Paying Students Take These Bizarre College Courses

Ever find yourself wondering what kind of wacky classes colleges offer? Well, it turns out that some universities around the world have courses that are anything but ordinary.

13 Weird College Courses

smart young student

From courses dedicated to the study of beauty pageants to the cultivation of cannabis, these bizarre classes cover topics that you won’t usually find in undergrad textbooks.

Here’s a look at some of the weird college courses available to students in the 21st century.

Elvish  University of Wisconsin

shutterstock 1190782210
Luca Lorenzelli//Shutterstock

At the University of Wisconsin, you can expand your language skills by learning Elvish. It’s a fictional language taken from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and is based on a range of existing languages such as Finnish, Greek, and Latin. It will certainly add an interesting twist to your résumé!

The Art Of Selfies City Lit, London

shutterstock 1385214845

Flash or no flash? How to achieve the Kim K pose? Taking quality selfies has been made easy thanks to City Lit in London. The college offered an incredible course entitled ‘The Art of Self Portraiture.’

The month-long class combines lectures, presentations, and practice sessions focused on perfecting self-portraits. To get the most out of it, students are expected to have a basic knowledge of photography and come with their own SLR cameras.

Sociology of Miley Cyrus Skidmore College

shutterstock 1312687247
Kathy Hutchins//Shutterstock

Sociology students at Skidmore College can learn about the media’s obsession with Miley Cyrus through a special topics course. Entitled ‘The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media,’ the class examines how Miley’s public image has changed over time by looking at her transformation from Disney star to twerking machine and evaluating it through the lenses of race, class, gender, and feminism.

Sociology of Miley Cyrus Skidmore College

Miley Cyrus

Professor Carolyn Chernoff told ABC News that this is different from other similar courses on female pop stars and bodies as it takes into account the implications of race in how we view white celebrities.

The course offers an interesting way for students to understand how Miley’s influence on pop culture has been both positive and negative.

Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes and Human Behavior – Michigan State University

shutterstock 458784850

At Michigan State University, students can take a unique course on human behavior during catastrophic events. ‘Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes and Human Behavior’ is a seven-week summer course where students will be divided into groups and tasked with how to survive a zombie pandemic.

Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes and Human Behavior – Michigan State University

zombie apocalypse

Throughout the course, they will learn about other catastrophes, such as the Black Death and meteor strikes, and how they impacted the planet. The simulation aspect of the course is meant to get students thinking on their feet and coming up with solutions to survive in an apocalyptic world.

By the end of it, students will have a better understanding of human behavior during these types of events. It’s one way to get some extra credit and also gain an understanding of how people can survive during times of extreme panic.

Pizza Hut Apprenticeship – Manchester Metropolitan University

shutterstock 1709540761

Manchester Metropolitan University and Pizza Hut joined forces to offer an apprenticeship program that could make anyone’s dreams of becoming a pizza connoisseur come true. The course was open to 1,500 students over 5 years and focused on developing skills related to financial analysis and food production.

Pizza Hut Apprenticeship – Manchester Metropolitan University

cheese pizza

During the course, participants could gain academic knowledge combined with practical experience and even work at Pizza Hut locations. So now you can say that you majored in pizza when asked what your degree is in!

The goal of this apprenticeship program is to not just equip students with skills related to working in a restaurant but also give them the knowledge needed for life experiences. It’s the perfect way for pizza fans to enhance their skills and indulge in their favorite food.

Harry Potter and Religion Duke University

shutterstock 1656261391

At Duke University, students can take an incredible course that dives into the religious debate surrounding Harry Potter. ‘Harry Potter and Religion’ is a course where students will explore how some conservative Protestants perceive the Potter books in comparison to those who claim they are actually Christian messages.

Harry Potter and Religion Duke University

Tero Vesalainen//Shutterstock

Throughout the course, students will learn about the history of thought related to magic and religion, as well as examine the blurred boundaries between faith and science.

The course is designed to get students thinking critically and questioning what truly makes something magical or religious.

By the end of it, students will have a better understanding of enchantments in all three categories: magic, religion, and science. That’s one way to explore the power behind both faith and fantasy!

How to Win a Beauty Pageant  Oberlin College

shutterstock 1128766559

At Oberlin College, students are offered a course that challenges traditional core subjects: “How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity.”

This class takes an in-depth look at US beauty pageants from the 1920s up until now. It involves learning about cultural studies methodologies such as close reading, cultural history, and ethnography so that students can better understand the changing identity of the US. The professor even takes the class on a field trip to Ohio for a pageant!

How to Win a Beauty Pageant  Oberlin College

beauty pageant

While you likely won’t be taught how to strut or which color dress makes your eyes pop, this course does delve deep into interplays of race, gender, class, and nation.

Japanese Swordsmanship – The George Washington University

shutterstock 2036744138

At The George Washington University, students can take the exhilarating course ‘Japanese Swordsmanship.

