10 Coolest Classes at Pacific Lutheran University

Located in Parkland, Washington, Pacific Lutheran University is a private, 4-year institution that offers many courses of study and majors for students interested in nearly everything. From Anthropology to Theater Studies, PLU students can explore new hobbies, cultivate unique passions, and find lifelong careers. For all those looking to expand their horizons, here are ten of the coolest courses at Pacific Lutheran University.

1. ANTH 104 – Intro to Language in Society

different ways to say hello from different languages in different coloured speech bubbles

Language is all around us, every day, even if we take it for granted oftentimes. Many of us can read, write, and use sounds to communicate – some even in multiple different languages and dialects. It’s hard to realize, but this wasn’t always the case in the history of humanity. In ANTH 104, students will track and understand the spread of language from the earliest human civilizations’ pictograms to the thousands of languages in the modern world.

2. ARTD 230 – Ceramics 1

A person forms a vase on a pottery wheel

Although much of college takes place in lecture halls, classrooms, and laboratories, this unique art design course will take students straight into the studio. Using hand-built and wheel-thrown methods of creating pottery and other ceramic works, students will gain a great introduction to the art of ceramics!

3. ARTD 110 – Graphic Design

Graphic Designer surrounded by color palettes and drawing tablet as he designs.

Graphic Design is a major career field, especially in the world of online businesses, with new technologies and companies popping up every day. ARTD 110 goes over the basics of color theory and composition. For students who are interested in art and design, this introductory course to the topic is a great way to explore this potential career path!

4. ASLS 102 – American Sign Language

Hands spelling out ASL in American Sign Language.

American Sign Language is an incredibly useful skill that allows hearing people to communicate with the Deaf community and hard of hearing people. For students looking for a unique language to learn – one that involves motion and visual cues instead of spoken words – ASLS 102 offers a great introduction. Students will learn vocabulary, grammar usage, and the basics of culturally appropriate behavior when using sign.

5. BIOL 369 – Marine Biology

Diver swimming above a large whale.

Marine biology is the study of the living organisms, including both plants and animals, that live in ocean ecosystems. In BIOL 369, students will be able to take field trips to the ocean and participate in labs about the topics they learn in lecture. From sea turtles and urchins in the reef to the magnificent whales off the coast, students will get a close-up understanding of the creatures in the deep blue.

6. COMA 212 – Public Speaking

A close-up photo of a microphone in front of a crowd

It’s something we all have to do at one point or another – no matter how horrible we feel about it. Let’s face it – public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Thankfully, COMA 212 helps students tackle those fears head-on, covering topics of speechmaking, audience analysis, and delivery.

7. CLAS 326 – A History of Medicine

Historical drawing of a European plague doctor

If you broke a bone, caught the flu, or had chronic pain in Ancient Egypt, what would the doctor treat you with? Although there was no such thing as Aspirin back then, you might be surprised to know that you could receive a prescription for willow bark, the natural plant containing acetylsalicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin). CLAS 326 reveals the fascinating journey of human knowledge in healing and medicine, from Egyptian herbology, Hippocrates’ theories, and French plague doctors all the way to the golden age of science during the European Renaissance.

8. DANC 251 – Ballet 1

a ballerina in pointe shoes

If sitting in a lecture hall for hours on end doesn’t interest you anymore, consider taking a dance class! Ballet, a Russian art form that tells stories through orchestral music and dance, is a beautiful and athletic dance to learn. In DANC 251, students will learn the basic technique, vocabulary, and traditions of ballet. Don’t let the grace of a prima ballerina fool you, however – ballet is rigorous and athletically challenging!

9. ENGL 227 – Intro to Poetry and Fiction

Bookshelves filled with multicolored books.

Calling all budding writers! Whether you want to be the next J.K Rowling or Dr. Seuss, Intro to Poetry and Fiction is a perfect starting point. In ENGL 227, students will participate in a workshop-style course where techniques of fiction and poetry writing will be taught. Feedback from peers and instructors will also be offered, but don’t worry – beginners are definitely welcomed.

10. PHED 225 – Ballroom Dance

Silhouette of a couple dancing.

Want to impress at the next wedding you go to? This increasingly forgotten, yet classically beautiful skill is great to have under your belt! In PHED 225, students will learn the basics of ballroom dance with a partner, learn different styles of dance, and have fun in a supportive environment. So ditch that awkward sidestep, put on your dancing shoes, and head onto the dance floor with an air of confidence.

