University. The epitome of higher education. Once known for their rigid and refined cultures, North American universities and colleges are beginning to shed this image by offering a multitude of interesting, and in some cases hilarious, courses. To promote the recent facelift of these institutions, we’ve made a list of our favourite courses offered by schools in Canada and the United States:
“Brewing Science: The History, Culture and Science of Beer” – University of King’s College: “This “special topics” class takes a selective interdisciplinary approach to the study of the relation between brewing history, science and “the modern”.”
“Poker 101” – University of Ottawa: This course provides students with an introduction to elementary probability theory, game theory, and the mathematical underpinning of games of chance, by applying the theories to various poker games.
“The Art of the Clown-Doctor” – Brock University: A course that helps students learn the practice of clown-doctoring (dressing up as a clown and going into healthcare environments).
“Rap Linguistics” – University of Calgary: Using the linguist’s approach to analyzing language, students look deeper into the music of rappers like Eminem, Jay-Z, and Kanye West, and also learn the evolution of hip hop language and its impact on the western world.
“History of Video Games and Interactive Media” – University of Victoria: “This course looks back at not only influential games and designers, evolving genres and technological innovations but also studies the integration of sound, visual art, narrative and interactive game play.”
“Fantasy Literature: Harry Potter” – Ohio State University: A course focused on the story of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and provides students with an understanding of the literary techniques and cultural influences of the books.
“Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond” – The University of Texas at Austin: Although the course does not actually teach students to speak Klingon and other sci-fi languages, it uses the idea of invented languages as a way of discussing current ideas regarding linguistic theory.
“The Science of Superheroes” – University of California, Irvine: This course spices up physics by teaching students various physics principles using the fictitious world of superheroes.
“Zombies in Popular Media” – Columbia University: In this class, students examine the growing presence of zombies in pop culture, as well as their influence on voodoo in Haiti and Hollywood films.
“Elvis as Anthology” – The University of Iowa: If you love everything Elvis, this course is for you! Focusing on the King of Rock n’ Roll’s relationship to African-American history, social change, aesthetics, his musical inspirations, and artists he’s inspired, this course provides students with a 360 degree view of Elvis Presley’s influence on culture as a whole.
Hopefully, after reading through the variety of unconventional courses available at North American universities, you can spread the word that “school is cool” to all of your friends and acquaintances.