10 Coolest Courses at Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University public research university located in the gorgeous state of Georgia in the US. With it’s more than 100 different degree programs and world-class researchers and professors, students can be sure to find some amazing and unique classes to quench their thirst for knowledge. For everyone who wants to explore something new, gain a new skill or hobby, or just take a fun and easy course, here are 10 of the coolest courses at GSU.

1. ANTH 3130 – Fire, Stone, Hide and Bone

An atlatl is a spear-throwing tool that increases the velocity of a dart. Many early civilizations invented sophisticated hunting tools such as the atlatl, contrary to the belief that early humans were more primitive.

In the modern world, the latest and greatest inventions are considered the newest iPhone, the new video game with life-like graphics, or the new robot-vacuum that’s weirdly human. But in ancient times, our ancestors crafted the basics with fire and stone, hide and bone. This class will cover ancient inventions that have propelled humanity to the modern age. From the discovery and maintenance of fire, the tanning of animal hides for clothing, and the use of bones, stones, and wood to make unique hunting tools that are still mechanistic marvels, the “cavemen” of the past were more like Steve Jobs than we might realize.

2. ART 1536 – Animation I

The zoetrope, a device that emulated animation by rotating images on a cylinder quickly enough to trick the eye into thinking it was a moving object, was invented in 1834.

Animation has existed for centuries – from the earliest flipbooks and zoetropes that tricked the eye into seeing the figures on the page dance and move around, to the marvels of modern motion capture and digital animation. For students who dream of working at Disney or following in the steps of Youtube creators like theodd1sout, ART 1536 gives you an introduction to this amazing art form, covering basic 2D concepts, stop-motion, and the use of sound in animation.

3. ART 2230 – Ceramics: Introduction

picture of person in a pottery class, making a ceramic creation

For the artist who prefers to work more directly with their hands, ART 2230 gives students a great understanding of pottery-making and ceramics. An art form that goes back to the earliest human civilizations, ceramics can be a fun hobby, new skill, or the beginning of an artisan career. In this introductory course, students are introduced to clay-shaping techniques, wheel throwing, and firing.

4. CRJU 3160 – Corporate Crime

An example of high-power crime is the recent college admissions scandal, where wealthy parents bribed crooked Ivy League college officials into admitting their exceedingly underqualified children.

White collar crime is a term that’s thrown around quite often in the media, and it seems that every year, another billionaire is thrown in jail for defrauding a broken system. CRJU 3160 explores the laws, enforcement, causes, and devastating outcomes that white collar and corporate criminals have on their victims. For anyone who can’t get enough of the American Greed re-runs on television or listens to a bit too many true-crime podcasts, this class was made for you.

5. ENGL 3150 – Mythology

Picture looking a bit different than Marvel's re-imagining, Thor is the Norse god of thunder and the son of Odin.

While modern pop culture may have you believe that Thor is an alien from a distant other-dimensional planet, and Nike is just the name of a shoe company, these names and characters have ancient roots. In ENGL 3150, you’ll learn about the plethora of godly figures and epic stories that humans all over the world worshipped and regaled to each other. In addition, you’ll start realizing how much of ancient mythology we still reference daily. Legends truly never die.

6. ENGL 5030 – Television Theory and Criticism

What were the social implications of Ross and Rachel getting together? And WHY did they get back together?!

Though this class isn’t necessarily a good excuse to binge-watch the latest season of Stranger Things under the guise of “homework”, it does cover interesting topics relating to some of your favorite television shows. Students will critically analyze the genres, social implications, and historical significance of various iconic TV shows.

7. HIST 3532 – The Modern Middle East

The towering domed structures of the middle east are architectural marvels that date back centuries and are full of history.

It’s a buzzword we often hear in media – and not necessarily in a positive light. But how much of what we know about this tumultuous region is true, and how much is media spin and narrow understandings of a different culture. What political, cultural, and social causes set in motion the chain of events leading to today’s Middle East? In HIST 3532, students will explore the major events that have affected this region since World War 1 and lift the veil on some of the causes of modern conflict in the Middle East.

8. MUSC 1315 – Guitar Class Non-Major

Picture of a guy holding a guitar and playing while sting on a freen lawn

If you want to learn to play more than “Wonderwall” and actually impress at that summer campfire, MUSC 1315 is the class to take. This introductory guitar course is designed for students who aren’t music majors, but still teaches them the basics of guitar technique that can be expanded on individually. It’s a fun and relatively easy course to take for a lighter semester load.

9. PSYC 3095 – Drugs and Behavior

While many don't think of alcohol has a hard drug, it's been named the most dangerous drug globally, killing more people last year than opioids did.

Many people already know that drugs are bad (don’t let down your DARE officer, kids), but what exactly do they do to people? What parts of the brain do they stimulate or dampen, and how does that change a person’s behavior, and even gradually cause them to become addicted? In PSYC3095, students will undertake a scientific exploration of these questions from a biological and sociological lens. After taking this class, maybe you’ll think twice before picking up that vodka martini next Friday night.

10. FILM 2200 – Introduction to Cinema

Screengrab of the movie The Shape of Water with a woman kissing the creature

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly that peach was all about in Call Me By Your Name, or asked yourself what the purpose of that slimy fish monster bathtub scene in The Shape of Water was, then don’t worry – you’re in good company. Fortunately, FILM 2200 offers students a chance to explore and dissect these films and try to reach an answer, so say goodbye to those countless nights you spent awake, pondering the symbolism of the ending of Fight Club.

10 Coolest Courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology

If you’re at FIT, chances, are you know exactly (or, approximately) what you want your career trajectory in life to be. Still, many students want to explore or try something new in college, whether it be picking up a new hobby or craft, learning an interesting new subject, or exploring their own passion from a different perspective. For anyone looking for a fun new challenge, here are 10 of the coolest courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

1. TY 313 — Soft Toy and Doll Design

Many soft toys are manufactured overseas in factories such as this one.

If the thought of Chucky coming to life didn’t scare you that much and Toy Story’s strange world of anthropomorphic toys seemed exciting, then FIT’s toy design program may be just the right place for you. TY 313 goes over the basics of toy design, with a specific focus on stuffed animals and toys, as well as dolls. Just hope your creations don’t come to life with a vengeance.