10 Coolest Courses at Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University is located in the city of Bemidji, Minnesota. A public state university founded in 1919, Bemidji offers many diverse classes and courses of study. Students can study anything from Accounting to Sport Management, and also take specialty classes and electives that pique their interest! For BSU students looking for a new challenge, a unique course, or a fun hobby to pick up, here are ten of the coolest courses at Bemidji State University!

1. CHEM 2130 – Chemistry of Drugs

Line angle structures of illegal drugs.

Have you ever wondered what goes into the ibuprofen you take when you have a headache? Although the little white pills in our medicine cabinets may seem small and inconsequential, generations and centuries of chemists have worked together to create both the marvels of modern medicine and the most harmful and addictive illegal substances. In Chem 2130, students will learn about the pharmacology of common drugs and toxic substances, including their effects on the body.

2. CHEM 2210 – Criminalistics

recognition, documentation, collection, and preservation of the crime scene

Often times in forensic cases, detectives and law enforcement agents turn to labs scientists to offer vital pieces to the puzzle of whodunnit. From fingerprint analysis to identifying hairs, fibers, and shoeprints, hard science takes a front seat when it comes to catching criminals. In CHEM 2210, students will learn about the theory and practice of analyzing physical evidence. Additionally, Criminalistics Lab allows students to put these tools to practice.

3. MUS 1120 – Intro to Folk, Jazz, and Rock Music

A small group of folk musicians from Illinois.

If you already spend your evenings lying on your bed with a pair of headphones listening to the greatest tunes, this class is perfect for you! Folk, Jazz, and Rock are all diverse and yet interconnected types of music that have had a great influence on American culture. In MUS 1120, students will listen to lectures, read primary sources, and listen to unique pieces of music from American history to truly understand the impact that these musical genres have had on American history.

4. ANTH 1100 – Becoming Human: Tracing Our Origins

Reconstruction of early homo sapiens species (humans).

Before the modern metropolises, global societies, and interconnected systems of cities, states, and countries, humans were just another animal living in small nomadic groups. It makes many people wonder – how exactly did we get here? In ANTH 1100, students will get an introductory course to the study of humans (anthropology), and will understand both the biological evolution of homosapiens from primates, as well as the cultural evolution of human society.

5. GEOL 2740 – Introduction to Planetary Science

An artist's interpretation of the solar system

For those who want to answer the big questions – about life, the universe, and everything – this is the class for you! While it doesn’t necessarily delve into all of the above, GEOL 2740 is a great starter for students who are interested in outer space and the Earth as a planet in a larger system. Students will learn about the solar system and its planets, satellites, meteors, magnetic fields, and even space exploration.

6. GEOL 3500 – Topics in Paleontology

Fossilized bones of an ancient organism.

For all the students who would definitely go to Jurassic Park if it was real (and have to sadly live with the fact that is isn’t real…yet), GEOL 3500 is the closest you can get to living the dream. In this class, students will learn about the major groups of commonly fossilized organisms, from plants, small animals, sea creatures, microorganisms, and yes…dinosaurs.

7. PHIL 2200 – Ethics

business man with devil and angel on shoulder

What’s morally right and wrong? Why do certain cultures draw the line in different places? Is there a universal truth? Students can explore big questions like these in PHIL 2200 – a study of morality and ethics. From common ethical dilemmas like the Trolley Problem to more contemporary political issues, like abortion, may all be discussed. For those willing to go into it open-minded and ready to learn, PHIL 2200 can be a great introduction to philosophy.

8. PSY 1010 – Stress and Coping

Stressed student surrounded by books and papers

Let’s face it – college is stressful. From constant tests and exams, to high-stakes projects and papers, to simply trying to… adult. It’s no wonder that rates of depression and anxiety in college students are higher than ever, and that many people feel lost or overwhelmed. In PSY 1010, students can learn strategies for stress management with respect to both academic challenges and lifestyle changes. From study skills to problems in relationships, this class covers it all.

9. POLI 1300 – Intro to International Relations

The logo for the United Nations.

When you turn on the news, half of the time it’s hard to keep up! From trade wars to embargos, treaties to wars, international politics to the average citizen can seem overwhelming. In POLI 1300, students will learn about nation-states and their behaviors, both historically and from a contemporary standpoint. They will also explore how international organizations like the United Nations and World Trade Organization came to be, and their relevance to global politics today.

