Mathematics, law, engineering, Tupac? There’s a huge array of non-traditional university courses popping up around the world, and today we’re looking at some of the strangest. Maybe in the future there’ll even be a class analysing the merits of these strange classes! Let us know your own favourites down in the comments.
Where? The University of Edinburgh (Online)
The Koestler Parapsychology Unit, based in Scotland’s capital, offer this non-accredited course to absolutely anyone interested (with a discount for members of the Parapsychological Association). The syllabus promises to explore documented paranormal experiences, critical thinking and the methodology of ghost-hunting. Sadly it also explicitly states that the course WON’T teach you how to read minds or communicate with the deceased. Looks like they’re missing a trick there!
Game Theory with Application in Starcraft
Where? UC Berkeley
This student-run (and officially recognised) course at one of the US’ most prestigious universities garnered much attention during its short life, and for good reason. The recognition of video games as a legitimate artistic medium worthy of study reflects the increasing acceptance of gaming within wider society; simultaneously, students were also rewarded for staring at their computer screens. A number of the lectures were recorded and YouTubed for posterity: take a look here for ninety minutes of fascination (or boredom, depending on your disposition).
College of Martial Arts / College of Sports Science
Where? Yong In University
This former judo school (complete with an overwhelmingly beautiful campus surrounded by South Korean mountains) has stayed true to its roots, continuing to offer courses within departments such as the Department of Taekwondo Instructor Training, the Department of Oriental Martial Arts and, strangely, the Department of Golf – the only sport-specific course offered. Wonderfully, there is also the option to study Senior Welfare, ensuring the care of the older generations!
Where? Occidental College
One of America’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Los Angeles-based Occidental attracted a lot of attention (almost entirely critical) for offering, however briefly, this self-consciously phallocentric course. It was seized upon as an example of the continued ‘liberalisation’ of academia, and decried as representing a new focus on ‘race, class and gender’, most notably in this rather terrible article from the LA Times. One look at the reading list shows that beyond its provocative name, there’s really very little difference between The Phallus and pretty much any contemporary arts degree. Except, y’know, more phallusy.
Everything offered at Oberlin ExCo
Where? Oberlin College
A special mention to the Experimental College, a student-run organisation that offers less traditional curricular activities taught by tutors, local experts and pupils alike. The Fall 2013 program offers courses as diverse as When Hairy Met Sally: Hair, Self and Society, Chinese Tea, Calvin and Hobbes and The Walking Dead, but our particular favourite sadly no longer seems to be offered: Nuthin’ but a G Thang, a study of the cultural influence and impact of hip-hop, perfectly complemented by the simultaneous Introduction to Turntablism.