Although we may often think of college courses as a means to an end when working toward a specific degree or career, some college courses may be mostly for fun or personal interest. Colleges, universities and other educational institutions across the country are offering unique courses to add an extra dimension to their students' learning.

Lego Robotics
Not all courses at MIT are about space exploration or engineering. One offering at MIT focuses on the fun side of robotics. Students can take a course in building robots with Lego. This course can be taken as part of an MIT course load. For students not enrolled full-time at MIT, there are courses available on a special student basis, costing $650 per unit. Although this is a six-unit seminar, MIT's minimum cost for special students is $5,850 for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame
Considering how much Lady Gaga has been in the public eye for her outlandish behavior, there's little wonder why she's made her way into a number of college discussions. For a mere $1,200 ($3,150 for out-of-state students), you can learn all about the social issues related to Lady Gaga's career at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. Those studying at the University of Virgina also have the opportunity to learn about Gaga in a course titled, "GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender and Identity."

Kinky Crafts
Reed College, home to the famed course "Underwater Basket Weaving," which literally teaches how to weave baskets underwater (a term that was once only used to describe courses that were thought to have no practical application), has another unique offering. The school offers a course in kinky crafts, which teaches the art of making homemade leather cuffs and collars. The course has been touted as a less-expensive alternative to buying these expensive items. Kinky Crafts is offered as a part of Reed College's Paideia week, and is free for Reed College students, or available to the public for $5.

DJ History, Culture and Technique
Just in case you're stuck trying to decide between becoming a college graduate and pursuing that DJ career, now you can do both. New York University offers a four-credit course in DJ history and technique that allows students to study with world-class DJs. However, with a $4,636 enrollment fee, this exciting course offering is probably not a good choice for penny-pinching students.

Philosophy and Star Trek
Though Star Trek has been known to creep its way into a number of college courses, including those that teach the Klingon language, Georgetown University now offers a philosophy course that centers around this pop-culture icon. The course examines the plausibility of time travel, the future possibilities that await us in space, what defines a person and a number of other metaphysical explorations that Star Trek has examined. As a part of a 12-credit full-time course load at Georgetown, this three-credit course costs $5,115.

Theatrical Fencing
Since fencing just isn't theatrical enough to begin with, you can now study Theatrical Fencing at the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus. This one-credit physical education course will cost students $331 to $996, depending on whether they are out of state. The course teaches students the art of sword craft. Students are required to buy their own wooden swords to participate.

Nuthin' but a "G" Thang
Oberlin College's Experimental College offers a course in hip-hop music that examines the genre's evolution and impact on the music industry. Some of the artists studied include Tupac Shakur, Nas, the Wu-Tang Clan and Grandmaster Flash. Students are also encouraged to share some of their favorite musical works from the genre. Courses at Oberlin's Experimental College (or ExCo) change regularly, so you can always look for unique offerings that may actually count toward earning a degree.

Joy of Garbage
If you're currently studying at Santa Clara University and looking to spend $4,881, then you can learn all about garbage. Unique course title aside, this course actually has a valuable component to the green-minded student. Various social issues are addressed in this course, including the notion of sending garbage abroad, as well as the search for more sustainable solutions.

Mail-Order Brides of Southeast Asia
Everyone has probably heard of mail-order brides, but have you ever really considered what the cultural impact is on the countries that they hail from? John Hopkins University offers a unique anthropological study of mail-order brides and the cultural stereotypes that affect the women of Southeast Asia. This is a three-credit course, which comes with a price tag of about $4,277 at 2011/2012 fee schedule for visiting students, which charges $1,409 per credit.

The Bottom Line
There's no denying that part of the college experience is what you learn outside of the classroom. However, the wide range of courses available to students shows that there are plenty of unique learning opportunities available inside the classroom, too. Keep in mind that finding your dream job shouldn't be the only reason you pursue higher education. Learning about society and becoming a better-rounded individual should be part of the process as well.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Top Universities for Getting an MBA Abroad

    Going abroad for an MBA can add cachet when it comes time to get a job.
  2. Credit & Loans

    10 Ways Student Debt Can Destroy Your Life

    If you're getting a student loan, think critically about how you will manage your loan. Student debt could have a profound negative impact on your life.
  3. Budgeting

    Top 10 Ways College Students Can Save Money

    College costs are soaring, but fortunately, there are several ways for college students to save money - and some are quite painless.
  4. Personal Finance

    8 Ways to Find Cheap Textbooks

    Textbooks are so expensive. What are the tricks to find cheaper books?
  5. Credit & Loans

    Why Ignoring Your 529 Plan Could Cost You Big

    Saving for your kids' college tuition can be difficult. Here's how a 529 plan can help and how you, too, can help your 529 plan.
  6. Professionals

    The Pitfalls of PLUS College Loans

    Here's how parents can avoid the pitfalls of PLUS Loans when it comes to funding their children's college education.
  7. Professionals

    Career Advice: Accounting Vs. Law

    Identify the key differences between working in accounting and working in law. Understand which specific skills make you better-suited for each career.
  8. Professionals

    Getting a College Student to Love ... Investing?

    College students have a big advantage over many other investors: time. Here's how to get them interested in investing.
  9. Professionals

    Want to Be High-Earner? Avoid these College Majors

    Why these college majors might offer a poor chance of paying off those student loans sooner rather than later.
  10. Budgeting

    Off-Campus vs Campus Housing, Which One To Choose

    With U.S. college tuition ranging from free to over $30,000 a year, there are a lot of decisions to make in the months leading up to September. One of the decisions that falls by the wayside ...
  1. Student loans, federal and private: what's the difference?

    The cost of a college education now rivals many home prices, making student loans a huge debt that many young people face ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does accrued interest work on student loans?

    Using private and federal student loans to finance a college education is a common funding strategy, but students are often ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  2. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  3. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  4. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  5. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  6. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!