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Jul 16 2017
by Zoe Forest

20 of the Weirdest College Classes And Where To Find Them

By Zoe Forest - Jul 16 2017
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College is a time of serious academic study where we pursue interests we hope to form into a career. But it is also a time to explore and sometimes it is nice to take a class purely for fun. If you need a few extra credits, see if your college offers one of these really unusual college courses. 

1. Elvish, the Language of Lord of the Rings

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings series and Oxford English professor, was a scholar in linguistics and created an entire Elvish language which students can now study at the University of Wisconsin. It is taught by linguist and Tolkien language expert David Salo. 

2. Street Fighting Mathematics

MIT is taking measures to protect its nerds from bullies with the street fighting mathematics course. Students learn how to analyze fighting in terms of math and calculate the most effective fighting moves.

3. Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling

Yet another MIT fighting course, this class examines pro wrestling as a media form and studies how it relates to and impacts society.

4. Tightwaddery, or The Good Life on a Dollar a Day

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This course is perfect for the broke college student seeking to develop frugality. Offered at Alfred University, students will learn about surviving on a dollar a day and the realities of poverty.

5. Underwater Basket Weaving

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Underwater basket weaving is an actual class and you can study it at Reed College. It is exactly what it sounds like, a class where students learn to weave baskets underwater. 

6. The Joy of Garbage 

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At Santa Clara University, those interested in the environment might want to learn about the wonders of trash. This class studies recycling, landfills, sustainability, waste and more. In addition, students get to go on field trips to sanitation plants and landfills.

7. Tree Climbing

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Unleash your inner child at Cornell University with a course on tree climbing. This awesome P.E. course teaches students how to climb higher and better, as well as use tree climbing gear.

8. The Undead... Live! Vampires on Stage

Freshmen at Cornell can take this first-year writing course that examines vampire representation in film and theater throughout the ages. 

9. The Art of Walking

We all have days where a refresher course in walking is much needed. This course on walking is offered at the University of San Francisco and examines how we map identities through our movements.

10. #SelfieClass

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Unfortunately, this University of Southern California course grades more on writing than selfie-taking abilities. Students will study the rise of selfies, their significance in modern culture and write essays reflecting on their own selfies.

11. Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

We all want to be famous, but how do we become famous? This class at the University of South Carolina examines the rise of Lady Gaga and the societal trends that led to her fame. The course is actually more about sociology and studies fame from an academic perspective, but fans of Lady Gaga are still sure to enjoy it.

12. Tattoos in American Popular Culture

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At Pitzer College, students can learn about representations and significance of tattoos in American society while studying its relation to gender, class and race.

13. To Hogwarts, Harry: An Intensive Study of Harry Potter Through the British Isles

In this study abroad course at Central Michigan University, students study the Harry Potter series and then go on a 10 day trip around the UK to see Rowling's inspiration and filming locations. 

14. The Physics of Star Trek

For those struggling to grasp physics concepts, perhaps an exploration of Star Trek will help. Students in this Santa Clara University class use the show to discuss Newton, Einstein and the physics behind the technological advances of the show.

15. Kanye vs Everybody: Black Poetry and Poetics from Hughes to Hip-Hop

Taught at Georgia State University, this class covers the rise and fame of Kanye West and what it means in terms of race, gender and class. Students study Kanye lyrics and interviews for meaning within arts and politics.

16. Wasting Time on the Internet 

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This class at the University of Pennsylvania is the perfect way to get credit for what most of us do anyway. Students in this course interact only through social media and chat rooms and drifting off topic is encouraged.

17. The Hunger Games: Class, Politics and Marketing

Taught as a cultural history class, the course at American University studies the politics of Panem, the feminism of Katniss, the wealth gap between districts and more.

18. Cow to Cone

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Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield famously took this Penn State University course before starting their ice cream chain. Students will learn about ice cream making and running an ice cream business.

19. Popular Flops: Bad Movies

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At Tuft University, you can spend an entire semester watching and analyzing bad movies. Hopefully, the course is better than what is watched.

20. Biology of Jurassic Park

Hood College offers this misleading course that examines the biology of dinosaurs and techniques of studying the extinct. It does not seem to address, however, how we can resurrect dinosaurs. 

There is much to be learned from studying these not-so-academic topics in an academic setting. This next semester, try broadening your perceptions of academia by looking at a popular topic in a new light with an unusual class.

Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Zoe Forest - University of California, Berkeley

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