More bonkers degrees?

Are they bonkers? Or just very well targeted?

With apologies for repetition. But it is August. And in the context of A-level results day, we all need to reflect on the real value of some of the finest HE provision around. Previous posts have covered similar ground including a zombie course at the University of Baltimore and a course covering Lady Gaga. Also previously looked here at the launch of an MA in Beatles Studies and the offer of a degree in Northern Studies as well as offering a podcast on “bonkers or niche” degrees. Most recently there was, shockingly, an MA in horror and transgression at Derby.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has new update on some of these:

Pop quiz: What is the difference between a tangerine and a clementine? If you’re stumped, then you probably did not get a degree from Florida Southern College in citrus studies, an interdisciplinary major that introduces students to the ins and outs of producing and marketing—you guessed it—citrus fruits. Courses include CIT 3301: “Introduction to Citrus” and a for-credit internship in Florida’s citrus industry. If that experience doesn’t result in a full-time job, at least graduates know they’ll have a leg up in the produce aisle on all those chumps who majored in history.

It also highlights a number of other exciting degrees:

Carnegie Mellon U.

Major: Bagpipes – Notable courses: One-on-one bagpipe studio courses with Andrew Carlisle, a master piper

Bowdoin College

Major: Arctic studies – Notable courses: “Arctic Peoples,” “Arctic Explorations,” “Arctic Politics”

Harrisburg Area Community College

Major: Auctioneering – Notable courses: The program requires two semesters of “Procurement and Appraisal of Merchandise” as well as a semester of AUCT 106: “The Auction.”

Kansas State U.

Major: Bakery science – Notable courses: “Cereal Science,” “Fundamentals of Food Processing,” “Principles of Milling”

There are more…

Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Telegraph has published a list of “unusual university courses”. A remarkable list on two counts. First, few of the courses listed are that unusual (Aerospace Engineering is pretty big in quite a few universities) and secondly (as @TriBen pointed out to me, for which many thanks), it fails to cite Surf Science at Plymouth, which is usually a banker for such lists (there is a picture of a surfer though). The horse pic below relates to Equine Studies, of course.

It is August. And there is a need to fill some space before all those pictures of happy students on A level results day can be published.

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Another daft course? Sociology goes Gaga

Or is this a case of academia at the cutting edge of contemporary culture?

Have posted before about slightly unusual programmes, including a zombie course at the University of Baltimore. Anyway, this time it’s Lady Gaga at the University of South Carolina. According to a story in the Washington Post also picked up by the BBC, the University will be offering a serious course on this most serious of topics:

The course will examine how exactly Lady Gaga managed to become so famous so quickly. Right now, the pop diva has more then 10 million Facebook fans and 6 million Twitter followers. (And yet again she is one of the year’s most popular Halloween costumes.)

“What is important about the course is it isn’t a musicology course,” Deflem told the Daily Gamecock. “It also isn’t a literary criticism course. It’s not a poetry course. It’s not like a dance course. It’s not an art course. It’s distinctly sociological.”

And not before time.