We all know that besides friends, parties, guys, and having a good time, college is supposed to be about “higher education”. As underclassmen, we sit through basic intro classes like Psychology, Calculus, Economics, and Writing. But not all classes are that bland. Yes, most schools offer some variation of “Rocks for Jocks” or “Human Sexuality”, but read on for a list of the crazy, the strange, and the downright ridiculous courses offered at the schools of Her Campus writers!
Cornell University, “Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds”
“Students enrolled in this course will get a light but substantive introduction to the world of the fungi. You will learn about the Fungi and their roles in nature and in shaping past and present civilizations. Emphasis will be on the historical and practical significance of fungi as decayers of organic matter, as pathogens of plants and animals, as food and as sources of mind-altering chemicals.”
Amanda First says: “It's literally a semester-long introduction to 'shrooms.
Carnegie Mellon University, “Martin Scorsese and His Films”
“[This class] will explore the amazing diversity in this excellent film director's output. The course will emphasize the psychological and moral issues raised in his films. And the course will focus on his camera techniques, his use of sound and music, and other remarkable innovative elements. With each film, Scorsese seems to re-invent himself, expanding the dimensions of film art.”
Harvard University, “Dogs and How We Know Them”
“Examines the history of dogs and how we conceptualized (wo)man's best friend over time. Topics include the origins of dogs and the nature of domestication, breeding and dog breeds, mad dogs and rabies, learning theories and training methods, unwanted dogs and the humane movement, dogs as veterinary patients, dogs as experimental systems, dog emotion and social behavior, working and companion dogs, dogs as symbols, dog genomics.”
Cornell University, “Stardom”
“From heavenly creatures to tabloid trash, this course will explore stardom in cinema, television, and new media. Framed by approaches from semiotics, psychoanalysis, economics, and cultural studies, we will examine histories and theories of stars and star systems, investigating the importance of aesthetic strategies (from three-point lighting to the close-up), technological innovations (from sound to high-definition), industrial formations (from United Artists to SAG), the mass media (from studio publications to online tabloids), and fandom (from autograph auctions to fan fiction). We will discuss Hollywood stardom in tandem with both other national star systems and the transnational circulation of stars. An emphasis on the importance of race and sexuality in the production and reception of stardom will guide our inquiries.”
Wesleyan University, “Myth, Magic, and Movies”
“We will explore how the mythic is made and what purposes myth and magic serve in modern culture. Guided by classic psychoanalytic works and more modern texts, we will seek to understand both the conscious and unconscious power of myths. We will explore heroic and anti heroic narratives, all with an eye to uncovering the ideological uses of fantasy in post modern capitalism. Novels by J. K. Rowling, Alice Walker, and Ralph Ellison will be read. Films will include The Color Purple and the Harry Potter series.”
Marisa Stotter says: “Basically, you get academic credit for reading Harry Potter. Could anything be better?!”
Harvard University, “Astronomy 2: Celestial Navigation”
“Never be lost again! Find your way on sea, land, or air by employing celestial and terrestrial techniques. Acquire expertise in using navigators' tools (sextant, compass, and charts) while learning the steps to the celestial dance of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. This 107-year-old course continues to rely on practical skills and collaborative problem-solving, while utilizing historical artifacts (instruments, maps, captains' logs) and student-built devices.”
Stephanie Kaplan says: “Because clearly we still need to find our way using compasses...”