9 College Courses That Are Worth Going Back to School For
Why is it that every single class in college feels exactly the same? You sit in a big lecture hall, trying not to doze off as your professor rambles on about some boring Greek mythology that “shaped modern literature as we know it.” Too bad you’re gonna forget everything she said the second you leave for winter break. What you wouldn’t give to take a class you’re actually interested in, something about television or music or (and we’re just throwing this out there) vampires. Well, universities are getting more inventive by the year when it comes to their course catalogs. We rounded up nine classes being offered this semester that will make former students want to re-enroll and current students want to transfer. The best part, almost all of them count for credit.
History of Rock
This class is basically what Jack Black’s character in School of Rock dreamed of -- except it’s totally, 100% real. Pupils in this Colgate course focus on the classic rock era of the 1950s to 1970s; not only do you listen to music the entire time, but you analyze it, think critically about its effect on culture and society, and probably discover some new favorite songs. In the words of noted scholars AC/DC: “For those about to rock, we salute you.”
If only the hobby you had as a child -- the one that caused all your scraped knees and bruised elbows -- could earn you college credit. Well, your eight-year-old self’s dreams have come true. While physical education courses are known for being more laid-back, this one will have you (literally) hanging with your friends. In Cornell’s tree climbing course, instructors teach how to assess whether or not a tree is safe to climb, line placement, ascending and descending, and moving around in the canopy. Students learn about different tree species in the area (the course is taught three times per semester in Ithaca, New York, and once a year in Costa Rica), and there’s even a “tree overnight” -- heck yeah, you get to sleep in a tree! (Not recommended for sleepwalkers.)
You probably already started studying for this course. You were probably studying last night before you went to sleep, and this morning while you were on line grabbing a coffee before class. You might have even tagged a friend in a funny… homework assignment? This class -- offered by Oberlin’s Experimental College department -- analyzes the history and components of memes and how they’re integrated into society and our daily lives. You already spend all of your time in class giggling at memes on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, why not rack up some credits in the process?
Intro to Pet Apparel and Lifestyle Product Design
Fashion Institute of Technology
Our fluffy pals deserve the absolute best. And we should be able to give it to them. In this course, students create mood boards, develop sketches, and learn animal body forms so they can design clothing and accessory items for man’s best friend. If you’re dreaming of a glittery raincoat with an avocado pattern for your dog Guac and it’s not on the market, make it yourself. The class (which is noncredit, but can be applied toward an FIT certificate) will arm you with the skills you need to do so, and provide you with a portfolio to launch a career as the Alexander Wang of the pet apparel world. (Alexander Wag? No? I’ll see myself out…)
UFOs in American Society
Since the world will forever debate whether or not alien lifeforms exist, you should probably get credit for all those late-night YouTube trips down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. This course examines American society’s fascination with UFOs and how different groups (the military, the scientific community, cults, Hollywood, and others) react to the possibility of their existence. And let’s not forget the infamous 1947 Roswell UFO crash, when the US Army allegedly captured a fallen flying saucer and its alien occupants in New Mexico. The government claimed at the time that it was a merely weather balloon (and later, a military surveillance balloon), but tons of skeptics still don’t buy it. Take the class and help debunk the myth.
Pirates -- Real and Imagined
University of Pennsylvania
Don’t you just hate those literature classes with all the boring, never-ending reading assignments? Too bad you don’t get to read about swashbuckling pirates or something. OH, WAIT. At UPenn, you totally do. This course is all pirates, all the time: pirates in maritime, in English lit, in the 18th century; as well as their conflicting identities as national heroes and enemies of the state. You’ll even learn about daredevil female pirates who infiltrated the male-dominated world. The course will also look at why these figures have captivated moviegoers for centuries -- perhaps finally explaining how the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has grossed nearly $4.5 billion worldwide.
Vampires in Literature and Film
The good news: All those hours you spent watching (and rewatching) the Twilight films are about to come in handy. The bad news: Taylor Lautner still hasn’t answered any of your fan letters. (We’re so sorry. Keep writing!) But, seriously, if you’re into vampires (and it seems like the whole world is, given the amount of films made and books written about them), then this class is sure to pique your interest. In it, students examine what has made these fanged foes (well, sometimes just misunderstood friends) a cultural phenomenon, from the 18th century through the present.
Comics and Culture
San Francisco State University
Remember when you were a kid and your mom yelled at you to stop reading X-Men and do your homework? In this class, reading comic books is the homework. The course, part of San Francisco State University’s new minor in comics studies, and taught by award-winning graphic novelist Nick Sousanis (Unflattening), studies the source material for all those superhero movies racking up billions at the box office. Students learn the different forms of comics, how they compare across cultures, and how to thoughtfully analyze them. You’ll never watch Green Lantern the same way again.
University of Texas
This class gives merit to the secret language you and your siblings communicated in so your parents wouldn’t be able to understand you. (Side note: could you even understand you?) Students in this University of Texas course learn all about invented languages (such as Klingon, Elvish, and Ewokese) and how they relate to society as a whole. Think about it: Even the most common languages like Spanish and English had to come from somewhere. So maybe those Sims are actually trying to tell us something.