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17 Ridiculous College Courses You Can Actually Take

"Let me through—I majored in Beyoncé studies!"


Deconstructing TV’s Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an extremely ‘full’ text, playing on ideological fault lines. The series, self-consciously generic in conception and execution, allows this course to examine the histories, theories, and traditions of the musical, melodrama, comedy, silent film, and horror genres. Students should exit the course with a paper worthy of publication in an academic journal.” (Emerson College) Have a soon-to-be college student? Here’s how to plan an amazing college tour.


Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way

“This course analyzes the real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks and examines the wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood, and fascism. Lightsabers are not provided.” (Queen’s University Belfast) We wonder if they also teach these little-known facts about Star Wars.


The Simpsons and Philosophy

“From philosophy to religion, from science to politics, students will explore a number of different worldviews. By taking this class, students will come to appreciate how The Simpsons can lead to a better understanding of, well, pretty much everything.” (University of California, Berkeley)


Religions of Star Trek

“The course focuses on the Star Trek franchise and the religious issues the series frequently discusses. Students will question how religion and technology appear to be both at odds with and complement each other. The parallel and conflict between religion and science are concepts they can relate to in their technology-filled lives.” (Muhlenberg College) Here’s how you can take college courses for free.


What If Harry Potter Is Real?

“Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or misused? 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 to the novels, and the world-wide frenzy inspired by them, students will examine issues of race, class, gender, the uses of space and movement, and the role of multiculturalism in history.” (Appalachian State University) And it’s not the only college offering a course on Harry Potter.

iStock/Ken Brown

Calvin & Hobbes

“Modern cartoonists consider Calvin & Hobbes to be incredibly influential and any fan will attest to its quality and reliability. But what makes it such a great strip? This class will explore the question, looking to the singular personality of its author, Bill Watterson, and to its wealth of themes and ideas.” (Oberlin College) We wonder how the final exam compares with our quiz about your favorite cartoons.

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Street Fighting Mathematics

“This course teaches the art of guessing results and solving problems without doing a proof or an exact calculation….Applications include mental calculation, solid geometry, musical intervals, logarithms, integration, infinite series, solitaire, and differential equations. (No epsilons or deltas are harmed by taking this course.)” (MIT) Maybe “Street Fighting Mathematics” sounds a little on the challenging side, but we bet you can pass this elementary school math test.


Tattoos in American Popular Culture

“This course examines how tattoos are depicted in U.S. popular culture and the meanings and significations that accompany these representations. Through close readings of texts and other visual materials, we will investigate how corporeal difference is constructed with regard to race, class, gender, sexuality, and belonging in the United States.” (Scripps College)

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Recreational Tree Climbing

“Recreational Tree Climbing is a comprehensive course for individuals or small groups wishing to learn how to climb trees safely. Taught by our senior tree staff, this class covers all the basic skills of tree hazard assessment, line placement, ascending, descending and moving around in the canopy. All equipment is included. No experience is necessary.” (Cornell University) You’ll get a laugh out of these hilarious school jokes.

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The Amazing World of Bubbles

“We generally think of bubbles as benign and harmless, yet they can manifest the most remarkable range of physical effects. Some of those effects are the stuff of our everyday experience: the tinkling of a brook, or the sound of breaking waves at the beach. But even these mundane effects are examples of the ability of bubbles to gather, focus and radiate energy….Harnessed carefully, this ability to focus energy can also be put to constructive use.” (Cal Tech) These are the most selective colleges in every US state.

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How to Watch Television

“This course…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.” (Montclair State) It’s actually a good thing if you love talking about your favorite TV shows—science says so!


The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur

“This class explores the philosophical, historical and literary influences of the late rapper and activist, Tupac Shakur.” (U. of Washington)

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The History of Surfing

“The history of the sport of surfing, tracing the cultural, technological, and economic aspects of its transformation from a Polynesian folkway to a global multi-billion dollar economic force.” (U. of North Carolina) These are the hardest colleges to get into in every US state. These are the college majors that are mostand leastlikely to make you lots of money.

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Politicizing Beyoncé

“Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is known as many things: singer, songwriter, actress, performer, half of hip hop and R&B’s most powerful couple, even fashion designer. But few take her seriously as a political figure. This course will attempt to think about our contemporary U.S. society and its current class, racial, gender, and sexual politics through the music and career of Beyoncé.” (Rutgers University)

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Getting Dressed

“The seminar is an inquiry into the social significance of clothing and a close examination of the relationship between clothing and identity in 20th-century America. To explore that juncture, students keep a literary sketchbook in which they record their observations about the ways clothing comes into play in the news, in their surroundings and in their own lives.” (Princeton)

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21st Century Skills in Starcraft

“’21st Century Skills in Starcraft’ is an 8-week, entirely online course that uses the popular real time strategy (RTS) game Starcraft to teach valuable 21st Century Skills through a hands-on approach. With society becoming increasingly technology-based and fast-paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making.” (U. of Florida)


South Park and Contemporary Social Issues

“Over 12 seasons and more than 180 episodes, the cartoon show South Park has never avoided discussing controversial contemporary social issues….This course is an interdisciplinary approach towards extending and deepening the discussions already present in the show. Using historical and contemporary texts, theories, and concepts from sociology and philosophy, this course will address issues such as race, gender, sexuality, consumerism, and many more.” (McDaniel College)

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest