10 of the Weirdest College Classes

Student, iSchool High

Jan   2016



Normally, when we think of long hours spent in a college lecture, one word comes to mind: boring. But for students who take the following classes, that is definitely not the case! (Before you get too excited about enrolling in these quirky classes, keep in mind that they may or may not still be offered!)


School: The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California
Can we stop for a selfie? In this class students hold discussions and individual interviews as they “critically examine society’s influence on self-identity and how selfies reflect and affect the global culture in which we live.”

Circus Arts

School: Triton College in River Grove, Illinois
This continuing education class offers instructions in various circus acts such as Perch Pole, Clowns, and Russian Swing, just to name a few. Also, for the past 25 years it has been producing the Triton Trouper Circus.

How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity

School: Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio
This class studies the history of beauty pageants and analyzes how race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality factor into a pageant. Although students do not participate in an actual beauty pageant, they visit one in Ohio

Elvish as a Second Language

School: University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin
Taught by the leading expert in “Sindarin,” the official term for the fictional Elvish language developed by J.R.R Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings, this class is pretty much like any other language course, teaching students how to speak and write in a new language.

Maple Syrup: The Real Thing

School: Alfred University in Alfred, New York
“This class will explore the history of maple syrup production, discover the ins and outs of making syrup, create (and eat) some sweet confections, and take field trips to local producers, restaurants and festivals. No prior experience expected.” Sign. Us. Up.

Topics of Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling

School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Where did wrestling come from? Why do people like watching it and doing it so much? Is it a sport or a spectacle? What does it say about masculinity? This class answers these questions and more.

Tightwaddery, or The Good Life on a Dollar a Day

School: Alfred University in Alfred, New York
They say money can’t buy you happiness—but living frugally just might—and that’s what this class is all about, from uncovering how corporations try to convince people that they need to buy more stuff to cost-cutting and budgeting tips. However, “the course is less concerned with cutting coupons than with the question Socrates asked long ago: What is the good life for a human being?”

The Art of Walking

School: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky
No, this class isn’t about how to put one foot in front of the other. In this class students read works of philosophers before setting out on walking tours—up to 25 miles!—through nature and educational sites. It has also been taught off campus in France and Germany as part of the school’s study abroad program.

The Sociology of Miley Cyrus

School: Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York
This class studies Miley Cyrus, from her rise as a Disney star through her adolescence and finally to her career now. However, the class isn’t just a Miley fan club; it covers broader topics such as race, class, entertainment, fame, and gender in culture, using Miley and her life as a frame of reference.

Wasting Time on the Internet

School: University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities—clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing—were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature? Using our laptops and a Wi-Fi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media, and listservs.” (Why waste time writing something new?)

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About Leah Pierre

I love to read and write! (I also have an unhealthy obsession with TV shows . . . ) When I'm not reading, writing, or watching TV, I'm spending time with my friends and family.