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Culture > News

Kean University Offers a ‘Death Class’

Kean University, a public university in New Jersey, offers a “death class” in which students visit both convicted murderers and dead bodies in the morgue.

This Death in Perspective course, taught by nurse and professor Dr. Norma Bowe, is the most popular class at the university with a three-year waiting list. Students take field trips to funeral homes, cemeteries, hospices and prisons, and even view a live autopsy. Homework assignments include writing goodbye letters to dead loved ones, bucket lists, and their  own wills and eulogies. 

“If we can respect death as inevitable, instead of ignoring it for as long as we can before the health problems set in, we can live with a renewed sense of passion and wonder,” says Bowe. “The world around us can be a truly amazing place.” 

The course gained national attention when journalist Erika Hayasaki read a student newspaper article about Death in Perspective and began sitting in on classes. She wrote a front-page article about Bowe’s class for the LA Times and published a book called The Death Class: A True Story About Life, which details her experience with the course and the students she met there over the years.

According to Hayasaki, there are thousands of death classes all over the U.S., including a philosophy course at Yale University simply called Death

To find out about other bizarre college classes, check out this article about the coolest majors you didn’t even know existed and this article about a Miley Cyrus class! Needless to say, Death in Perspective is one of the craziest college classes we’ve ever heard of. Who says college classes have to be boring?

Kelsey is a junior at The Ohio State University where she majors in Journalism. She serves as an Editorial Intern and Contributing Writer for Her Campus, and also writes for U lala. Her hobbies include loitering in cafés, watching '80s movies, and obsessing over British boys with perfect hair. After graduation, Kelsey hopes to work for a fashion magazine or lifestyle publication. You can follow Kelsey on Twitter (@kelseypomeroy) and Instagram (@kelseypomeroy).