing YouTube content, commenting, and encouraged to create short video clips. One class member, for instance, posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling.
5 – Juggling
College: Reed College, Portland, Oregon
Course Description: Learn to juggle, starting with three balls, then progress at your own pace to learn new tricks and explore other props. A wide variety of related object manipulation and circus skills are available to be explored, including club passing, unicycling, contact juggling, poi, diabolo, rolling globe and much more. The instructor works with students individually and in small groups, and many local jugglers are on hand to help as well. In addition to surprising yourself and impressing your friends, juggling is frequently used by sports trainers to help develop eye-hand coordination, peripheral vision, and a range of other skills.
4 – Science from Superheroes to Global Warming
College: University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA
Course Description: Have you ever wondered if Superman could really fly? What was Spiderman’s spidey sense? How did Wonder Woman’s invisible jet work? What does it really mean for something to be a scientific “fact”? Explore how science works and what constitutes “good” science through case studies drawn from a wide spectrum of people’s experience, for example superheros, movies, and real world issues such as global warming. The case studies will provide the change to act as science critics as the students develop a better appreciation for science and the scientific method.
3 – Lady Gaga and the sociology of fame
College: University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
Course Description: The course will introduce students to a sociological analysis of issues related to the work of 24-year-old Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga. A classically-trained child prodigy pianist, singer, and songwriter from New York, Germanotta began her meteoric rise in popularity about three years ago.
2 – The sociology of Miley Cyrus
College: Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Course Description: “From Disney tween to twerking machine, Miley Cyrus has grown up in the public eye, trying on and discarding very different identities onscreen and off,” reads the course description. “She provides rich examples for analyzing aspects of intersectional identities and media representation.”
1 – How to watch television
College: Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J.
Course Description: This course, open to both broadcasting majors and non-majors, is about analyzing television in the ways and to the extent to which it needs to be understood by its audience. The aim is for students to critically evaluate the role and impact of television in their lives as well as in the life of the culture. The means to achieve this aim is an approach that combines media theory and criticism with media education.