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The 9 Craziest Cinematic College Courses

Lucasfilm Ltd. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Kids these days.

D.J., cue up that cringe-worthy Vitamin C song because it's graduation time again! Right now hundreds of thousands of 22-year-olds are currently being degreed up and sent off into the real world ... job market issues and excessive student loan interest rates notwithstanding, of course.

Thing is, class, this isn't your grandpa's Bachelor of Arts program anymore. Nowadays even the most esteemed colleges are catering their coursework offerings — in title, if nothing else — to pique the interest of their student pools.

Oh, you don't want that fifteenth Psych 101 session to get cut? Well give it some pizzazz already, teach!

Lo and behold, the movie world has been an academic boon in making that happen, and now students are traipsing across the stage with some pretty bizarre classes on their transcripts ... including these nine, very strange film-related ones. Consider us jeal of anyone who actually, like, legitimately for real got credit for these, the lucky little buggers.

9. 'Star Wars': A Complete Saga? — Univ. of N. Carolina, Wilmington

If you want to get real nerdy-derdy about the "Star Wars" film series, then Master Yoda Instructor Mika Elovaara is your man. His Graduate Liberal Studies 592 course investigates the whole "galaxy far, far away" and promises to straight up school you on all-things George Lucas ... and how the six movies are just a fragment of the "Complete Saga" that is the spacey franchise.

8. Science From Superheroes to Global Warming — Univ. of California, Irvine

Before signing up for this course, Professor Michael Dennin asks, "Have you ever wondered if Superman could really fly? What was Spider-Man's spidey sense? How did Wonder Woman's invisible jet work?" U.C. Irvine's Physics 21 course really wants to bridge the gap between the current comic-centric film revolution and what's going on with the more boring stuff in science like, say, global warming. Marvel-ous idea, we must say.

Warner Bros. Warner Bros.

7. What if Harry Potter is Real? — Appalachian State Univ.

Oh em gee, can you even imagine? Potterheads among us can only dream of a visit to Hogwarts right now, but what if Platform 9 3/4 was a real thing? And what if witches and wizards really were duking it out in-between our two alternating realities, thusly deciding the fate of the entire muggle world once and for all? App. State's potions and dark arts-themed first-year seminar class draws from the "Harry Potter" series in evaluating issues like race, gender and penning scholarly essays. You know, it'd be a lot easier to crank out that term paper if they went ahead and gave students some of those neat-o magic quills, too.

6. Philosophy and 'Star Trek' — Georgetown

What does it mean to live long and prosper, we wonder? Seriously, in her Philosophy 180 class, Professor Linda Wetzel utilized the "Star Trek" series as way of slinging some knowledge on metaphysics and epistemology. So, basically, a little "I greet therefore I am" action, we're guessing? For three credits at Georgetown University (!!), students explored matters like "Could we go back and kill our grandmothers?" and "Is Data a person?"

 

5. American Superheroes: Power, Politics and Morality — Tufts University

In another instance making good on the Caped Crusader's relevance, Professor Matthew Pustz (author of "Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers") dares to explore another aspect of all this rampant "Iron Man" kid-costuming and what not. "What does the new-found popularity of superhero narratives tell us about American society at the beginning of the 21st century?" he wonders in the experimental one-credit course. It's a good question, and if we were up in Boston right about now, we'd be signing up for this bad boy instead of writing about it.

4. Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond — Univ. of Texas, Austin

But of course there are students who wanna be able to recite sweet nothings to their, uh, Manti T'eo-esque girlfriends in Klingon. And U.T.'s Linguistics 312 class is here to serve ... sort of. While it's not an out-and-out instructional course on the odd "Star Trek" language, it does use the alien tongue as a vessel for exploring the history of Earthly languages.

Universal Universal

3. Biology of 'Jurassic Park' — Hood College

This might be a case of bait-and-switchery, but if it's not, boy are the students of Hood College's Biology 110 section in for a "Jurassic Park"-sized thrill. No, they won't soon find themselves elbow-deep in dino droppings or comparing the velociraptor's little bark to the bedroom noises of tortoises, but they might just learn a little something or other about the sciences and behaviors of the long-dead creatures, much like Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler did on their little island trek. Two questions remain unanswered: Will they try to hatch a raptor egg as the final exam and is there a field trip to Universal Orlando's River Adventure involved?

2. Breaking the Rules: An Intellectual Discussion of 'Fight Club' — Oberlin College

The first rule of "Fight Club" is ... well, you know, and just like the course title suggests, instructor Elizabeth Campbell is totally willing to bend it in order to make use of Chuck Palahniuk's bloody masterpiece. Brought to you by the same school which offers classwork on "The Office" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," this Experimental College 467 business dares to "dissect" the satirical work and, gasp, compare the book to its resulting film.

1. Goldberg's Canon: Makin' Whoopi — Bates College

There's a lot to learn about Whoopi Goldberg and not just the fact that her birth name was Caryn Elaine Johnson (as one might suspect, her stage name comes from, yes, the whoopee cushion). Her life and career can serve to teach lessons on all kinds of things, like winning the coveted "EGOT" and life in communist East Germany. So, Bates College has offered up a rhetoric symposium on all things Whoopi Goldberg, with sessions like "What Part of Whoopi Is You?" and "Lesbian Whoopi and the AIDS Lie."

 

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