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Interesting College Courses: Unique Choices from Education's Bounty

By Brendan Conway updated on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Colleges are places of learning and study. Places where you can come to grow academically and intellectually. Places where students can broaden their understandings of the world, and become deeper individuals.

Places where students can learn how to weave baskets underwater.

Most colleges are great institutions of education, and every now and then they'll feature courses that educate in a...unique subject.

Here are a few choice selections from what's out there today.

  1. "The Simpsons as Satirical Authors"
    Did you ever realize how much you have to learn from those finely wrought characters clad in yellow skin, odd hair, and simple lines? We've all known the Simpsons was a great TV show for a while now, but you probably never thought about taking the show seriously. Well, Columbia College Chicago did the thinking for you. Find out all about how Homer's lack of hair represents a withering satire of George W. Bush's international policies! Or maybe I'm overthinking this.


  2. "Stupidity"
    Before this course, you might think that there's not much to dumbness. After all, as a great man once said, "Stupid is as stupid does." But lo and behold, Occidental College has arisen to educate its students on the depths of stupidity! Here's an actual quote from the course description: "Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence rather than its opposite." As it turns out, this course on stupid is anything but. 


  3. "Learning from Youtube"
    When human culture hits the apocalypse next year, and only fragments will be left for aliens to discover, one of the most tragic losses will certainly be Youtube. A repository of the greatest achievements of humanity, Youtube is getting the study and attention it deserves from Pitzer College with this course. Most important lessons: Don't mess with dramatic chipmunks. Tron costumes are awesome. The song Friday is frighteningly catchy. And always, always wear a helmet.


  4. "Arguing with Judge Judy"
    And here I thought all the time I put in watching Judge Judy reruns was just a good excuse to not change into real clothing. Turns out I was learning all about rhetorical and logical arguments. Wait, did I say rhetorical and logical arguments? I meant logical fallacies and crazed theatrics. UC Berkeley is out to make sure that students can point their fingers at Judge Judy and shout out "POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC" or "AD HOMINEM" or "HASTY GENERALIZATION" even as they continue to eat their popcorn. 


  5. "Tree Climbing"
    A physical education course. In which students get to climb trees. Let me say that again. Students get to climb trees. For course credit. Cornell University? I applaud you.


  6. "The American Vacation"
    The University of Iowa is pioneering this new frontier of academic study: vacationology. The study of time off. Students will learn about the history of vacations, and the different forms vacations can take depending on the circumstances of the vacation goers in question. All the while, those students will desperately be wondering if they can do any hands-on research, investigating which is more relaxing, a trip to Cancun or a trip to Bermuda.


  7. "How to Watch Television"
    Have you been watching TV wrong all these years? Montclair State University is here to help you find out. The course, though, isn't about eye calisthenics, or channel surfing protocol. It's more about the way that television is "understood by its audience," and the "role and impact of television in [students'] lives." Whether or not you see the difference of subject matter as a tragedy is up to you. Pardon me for a moment as I wipe away a tear. 


  8. "Tightwaddery, or the Good Life on a Dollar a Day"
    Besides being the source of one of the greatest invented words ever, this course at Alfred University somehow ties together a Socratic search for the good life with clipping coupons from the newspaper. If you've ever wanted to figure out how to transform your humdrum banal existence into a philosophical ideal, then maybe you need to indulge in a little bit of tightwaddery. Which continues to be a great word. 


  9. "Zombies in Popular Media"
    Zombies. Can't live with 'em…yeah, that just about covers it. Another course from Columbia College Chicago, "Zombies in Popular Media" is all about the zombie plague that has swept our culture. It takes a historical, sociological, and literary look at the zombie. Just…don't let the professor bite you, okay?


  10. "Hallucinating"
    It's a skill you might never have thought you'd need, but you'd be surprised what's demanded of workers in the modern world. "Hallucinating" is a course at Georgetown University, all about philosophical conundrums, like, "How do I know what's real?", "What can I know for sure?", "What  is knowledge?", and "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck were a philosophy student?" (The answer to the last: not much.)


Are there any interesting courses that you might know of that you'd suggest adding to this list? Drop us a line on our Facebook page to let us know!

About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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