2. PL 431 — Philosophy: Ethics

Picture of a balance with the word ethics on it.

Life often throws choices at us – blue shirt or red dress? Chai latte or vanilla frappe? – those are easy decisions. Occasionally, though, and especially in the world of business, we are faced with a more ethically challenging and ambiguous decision. PL 431 goes over the philosophical literature concerning ethics and ethical decision making and even brings up real-life examples of ambiguous ethics for students to puzzle through.

3. SS 202 — Bollywood and the Making of India

Poster for a revolutionary Bollywood film, Ek Ladki ko Dekha toh aisa laga looks at the complex issues of gender roles, following your passion, and LGBTQ rights.

Through the rise of global and more cross-cultural media, people from all over the world are being exposed to the unique TV shows, movies, and music of many different cultures – from anime and Kpop to One Direction and Bollywood. Bollywood, and the Hindi film industry, has not only revolutionized media in India, but it has also changed cultural practices and views through the nation, often portraying more “western” ideas of love, sex, and fashion. Students in this course will explore how Bollywood has changed and shaped the modern societies of India.

4. SS 309 — Tattoos and Body Modification: Social Stigma and Acceptance

Picture of man's back covered in tattoos. In many Polynesian cultures, these beautiful and intricate designs carry great social and cultural  significance.

Before it was a rite of passage for drunk college students who got their two-month boyfriend’s name inked permanently on their bodies, tattoos and body modifications were often linked to major social practices in many cultures around the world. For example, in many Polynesian cultures, tattoo designs signified social hierarchy, with priests and warriors often bearing intricate designs that showcased their respected status. Students taking this class will get a more in-depth understanding of the cross-cultural meanings of tattoos and gain an appreciation for the ancient art of body modification.

5. FR 132 — French in Paris

Picture of the beautiful and historic city, Paris is the capital of France, and often considered the City of Love and Light.

What’s cooler than learning the language of love in the city of love? In FR 132, students will undergo a truly immersive study of the French language in the capital city of France. Known for its beautiful Gothic and Renaissance architectural landmarks, amazing historical art museums, and mouthwatering food, Paris is sure to be a city you’ll fall in love with.

6. CL 131 — Fashion in France and Italy

Picture of a model walking on the runway.

Often considered pinnacles of style in high fashion, French and Italian designers battle it out on the runway annually at world-famous fashion shows. Another chance to hop across the pond, CL 131 takes students to the iconic European fashion capitals of France and Italy. From Paris to Milan, you’ll gain firsthand experience in the industry of fashion, exploring haute couture shops and establishments, fabric mills, design studios, and museums.

7. HI 207 — Hollywood: A History

This 1964 James Bond movie was part of a movement of "Red Scare Cinema", which played a part in engendering fear about Russian espionage at the height of the Cold War.

Hollywood has had an undeniably integral place in American culture. Iconic films – including Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and the Godfather – have stood the test of time, as many people still find them to be valuable pieces of art. On the flip side, students in this course will also explore how Hollywood perpetuated political and social norms and stereotypes. Why were so many of the baddies in 60s action flicks vaguely Eastern European (looking at you, James Bond)? Here’s a hint: The Cold War definitely had something to do with it.

8. MC 207 — Devouring the Screen: Food in Film

Picture of Da Vinci's famous painting, many filmmakers use scenes of characters "breaking bread" to pack their films with religious symbolism.

What’s better than a food scene in a good movie? You can practically taste the delectable delights the characters are eating (or, depending on the context, feel absolutely disgusted at the prospect of eating the same thing). In many movies, food is more than just food – clever filmmakers used it as a medium to symbolize things Hollywood wasn’t ready to take on, like sex, drugs, and rock and roll (okay, maybe not the last one). Students taking this course will explore how food is portrayed in different films, both from a domestic and global standpoint. Make sure to eat lunch before the lecture though!

9. MU 202 — Latin American and Caribbean Music

PIcture showring three women dancing to Caribbean music, which have both Latin and African influences.

The music of this region is just as rich and diverse as it’s plethora of different cultures. From bachata and bossa nova to samba and salsa, there are so many different styles of music, singing, and dance, and many have had unique influences on Western music. Jazz, R&B, and country music have all grown from Latin beats and African-inspired rhythms from the Caribbean and Latin America. Students in this course will have a chance to listen to all these styles of music and gain an appreciation for the cultural diversity of the region.

10. SC 149 — Chemistry for Cosmetics and Fragrances

PIcture of person in lab making perfume.

It takes hard scientific work to bottle up a scent, and many of the high-end perfumes sold in stores started out in test tubes at a laboratory. We often hear the phrase “don’t buy anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce”, but what chemicals are actually in our cosmetics and fragrances, and why are they there? In SC 149, students will be able to understand the chemistry behind cosmetics and perfumes, and learn the purpose behind many of the “unreadable” chemicals in these products. They’ll also be able to put their new knowledge to the test in the lab!

10 Coolest Courses at Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts college located in Olympia, Washington. Although most of the classes students are expected to take in college are in a major or degree track, it is extremely valuable to take a few electives that you are truly interested in, or that are just fun and easy. For any students looking for a bit of a break, here are 10 of the coolest courses at Evergreen State College.

1. 10011 – Audio Recording 1

Picture of person in studio at the audio booth, while recording and producing music

Audio production is the process of producing sound effects and music (including studio recordings and backing tracks), usually using electronic and digital means. Students taking this class will get an inside look as to how their favorite pop radio hits are made, and the sound engineers behind it all. For their final project, they’ll even get a chance to make their very own multi-step music project with their fellow classmates.

2. 10078 – Anthrozoology

Different types of animals

Why is it okay to eat a pig, but absolutely awful to eat a dog? What animals do we consider ripe for the slaughter, and which ones do we hold dear to our hearts and think of as our kin – and why does this happen? Anthrozoology seeks to explore these questions and understand the historical and current relationship between humans and different animal species. Students will partake in field trips and interviews to understand how animals are viewed in many different cultures.

3. 10033 – Broke: Poverty in the US Today

Picture of a protest, with signs that say Fight Poverty NOT the Poor.

