I was the dork who actually enjoyed college, and it was all thanks to the classes I was taking. With a schedule that included an intensive course on Alfred Hitchcock films, a look at the tropes of horror and science fiction films, and one called "Exploitation, Cheese, and Trash Cinema: An Analysis," is it any surprise that I couldn't wait for classes to begin?
With back-to-school season upon us, we've found plenty of ways to keep the geeky goodness going all year long. Now, you can enjoy school, too. Check out these nine college-level courses (most of which actually offer college credit) you can enroll in right now.
Science from Superheroes to Global Warming
What better way to gain an appreciation for science than to look at the scientific properties behind some of comic books' most lasting properties? Proposed topics include deciphering what exactly Spider-Man's spider sense is and if Wonder Woman could have a real, honest-to-goodness invisible jet.
This class is available through the University of California, Irvine, and is available to take online.
The Rise of Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture
This free online course is presented by the Smithsonian, with curriculum by Stan Lee and film producer Michael Uslan. You will learn the history and origins of superheroes, how history has affected their development, and how their development has influenced history.
Monsters and Mad Scientists: Exploring the Gothic Supernatural
Offered by the University of New Mexico, this course blends classic gothic novels (Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and Tim Burton's films (specifically, Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Beetlejuice) to examine the ways in which gothic tropes have evolved. The main question that will be asked throughout the class, though, is this: "Between whimsical creatures and the humans surrounding them, who are the real monsters?"
Harry Potter and the Law
What can the Harry Potter series teach you about law? Apparently, enough to teach a college class on it. In this online course from Cornell University, you will learn what "the Harry Potter series can tell us about the law, legal institutions, and justice — in Harry’s world and in our own." Familiarity with the Harry Potter series is "highly recommended." It does not specify if you have to supply your own wand.
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior
This Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Experience is offered through Michigan State University and sets out to explore "human psychology and behavior during disasters and catastrophes." Because binge watching The Walking Dead doesn't provide college credit.
UFOs in American Society
Temple University offers this course, in which you will examine "American society's reaction to the UFO phenomenon," ranging from the point of views of the military, the scientific community, entertainment, the press, and the "lunatic fringe."
It doesn't look like this class is trying to prove or disprove the existence of UFOs, merely how UFOs are perceived by different communities. It also doesn't specify who the teacher is, but if it's not Fox Mulder, I would demand my tuition back.
The Physics of Star Trek
What better way to learn about physics than through the lens of Star Trek? In this class, you'll discuss the physics that are at play in a variety of Star Trek technology, including transporter beams and warp drives. Other topics covered include time travel, interplanetary and intergalactic travel, and "the implication of the discovery of extraterrestrial life on religion and faith." Offered through Santa Clara University.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? If you know the answer to this question, you are ready for this class on Spongebob Squarepants. The course covers all 241 episodes and explores what the show has to teach as well as its role in the modern pop-culture landscape. Despite there being 241 episodes (!), this course does not require any previous knowledge of the Nickelodeon cartoon (though, how could you not know at least a little bit about the power of imagination and the dangers of jellyfish hunting).
Spongebobology is offered through the Oberlin Experimental College, a student-run organization that offers a wide variety of weird for-credit classes taught by students and professors. Some of the other geeky offerings for the fall semester include classes on Greek myths in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, cryptozoology, horror films, Harry Potter, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Star Trek.
Most colleges worship football. US Quidditch offers something geared more toward geeks and nerds. Inspired by the Harry Potter novels, Quidditch takes the game played on flying broomsticks and brings it down to earth. Don't worry — the goal is still to capture the golden snitch. Real-world Quidditch is a mixed gender contact sport with over 450 teams around the world.