We've reviewed the most eccentric and most down-right amazing courses this year!
It’s time we focus on the subjects that really matter. Sure, your degree in public health is certainly important, but will it prepare you to survive the coming zombie apocalypse? And it’s not that your business degree isn’t useful, but in a world of wizards and magic? Not so much.
Although most of your courses will be related to your major, your education in the U.S. doesn’t have to be all business all the time. Taking a class or two outside your major can broaden your experience, inspire a new interest, and provide some fun within an often demanding academic program. Exploring yourself and taking a fun or unusual class or two is part of what will make your study abroad the most memorable time of your life. Read on for our list of some of the most interesting college courses in the U.S!
Note: These courses may not be offered every year, and curriculum is subject to change. If none of these classes are available or accessible to you, check the course offerings at your school for something unique and different!
What if Harry Potter Is Real? Appalachian State University
Sadly, this course doesn’t teach you how to use the spells popularized by the Harry Potter series. Fortunately, it accomplishes much more than retelling the adventures of Harry and friends and places their world in the grander context of how our society functions. You’ll explore social constructs such as class, gender, and race and the effects of cultural phenomena on history.
Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse — Michigan State University
“In times of catastrophes, some people find their humanity, while others lose theirs.” —Glenn Stutzky
At the surface level, this course is built around the age-old question that’s driven every zombie-related conversation — how do you survive a zombie apocalypse? Dive a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that it’s an exploration into the human psyche and people’s behaviors during disasters and catastrophes. MSU’s zombie apocalypse course has earned numerous awards for its immersive online learning experience and is taught by a who’s-who of successful social workers, visual artists, and designers. Prepare for a truly one-of-a-kind learning experience.
Science from Superheroes to Global Warming — UC Irvine
What’s the science behind your favorite superheroes’ powers? What is it that’s causing global warming? This course is grounded in science and looks to analyze what’s considered “good science.” One week, you’ll be examining the plausibility of some of your favorite legendary heroes, while the next, you’ll be researching real-world issues to build a greater appreciation for science. What’s fact and what’s fiction? Science reveals all!
Pet Apparel Fashion and Design — The Fashion Institute of Technology
Do you love fashion? Do you have an adorable pet? There are few ways better to spend your time than creating outfits for your fuzzy friends. You’ll learn to transfer the principles you’ve studied in your fashion course into creating stylish animal apparel. If you’re really passionate about the animal apparel industry, you can even leverage the skills you learn into a full-time career.
Basic Scuba — University of Massachusetts Amherst
When we hear about “grand adventures” or stepping out of comfort zones, the common extremes are skydiving, bungee jumping, or long-distance hiking. Rarely do you hear someone mention that they want to explore the great unknown — the ocean. Put on your scuba suit, slip on your swim fins, and dive in! The basic scuba course at UMass, Amherst, is made for students with no scuba experience. You’ll learn scuba principles and techniques throughout the course, all culminating in an optional weekend of diving in the ocean!
The Hidden Complexities of Jazz — UC Santa Barbara
Musical taste is subjective — we each have unique musical preferences and are drawn to a different rhythm. These days, you’ll often hear jazz music playing in the background at cafes to add ambiance rather than taking center stage. Jazz is misunderstood.
Jazz defined an era, and its influence is prevalent in genres like hip-hop and R&B. It’s the furthest thing from “background music.” This course seeks to reveal jazz in all its unhinged, frenetic glory. To quote Thelonious Monk, jazz is freedom — and we hope that learning about it can reveal to you a new perspective on the genre.
Taboos — American University
There are things in this world that are simply not considered acceptable — to do or to talk about. In this course, you’ll discuss sensitive topics to explore the history of how taboos are formed, how they’re viewed, and the repercussions of violating them. The topics covered include sexuality, witchcraft, cannibalism, human-animal relations, madness, and death. Not for the faint of heart — get ready for some uncomfortable but interesting conversations.
Dr. Seuss & Y(our) World — Appalachian State University
Dr. Seuss is known for popular children’s books such as Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, and many more. His rise to mainstream prominence in the twentieth century can be attributed to his unique tone — the rhymes and riddles that children and adults alike couldn’t help but get attached to — but also the deeper lessons that they taught. This course will explore the underlying themes from his stories and give you broader insight into one of the great storytellers of the last century.
Metalsmithing — Southern Illinois University
Truly a lost art, blacksmithery and other metalworking is performed by manipulating iron and various metals to create tools, jewelry, armor, weapons, and more. Southern Illinois University not only offers a single course, but an entire program in metalsmithing. Available in both a BFA and MFA (the only blacksmithing MFA in the U.S.), this program can help you reach a master’s level of proficiency in metalsmithing and be able to create original art that respects the history of the profession.
Nip, Tuck, Perm, Pierce, Tattoo, Embalm: Adventures with Embodied Cultures — Alfred University
Experimenting with our looks, particularly modifying them through tattoos, surgeries, piercings, and dyes, are all ways we choose to express ourselves. This course examines the cultural influences that have inspired these actions and how different parts of the world have adopted their “looks” from other cultures. As you learn the psychology behind this cultural transformation, you’ll come to realize that you too may have been influenced by this phenomenon.
Try Something Cool
Time to take a break from your major classes to explore some of the enlightening, interesting, entertaining, and sometimes bizarre courses offered at colleges and universities across the country! We hope this round-up will inspire you to try something new and truly unique.
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