An incredibly timely and important class, 10033 – Broke, offers students an in-depth understanding of the extreme wealth disparities present in the US, and which groups are disproportionately affected. In addition to statistics and sociological studies, students will also listen to artists who have dealt with poverty in the US and gain a more personal perspective on what it’s like to be broke.

4. 20103 – Ceramics: Foundational Skills

A person throwing on a ceramics wheel

For a fun new hobby that involves working with your hands and the hot burning fires of a kiln, look no further than Ceramics. This introductory course puts students in the studio and teaches them the basic forming processes and hand-building techniques needed for pottery-making. The best thing is that you can finally make your own dishware – no more trips to HomeGoods’ sale aisle!

5. 10142 – Clones and Mutants: Genetics and Photography

Digital illustration of  DNA in abstract background

10142 explores the themes of the individual and what constitutes an “individual”. In the new scientific era of genetic engineering and cloning, there are suddenly infinite possibilities to changing our own biology, and it can be harder to define who “we” truly are. This is a highly philosophical course – the kind that’ll make you stop and wonder “who am I? What is an individual? Do we even really exist?”. Your existential crises will definitely be fun at parties.

6. 10269 – Creative Writing: Short Fiction and Poetry

Picture of ink pen on a notebook with some cursive writing on the page.

For all the aspiring J.K. Rowlings and George R. R. Martins, this course is… probably not the one for you. But if you want to follow in the likes of Edgar Allen Poe’s horrific short stories or Lord Byron’s drawling romantic poetry, consider taking 10269. Students will be assigned various short writing and poetry assignments and be offered feedback on their work. At the end of the course, the class will host a community open mic to showcase their final projects.

7. 10092 – Farm to Table

Picture of a healthy spread of food, including a bunch of veggies, salt and pepper to taste.

Ever looked at that bottle of organic, locally-produced, farm-fresh, lactose-free, GMO-free, free-range, fat-free milk at your local Whole Foods and wonder what that glaringly obnoxious “Farm-to-table!” sticker truly meant? Wonder no more – 10092 will expose students to the realities of modern-day farming and food production, both through exploring the biology and anthropological history of agriculture and human-plant co-evolution and through field trips to local food banks and farms.

8. 10176 – Forests

Picture of a forest with light coming through and moss everywhere

Want to take your next biology course on the damp floor of the lush Pacific Northwest forests, surrounded by unique wildlife found nowhere else? 10176 is the perfect course for you! Through both lecture and field trips, students will explore the ecological, biological, chemical, and environmental aspects of the forests in Washington State, and will even partake in their own fieldwork in the Cascade Mountains.

9. 10263 – Island Ecology and Evolution

Empty hammock strung from palm trees overlooking a blue ocean on an idyllic tropical island

Maybe forest life just isn’t for you, but you still want an amazing ecological adventure to spice up your course list. 10263 has got your back with its exploration of the coastal Washington islands, which allows students to take field trips to multiple of these islands and partake in fieldwork. Students will look at the ecology and biodiversity of islands and how they can be protected from human impact.

10. 10200 – Madness and Creativity: The Psychological Link

Van Gogh's STARRY NIGHT painting

Why did Van Gogh cut off his ear? Why did Picasso find it funny to fire blanks from a revolver to random people he found distasteful? 10200 will explore the lives and mental states of many eccentric artists and explore these questions, along with a more fundamental one: Is there a psychological link between mental illness or psychological disturbance, and high levels of creativity? Students will learn from more than textbooks, using real-life art and media from the artists discussed in class.

10 Coolest Courses at Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University, located in Richmond, Kentucky, is a regional university that offers many courses of study in diverse fields to its students. For many students going to college, it can become easy to get caught up in the drudgery of required major courses and general education requirements. Thankfully, EKU offers these 10 incredibly cool courses for students who want to shake it up a bit and try something new!

1. ARH 467 – U.S. Architectural History I

Classical architecture influences are apparent in many D.C. buildings.

From the picturesque Victorian-style homes of the eastern seaboard to the classical Greek and Roman hallmarks of the government buildings in Washington D.C., the United States has a unique and diverse architectural history to be explored. In this class, students will study the specialties of American architecture from early colonization to the late 1900s, focusing on regional differences.

2. ART 100 – Drawing I

drawing of human eye

Most of us probably don’t consider ourselves to be outstanding artists, and it’s totally okay if your idea of a self-portrait involves an elaborate stick figure drawing. But for anyone who wants to boost their skills, Drawing 1 introduces students to basic principles and techniques of drawing.

3. ART 280 – Photography I

Picture of camera looking towards landscape

Want to take your Instagram posts to the next level? Or perhaps you want to start a small side-hustle taking prom pics? Either way, Photography 1 is the perfect course to jump start a new hobby (or even a new career!). Students will learn how basic cameras operate and how to alter the settings of a camera to take the best pictures. They will also learn the basic artistic elements of capturing photos.

4. PSY 308 – Abnormal Psychology

Picture of question mark in person's profile

Many people who has suffered with mental illness have historically been treated unfairly, often times viewed as criminals. Thankfully, the days of horrific sanitariums and asylums are mostly history, and new understandings of psychology and neurology help people understand the reasons for much of this “abnormal” behavior. Abnormal Psychology teaches students the biology, causes, and treatment of many mental disorders.

5. BIO 303 – Human Heredity and Society

Picture of a family tree cartoon

Why do certain families and bloodlines seem “cursed” with rare diseases? Where do strange “superpower” like genetic mutations pop up from? How does society become shaped through heredity and pedigree? These questions and more will be explored in BIO 303, where students will learn how the inheritance of human traits influence population trends and societies throughout time.

6. ANT 311 – Anthropology of Religion

PIcture of witchcraft stuff

From the larger religions of Islam or Christianity, to tribal folklore and witchcraft, religion is an integral component of many societies, both throughout history and currently. Students will explore how religion intersects with economic, political, and gender structures in global societies, and come away with a worldly knowledge of religious and spiritual beliefs.

7. ANT 391 – Marriage & Family Cross-Culturally

Collage of different royal people's wedding day

While Hallmark might make it easy to believe that romance, love, and, eventually, marriage, were all just natural parts of society and life, this is far from the case in many societies. ANT 391 explores how ideas of marriage and family differ between different cultures and societies, throughout history and currently, and how that change is reflected in their societies.

