(Lighter fare while I’m bogged down with a grant application.)

Today I learnt that former Miss Canada finalist, Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy, has been awarded the world’s first Master’s degree in Beatle-ology. Actually it’s a more formal ‘Beatles, Popular Music and Society’ degree, which every newspaper on the planet will no doubt send up.

So, readers, what’s the weirdest degree courses you know of?*

Here’s a just few, to get you started.

How about The Phallus? It’s as straight-forward a course title as you ask for. This from Occidental College in California.

It’s a serious course, naturally, but can you imagine telling the date you just got an A in The Phallus?

The full list of Occidental College’s Critical Theory and Social Justice courses includes Stupidity.

And I thought that was something students did naturally.

Here’s the final two sentences of the course description, out of context:

Stupidity, which has been evicted from the philosophical premises and dumbed down by psychometric psychology, has returned in the postmodern discourse against Nation, Self, and Truth and makes itself felt in political life ranging from the presidency to Beavis and Butthead. This course examines stupidity.

Queen’s University Belfast offers an open learning course in Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way.

press release describes the course as teaching ’the real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks, and examines the wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood and fascism.’

There’s been a small outbreak of science fiction here on sciblogs. Star Trek fans could try Georgetown’s PHIL-180: Philosophy and Star Trek.**

Among the questions the course asks of students is ‘Could we go back in time and kill our grandmothers?’

Offer your favourites in the comments.


I’m torn between the weirdest course and the funniest title, so go for them both.

* Serious readers would point out that these are an exercise in what we might call The IgNobel Problem. The titles might look daft to an outsider at first brush, but a little thought suggests that there’s a decent line of inquiry there. But that’d spoil the fun.

** Before anyone asks, I’m not against Star Trek, but I’m not a fan of it either. No, I’m not fence-sitting. It’s just something that has never caught on with me.

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