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100 Hilarious College Courses that Really Exist

by Staff Writers

While most of us spend our college educations taking the standard, required courses, there are more than just the basics out there when it comes to college classes. Some of these 100 courses walk the line between useful knowledge and the ridiculous, though many others offer great educational opportunities despite having names that don’t do them justice. Read through this list to see if you can find a course to spice up your education.

Literature and Language

These courses will help you learn to do a wide variety of things, from conversing with the elves of Lord of the Rings to analyzing the deeper meanings of zombies and vampires in popular literature.

  1. Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows: Ever felt like the plaintiffs on TV judge shows have some pretty questionable logic? This class addresses that subject directly, allowing students to pull apart courtroom excuses just like Judge Judy. [UC Berkeley]
     
  2. The Adultery Novel In and Out of Russia: Who doesn’t love a good tale of adultery? This class asks students to consider it as a literary theme, however racy or immoral it may be. [U Penn]
     
  3. The Vampire in Literature and Cinema: The growing popularity of vampires in popular media should make many students out there pretty jealous they can’t take this class focusing on the infamous bloodsuckers. [U of Wisconsin]
     
  4. Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond: You don’t have to be a sci-fi nerd to appreciate the subject matter in this course at the U of Texas focusing on the reasons, rules and social realities of created languages. [U of Texas, Austin]
     
  5. Elvish, the language of "Lord of the Rings": This course was taught by the world’s foremost expert on this language, who was even a consultant to the makers of the films. While not practical, it certainly speaks to super fans of the series. [U of Wisconsin]
     
  6. Harry Potter Lit: If you want to appreciate the Harry Potter novels as more than just a fun read, head to Ohio State to spend good money exploring the larger themes within the seven book series. [Ohio State]
     
  7. Those Sexy Victorians: While sexy usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an era shocked by the sight of ankle, this course delves into the interest in sexual matters behind the prudish exterior during the Victorian era. [Ole Miss]
     
  8. The Living and UnDead: An Inquiry into Zombies in Cinema and Literature: While you might often feel like a zombie stumbling to your early morning classes, this course takes a deeper look at what is so fascinating and horrifying about these brain-craving monsters. [Ole Miss]
     

History

Learn about the aspects of history that are often overlooked in these courses.

  1. The Phallus: Explore the role this part of the male body has played in society from the early, often sexist works of Freud to newer feminist theories. [Occidental College]
     
  2. American Degenerates: Learn more about the relationship between writers and early Americans and their sense of personal identity in this course. [Brown]
     
  3. Comparative History of Organized Crime: While the streets may be education enough for real gangsters, this course aims to teach students about the history and culture of the mafia around the world. [Williams College]
     
  4. European Witchcraft: While so-called witches are still around today, you can learn about the origins of what people thought were witches and the often extreme and illogical measures they took to get rid of them. [Oneonta College]
     
  5. Sex, Rugs, Salt & Coal: Not only does this course have a snappy name, it also is full of topics students find compelling, including sex, slavery, money and more. [Cornell]
     
  6. Age of Piracy: Johnny Depp’s kooky but sexy Jack Sparrow has gotten many students interested in learning more about the pirating arts, and this course offers them the chance to take a look at the much less appealing, real-life lives of pirates. [Arizona State]
     

Sociology, Psychology and Anthropology

Gain a deeper understanding of social and cultural issues through these courses on often touchy subjects.

  1. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil: This course examines a question that many people ask themselves–how can good people do bad things? [MIT]
     
  2. Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration: Here you can understand what feminists think about immigration. [U of Washington]
     
  3. The American Vacation: Study your vacation time more closely with the knowledge this historical and social course offers. [U of Iowa]
     
  4. Mail Order Brides? Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context: As off-putting as it sounds to most people, mail order brides are a real thing, and students at this prestigious university can learn why the phenomenon exists and is so prevalent in the Philippines through this course. [Johns Hopkins]
     
  5. Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism: This course teaches students about their role as white members of society and has been much criticized for promoting guilt about students’ race. [Mount Holyoke College]
     
  6. Alien Sex: Explore the weird, wild and depraved aspects of sex between humans and monsters alike. [University of Rochester]
     
  7. Daytime Serials: Family and Social Roles: Students in Wisconsin can take this course that explores the familial relationships of characters on soap operas–essential for those who just can’t get enough of their programs. [U of Wisconsin]
     
  8. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine): While we all hope the world won’t be ending anytime soon, this course explores the variety of Armageddon scenarios out there and why we’re so obsessed with the end of it all. [Alfred U]
     
  9. Purity and Porn in America: Through this course, students can learn about the role between sexuality and modesty–taking a hard look at the way it’s dealt with in modern society. [Alfred U]
     
  10. UFOs In American Society: If you’re the Fox Mulder type, then you’ll be jealous of students at Temple U who get to learn more about the role of UFOs in popular culture in this course. [Temple U]
     
  11. The Good, the Bad, and the Revolting: You might think you know what is revolting and what’s not, but this course offers to teach you what it really means to be disgusting, shameful and pitiful–among other things. [Alfred U]
     

Science

Make your science education a little more interesting with these courses that draw on sexuality, garbage and fiction for inspiration.