10. HST 2218 – Medieval Europe

An artistic interpretation of a castle siege by invading knights.

Knights and castles, kings and their vast armies, dragons and dark magic (okay, maybe not those last two) – the new season of Game of Thrones or your history class? If you take HST 2218, the answer could be both! In this unique course, students will learn about the period of history in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire to the Black Death epidemic. From the rise of the Catholic Church to the bloody Crusades, this fascinating class is sure to keep you on the edge of your lecture seat!

10 Coolest Courses at Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a private Roman Catholic university located in St. Leo, Florida. Offering a wide selection of classes both online and in-person, St. Leo University students can earn degrees in everything – from accounting to zoology. For anyone looking to learn a brand new skill, dive into a passion, or try out a unique hobby, here are 10 of the coolest courses at Saint Leo University.

1. ART 227 – Ceramics 1

A person makes a work of pottery on a pottery wheel.

If you’d rather work with your hands and learn an ancient craft rather than spending three hours in a lecture hall, consider exploring ceramics and pottery! A craft that humans all over the world have practiced since hunter-gatherer times, learning the basics of ceramics can be the beginning of a new hobby or the start of a life-long passion (and perhaps even an artisanal career)!

2. ANT 343 – Anthropological Linguistics

The major study areas in Anthropology in a wordcloud

Why do some languages assign male or female roles to objects? What are language families anMultd how do they develop? How do the words we use create and reinforce our societal values? In ANT 343, students will explore these questions and more, focusing on the historical creation, proliferation, and evolution of different world languages in relation to societal, political, and cultural factors.

3. ENV 205 – Oceanography

A scuba diver looking at the Pink jellyfish.

The best part of Florida, many would say, is it’s never-ending coastline, being surrounded almost on all sides with magnificent beaches and ocean views. For those seeking to gain a deeper (no pun intended) understanding of the ecosystems that cover most of Earth, ENV 205 introduces students to the scientific study of our seas. With 95% of the ocean still left completely unexplored, who knows what could be lurking down there, just waiting for future scientists to discover?

4. FAS 127 – Acting

College students in an acting class.

Whether you want to star on the silver screen or have your name in lights on Broadway, it’s never too late to test out those acting chops and take your first intro class. In FAS 127, students will learn and practice basic stage presence, vocal warm-ups, creating a character, and, most importantly, finding the confidence to be vulnerable in front of an audience. Break a leg!

5. ENG 215CL – Monsters and the Monstrous in Literature

image of Count Dracula character from the 1931 movie.

From the terrifying gothic vampire to the grotesquely modern zombie, monsters have been an integral part of literature and folklore in even the earliest forms of storytelling. Many times, these creatures reflect a culture’s values and beliefs – for example, vampires were widely thought to represent sinful sexual expression in Catholic Europe. In ENG 215CL, students will explore different literary texts and analyze what the monsters in these stories actually represent.

6. ENG 202 – Creative Writing

person writing on notebook

Getting ready to write the next great American novel, but still stuck on the first blank page on Word? Don’t fret – every great writer had to start somewhere. Whether you’re a hobbyist who secretly writes Twilight fanfiction or planning on writing for a career, ENG 202 has got your back. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the creative process, explore different genres of writing, and practice using prompts and assignments. Hopefully, by the final exam, you’ll have added a few more pages to that blank Word document!

7. IDS 210HM – Once Upon a Time: Folklore and Culture

Artistic depiction of Slenderman, an internet horror figure.

From the Egyptian gods that governed the natural forces to the witches and sorcerers of Europe that manipulated the laws of physics to their will, fantastical creatures, extraordinary humans, and all-powerful deities have always been a part of our stories. In this class, students will explore the nature of folklore in different global cultures and understand how these early legends and myths evolved and even shaped modern societies’ beliefs, ethics, culture, and political ideologies.

8. HTY 315 – The American West

Nat Love, a famous African-American cowboy in the Wild West and former slave.

Although the old black-and-white Westerns may have you believing that cowboys ruled the Wild West, duels broke out in front of the saloon, and everyone got their horses in the back, the history of the American West is actually much more diverse and interesting, mired in shades of grey. Students will explore the fascinating history of the West using primary sources from those iconic cowboys, but also from indigenous people, women, Mexican Americans, Chinese immigrants, and African Americans.