8. ADM 310 – Historical Costume and the Social Order

Picture of historical costumes

How you dress has always been a status symbol – whether it’s the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the stuffy royals of pre-revolutionary France, or Regina George and her plastics’ so in designer clothes. ADM 310 explores how fashion and clothing, from ancient Egypt to the 20th century, are influenced by the social and political order.

9. BIO 310 – Biology of Aging

picture of the evolution of aging from baby to senior

It’s happening to you right at this moment – your cells are dividing, your telomeres are shrinking, and… is that a wrinkle? Before you scream and run to your nearest Botox clinic, BIO 310 is here to remind us all that aging is a perfectly natural process that happens to everyone. Students will explore how different parts of their bodies are affected by the aging process, and even learn how their current actions may affect them decades down the line.

10. ART 270 – Ceramics I

picture of person spinning a vase with clay

If digital or paper arts just don’t do it for you, consider working with your hands and making some beautiful pottery – art that can be both functional and aesthetic. ART 270 allows students to gain an introduction to the ancient craft of ceramics. It’s a skill that may take time to perfect, but could lead to a great hobby.

10 Coolest Courses at Camden County College

Camden County College is a two-year community college situated in Blackwood, New Jersey. For many students, completing a two-year degree may seem more like an arduous chore and less like a fun pursuit of knowledge. Here are ten of the coolest courses at Camden County College to help break up the monotony!

1. PHO 226 – Digital Photography

Picture of digital camera pointed towards landscape while

Digital Photography can be a useful skill in the new Internet age. Want to spice up your Instagram profile? Or maybe take the best photographs during that summer road trip? Fear not – PHO 226 is the perfect class to boost those photography skills to the next level. Students will learn the basics of operating a digital camera, adjusting the settings, and doing basic computer alterations to the photos.

2. SPE 102 – Public Speaking

Picture of lady with ponytail speaking in microphone to a large crowd

It’s the number one fear for many people around the world for a reason – public speaking is excruciatingly hard. Unfortunately, most careers require some form of public speaking or client interaction, so knowing how to say things while sounding poised and confident is an absolute must. For a fun and engaging course that teaches this essential life skill, check out SPE 102. Students can practice their public speaking skills in a safe space, while also challenging themselves to try something new.

3. CGR 113 – Web Page Design

Picture of coding on computer screen

Ever surfed the web and wondered how it all came to be? Although beautiful and stunning web pages seem like a standard in our current Internet culture, go back to 1990s, and you’ll see some pretty frightful eyesores. Modern web page design is a lucrative and in-demand field, as companies want their websites to flow smoothly and appear eye-catching. CGR 113 can help students learn unique web page design and coding skills that can be both fun to apply and lead to potential career paths.

4. CGR 253 – Digital Illustration

Picture of the Mona Lisa painting

Move over pencil and paper: there’s a new artistic tool in town. Digital illustration has become a massive online market and career skill for many artists. New illustration tools like the Wacom drawing tablet and software like Paint SAI are all the rage, and while pencil and paper drawings still have great merits to them, most employers do expect artists to have this under their belt. The class is also fun for anyone who wishes to expand a drawing hobby to the new digital age!

5. MUS 230 – Audio Production

Picture of person using keyboards while on stage in front of crowd

From aspiring students gunning to become the next Marshmello (or maybe just a half-decent wedding DJ) to the weekend guitar player just planning to upload their tunes to Soundcloud, audio production is an extremely useful skill to learn. MUS 230 goes over basic mixing techniques, software and tools students can use, and how to create music and audio that sounds clean. It’s a great starter course for anyone interested in producing music and a fun challenge for the casual musician.

6. CGR 105 – Podcasting

Picture of two people speaking into microphones whille recording a podcast

If you love listening to the bizarre and moving stories on This American Life or entangling the true crime webs of Serial, you’re sure to love CGR 105. A credit course that teaches students the technicalities of creating and producing a podcast, this course is both fun for podcast junkies who want to see behind the curtain of their favorite form of entertainment and great career development for anyone who wants to work in radio and podcasting entertainment and news.

7. PSY 106 – Psychology of Adolescence

Picture of a question mark inside person's profile

There truly never was a creature more misunderstood than the American teenager – at least, that’s what all the grunge music, punk songs, and angsty teen movies and books will have you believe. However, a few brave psychologists (more like many, many psychologists throughout all of human history) have taken it upon themselves to dissect the complex emotions and experiences of teenagers all around the world. Psychology of Adolescence is an interesting class that offers new perspectives on adolescent culture, new challenges facing teenagers, and may even help you understand yourself better!

8. FNS 105 – Introduction to Nutrition

picture of a healthy meal, with veggies and a plate full of salad

Whether it’s keto, Atkins, vegan, or a god-awful Beach Body diet, many people these days look to the internet for dieting and nutrition advice, often trying to chase unrealistic body expectations in short time periods. This, however, should not discourage people from learning to take care of their bodies and living healthier lifestyles – that’s where FNS 105 comes in. This comprehensive course will cover the foundations of nutrition, fitness, and ways that students can lead a healthy lifestyle through diet.

9. PSY 104 – Abnormal Psychology

Picture of cartoon girl sitting with clourds and rain around her

While most psychology courses cover ‘healthy’ psychological principles – behaviors that many people exhibit normally and are considered not pathological, PSY 104 takes the opportunity to dive into mental illness and abnormal behavior. Taking sociological and biological perspective into account, PSY 104 gives students new understandings of traditionally ignored or stigmatized mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. This class is both interesting and extremely enlightening.

10. ASL 101 – American Sign Language I

Picture of person signing in ASL

Despite being a valuable skill that promotes inclusive communication between the Deaf and Hearing communities, ASL is not very widely known by hearing people. A unique language, ASL employs the hands and body to communicate, rather than sounds, and learning the language can be a rewarding experience that broadens your horizons and provides a challenge. Additionally, it can be a lifelong skill that will help make you an ally to the Deaf community.

10 Coolest Courses at Christopher Newport University

With a wide course selection in many different fields of study, Christopher Newport University is a public liberal arts university located in Newport News, Virginia. For CNU students looking for a challenging new course, a fun new hobby to explore, or a unique skill to attain, here are 10 of the coolest courses at Christopher Newport University.

