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10 Wacky College Courses That Are Totally For Real

College has long been renowned for its atmosphere of academia, aura of intellectualism ... and courses about baseball, The Beatles, and the Bahamas?! Truly, today's college curriculum is diverse, varied, unique, and unforgettable. You can't make this stuff up. See for yourself.

1. Interpreting Halloween to Children
This one-credit, fall college course is offered as part of the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management program at Penn State's nature center, Shaver's Creek (Petersburg, PA). In the course, college students learn to interpret the natural origins of Halloween to visitors attending the annual Shaver's Creek Children's Halloween Trail and Festival -- an interactive family event.

2. The Kentucky-Bahamas Connection
Did you know that 450 million years ago central Kentucky was located 20 degrees south of the equator in a climate and setting very much like the Bahamas is today? In this college course for freshmen at the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), students study local rocks and fossils in preparation for a week-long trip to San Salvador, Bahamas, to examine modern analogs to the 450-million-year-old rocks in central Kentucky.

3. Backcountry Search & Rescue
This two-day, 16-hour wilderness course at Hulbert Outdoor Center (Fairlee, VT) covers the basic principles of rescuer preparedness, search management, leadership, backcountry medicine, map and compass skills, ropes and knots, packaging and carrying litters. With successful completion of the course, current EMTs can receive 16 hours of continuing education units.

4. Myth, Baseball, and the Meaning of Life
In this summer course at the College of Charleston (Charleston, SC), college students take a critical look at many of the myths that have grown around baseball and use the sport as a mirror to understand the "experience of life" of America, its citizens, and its institutions. Should baseball really be considered our national pastime?

5. Spirituality of Running
This religious/theological studies course at Merrimack College (North Andover, MA) explores what is meant by "spirituality" and analyzes prayer, sacraments, and pilgrimage as ways of understanding running. College students' actual experience with running is shared, along with ways that running creates a connection with the world around us and with God.

6. Super Crunching: Google Data Mining and Beyond
First-year students enrolled in this seminar course at The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ) examine the data mining component in the Google operation. College students also study the applications of data mining by, Yahoo, Blockbuster,, and others to provide better services related to daily life.

7. City at Night
Dumpster diving, ghost hunting, and the Chicago Transit Authority are among the subjects that students are exploring in a new college course at DePaul University (Chicago, IL). College students in the 10-week urban communication and culture course, which meets from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., are also learning about the death of neighborhood taverns and helping night ministry workers feed the homeless.

8. The Beatles in London
This three-credit, Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) School of Music overseas college course offers an in-depth look at the music, lives, and times of the Beatles. Afternoons in London are devoted to Beatles-related walking tours, subway journeys, and bus trips, and a six-day trip to Liverpool is included.

9. Mythic Rhetoric of the American Superhero
Students in this college course at the University of North Texas (Denton, TX) study common superhero themes of power, leadership, redemptive violence, and vigilante justice via comic books, graphic novels, movies, and the writings of Nietzsche and other philosophers.

10. The Science of Happiness
This college course at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg explores the psychology of happiness and includes assignments -- like writing a letter to someone and making a list of what you're grateful for -- that are designed to help students be happier by the end of the course. By their own assessment, almost all the college students feel happier by the end of the course.