Heading to an institution of higher learning? Well, there’s no better place to get your full nerd on than in those hallowed halls. But it’s not all circuit boards or coding — these five classes pull from geek culture to offer unusual academic offerings to anyone lucky enough to attend.
5 Offbeat College Courses For Geeks
Introduction to Videogame Studies
Think this will be a walk in the park? Well, remember that this is M.I. (frackin’) T., not Ed’s House of College Classes, so you’ll be required to research, write, and present, just like with any other offering at this illustrious institution. But yes, playing games is a key part of the coursework, so get your Death Adder mouse ready.
Philosophy and Star Trek
It’s not Starfleet Academy, but Georgetown University is making it so, as watching episodes from the long-running franchise will be essential for this class. Pupils will go where only some have gone before, as they compare aspects of the Roddenberry universe to renowned philosophical works.
Science: From Superheroes to Global Warming
UC Irvine‘s Physics and Astronomy course develops those analytical muscles to separate myth from scientific fact. On the hot seat are Spidey senses, Wonder Woman’s invisible jet (and how it could actually work), and the physics of being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, versus real-world issues like global warming. Unfortunately, this summer course is winding down at this point, but if you’re interested, try again next summer.
How To Watch TV
I did a double-take at this one, but despite the title, Montclair State University has loftier aspirations here: The class combines media theory and criticism with media education to explore the personal and cultural impact of television. So just know the homework will be a little more than simply busting out your snuggy, popcorn, and remote.
Battle Lines: Graphic Novels and War
This offering from Reed College is an introduction to the graphic novel that focuses on war as a theme, particularly depictions, narratives and critical issues. Students then pick a war story and design their own graphic novel projects using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
Bonus: 3 More Crazy Courses, Just Because
Zombies in Popular Media
It’s all about zombies — the monster variety, not the cocktail — at this Columbia class. Students dive into the undead via literature, film, and comics, to explore the history of zombies in pop culture. A must for any “The Walking Dead” fans matriculating here.
Preparing for Deathly Hallows, Augustana College
Not to leave out the pre-college kids, this Augustana College course is for high school students only. It takes a close look at Deathly Hallows, particularly Snape and Dumbledore, as well as how this installment fits into the previous six books. And, teases the course description, students will “have a chance to discover their Patronus and perhaps even play a little Quidditch.” There’s also no shortage of academic analysis for the 18 and over set either, with Yale University, Bridgewater State College, Meredith College, Georgetown University, Arizona State University and Kansas State University all offering Potteresque curriculum as well.
Serious Research Mode: Critical Approaches to Buffy (and Stuff)
There are many, many schools that have offered courses focused on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a much-loved 1997-2003 TV show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Among those with classes in “Buffy Studies” — yes, it’s an actual academic discipline — the University of Washington offers “‘Serious Research Mode’: Critical Approaches to Buffy (and Stuff),” so students can get with the book learning.