1. BIOL 328 – Island Biology and Experimental Design

Undersea picture of a turtle swimming

Imagine getting college credit…for exploring an island paradise. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? BIOL 328 gives students the opportunity to learn about research methods and designing biological experiments, and then put that knowledge to the test. During a field trip to a private island in the Bahamas, students will be able to explore natural island biodiversity and conduct their own experiments in the field.

2. COMM 222 – Media, Culture, and Technology

PIcture of a phone screen with social media apps

Social Media is a relatively newer form of media, but it has deep sociological and cultural impacts. Whether you’re watching the news, listening to a podcast, or watching a Youtuber, media consumption is a daily and integral part of everyday life. However, there are many inconspicuous messages hidden in these mediums – a sort of cultural “second story” that can often be overlooked. COMM 222 looks at the serious social and cultural implications mass media has, and how consumers can be more aware of what they are watching and taking in.

3. ENGL 315 – Adolescent Literature

Picture of Katniss Everdeen, the teenage star of the acclaimed YA dystopian series, The Hunger Games.

From Twilight’s sparkling vampires to The Hunger Games’ frightening Battle-Royale-style reality TV show, Young Adult literature is a diverse and expansive genre, exploring themes that many adolescents and emerging adults resonate with. ENGL 315 explores the recent phenomenon of YA, and the themes of coming-to-age that many of these books are based around.

4. ENGL 373 – Myth, Legend, and Romance in Medieval Britain

PIcture of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, which are popular and timeless medieval legends that are still celebrated in modern film and literature.

For anyone who romanticized the dashing white knight, the dramatic jousting matches, and the expansive lush Arthurian-style kingdoms of the middle ages… this class may not be for you. But for those who want to learn the true social and cultural contexts behind these fantastical tales and heroic myths, ENGL 373 is the perfect class. Students will read legendary tales of medieval heroes, as well as the poetic romances of the time, collaborating on blog posts and literary essays with their fellow classmates.

5. FNAR 205 – Digital Photography

PIcture of digital camera zooming in on a landscape view to take a picture

Want to take your Instagram profile to the next level? Maybe you want to learn a new skill and even start a freelance business? Digital Photography has become a valuable skill in many fields with the advent of the internet – many content creators and consumers alike are looking for skilled photographers and editors. Students will learn how to operate a digital camera, adjust the settings, and lightly edit in post-production.

6. HIST 312 – Ancient Egypt

Picture of the Great Pyramids of Giza are iconic wonders of the world, built on the backs of slaves of the Ancient Egyptian empire.

If Brendan Fraser’s iconic Mummy movies have you shaking in your boots (with excitement about learning about Ancient Egypt instead of pure, unadulterated fear), HIST 312 is the class to take. Exploring the complex cultural, social, and political history of the ancient Egyptian civilization, as well as it’s interactions with other ancient civilizations, students will gain an in-depth understanding of Egypt. Just don’t use that knowledge to open any ancient cursed tombs…

7. HIST 382 – Disease and the Rise of Modern Medicine

Painting of a witch doctor, who were called on in the Dark Ages of Europe to "treat" Bubonic Plague patients - often doing more harm than good.

Disease has plagued humanity (no pun intended) from the dawn of time. During early ancient civilizations, myth and superstition grew around many maladies, but there was also very early scientific thought – such as the practice of smallpox inoculation in ancient India. HIST 382 outlines cultural and social understandings of disease from ancient civilization to the 21st century and will leave you in awe at the marvels of both early and modern science.

8. CLST 103 – The Ancient World in Film

Cartoon of Zeus, the god of the skies in Greek mythology.

If you’ve ever watched 300 and wondered how accurate it was, this class might be the perfect fit. CLST 103 looks at how contemporary cinema misappropriates ancient societies, cultures, and mythologies, focusing especially on ancient Greece and Rome. In any case, it’ll definitely be a good excuse to re-watch Disney’s Hercules.

9. PHIL 326 – WI: Philosophy in the Movies

Picture of a Star wars lightsaber fight between Darth Vader and Luke.

What are the philosophical underpinnings in the fight between good and evil in Star Wars?How does Luke’s journey in Star Wars parallel our own reality? What is the twisted moral compass that Voldemort follows in the Harry Potter movies? And WHY did Rose not let Jack share the door? All these questions (save maybe the last one) will be explored in PHIL 326, where students will explore themes of good vs. evil, justice, and our relationship to science and technology, in popular contemporary and historical film.

10. POLS 344 – The Presidency

Picture of Donald Trump's tweet

This political science course takes an in-depth look at the American presidency – it’s history, constitutional foundation, and how the understanding of a US president has changed over the last nearly-250 years. Students will leave with a greater understanding of the cultural and social context of the Executive Office. On the flipside, it may not answer the single deep philosophical question we all have on our minds: what does covfefe mean?

10 Coolest Classes at Barry University

It’s easy to get bogged down in college – between the long-trodden path to a degree, dozens of seemingly pointless general education requirements, and the looming future of finding a job and starting a career…it can get stressful. Sometimes, the remedy can be a class that’s actually fun and interesting to re-ignite the flame of learning in a student. For anyone looking to branch out and try something new, here are ten of the coolest classes to take at Barry University.

1. BIO 307 – Biology of Crime

Most forensic investigations now rely on science and technology.

Ever wanted to learn how the investigators in CSI and NCIS solved crimes using biological and genetic information? Thanks to advances in modern technology and biological sciences, forensic investigations can take advantage of the unique genetic footprints criminals leave to positively identify them. Methods like blood typing, DNA fingerprinting, and blood splatter analysis can be essential in forensic science. Students in this course can learn how these methods work, as well as apply them practically in the laboratory.

2. BIO 323 – Tropical Marine Ecosystems

There are many amazing creatures that inhabit the marine ecosystems around Florida.

Itching to get off campus and onto the beautiful Florida coast? A class that requires students to truly dive deep (pun intended) into the learning process, BIO 323 allows students to explore tropical marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, swamps, and rocky beaches, firsthand through diving and snorkeling. This will definitely hook students in.

