Would You Study These Strange University Courses?

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University – knowing exactly what to study can be a real minefield. Should you follow your dream of becoming a contemporary artist? One who paints only with shoelaces? Or maybe you should be a bit more sensible. Medicine degree, anyone?

If we had to relive our university days again…well, we would probably run away. But as for choosing a course again? Well, things seem much more exciting nowadays. Sure, learning about the history of Australia and early modern women was fun; but compared to these strange university courses from all over the world, my history degree kind of pales into insignificance:

Masturbation (Sheffield University)

Strange university courses: Anyone for a masturbation course?
I didn’t want to google image ‘masturbation’…so have a picture of Britney looking grossed out instead

Um, what? Yeah, we’re not joking. Students in their second year of studying English Literature can opt to study a module on ‘Pleasure, Self, Scrutiny and Auto-Eroticisim.’ Among the lectures involved includes ‘The Art of Masturbation’. While it does sound, frankly, absolutely hilarious, the reality might not be so exciting. One of the lecturers, Dr Fabienne, said the course will argue “how the writing of lyric poetry and masturbation always imagines an absent other.” OK then…

Brewing and Distilling (Heriot-Watt University)

Strange university courses: learning about breweries and distilleries isn't as weird as it sounds
Credit: nabreweries.com

Students get a bit of a bad rep for being drunkards. At first glance this degree doesn’t sound like it’s doing anything to change that public opinion. But then you actually look into it. This strange university course lasts a whopping four years. It also delves into things as complex as plant biology and food microbiology. Eek. Y’know what? Learning about masturbation is starting to sound quite appealing…

Harry Potter (Durham University)

As far as strange university courses go, learning about Harry Potter sounds pretty good to us
Credit: Murray Close

This is absolutely everything our 10-year-old selves wanted. Imagine studying Harry Potter! What would we learn? Defence Against the Dark Arts? Herbology? Um, no. This Harry Potter and The Age of Illusion module at Durham University is part of their Education Studies degree. And it actually looks at how J.K. Rowling’s novels manage to reflect prejudice and citizenship in modern society. This doesn’t sound as exciting as we hoped. But any excuse to re-read the books is fine by us.

David Beckham (Staffordshire University)

Strange university courses: Could you imagine studying David Beckham
Credit: beckham-magazine.com

Mmm, Beckham. If this is what strange university courses look like, we could definitely get behind it. The David Beckham module was offered as part of the BA in Sports, Media and Culture degree at Staffordshire University. It covered absolutely essential topics such as Beckham’s various hairstyles. Oh, and his marriage to Posh also comes into it too.

Surfing (Cornwall College)

As far as strange university courses go, surfing is something we could totally get behind

Surfing in Cornwall: where else would this foundation degree be offered? I mean, we could be down with a surfing degree in Hawaii or something. (Can this please happen. That is, if it isn’t already a thing.)

This surfing foundation degree (full name: ‘Surf Science and Technology’) actually sounds pretty epic. Students will get to grips with surf culture, marine conservation and event management. Students also have the chance to build their own surfboard. I don’t even surf and I want to do this course.

A History of the Pig in America (Xavier University, Cincinnati)

Strange university courses: Would anyone fancy studying the history of pigs?

Yeah we know this is in America – but maybe it’s one for David Cameron?

Enjoyed this article on strange university courses? Then you’ll probably like some of RiseFeed’s other pieces, including 30 Things You Need to Know to Survive Your First Year of Uni and 5 of the Most Disgusting University Initiation Rituals.