Forget the Eurovision, you can study Alien Sex... 11 bizarre university courses

Learn Viking runology, android lovemaking, black feminism through Beyoncé and the sociology of Miley Cyrus, and you're ready to take on the world...

8 September 2016, 8:59am
Let’s make love. Yes, Alien Sex is a study credit at the Selznick School of Film Preservation
Let’s make love. Yes, Alien Sex is a study credit at the Selznick School of Film Preservation
Sorry everyone, the “Eurovision” course at the University of Malta is a dud.

As the Centre of the Liberal Arts & Sciences has stated, its degree course offers a four-credit study unit on ‘Interpreting Music Culture’, which applies the theory of communication and semiotics known as multimodality to music culture – which will include, of course, the camp world of Eurovision.

But if you were thinking of seriously taking up the study of what makes a song worthy of douze points, we have scoured the web for some other bizarre courses that universities are offering.

1. Viking Studies • University College London

A Viking roof-tiler.
A Viking roof-tiler.
Hand me the winged helmet and lightning mallet: a standard course in Scandinavian language, Old Norse, runology and then an introduction to contemporary Scandinavian, Danish and Icelandic culture. Third year is spent at university in Scandinavia. Not clear whether you get to run your own invasions and ransack villages.

2. The Beatles, Popular Music and Society • Liverpool Hope University

Let it be, aye?
Let it be, aye?
Cool Masters. You study the influence of The Beatles on identity, culture and industries, in their very birthplace of Liverpool. The curriculum includes cultural discourses surrounding The Beatles, as well as study into post-WWII history, music semiotics and issues of Merseyside.

3. “United Kingdom: To Hogwarts, Harry: An Intensive Study of Harry Potter Through the British Isles” • Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, M.I.

Specialis Revelio!
Specialis Revelio!
In the class, students read the J.K. Rowling series and went to the U.K. for 10 days to visit historical places that inspired the books or that can be seen in the films, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Bodleian Library and Christ’s Church at Oxford University and the Tower of London.

4. “Wasting Time on the Internet” • The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, P.A.

No textbooks necessary, just laptops and WiFi. Creative writing students could only interact via social networks, chat rooms and listservs. As the professor Kenneth Goldsmith wrote in a New Yorker article, “We’re reading and writing more than we have in a generation, but we are reading and writing differently – skimming, parsing, grazing, bookmarking, forwarding, retweeting, reblogging, and spamming language – in ways that aren’t yet recognized as literary.”

5. “#SelfieClass” • University of Southern California in Los Angeles, C.A.

The formal name was actually “Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity.” One assignment asked students to take five selfies of themselves and write an essay answering the prompt, “How do your selfies produce or obscure a sense of your identity?”

6. “Politicizing Beyoncé” • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Department: Women & Gender Studies)

The course would attempt to position Beyoncé “as a progressive, feminist, and even queer figure” by analyzing her songs and music videos “alongside readings on the history of black feminist struggle in the U.S.” in order to try and answer the question, “Can Beyoncé’s music be seen as a blueprint for progressive social change?”

7. “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus” • Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Studying the 'Miley problem'...
Studying the 'Miley problem'...
The child star turned pop diva has been used to study “the interplay among race, class, and gender, as well as taking a feminist critique of media and sociology of media approach to the Miley ‘problem.’”

8. “The Physics of Star Trek” • Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, C.A. (Department: Physics)

To boldly study what no physicist has ever studied before
To boldly study what no physicist has ever studied before
The class has used the show to discuss “Newton’s and Einstein’s physics, the Standard Model of particle physics, and the physics that underlies inertial dampers, transporter beams, warp drive, and time travel.”

9. Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond • University of Texas, Austin

You don’t have to be a sci-fi nerd to appreciate the subject matter in this course at the U of Texas focusing on the reasons, rules and social realities of created languages.

10. Elvish, the language of "Lord of the Rings" • University of Wisconsin

One ring to seal our love...
One ring to seal our love...
This course was taught by the world’s foremost expert on this language, who was even a consultant to the makers of the films. While not practical, it certainly speaks to super fans of the series.

11. The Myth of the Android and Alien Sex • Selznick School of Film Preservation

“I just can’t resist your tentacles playing with my ears…”
“I just can’t resist your tentacles playing with my ears…”
Explore the weird, wild and depraved aspects of sex between humans and monsters alike.