3. COM 349 – Social Media and Identity

A screen on a phone with social media mobile applications

From MySpace and Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat, the advent of the internet and social media has changed the face of modern communication and global relations. COM 349 takes a critical academic look at the ethical, cultural, and social impacts and variables that govern this sphere. In an increasingly digitally connected age, this class is extremely timely.

4. ENG 333 – Introduction to Fiction Writing

Fantastical worlds and creatures are one type of element employed in fiction writing.

Ever wanted to be the next Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, or George R. R. Martin? If so, then ENG 33 is the class to take. Students will study fictional models, novels, and complete writing exercises to hone their craft. The course also challenges aspiring writers to write and revise original fiction, compiling a writing portfolio at the end of the semester.

5. TH 441 – Contemporary Theatre

Picture of Hamilton, an American Broadway show that has become a pop culture phenomenon.

For all the Hamil-stans and Broadway buffs out there, in depth analyses of Shakespeare’s greatest hits may not be enough. For a fresher take on this ancient craft, TH 441 covers modern twentieth and twenty-first century plays and theatre productions – Rent, Les Miserables, West Side Story, and more, all take center stage. Move over, Hamlet.

6. PHO 206 – Digital Photography I

PIcture of a camera taking a landscape picture

Want to take your Instagram game to the next level? Designed for non-majors, PHO 206 aims to get the layperson familiar with the tools and craft of digital photography. Students will be able to operate a digital camera, alter shutter-speeds and apertures, and do basic computer editing. Sit back and watch that follower count soar!

7. MUS 180 – University Chorale

Group picture of a choir singing

Choral music can be breathtakingly beautiful; students can also benefit from the team spirit found in many choirs. For students who like to sing and want a fun class to practice their hobby and be among like-minded students and community members, MUS 180 is the perfect course. Everyone is welcome – no audition necessary, just a passion for vocal performance and the enthusiasm to learn and work together in a team.

8. TH 155 – Acting I: Fundamentals I

Picture of the theatre masks in front of a red curtain with spotlight on them

Acting is an ancient art; it was practiced the ancient Greeks, who wrote popular comedies and tragedies. Whether it’s on the shining stage of Broadway or the silver screens of Hollywood, acting is a craft that many have made a lucrative professional career out of, and entertained millions of people with. For every aspiring Leo DiCaprio or Audrey Hepburn, TH 155 is a great place to start. A performance-based course, students will be able to practice various techniques and receive crucial feedback on their acting.

9.DAN 119 – Latin Dance I

picture of latin dancers on stage.

Latin Dance is a beautiful art that exposes students to a new culture and allows them to learn a new skill. Dance is an extremely important cultural and social art form, originating in the earliest human societies and becoming an aspect of nearly all global societies. The cultures of Latin America are home to many beautiful dances, such as salsa, merengue, and cha-cha. Students will be able to the basic steps to these dances, practice with partners, and understand the social and cultural contexts of these dances.

10. HIS 352 – Politics and Music

Historical painting of men playing music on a warfield

True story: American soldiers taunted the defeated British with a loud band playing Yankee Doodle – originally a British tune that mocked American patriots. Did rock music inspire nation-wide protests in the US? Did the US militia band really burst into Yankee Doodle to taunt the freshly-surrendered British Army at the end of the American Revolution (the answer is yes, and it was absolutely glorious)? These essential questions and more will be answered in HIS 352, where music is explored as a cornerstone of political commentary on issues like war, race and gender equality, and economic justice.

10 Coolest Courses at Santa Monica College

Between long essays, tear-jerking midterms, and strict professors, getting a degree can be a grueling process. Often times, students are left tired and burned out from the plethora of difficult classes they need to take. With all this in mind, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of education: to widen your horizons and find new passions. For anyone needing a bit of a break from the grind, here are 10 of the coolest courses to take at Santa Monica College.

1. ANTHRO 22 – Magic, Religion, and Witchcraft

Witchcraft has a long global history.

For anyone who spent too much time waiting for their letter from Hogwarts or watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch reruns, the business of Magic and Witchcraft is serious. This class will cover global religions and ideas of spirituality, including understandings of folk magic and witchcraft in a cross-cultural context. Just don’t take this knowledge to Salem…

2. ASTRON 5 – Life in the Universe

How life forms on Earth and it's potential on other planets are questions this course will explore.

Ever wanted to know if extraterrestrials truly roamed the far corners of the universe? Spent every Sunday morning wishing Star Trek was real? Although this class may not give any definite answers to those large questions, it does cover the chemical and biological building blocks of life on Earth and other planets, as well as the search for life on other planets, such as Mars.

3. BIOL 46G – Natural History and Marine Biology of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has many amazing creatures to learn about.

Imagine exploring a beautiful tropical paradise…and getting college credit for it! BIOL 46G takes students straight to the source to explore and learn about Costa Rica’s rainforest ecosystem and the plethora of wildlife that call it home. For anyone who is ready for an adventure, BIOL 46G is the perfect class (Who knows, maybe you’ll find some ancient treasure along the way)!

4. COM ST 12 – Persuasion

Persuading an audience is an essential skill for many careers

Ever wonder how great leaders and terrifying dictators alike managed to sway an audience to their favor? Want to learn to use their techniques (for good, hopefully)? COM ST 12 covers rhetorical techniques in persuasive speaking, a topic that has been explored since early Ancient Greece (As long as parties have existed, there’s been an annoyed teenager trying to convince their parents to let them go). Students will learn how to balance logic, emotion, and credibility to form a strong argument.

5. CS 6 – Virtual Worlds and Game Programming

The virtual world of Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto 5 is vibrantly created by skilled programmers.

Ever played GTA 5 and wondered just how the creators got Los Santos to look so detailed and expansive? Marvel at how the realistic combat in the latest Uncharted was programmed? CS 6 will answer these questions, and more, as well as teach students how to make their own fantastical and immersive 3D worlds and begin programming games.

6. DANCE 19 – Ballroom Dance

Ballroom dance has been a part of many different cultures and societies, often viewed as a social skill.

This is a skill that’s sure to impress, especially at formal events. Ballroom dance covers different types of social dance styles that have been both historically and currently popular, such as swing, tango, and and waltz. That awkward side-step shuffle will only work for so long, so take a leap (or dainty step) and enroll in this course!

