Thursday, 5 July 2012

Top Weird Courses

Weird University Courses 
Wild Writing (MA) at the University of Essex
We were rather taken with the idea of Wild Writing. We thought it’d probably involve leaping through forests and glens, inscribing words on trees, etching characters onto blades of grass, and tearing off our clothes in the joyous abandonment that wild writing brings.
Unfortunately, University of Essex’s website has put an end to our fantasies: the MA is a “unique combination of science and humanities, focusing on writing about the environment.” Better put that bark pencil away then.
Poultry Production (BA) at the Scottish Agricultural College, Ayr
The Scottish Agricultural College is the only higher education institution to offer a poultry-related honours degree. That’s right, a degree in chickens. This can be topped off with a master’s in Applied Poultry Science. So you can master in chickens too. Of course, it’s far more complex than this and tied into our British poultry farming industry. But still, we do wish the Scottish Agricultural College had just called the degree “chickens”.
Tribotechnology (MRes) at the University of Central Lancashire
Despite sounding more like a short-lived fashion trend (“tribotechnology is so Spring/Summer 2012 darling”), according to UCLAN’s website tribotechnology is “the science of the mechanisms of friction, lubrication, and wear of interacting surfaces that are in relative motion.” A bit like fashion then.
Meat Inspection (Certificate) at Leeds City College
“I don’t know about you, but that chicken breast is looking a bit peaky.”
Pain (MSc) at King’s College London
Unfortunately, King’s College London’s master’s in Pain doesn’t cater for lovers of emo music. Instead, it deals with the very serious scientific study of pain and its debilitating effects. Still, there’s something rather cool about putting “MSc in Pain” on your CV.
Food and Nutrition and Music (BA) at Bath Spa University
You think the nutrition and music wouldn’t really be related, but then again Britain does have a vegetable orchestra, featuring pipes whittled out of carrots and wind instruments constructed out of cucumbers and red peppers.
Global Hollywood (MA) at the University of Nottingham
According to the University of Nottingham, the MA “poses two essential questions: ‘What is Hollywood?’ and ‘Where is Hollywood?’” We’re sensing that answering “film industry” and “it’s located in Los Angeles” won’t get you very high marks.
Laser Micromachining and Laboratory-on-a-Chip (MPhil) at Bangor University
Yes, we did only include this because we’re immaturely imagining a miniature laboratory carved from the fluffy potato insides of a chip, like a Dalton Ghetti pencil sculpture.
Holistic Management and Natural Horsemanship (University Certificate) at Reaseheath College
We don’t quite know what to say… 
If you’re looking for truly bizarre courses, then you might want to venture overseas…
If you think those courses are unusual, you might want to take a look at what’s on offer across the pond. For starters, at Georgetown University you can take a course in Philosophy and Star Trek.
Politicizing Beyonce
We can think of many people who'd happily watch Beyonce and her bootilicious moves for free - let alone get credits for it. But her sultry videos and lyrics now carry the potential of academic prowess thanks to New Jersey's Rutgers University and its "Politicizing Beyonce" course.
Not quite as easy is it first seems, students must compare Beyonce to the work of authors/activists Alice Walker and Sojourner Truth. Still, any excuse to watch Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) on re-loop...
Simpsons and Philosophy
Touted as a "fairly rigorous" course, this two-unit class at the prestiguous University of California at Berkeley examines the hit cartoon series through the eyes of Nietzsche, Plato and more - asking weighty questions such as what does Homer's infamous D'oh utterance really say about his existential self? Is Marge's volumous hair life-affirming or a symbol of the degradation of society? Or so we imagine...
David Beckham
This 12-week module at Staffordshire University was offered as part of the BA in Sports, Media and Culture, and included heavyweight topics such as Beck's ever-evolving hairstyles, the state of his marriage to Posh and his status "as the object of a great many fantasies." That's certainly one text book we'd enjoy leafing through.
Zombie studies
We enjoy a good zombie movie as much as the next person, but if you really have a thing for animated corpses, head to the University of Baltimore where a dedicated course allows students to "get ready for a zombie apocalypse" by writing horror scripts, watching zombie flicks and drawing storyboards of their ideal monster movies. Gold star for the killer idea.
Fat Studies
The term 'chewing the fat' takes on a whole new meaning with this course offered by George Washington University in the US. The class examines concepts of fatness and obesity through the realm of film, literature, anthropology and history, throwing the "cultural baggage" of overweight people firmly into the spotlight.
Arguing With Judge Judy
If you find yourself screaming at the TV at the sheer injustice of Judge Judy and the like, it's time to enrol at the University of California, where Arguing With Judge Judy: Popular 'Logic' On TV Shows will allow a channel for your frustrations. The course picks apart popular logical fallacies on reality TV shows, examining why the small-screen audiences decide on the concepts of social justice that they do. Sadly, it hasn't got as far as Jeremy Kyle yet but where there's life, there's hope.
Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame
In no small boast to the star's ego, Lady Gaga has been awarded her very own degree course at the University of South Carolina. Run by what sounds suspiciously like a Gaga groupie masquerading as a college tutor (Professor Mathieu Deflem has been to see the singer in concert 30 times), the unit gets students to "engage in sound and substantiated scholarly thinking" on Gaga's meteoric rise to fame. Then they all dance in the lecture theater aisles to her greatest hits (or so we like to think).
Harry Potter and The Age Of Illusion
If you're a muggle who wants to be a wizard, prepare for a disappointment. The Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion module, available as part of the BA in Education Studies at Durham University, doesn't teach spells and Quidditch - instead the series of 22 lectures and 11 seminars looks at how JK Rowling's novels reflect prejudice and citizenship in modern society. Not quite as thrilling as Hogwart's, but a good excuse to re-visit the books.
Underwater Basket Weaving
Contrary to what the name suggests, you don't need a diver's license to enrol on this module. Offered at a range of universities in the US, including the Reed College of Portland and the University of California, it involves crafting baskets by dipping them in water and letting them soak. Recently, the term 'underwater basket weaving' has come into usage to refer to a course that's deemed to be worthless - which we're sure holders of the qualification appreciate.

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