9. ART 226 – Beginning Photography

A camera takes an image of this natural scene.

With the rise of Instagram businesses, Youtubers, blogging careers, and widespread web content creation, good photography and video skills are in high demand! In addition to being able to make your own Instagram profile look more ~aesthetic~, learning the basics of photography can lead to a fun and lucrative side hustle to help pay for college expenses.

10. IHT 205 – Traveling the World for Fun and Profit

A woman works at her laptop on the beach.

You see the ads on the internet, the beautiful pictures on Instagram, the breathtaking videos on Youtube: in this glorious age of remote working, people can travel for a living. Although this sounds like an amazing gig, figuring out how to actually do it is another story. That’s why IHT 205 is there to help you out! In this course, students will learn about how to gain the most out of their traveling experiences, the tourism and travel industries, and the employment and business opportunities that allow some post-grads to travel the world for fun (and sometimes, even for profit!).

10 Coolest Courses at William Paterson University

William Paterson University is a public university located in Wayne, New Jersey, in the NYC area. WPU offers many courses in a wide variety of fields, including both liberal arts studies and STEM studies. WPU students can expect to get a diverse and contemporary education, whether they want to study anthropology or zoology! For those looking to face a new challenge, find an interesting hobby, or learn a useful skill, here are 1o of the coolest courses at William Paterson University.

1. ANTH 2600 – Myth, Folklore, and the Modern World

Anansi is a West African folklore trickster of the Ashanti people. Tricksters are often important figures in folklore - Loki, Br'er Rabbit, and Maui are all tricksters from different cultures' folklore.

From the ancient gods of Egypt to the gothic vampires that stalked Western Europe, folklore and myth have been a longstanding tradition of every culture and society. While many believe that the concepts of folk tales, myths, and legends are simply relics of the past, modern folklore exists in the forms of mass media, urban legends, and internet-grown conspiracies. ANTH 2600 explores different myths and legends, analyzes how they reflect the values, fears, and moral beliefs of cultures in that time – including an analysis of how contemporary “folklore” is a reflection of our sociopolitical climate.

2. ANTH 3500 – Shamans, Witches, and Magic

Witches often get a bad rap - although many were persecuted and feared, "witches" found herbs with great medicinal properties before modern science. However, as women, their ideas were dismissed and feared.

Tales of witches spreading plagues throughout villages, shamans healing fatal diseases, and explorers searching for items of magic and mystery – throughout much of humanity’s history, advances in science and technology have always coexisted with claims of magic and witchcraft. In many different modern cultures and religions, elements of these methods of spirituality still remain, and their role in both Western and non-Western is exactly what ANTH 3500 seeks to explore.

3. ARTH 3310 – Art in New York

Past the museums and galleries, the majority POC community of East Harlem boasts a vibrant multi-cultural arts gallery - no entrance fee required!

New York City is often known among artists of all kinds as a unique urban multi-cultural hub like no other. With internationally famous museums like The Met and The Museum of Modern Art and plenty of hidden cultural gems, NYC is a wonderful city to explore and immerse yourself in endless visual arts. Students in this course will get a chance to experience New York’s art scene first hand – what better opportunity is there to take a trip to NYC for college credit?

4. ASN 2720 – Making Japanese Pop Culture

With internationally successful franchises, Japanese manga and anime are global phenomena.

While anime and manga are much more than just passing fads in the US now, Japan’s popular culture has changed quite dramatically over the past few centuries and continues to remain dynamic to this day. ASN 2720 critically analyses items of current Japanese pop culture, including anime, food, music, fashion, and literature, and explores the historical and environmental influences that have contributed to contemporary Japanese culture. Next time you’re wondering if you’re wasting time watching that anime, just think of it as research!

5. AWS 1010 – African, African American, and African Caribbean Dance

The thousands of ethnicities and cultures of Africa have ancient traditional dances and rich musical histories.

For students looking for something a little less lecture-hall and a little more dance-hall, AWS 1010 is the perfect escape from those 3-hour lectures and labs. Incorporating body conditioning and beginning dance instruction into an exploration of African culture and ethnic dances, students in AWS 1010 will have the unique opportunity to perform traditional African dances, see professional performances, and even choreograph their own dance sequence.

6. CCJ 2640 – Forensic Social Psychology

How do larger societal institutions and cultural influences lead to police brutality and rising tensions between civilians and police forces?

