Some students find attending college a bore. They take classes like algebra, English, anthropology, and economics, but fail to see how those courses relate to everyday life. To combat this blasé attitude, colleges are beginning to offer students courses that provide them with required course material through pop culture references. While these courses engage and excite the students, many might find them extremely strange. Below are a few examples of some of the strangest college courses you’ve never heard of before.
- Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular "Logic" on TV Judge Shows This course is offered through the prestigious University of California, Berkeley. An undergraduate elective in the university’s Rhetoric Department, this class examines the use of logical and illogical arguments used in popular television judge programs. For example, many litigants often provide the judges with "a fortiori" arguments, which neither confirm nor deny questions. This seminar is not a review of law or legal reasoning, and should not be taken if students are solely interested in the application of law or court proceedings. Students that would most enjoy this course would be interested in popular culture, American television, logic and persuasion. Required reading for this course includes Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Through by David Hackett Fischer.
- The Science of Harry Potter Frostburg State University offers this course where students will examine the magical occurrences of the widely popular children’s book series and attempt to explain them using scientific reasoning. For example, students will explore antigravity research to explain flying brooms, or genetics to prove the possibility of a three headed dog. Required reading for the course includes The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works by science writer Roger Highfield.
- The Strategy of Starcraft Students who take this class at the University of California, Berkeley will explore how war is waged inside this popular videogame, as well as theoretical strategies and computational aspects. Those interested in this class should have previous experience with Calculus and Differential Equations.
- Philosophy and Star Trek This undergraduate philosophy course offered at Georgetown University combines watching Star Trek episodes with conversing about and reading works by great philosophers, in an effort to introduce students to basic metaphysical and epistemological issues. Students will be asked to consider the possibility of time travel, the nature of time, whether people have free will, and other similar questions.
- The Joy of Garbage: Exploring the Cycle of Waste The curriculum of this environmental studies course offered at Santa Clara University follows the paths all waste takes when humans throw things "away," from burning, decomposition, landfills, treatments, recycling, reusing, dumping and shipping. This course builds on chemical and biological principles to explore how organic and inorganic matter is disposed of, while also exploring more sustainable solutions to meet the growing waste management needs of the planet.
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