  1. The Science of Superheroes: While it might sound like fun and games, this course takes superheroes as a means to teach students real lessons about physics. [U of California Irvine]
     
  2. The Science of Harry Potter: Unicorns and magical spells might not be real, but this course addresses the magical happenings of the Harry Potter series through a scientific lens, applying physics to things like quidditch. [Frostberg]
     
  3. Joy of Garbage: While it might sound like an ideal course for clutterbugs, this course is actually designed to teach students how to manage garbage and encourage them to make less waste and recycle more. [UC Berkeley]
     
  4. "Far Side" Entomology: The much-beloved Far Side comics form the basis for this course that addresses the relationship between people and insects. [Oregon State]
     
  5. Facial Reconstruction: This course isn’t so much ridiculous as it is weird, being one of the few in the country that teaches students how to puzzle together the bones of the face to help figure out the identity of recovered remains. [U of Montana]
     
  6. The Amazing World of Bubbles: No, this course isn’t about bubble baths or even bubble wrap. Instead, it explores the energy potential of the bubble. [Cal-Tech]
     
  7. FemSex: Women of all ages and orientations enrolled in this course, teaching women about different definitions of sex, orgasms, sexual norms and even taboos like incest. [Carleton College]
     

Technology

With technology becoming such a major part of everyday life, it’s no wonder these courses have sprung up on college campuses nationwide.

  1. The Strategy of Starcraft: Fans of this game say it’s one of the most difficult to master, but this course at Berkeley aims to help students learn the game better through lessons from one of its creators. [UC Berkeley]
     
  2. Cyberporn and Society: WIth the internet housing more porn that one could look at in a lifetime, this course explores the role of porn in the development of the web and the effects it has had on relationships and expectations. [U of New York - Buffalo]
     
  3. Cyberfeminism: Learn just what the heck cyberfeminism is in this course. [Cornell]
     
  4. Learning from YouTube: If you can’t figure out how to watch videos and learn on your own, this course will teach you how. [Pitzer College]
     
  5. Personal Robots: Like something out of the Jetsons, this course offers students a chance to learn about the development of little helper robots. [MIT]
     
  6. Human Computer Interaction: Whether you love or hate your computer, you can learn more about the relationships people develop with their machines from this course. [MIT]
     
  7. The Anthropology of Computing: What role does your computer play in your life? In society? This course examines how computers function in culture and change human communications. [MIT]
     
  8. Lego Robotics: Legos can help you build more than just that TIE Fighter, they can also be used to make real robots, as this course will show students. [MIT]
     
  9. Human Beings and the Machines of Sunshine: While this course is based on the technical, it addresses more of the social issues that have arisen since machines have become more and more a part of daily life. [Rice]
     
  10. Street-Fighting Mathematics: While math and street-fighting aren’t two things that logically fall together, this course shows students that there is a way to analyze fighting through a mathematical pattern–something that might get you beat up in the first place. [MIT]
     
  11. Games and Civic Engagement: Learn about the role video games might play in the future of education and community programs through this course. [MIT]
     

Philosophy

These courses promise to help you think deeply about philosophical and religious issues while often using pop culture as a reference point.

  1. The Simpsons and Philosophy: While the Simpsons may appear to be just good entertainment, this course shows the deeper philosophical issues under all those "d’ohs." [UC Berkeley]
     
  2. Philosophy and Star Trek: Students who take this class will not only get to watch Star Trek, but delve into the issues the show discusses like time travel, a sense of reality, free will and more. [Georgetown]
     
  3. Star Trek and Religion: Look at religion through the lens of the Star Trek world, with discussions that address both supporting and criticizing religion. [U of Indiana]
     
  4. Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings: Explore larger issues of myth and speculative fiction through these popular movies. [Centre College]
     
  5. Taking Marx Seriously: The oddest thing about this course’s name is that it implies that people haven’t been taking Marx seriously, odd considering the antipathy towards the economist and social theorist since the Cold War. [Amherst]
     

Music

Explore music from some different perspectives in these courses.