7. ENGL 61 – Introduction to the Fairy Tale

Fantastical worlds and creatures, exist in many cultures and have been re-purposed in current mass media.

Every watch a Disney movie and wonder where the original inspiration came from? The answer might be surprising – before the Grimm brothers, who collected many folk tales from their country, many fairy tales had much more sinister and dark plot lines. This class explores the themes and purposes behind historical fairy tales, as well as the new transformations they’ve undergone in modern cinema and literature.

8. HIST 53 – The History of Religion

Religion and spirituality has been integral in many societies.

Religions of all different types have had a major impact on the current state of human civilization. Many great empires and nations were build on religious ideas and philosophies, and even in an age of science, many people are spiritual or culturally religious. This course goes over the historical origins and impacts of major global religions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as various tribal religions.

9. KIN PE 51A – Beginning Surfing

Surfing is a fun and adventurous activity, and many SoCal youth live by it!

Some people say there’s no better place to catch a wave than the sunny beaches of Southern California (although I suspect that other coastal dwellers might have a bone to pick with that). Either way, there’s no better time to pick up a board and take up this fun athletic hobby (AND get college credit for it)!

10. KIN PE 34A – Karate

Karate is a versatile and inclusive art

Although it won’t get you to the martial arts skill level of Keanu Reeves in the Matrix (and definitely not Jackie Chan), karate is a fun and stimulating martial arts form that promotes mental, spiritual, and physical strength. Students who are excited to learn some new skills and challenge themselves will love this class!

Next time that 10 page essay is looming or those five midterms have got you down, remind yourself to check out some of these interesting courses! Maybe you’ll find a new passion!

Top 10 Coolest Classes at Cal State Sacramento

Let’s face it: college can be boring and difficult, and sometimes it can even get overwhelming. In between all the hard science courses, the annoying gen eds, and the required degree classes, sometimes…college students just wanna have fun. For a fun elective class – and maybe even an easy A, check out this list of the ten coolest classes at Cal State Sacramento.

1. THEA 115 – Puppetry

Puppets are great storytelling devices.

From Pinocchio to Kermit the Frog and his Muppet gang, puppetry is a craft that brings many children (and adults – just look at Avenue Q on Broadway!) great joy. For those who want to master this ancient and yet popular craft, THEA 115 gives students the tools to both make and manipulate many types of puppets. It’s worth checking out and learning a unique skill – even if your life goal isn’t to work for Sesame Street.

2. MUSC 38D – Beginning Hand Drums

Hand drums can be versatile and beautiful instruments.

Here’s a skill that’s sure to impress the ladies (and guys) on the next camping trip. Beginning Hand Drums introduces all students, including non-music majors, to the art of Asian and Middle Eastern Hand Drumming. Students will be able to play the rhythmic music of Northern India and the traditional drum solos of the Middle East on traditional hand drums. Your friends’ flimsy guitar skills are sure to pale in comparison to these amazing ancient drumming techniques.

3. GEOL 114 – Volcanology

Volcano eruptions can cause immense destruction.

From the eruption of Vesuvius in ancient Pompeii to Mount St. Helens’ surprise explosion that decimated the Washington farming population nearby, volcanoes have changed the course of human history and damaged many cities. Their violent, earth-shattering, and often unexpected outbursts have struck fear in the hearts of humanity since the beginning of time, who created elaborate mythos around the geological feature. Thankfully, we now have modern science to understand and predict volcanic eruptions, and students in this course will be able to better understand the mechanics behind volcanoes. Even better – there’s a field trip to local volcanic sites involved!

4. DNCE 4C – Mexican Folklorico Level 1A

Folk dances are great ways to learn about new cultures and their history.

All students are welcome to take this introduction course to many different types of cultural dances found in Mexico and Latin America. DNCE 4C combines both the fun of learning new dances with the important history and cultural context around them. Students will gain a new appreciation for the diversity of Latin American cultures and also have a fun skill to practice in a supportive classroom community.

5. ANTH 13 – Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion

Witchcraft and magic have been around in folk tales and mythology since the beginning of human history.

Although this class might not necessarily go over the intricacies of the Harry Potter universe or explore the witchcraft in Hocus Pocus, students who are interested in an exploration of these elements in society will still love this class. ANTH 13 emphasizes a cultural understanding of global religions and rituals while reflecting on how these practices relate to more universal human values.

6. HIST 120A – History of Medicine, Ancient and Medieval

Witch doctors were common in the medieval era, during the Black Death.

Before the marvels of vaccination and antibiotics, a harmless stomach flu could send someone to the local witch doctor to sell their soul and have their blood sucked out slowly by leeches. HIST 120A covers ancient understandings of medicine and illness, including the use of folk magic and witchcraft to “cure” patients. If anything will make you appreciate your local doctor’s office and CVS, it’s this class.

7. ASTR 4C – Introduction to Astrobiology

Astrobiology explores the idea of life on other planets and habitability outside of Earth.

A course that exists because universities can’t just name a course “Aliens 101” (yet), ASTR 4C aims to help students understand the science behind one of the biggest questions humanity has: are we alone in the universe? Focusing on the habitability of nearby celestial bodies, including planets and moons, and then broadening the search to the entire universe, students who yearn to journey beyond the stars to find life will love this course. Who know – maybe alien life isn’t in a galaxy so far, far away!

8. LIBA 226 – Wisdom and Apocalyptic Literature

Noah's Ark is an example of an apocalyptic story in ancient mythology.

Ever wondered whether the guy holding the “THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH” sign at the edge of the street secretly had some otherworldly wisdom? LIBA 226, while not designed to answer that specific question, gets pretty close to its philosophical roots. Students will analyze the literary merits and cultural context behind apocalyptic mythos, including Greek myths, stories of Judaism and Christianity, and other myths from around the world.

9. PHIL 117 – Existentialism

The Thinker is a sculpture that embodies the feeling of trying to make sense of the world - similar to how students in this class will feel.

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Do we have free will? These are all questions that probably won’t be answered by PHIL 117, but they will definitely be thoroughly examined and talked about. Through reading the works of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and more, students will be able to understand the concepts of free will, determinism, crime, and punishment (shout out to the Dostoevsky gang).

10.HRS 188 – Fantasy and Romance

Fantasy has the ability to let their audience escape into a new and amazing world.