What are the root causes of crime and the influences that lead to criminal behavior? If put in the right circumstances, could any one of us become a bank robber, gang member, or killer? CCJ 2640 explores these questions and more, looking at how interpersonal connections and community environment and larger social institutions contribute to criminal behavior, riots and lynching, wrongful convictions, and false confessions. If you couldn’t get enough of Making a Murderer, then this class is definitely for you!

7. CCJ 3710 – White Collar Crime

Although Bernard Madoff is the contemporary face of conmen in the US, con artistry is as old as the first human being.

Behind the veneer of their lavish lifestyle, designer shoes, vacations homes, and fancy yachts, crime and corruption lurk in the shadows, often bringing massive economic and social devastation to innocent people. White-collar crime scandals, from Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme to Enron’s reckless Wall Street fraud, are often sensationalized in the media. CCJ 3710 delves into the actual widespread social, economic, and emotional harm of white-collar crime, as well as the institutions that provide the rich and powerful these loopholes.

8. COMM 1020 – Acting I: Improvisation

With improv, the most important thing is to let loose and have fun!

Whether you want to be Hollywood’s next Leonardo di Caprio or have your name in lights on Broadway, COMM 1020 welcomes all aspiring actors to take the stage and test out their acting chops. With an emphasis on physical acting, miming, and body language, Improv is a great way to thrust yourself into acting and lose your inhibitions and insecurities. Although it can feel scary to have to work together to create a coherent and entertaining act out of thin air, this “rite-of-passage” for many actors is a wonderful way to step out of your comfort zone.

9. ENG 2160 – Science Fiction and Fantasy

Screen still from Lord of the Rings featuring the fellowshio

From popular teen fiction like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games to prominent classics like Fahrenheit 451 and Lord of the Rings, science fiction and fantasy novels serve to create new worlds and societies that provide reflections or antitheses of our own. ENG 2160 seeks to explore the genre conventions and historical context and significance of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

10. ENG 2210 – Mystery Story

Sophocles combines a scandalous murder, politics and royalty, foreboding prophecies, and twisted family secrets to make a thrilling and disturbing mystery.

Although most people turn to the iconic English misanthrope and his doctor sidekick as the first true mystery novel, in truth, humans have been fascinated by the shocks of crime and scandal, the thrill of the chase, and the puzzle of a good whodunnit since ancient times. Many even consider Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex as the first mystery novel. In ENG 2210, students will explore the genre of mystery and detective novels in cultural, historical, philosophical, and literary lenses.

10 Coolest Courses at Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University is a private Methodist research university located in Dallas, Texas. The university offers many different courses in a wide variety of studies, from liberal arts to STEM fields. Whether you want to dive into a passion, learn a new skill, or find a unique hobby, here are ten of SMU’s coolest courses!

1. ADV 2301 – Consumer Behavior

a girl shopping grocery items

Ever wonder what makes shop windows so alluring to look at, why store credit cards can quickly become money pits, and how people get doctorates in learning how to manipulate people into buying useless things? ADV 2301 looks at consumerism from the lenses of sociology, psychology, economics, and anthropology. The class explores how people are affected by advertising, and what their motivations are for buying certain products. The next time you find yourself reaching for your credit card or opening your Amazon shopping cart, maybe this class will make you think twice about why you’re really doing it!

2. ANTH 2463 – The Science of Our Past

An archeologist digs up ancient remains to analyze humanity's past.

If you ever watched a little too much Indiana Jones growing up and subsequently had dreams of unearthing ancient cities deep in the jungles of Asia…anthropology and archeology are the perfect fields for you! This introductory course to archeology covers how and why archeologists study humanity’s past and even encourages a hands-on analysis of ancient artifacts! Who knows – maybe your studies might even lead you to the elusive Fountain of Youth.

3. HUM 2101 – Getting There From Here: Life After College

Picture of students graduating, with caps on

Have you ever been paralyzed with fear; wondering what will become of you after you get that fancy degree, move out of your college dorm, and have to get a real job? Trust me, every newly minted college grad has been there. To give yourself a bit of a headstart, check out HUM 2101! A unique class that focuses on career preparation, students will learn and practice networking, post-college writing and speaking, and bouncing back from career (and personal) failure. The skills you learn in this class will be sure to impress future employers.

