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The 10 Most Obscure Course Names at Penn State

At Penn State, we take pride in having an extensive list of courses to choose from. Whatever topic you are interested in, Penn State is bound to have the class for you. From humorous titles to fascinating subjects, we found the top 10 most interesting courses to take– just in time for next semester’s registration.

1. AGECO 121: Plant Stress- It’s Not Easy Being Green: Based on the many hazards faced by plants and the dynamic ways plants respond, this course is perfect for anyone looking to satisfy a natural science requirement. Plus, you have an incredibly valid reason to sing this song for the entire semester. Your friends will love it, especially the 543th time you sing it.

2. PPEM 120: The Fungal Jungle: This course is all about the impact of fungi on the environment around us and is another interesting choice for a natural science course requirement. Bonus points if you can say this course’s entire name without cracking up.

3. ENGL 181C: The Beach- Exploring the Literature of the Atlantic Shore: This class is perfect for the second semester in the dead of winter. Why not at least learn about the beach while you’re surrounded by several inches of snow? This class is one of the English department’s Adventure Lit offerings, so a trip to the beach is actual, required coursework!

4. SC 150: Out of the Fiery Furnace: …And into the fire? Penn State’s natural science classes seem to have the most peculiar names, and this one does not disappoint.  This class is for nontechnical students, and focuses on the history of materials, energy, and humans, with emphasis on their interrelationships.

5. INART 200: Elvis Presley- The King of Rock and Roll: As we head into the arts department, we found a class based on the significance and influence of Elvis Presley as an artist and cultural force, focusing on his recordings and major performances. And of course, if Elvis’ music isn’t your thing, you can always take an entire three-credit course on The Beatles.

6.EDSGN 013S: Ethics of Star Trek: A seminar for first-year students, this class primarily focuses on applications for engineering practices. In case you were wondering, the description of this course translated to Klingon looks a little like this:


7. ART H 226: The Comic Book- A History of Sequential Art: College textbooks just don’t have enough pictures, amirite? An entire class devoted to graphic novels is the perfect break from the boring textbooks from all your other classes.

8. INART 220: Stand-Up Comedy- A Cultural History: Although you need to at least be a sophomore to be eligible for this class, this class will surely add some entertainment to your dull schedule of required courses. Laughter is essentially guaranteed during this class, which is a far cry from some of the mind-numbing lectures on campus.

9. HIST 230Y: The History of Monsters, Aliens, and The Supernatural: If you believe in other life forms or have seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies, this humanities credit is the course for you.

10. ENGL 179: Exploring the Literature of Food: When 12 o’clock rolls around, I know all I can think about is food. The solution? Take a class where you read about all sorts of food, while fulfilling a humanities credit. Actually, this class might make you even hungrier. That’s some food for thought… get it?!

Taking a few of these courses will certainly spice up your monotonous schedule for next semester.

About the Author

Claire Going

Claire is a freshman broadcast journalism major and writer for Onward State. She enjoys reading, running, and a good cup of tea. She's from Emmaus, Pennsylvania and is a dual citizen. (Go Ireland!) You can contact her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @claire_going.


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10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

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