In this class, students will learn about Kendo – the traditional Japanese martial art of fencing. With these training regimens, they can feel like a hero defending their kingdom or saving a distressed princess!

Shakespeare to RuPaul: Drag in Entertainment University of Central Florida

shutterstock 2022561614

At the University of Central Florida, students have access to an enlightening course focused on drag performance. The course is aimed at breaking stereotypes about performers in drag.

Not only does it explore the rich history of the art form, but it also brings in guest lectures from people with a vast array of experiences to share with the class. The guest lectures range from original Broadway actors, night club entertainers, and even one of the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race!

Shakespeare to RuPaul: Drag in Entertainment University of Central Florida

drag performer

This course allows students to gain a better understanding of the triumphs and challenges faced by drag performers in addition to the social structures that have shaped their culture throughout history. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about something that often doesn’t get much attention.

Medicinal Plant Chemistry Northern Michigan University

shutterstock 1992936227

At Northern Michigan University, students can pursue an intriguing course in the booming medicinal plant industry. This four-year program is designed to give aspiring entrepreneurs or technical personnel a leg up in this rapidly growing field.

They’ll learn all about cannabis cultivation and processing, as well as gain insight into the legalities of medicinal plants nationwide. With this degree, skilled students can make a name for themselves in the cannabis, herbal extract, and natural product industries. So it’s no wonder this program has become such a popular choice!

The Evolution of Taylor Swift New York University

shutterstock 118702642
Featureflash Photo Agency//Shutterstock

At New York University’s Clive Davis Institute, students had the unique opportunity to study Taylor Swift. Led by Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos, the class examines various aspects of Taylor’s career— from her transition from country to pop music and songwriting to the politics of race playing out in contemporary popular music.

The course has a long waitlist of eager students! It was definitely an exciting chance to get an inside look at one of today’s most successful pop stars.

The Art of Walking  Center College, Kentucky

shutterstock 519567250

At Centre College, Professor Keffer offers an unusual class that focuses on the importance of walking and its ability to provide a reprieve from boredom. It aims to teach students about intention and consciousness by combining reading intellectual topics with long walks.

A student will explore different people, ideas, and ways of thinking while also learning to enjoy the simplicity of walking as an activity. Professor Keffer believes that if you can be content and make peace with moments of boredom in life, then “you’ve made it.”

Wasting Time On The Internet University Of Pennsylvania

shutterstock 794929120

Students at the University of Pennsylvania had the opportunity to take a class called “Wasting Time On The Internet” in 2015, which offered English major credit.

Essentially, this unusual course required students to spend three hours staring into their screens and only interacting through chat rooms, social media, and listservs. Activities like clicking, texting, and aimless surfing were encouraged.

Wasting Time On The Internet University Of Pennsylvania

social media likes

The course also delves into affect theory, ASMR, situationism, and other topics in order to understand how people use their free time on the internet.

In short, this class proved that you could actually learn something from spending hours online!

Read More: The Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated

woman teacher picturing something

Teachers have seen it all. So we asked them: what was the worst thing they had ever confiscated from a student?

Their answers would be enough to put you off the teaching career for life.

Read Now: The 20 Worst Things Teachers Have Confiscated From Students

Read More: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

teen relationship

To a child, parents’ rules and restrictions may seem arbitrary and controlling. While the occasional rule might be strict, hindsight usually reveals that—more often than not—a parent’s intuition was right.

Read Now: She Didn’t Want Her Son To Sleep At His Girlfriend’s Because “Something Felt Very Off”— And She Was Right

Read More: Dad Let His Son Take “Toy” To Show and Tell, Not Knowing What It Really Was

father and son playing

When Mom’s away, Dad and son will play.

Read More: Dad Let His Son Take “Toy” To Show and Tell, Not Knowing What It Really Was

Read More: Teaching or Chatting?

smart student

Did you know that up to 45% of all Americans have a side gig? Do you?

We found probably one of the most enjoyable, rewarding ways to earn money by teaching (chatting) with those who want to learn English online. Log in any time you want, 24/7, and get paid weekly for the hours you put in.

Learn More: Cambly 2023 Review, Requirements & Pay For Tutors (Beginner Friendly)

Read More: The Time I Ruined My High School Teacher’s Career and Got Her Fired in the Greatest Way Possible

teacher scolding student

A story about a high school student who was mistreated by his teacher and got her fired.

Read Now: The Time I Ruined My High School Teacher’s Career and Got Her Fired in the Greatest Way Possible.


shutterstock 2071252046

These are just a few of the weird and wonderful courses offered at universities across the world. From drag performance to wasting time on the internet, it’s amazing what kind of topics you can learn about. Who knows what fascinating subjects will be explored in the future?  ​

This article Weird College Courses That Actually Exist was produced by TPR Teaching. Some of these courses may be discontinued.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments