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10 Coolest Courses at Excelsior College

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Santosha Veera
21 Jun 2019
9 min read

College can sometimes feel like a drudgery of different classes, major requirements, and a densely packed road to a four year (or more) degree. Thankfully, many students also have the opportunity to take a few elective courses to enrich their academic pursuits and also take a break from some of their more challenging courses. Here are ten of the coolest courses to take at Excelsior College for any students looking to learn something new.

1. HIS 290 - Pirates on the High Seas

Pirates often stole traded goods on popular sea routes.

Couldn't get enough of Captain Jack Sparrow's adventures and want to learn the stories behind the truly fearsome burglars of the oceans? Look no further than HIS 290, a class that covers the real history of piracy and trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including its impacts on the formation of major empires and nations. This class is sure to keep any history enthusiast...hooked.

2. PSY 280 - Abnormal Psychology

Understanding psychology is a great way to understand motivations behind unusual behaviors.

PSY280 is the perfect course for both the Criminal Minds enthusiast who can't get enough of trying to make sense of a person's unique behaviors and motivations and the aspiring psychologist who hopes to provide care to families and individuals. Covering the history of abnormal behavior, contemporary understandings, and new treatment protocols, this course provides a more in-depth understanding of mental illness.

3. MUS 210 - History of Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll was extremely popular in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.

From its conception in the Southeast US with blues music to its spread to Las Vegas with Elvis Presley's unofficial coronation as the King, rock and roll has been instrumental (pun definitely intended) in developing contemporary American music and defining decades of youth culture. Through both scholarly readings and audio recordings, students will understand rock and roll's conception after the Second World War, recognize its popularity in rebellious youth culture and listen to the greats - Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones...and of course, the King of Rock and Roll himself.

4. ENG 320 - Vampires in Literature and Film

Vampires are popular cultural motifs in Western media.

Despite their contrasting outward appearances, Bram Stoker's feared Dracula and Stephanie Meyer's dreamy Edward Cullen are two bloodthirsty monsters that serve a similar societal purpose - a vessel for desire. In ENG320, students will understand the motif of the vampire, its evolution from the creepy Victorian monstrosity into the undead-boy-next-door, and how vampires represent humanity's deepest uncouth desires. With its exploration of mature themes, this class isn't for the faint of heart, but vampire lovers will definitely be stoked to take it!

5. SOC 323 - Deviant Behavior

Understanding potentially problematic deviant behaviors can help to stop them.

For the student who spends too many late nights obsessively watching Dateline - there may be a way to get college credit for that! SOC323 defines society's ideas of deviant and normal behaviors, allowing students to develop a context for understanding the motivations and psychology behind these behaviors. Additionally, students will take part in a "field research" period where they are able to put their knowledge to the test in a real-life setting. People watching isn't creepy if it's for class - just leave the binoculars at home, maybe.

6. GENE 201 - Intro to Genetic Genealogy

Genealogy can be a great way to understand and map out a family's history

For anyone who has gotten a confusing 23andme result or maybe just wants to figure out where in the world their crazy aunt Linda really hails from (and maybe if she's even related to them at all), GENE201 provides the skills and toolkit for all budding ancestry detectives. The course focuses on a genetic approach to genealogy and uses the four types of DNA to help students match and create genetic relationships from testing company data sets.

7. NS 130 - Are We Alone? Life in the Universe

Alien life may or may not be out there, waiting to be found!

A loaded title for a loaded subject - anyone who has wondered where in the world (or universe) all those aliens are will definitely be interested in this course. Taking a science-based approach (sorry conspiracy theorists) to understanding conditions for organic life outside of the Earth, students will be able to conduct their own lab experiments to determine which stars are most likely to harbor life-bearing planets. Who knows - perhaps it won't be in a galaxy so far, far away!

8. HUM 230 - Ethics of Friendship

Friendship is a cornerstone of life and society - many great friendships changed the course of human history.

Is it okay to borrow your BFFs shirt that you LOVE and 'forget' to return it? Is one breaking "bro code" if they date a friend's ex? While these might not be the exact moral scenarios that HUM230 will explore, the course will allow students to develop a societal, biological, and historical understanding of the concepts of friendship. Covering groundbreaking philosophical theories from Aristotle, Foucault, and Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, HUM230 may have someone thinking twice the next time they "forget" to pay someone back for an Uber ride. That's right - Aristotle is watching and he isn't happy.

9. HUM 252 - Mythology

Mythology and folklore have existed since the beginning of humanity.

All the kids in the back who watched Disney's Hercules too many times, raise those hands. You are heard, you are valid, and HUM 252 is the class for you. Exploring amazing questions like would Zeus or Thor win in a fight, why so many companies in the US are named after Greek gods, and whether Star Wars and Harry Potter count as modern mythologies, HUM 252 offers a contemporary understanding of human mythologies and folklore (and class viewings of Star Wars- what's not to love?)

10. HSC 402 - Managing Stress

Meditation is a great way to manage stress.

Let's face it - college (and LIFE) is hard. As students, it's easy to become burned out and tired. Sometimes, the drudgery of endless classes, mounting student debts, and a long path to a degree with no foreseeable job market in sight can be a bummer. Managing stress is an integral part of managing and thriving in life, and HSC402 offers students great tools for leading a fulfilling and stress-free (or, at least, stress-reduced) life.

Throughout every student's journey in college, it can be easy to forget that college is really about learning things that are interesting and fulfilling to them. Hopefully, these classes will help break up the monotony of those major requirements and hard courses, and re-ignite the flame to learn and grow as students and as people.


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