4. ARHS 1335 – Monsters, Mayhem, and Miracles: Life in the Medieval World

Medieval werewolves were definitely nothing like Taylor Lautner's iconically bare-chested character!

Once upon a time, in a land of kings and queens, knights and damsels, and (supposed) witches and wizards… lay the societies of medieval Western Europe. In the time after the Roman Empire and before the Black Death, Europe was suspended in magic, with sorcerers and witches looming in the darkness of plague, werewolves ravaging villages, crusaders plundering the Middle East, and, through it all, building a lasting cultural legacy through art, literature, and architecture. In ARHS 1335, students will explore this unique time period in history through the lens of its diverse artistic legacy.

5. BIOL 3354 – Parasitology

Parasites are both creatures of nightmares and vital parts of the ecosystem.

From annoying lice that plagued many children to the deadly mass-murdering malaria-causing Plasmodium, parasitic creatures that prey on their hosts to survive are everywhere in nature, and often have lasting effects on people, plants, and animals. In some cases, they can even be good for the ecosystem and beneficial to humans. In BIOL 3354, students can explore the disgusting, the beneficial, and the deadly, and understand the role of parasitic creatures in the greater circle of life.

6. ASPT 3309 – Painting in Rome

From an ancient city to a modern metropolitan hub, Rome has been a center of art and culture for centuries.

Can you get any more romantic and renaissance than taking a painting course in the historic city of Rome, Italy (other than time-traveling back to sixteenth-century Italy and working for Michaelangelo)? This painting course takes students abroad to Rome in SMU-in-Italy’s unique cultural immersion program. There, aspiring artists will have the chance to paint the cultural landmarks and beautiful geography of Rome, surrounded by the same landscapes that the masters of the Renaissance saw every day. This class is truly a unique experience for any artist!

7. ANTH 3366 – Magic, Myth, and Religion Across Cultures

Picture of witchcraft materials like tarot cards and candles

ANTH 3366 gives students the opportunity to step outside of their cultural experiences and understand spirituality from the lens of humanity across the globe, and throughout history. From the ancient gods of Egypt and Greece in the east, the nature deities of many tribal nations in the west, the unique pagan religions of early Western Europe, and, finally, the rise of major religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, this class definitely has many unique cultures to explore!

8. DANC 1305 – Beginning Jazz Dance

Black and white photograph of dancers in a studio practicing

Jazz dance is an expressive and beautiful form of art that focuses on rhythm and theatrical displays. Jazz has had a long and powerful history in America, empowering women and African Americans through the industry, while also highlighting the fundamental social inequities apparent in the system. Thankfully, jazz has survived and changed dynamically throughout the 20th and 21st century, and students in this beginning dance course will get an understanding of rhythm and the unique theatrical style of jazz dance.

9. DANC 3374 – The Evolution of American Musical Theatre

Group picture of performers at the Tony Awards on stage. The Tony Awards, held annually, are like the Oscars for Broadway shows. Each year, musicals and plays with great reviews are nominated for awards like Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, and, of course, Best Musical.

From the earliest performances of popular British-style shows to the rise of vaudeville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the contemporary rap-battle spectacle of Hamilton, America has a rich and ever-changing culture of musical theater. DANC 3374 takes students on an exploration throughout this history, focusing on how early performance styles eventually culminated into the mixture of dance, music, singing, and drama that modern Broadway encompasses.

10. ENGL 3377 – Literature and the Construction of Homosexuality

Stil from Great Gatsby movie, featuring Tobey MacGuire sitting on his porch

Although in some parts of the world currently, LGBTQ+ people are widely accepted, that usually wasn’t the case in many societies until very recently. Acceptance and recordings of homosexuality or bisexuality in culture have fluctuated from culture to culture throughout humanity’s history, and some literature has openly discussed and even accepted it, while other historical authors had to be more subtle in their incorporations of it. In ENGL 3377, students will explore the complex history of homosexuality in world cultures, analyzing both ancient and contemporary texts.

10 Coolest Courses at Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University is a private, Roman Catholic university located in Spokane, Washington. It offers hundreds of courses in liberal arts and STEM majors alike. For any students at Gonzaga looking for a new skill to pick up, an interesting subject to explore, or a fun hobby to pass the time, here are 10 of the coolest courses at Gonzaga University.

1. ENGL 367 – Love in the Renassaince

The Renaissance was a time of blossoming art, literature, and culture in Western Europe.