At least one of these are major components of any major blockbuster film, almost every award-winning television show, and many great novels. Fantasy and romance have the power to immerse their audiences in wonderful new worlds with powerful emotions – just ask all the die-hard Twi-moms. HRS 188 explores the use of fantasy and the heroes quest in historic and contemporary storytelling, allowing students to understand the context of these elements in many genres.

Whether you’re in college to get a degree as soon as possible or to continue your education, it’s important to not lose sight of the true meaning of education: to open up and learn about new and exciting things. Students who feel burnt out or overwhelmed deserve a break from all those difficult classes. From intro to puppetry to a fun dance class, there are many great classes which are sure to widen your horizons – if you dare to take them.

10 Coolest Courses at Excelsior College

College can sometimes feel like a drudgery of different classes, major requirements, and a densely packed road to a four year (or more) degree. Thankfully, many students also have the opportunity to take a few elective courses to enrich their academic pursuits and also take a break from some of their more challenging courses. Here are ten of the coolest courses to take at Excelsior College for any students looking to learn something new.

1. HIS 290 – Pirates on the High Seas

Pirates often stole traded goods on popular sea routes.

Couldn’t get enough of Captain Jack Sparrow’s adventures and want to learn the stories behind the truly fearsome burglars of the oceans? Look no further than HIS 290, a class that covers the real history of piracy and trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including its impacts on the formation of major empires and nations. This class is sure to keep any history enthusiast…hooked.

2. PSY 280 – Abnormal Psychology

Understanding psychology is a great way to understand motivations behind unusual behaviors.

PSY280 is the perfect course for both the Criminal Minds enthusiast who can’t get enough of trying to make sense of a person’s unique behaviors and motivations and the aspiring psychologist who hopes to provide care to families and individuals. Covering the history of abnormal behavior, contemporary understandings, and new treatment protocols, this course provides a more in-depth understanding of mental illness.

3. MUS 210 – History of Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll was extremely popular in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.

From its conception in the Southeast US with blues music to its spread to Las Vegas with Elvis Presley’s unofficial coronation as the King, rock and roll has been instrumental (pun definitely intended) in developing contemporary American music and defining decades of youth culture. Through both scholarly readings and audio recordings, students will understand rock and roll’s conception after the Second World War, recognize its popularity in rebellious youth culture and listen to the greats – Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones…and of course, the King of Rock and Roll himself.

4. ENG 320 – Vampires in Literature and Film

Vampires are popular cultural motifs in Western media.

Despite their contrasting outward appearances, Bram Stoker’s feared Dracula and Stephanie Meyer’s dreamy Edward Cullen are two bloodthirsty monsters that serve a similar societal purpose – a vessel for desire. In ENG320, students will understand the motif of the vampire, its evolution from the creepy Victorian monstrosity into the undead-boy-next-door, and how vampires represent humanity’s deepest uncouth desires. With its exploration of mature themes, this class isn’t for the faint of heart, but vampire lovers will definitely be stoked to take it!

5. SOC 323 – Deviant Behavior

Understanding potentially problematic deviant behaviors can help to stop them.

For the student who spends too many late nights obsessively watching Dateline – there may be a way to get college credit for that! SOC323 defines society’s ideas of deviant and normal behaviors, allowing students to develop a context for understanding the motivations and psychology behind these behaviors. Additionally, students will take part in a “field research” period where they are able to put their knowledge to the test in a real-life setting. People watching isn’t creepy if it’s for class – just leave the binoculars at home, maybe.

6. GENE 201 – Intro to Genetic Genealogy

Genealogy can be a great way to understand and map out a family's history

For anyone who has gotten a confusing 23andme result or maybe just wants to figure out where in the world their crazy aunt Linda really hails from (and maybe if she’s even related to them at all), GENE201 provides the skills and toolkit for all budding ancestry detectives. The course focuses on a genetic approach to genealogy and uses the four types of DNA to help students match and create genetic relationships from testing company data sets.

7. NS 130 – Are We Alone? Life in the Universe

Alien life may or may not be out there, waiting to be found!

A loaded title for a loaded subject – anyone who has wondered where in the world (or universe) all those aliens are will definitely be interested in this course. Taking a science-based approach (sorry conspiracy theorists) to understanding conditions for organic life outside of the Earth, students will be able to conduct their own lab experiments to determine which stars are most likely to harbor life-bearing planets. Who knows – perhaps it won’t be in a galaxy so far, far away!

8. HUM 230 – Ethics of Friendship

Friendship is a cornerstone of life and society - many great friendships changed the course of human history.

Is it okay to borrow your BFFs shirt that you LOVE and ‘forget’ to return it? Is one breaking “bro code” if they date a friend’s ex? While these might not be the exact moral scenarios that HUM230 will explore, the course will allow students to develop a societal, biological, and historical understanding of the concepts of friendship. Covering groundbreaking philosophical theories from Aristotle, Foucault, and Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, HUM230 may have someone thinking twice the next time they “forget” to pay someone back for an Uber ride. That’s right – Aristotle is watching and he isn’t happy.

9. HUM 252 – Mythology

Mythology and folklore have existed since the beginning of humanity.

All the kids in the back who watched Disney’s Hercules too many times, raise those hands. You are heard, you are valid, and HUM 252 is the class for you. Exploring amazing questions like would Zeus or Thor win in a fight, why so many companies in the US are named after Greek gods, and whether Star Wars and Harry Potter count as modern mythologies, HUM 252 offers a contemporary understanding of human mythologies and folklore (and class viewings of Star Wars- what’s not to love?)

10. HSC 402 – Managing Stress

Meditation is a great way to manage stress.

Let’s face it – college (and LIFE) is hard. As students, it’s easy to become burned out and tired. Sometimes, the drudgery of endless classes, mounting student debts, and a long path to a degree with no foreseeable job market in sight can be a bummer. Managing stress is an integral part of managing and thriving in life, and HSC402 offers students great tools for leading a fulfilling and stress-free (or, at least, stress-reduced) life.

Throughout every student’s journey in college, it can be easy to forget that college is really about learning things that are interesting and fulfilling to them. Hopefully, these classes will help break up the monotony of those major requirements and hard courses, and re-ignite the flame to learn and grow as students and as people.