• Sat, Oct 5 - 10:30 am ET

12 Real College Courses On Pop Culture That You Wish You Were Taking

Matilda Reading

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Long gone are the days when you could only look forward to a post-high school life of stupid math and stupid history papers and other things that I might also describe as stupid. Because, now, once you get to that alcohol palace that we call the American higher education system, you can study the stuff you really care about: pop culture. I’m not kidding, there are real college courses with actual syllabi held in non-imaginary classrooms focused on things like trashy TV and celebrities.

Because I didn’t believe that this was a true thing until about an hour ago, I thought that I’d be there for you like a good neighbor and make you a list of all of the crazy courses you could take. They’re there, on your course lists, just waiting for you to pick them at the beginning of your next semester! Here are 12 of them that you should start textbook shopping for like right away because I feel like classes like this get snatched up pretty quickly. And, if you’ve already graduate college, just sit there and wonder why you never had this much fun in class when the opportunity was right there.

1. Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America

Mad Men Peggy Olson Work and Drink

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School: Northwestern University

This seems like a wonderful idea for a course, but it almost feels like a themed wedding; like, sure, come watch us do this important thing but also don’t forget your your clown wig and tap shoes! But, in this case, you mustn’t forget your corset and extra tissues for when Don Draper sends you to the bathroom crying. And I don’t want anyone to tell me that it’s doubtful that everyone is required to come to every class in costume because I don’t want to hear it.

2. Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

Lady Gaga Pop Culture Art

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School: University of South Carolina

It’s important to realize that the sociology comes second here, everyone. First and foremost, we celebrate our autonomy, confidence and poker faces. Actually, for homework every night, your assignment is to find new ways to freak people out more than the last time. If you fail, Mother Monster weeps. So don’t fail.

3. Surviving The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead Merle Zombie Car

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School: Michigan State University

This freaking class, man. It does NOT study words and theories so don’t you start thinking anything like that, you silly gosling. It gets straight to the point and teaches your how to survive what is bound to happen. The Zombie Apocalypse isn’t just on the horizon, it’s coming and you need to be prepared, friend.

4. Battling Against Voldemort

Harry Potter Lord Voldemort Scar

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School: Swarthmore College

There are tons of Harry Potter-themed classes all over the place because, apparently, school administrations have no shame in being Potterheads. My favorite thing about this class is that it’s the closest thing to a real-life version of a Defense Against the Dark Arts class that we’ve got. You know, in case there’s a real Voldemort after a real Harry somewhere. Maybe…Harry Styles? I don’t know, he should watch his dreamy back, just in case.

5. Because Dave Chappelle Said So

Dave Chappelle Dancing With Godzilla

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School: Vassar University

This class is actually an African studies class, cloaked beneath the impression of being a class where you watch and rate Dave Chappelle stand-up bits. Vassar University somehow decided that Dave’s comedy was the best way to teach this kind of thing, which is weird and hilarious but probably also very effective and interesting.

6. Learning from YouTube

Rachel Bilson Computer

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School: Pitzer College

This class requires its students to do everything via YouTube — get assignments, hand in assignments, not pay attention in class, you name it. I said that last one because you can’t tell me that students don’t accidentally find themselves watching tutorials on how to peel paint with mayonnaise instead of working 9/10 of the time. You can try to tell me that, but you can also talk to the hand.

7. The Science of Superheroes

Henry Cavill Superman Fire

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School: University of California at Irvine

If you like science, like fictional things, and, most of all, like to try to figure out how those fictional things work with your science magic, then this class was probably created by you. I’m making fun of it in my head for over-thinking fantasy movies and characters, but I’d probably be pretty interested in someone showing me how Superman’s hair stays so nice all of the time. Or, you know, whatever else they learn in this class.

8. Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi

Whoopi Goldberg Kiss My Butt

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School: Bates College

This class is basically watching Whoopi Goldberg movies and getting college credit for doing that. Plus 9,000 points for the name because that made my day.

9. Arguing With Judge Judy

Judge Judy Dumb Is Forever

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School: University of California Berkeley 

In this class that I can’t believe someone invented, students discuss the bad arguing tactics of the guests on Judge Judy. Can we just appreciate how I already do this on Saturday afternoons while eating Lucky Charms without milk and wondering where my pants are? I didn’t know that someone would be willing to grade me on this. Doesn’t matter, though, I’m an A+ cereal eating TV watcher.

10. Sociology of Hip Hop: Jay-Z

Jay Z Rapping Picasso Baby

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School: Georgetown University

Ahh, another college somehow finding a way to design a sociology class around a musician. Were they paid directly by Jay Z/The Illuminati to spread his message of corruption and power to the youths? That’s what the voices are telling me!

11. Cyberporn and Society

Joseph Gordon Levitt Don Jon Awards For Porn

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School: SUNY Buffalo

Don Jon made it clear to us that porn is certainly a large part of society and this school located in the great home state of Anthony Weiner, is making it even more so. Also, don’t think you’re completing this course without watching some porn for research purposes, because you’re not. You’re going to watch some sex videos and you’re going to like it. And if that’s not enough, you can tune into Masters of Sex for a little more sextertainment.

12. God, Sex, Chocolate: Desire and the Spiritual Path

Spongebob Chocolate Skeleton Lady

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School: University of California San Diego

I just want to take a few seconds to let this course name marinate a little. Then, when that’s done, you can let the fact that it’s about exploring what guides and motivates people marinate, because the three options are God, sex, and chocolate. How did they know that everything that I do is in the name of chocolate???

Those were just 12 of my favorites, but, since I know that there are at least 13 classes going on in the world right now, I’m sure there are some that I haven’t even heard of. Please enlighten me because I have an appointment with my college advisor coming up and I need to ask her if my school has any of these.

You can reach this post's author, Olivia Wilson, on twitter.
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  • Ria

    It pains me to think of all the hours I spent in my youth trying to perfect my cursive writing and now, the only time I use it is for my weekly grocery shopping list. Maybe these classes would have offered me more!

    • Olivia Wilson

      I’m writing a letter to school boards all over as I type this.