If you’ve ever wanted to woo the right person with a
Shakespearean sonnet or wax poetic to your significant other, this course is perfect for you! Taken in the beautiful romantic city of Florence, Italy, ENGL 367 looks at love stories and ideas of romantic and platonic love in Renassaince literature in both conceptual and aesthetic complexity.

2. PHIL 430 – Metaphysics

philosopher aristotle sculpture

For anyone who wants more from a class than filling out degree requirements and endless tests and papers, PHIL 430 promises to blow your mind. Going over the concepts of what it means to be and exist, and the existence and nature of God and deities, PHIL 430 uses philosophical schools of thoughts to explore some of humanity’s greatest questions. This class is sure to keep you up at night pondering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (Hint: It’s 42.).

3. PSYC 350 – Adolescent Psychology

Early adolescents and emerging adults alike often need mental health support and understanding.

Moody, rebellious, impulsive – the American (and global) teenager definitely has a bad rep. But is it earned? In PSYC 350, the behavioral patterns and emotions of adolescents are explored in the context of different global cultures and societies, as well as the biological changes occurring in this time, to truly understand the realities of being an adolescent.

4. CRIM 355 – Elite & White Collar Deviance

Bernie Madoff is infamous for creating an extensive Ponzi scheme that involved many high-profile people in America.

From Bernie Madoff to the 2019 college admissions scandal, white-collar and elite crime makes headlines almost every year, uncovering salacious scandals and vile crimes that were committed by the rich and the powerful. In CRIM 355, the nature, extent, and social impact of these crimes are explored to figure out how the government and society can work to prevent them in the future.

5. SOSJ 412 – Ancient Concepts of Justice

How have concepts of ethics and justice changed over time?

Murder is illegal – but it wasn’t always. In what circumstances would it be considered just and fair for the government to execute someone? Is it okay at all? From the beginnings of societal development, humans all over the world have pondered these issues of justice and law, and each has drawn the line in different places. SOSJ 412 explores major classical texts dealing with issues of justice and applies them to modern views of law and social justice. What we consider just has not always been the case, and this course aims to understand where our modern ideas of justice came from.

6. HIST 336 – History of Food

Italian cuisine is rich in flavor and has a unique cultural origin.

What if you could get college credit while eating delicious Italian food on the streets of Florence? For HIST 336, students will learn about the gastronomical roots of Italian culture, including the environmental and societal factors that have determined the types of food Italians (and other cultures) eat today. In other words, your homework is literally eating pasta – who wouldn’t love that?

7. HIST 378 – Zen Modernity and Counter Culture

Buddhism is an ancient culture that has roots in India, but spread to East and Southeast Asia a little after the 3rd century BCE.

What do traditional Japanese monks and 1960s hippies chilling at Woodstock have in common? HIST 378 attempts to answer this question by exploring the influences that Zen Buddhism and the modern reinvention of Japanese religion has had on counterculture in the US after World War 2. Through analyzing religious texts, historical and literary works, and cultural pieces, students will see the connection between ancient Asian religion and modern American hippies.

8. RELI 403 – Greek Gods and Heroes

Zeus is the god of the sky, as well as the ruler of the other gods, in Ancient Greek Mythology.

From Zeus and Hades to Nike and Achilles, these figures of legend to the ancient Greeks have still retained their legacy in Western culture. Permeating the art, literature, and culture of many western societies, the stories and characters of ancient Greek mythology are still cited and referenced today. RELI 403 will allow students to understand the origins of these myths, how myths develop and spread, and how they retain their legacies even millennia after their inception.

9. MUSC 140 – Concert Choir

Concert choir is a fun team hobby that allows singers of all skill levels to develop their talents.

For anyone who wants a fun hobby that still earns them college credit, concert choir is a wonderful course to take! Working together in a team, the Gonzaga concert choir learns show choir pieces and performs them together, welcoming singers from all backgrounds. Auditions are required.

10.HIST 302 – The Ancient City

In Athens, Greece, the ancient Parthenon that is 2000 years old towers over a modern metropolis, showcasing nearly 25 centuries of human civilization.

How did humanity move from the primitive beginnings of cave drawings and nomadic life to the bustling metropolitan settlements of the modern world? The Ancient City covers the beginnings of urban life and culture, exploring the social, cultural, and economic influences that they are shaped by and that they perpetuate.

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

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.