  1. Queer Musicology: 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. [UCLA]
     
  2. History of Electronic Dance Music: If you love clubbing or just the thudding beats of dance music, you can learn more about where it came from and where it’s going in this course. [UCLA]
     
  3. The Beatles: True Beatles fans can learn everything there is to know about the band in this course, though unfortunately there is no extra credit for mastering their catalog on Expert on Rock Band. [UCLA]
     
  4. Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang: Embrace your inner thug with this course that explores the history of gangsta rap. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  5. Introduction to Turntablism: Students who have dreamt of being great DJs can add to their college experience by taking this class on the art and business of operating the turntable. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     

Visual Arts

From videogames to horror films, these courses help college students analyze visual culture.

  1. Underwater Basket Weaving: Here it is, the course that has been the butt of numerous jokes about the declining quality of college education in America. Yes, it really exists and you can take it at this school and others for credit. [Reed College]
     
  2. Muppet Magic: Jim Henson’s Art: Explore the fine art of elaborate puppetry through this course. [UC Santa Cruz]
     
  3. Dirty Pictures: Take a look at the history and art of sexy, dirty and explicit photos in this course. [Rhode Island School of Design]
     
  4. The Horror Film in Context: If you love a good scare, consider this course at Bowdoin to gain a better understanding of the format of the horror film. [Bowdoin College]
     
  5. The Road Movie: From Easy Rider to Thelma and Louise, this course looks at the road trip movie and the concept of the journey. Curiously omitted was the college age favorite Road Trip. [Barnard College]
     
  6. The Art of Sin and the Sin of Art: This course will look not only at controversial artwork but also at the practice of creating art and its moral implications. [Rhode Island School of Design]
     
  7. The Art of Warcraft: A Closer Look at the Virtual World Phenomenon: Through this course, nerds and artists alike can learn about the aesthetics of the video game world. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     

Physical Education and Recreation

These courses help students all over the nation stay in shape and get active.

  1. PE for ME: This course is pretty much phys ed for nerds, using physical activity to teach lessons about mechanical engineering. [MIT]
     
  2. Xtreme Lit: If you like to get totally extreme, then this course would be for you, asking students to engage in sometimes adventurous recreational activities while reading authors who loved the great outdoors. [Northern Illinois]
     
  3. Whitewater Skills: What would college be without learning how to manage some rapids? This course offers to teach students just that. [West Virginia U]
     
  4. Circus Stunts: Whether you want to join the circus or just need a more interesting workout, this course can teach you all kinds of acrobatics. [Triton College]
     
  5. The Art of Walking: While you would think that most able-bodied students would know how to walk by the time they entered college, this course hopes to teach them to do it better, and more consciously. [Centre College]
     
  6. Tree Climbing: Students who never learned to climb a tree as a child can now receive college-level education in the subject through this course. [Cornell]
     
  7. American Golf: Aristocratic Pastime or the People’s Game?: Through this course, students learn about the history and social aspects of golf. [Carnegie Mellon]
     
  8. Knitting for Noobs: For many students, it’s totally worth the cost of a college course to learn how to knit a few scarves. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  9. Golf Course Management: This practical course will teach students how to take care of those greens and pesky sand traps. [Tarleton State]
     

Popular Culture

Focusing on popular culture phenomena and icons, these courses catch a lot of guff for their seemingly superficial subject matter.

  1. Oprah Winfrey: The Tycoon: While no longer offered, this course gave students a chance to look deep into the life of one of the most successful and recognizable women in the world. [U of Illinois - Urbana]
     
  2. How to Watch Television: Though most of us are pretty adept at turning on the TV and vegging out, this course aims to teach students how to watch TV actively. [Montclair]
     
  3. Through the Darkness of Future-Past: An Exploration of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Delve into the weird world of this TV cult classic in this course. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  4. Breaking the Rules: An Intellectual Discussion of Fight Club: While perhaps not the newest movie, this film (and the book it’s based upon, presumably) still elicits enough interest to have a course that talks all about the issues addressed within it. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  5. Video Game History: Rise of a New Medium: Whether you loved your NES back in the day or can’t get enough X Box, this course teaches students about the history of games and where they’re headed in the future. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  6. The Future is Lost: TV Series as Cultural Phenomenon: Some people might feel that Lost deserves its own course just because it’s so darn hard to figure out what’s happening on the series, but this course goes deeper, examining the popularity of shows like this and their expansion into other media. [Tufts]
     
  7. Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi: While not offered since 2004, this course was the first and only to examine the sometimes controversial public persona of this comedienne, actress and now daytime talk show host. [Bates]
     
  8. Chosen: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Those who were addicted to Buffy can now examine the series in-depth through the material presented in this course. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  9. The Office: Awesome, Awkward, & Addicting: Let’s hope this course on the popular show isn’t nearly as uncomfortable to watch. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  10. Calvin & Hobbes: This iconic comic was much more than just simple Saturday morning entertainment–or so this course aims to show. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  11. Superheroes: What do superheroes really mean in our culture? Why create such figures? This course examines this and a myriad of other issues. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  12. American Pro Wrestling: While the words "MIT" and "pro wrestling" may not be two you’d bring together, this course asks students at the tech-savvy school to think about the cultural implications of the often-theatrical wrestling world. [MIT]
     
  13. American Soap Operas: What is it about soap operas that makes them so addicting? Students at MIT get a chance to delve into the logic behind these series in this course. [MIT]
     
  14. It’s News to Me: the Role of Media in Your Life: Most of us may not even realize how big of a role the media plays in our lives, but this course aims to bring it to the forefront. [Ole Miss]
     
  15. Zombies in Popular Media: Every year it seems like there are more and more movies about zombies. What is the fascination with these fictional creatures? Students at Columbia College can take this course and become zombie experts. [Columbia College-Chicago]
     

Food and Drink

Everybody has to eat, so why not learn more about it from these courses?

  1. Food and Power in the Twentieth Century: In this course, students learn how sometimes having all the food means having all the power. [MIT]
     
  2. Kitchen Chemistry: Students in this course will learn how to turn their kitchens into their own private laboratories, teaching them not only about science but about cooking as well. [MIT]
     
  3. Cultural Aspects of Food: Do foods from your childhood elicit specific emotions from you? This course will delve into what the cultural connections we have with food are and why these relationships are so strong. [Oneonta College]
     
  4. Campus Culture and Drinking: As many students may have been sad to learn, this course doesn’t encourage students to go get trashed, instead asking them to more carefully consider the social and cultural aspects of drinking on campus. [Duke]
     
  5. From Ban to Bar: The History, Politics, & Taste of Chocolate: Chocoholics can take their love of the sweet substance one step further and learn how it goes from the field, gets processed and ends up in their mouths. [Oberlin Experimental College]
     
  6. Maple Syrup: The Real Thing: While most students won’t be pursuing a career as a maple syrup maker, this course offers to teach them everything they need to know about the business, should they decide they need a career change. [Alfred U]
     

Life Skills

College doesn’t just have to be academic, as these courses that provide valuable life lessons prove.

  1. Tightwaddery, or The Good Life on a Dollar a Day: While the title might elicit some laughs, this course offers some sage advice on breaking the bonds of consumerism and fighting back against the status quo. And if that isn’t part of a well-rounded college education then what is? [Alfred]
     
  2. Finding Dates Worth Keeping: Students who find themselves constantly falling in love (or just in bed) with Mr. or Mrs. Wrong can take this course to learn to make better dating decisions. [University of Sioux Falls]
     
  3. Field Equipment Operation: It might have a fancy title, but this class gets down and dirty with teaching students how to drive a tractor. [UC Davis]
     
  4. Getting Dressed: While many students wouldn’t have made it to college without some idea of how to get dressed in the morning, this class takes it one step further and takes a look at what it really means to wear those Uggs or backwards baseball cap. [Princeton]
     
  5. Biblical Model for Home and Family: Here you’ll find a female-only course that will make all but the most traditional women bristle. With lessons on how to properly serve your husband and bake cookies, it’s useful, no doubt–but the lack of a male counterpart course is questionable. [Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary]
     
  6. Furniture Making: While you might already feel like you know how to build furniture after a few intense Ikea assemblies, this course will teach you more in-depth ways of building just about anything around the home. [MIT]
     
  7. How to Learn (Almost) Anything: While it might seem odd to take a course on how to learn from the rest of your courses, this practical class from MIT asks students to use technology and tools to stretch their minds. [MIT]
     

Miscellaneous

These courses touch on a wide range of interesting, if not always normal, subject matter.

  1. Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism: Recent news reports tell that most students today don’t even know what year 9/11 happened. With the memory of terrorism in the distant past (or so it seems) this course seems more and more relevant as anger fades and the American public grows tired of conflict. [Swarthmore College]
     
  2. Stupidity: What better topic to rail against at college than stupidity? This course examines it at depth from literary, social and philosophical perspectives. [Occidental]
     
  3. Daylighting: No, this course doesn’t refer to the opposite of moonlighting, it is designed to help students learn to better light things with, what else, the sun. [MIT]