Smash Bros Theory: 6 Absurd Classes Taught at Actual Colleges

Universities everywhere base their entire business model on forcing you to take half a dozen completely useless classes for each one that will actually help you get smarter and find a job.

As a result, post-secondary education can be a mine field of dubious courses peddling the equivalent of academic snake oil, and some of them get downright ridiculous:

#6. Super Smash Brothers Melee Theory and Practice

Offered At:

Oberlin College in Ohio.

We admit we've never heard of this college, but at first glance it seemed like a legit school of higher learning. We found out that it's actually a 175 year-old private and selective school, and one that is fairly well-regarded even though their mascot is a Yeoman. What would the 19th Century founders say if they could see their own classrooms used to teach a course on Super Smash Brothers Melee?

Well they'd probably say something about how the magical box appears to be possessed by warring devils, at which point they would declare the whole operation to be the work of witchcraft and flee the room. But after we calmed them down they'd probably say something about how getting course credit for playing Smash Brothers is a bunch of bullshit.


Pictured: Final Exam.

Most pseudo-classes like this come with a course description that tries to play up the supposed academic value. Here they've tried to tell us the course covers "controversial issues concerning video games." However the extra $3 course fee for wear and tear on the controller pretty much gives away the real purpose. The only controversy being discussed in that class is whether to tell your parents that this is how you are blowing your college fund that they put off kidney surgery for.

Amazingly this course has 2.5 hours of class time a week, which is probably about 40 hours less than most of the students would normally play video games. Half of the course time is dedicated to time outside regular class time to practice and refine skills, time that may otherwise be wasted learning things that might actually lead to employment or sex.

#5. Psychology of Exceptional Human Experiences

Offered At:

Coventry University.

This school is located in Coventry, England and the course shows that Queen or no Queen, England can do stupid just as well as America can.

At first the course sounds pretty good. You've got a very normal-sounding title, and the description says students are required to have a Bachelor's degree and will be drawing from the fields of psychology and religion and doing quantitative analysis. But, much like a bad strip joint, once your eyes adjust to the light you realize that not everything is as it seems. This is in fact a class on psychic and paranormal experiences.

If there was any doubt as to what you would have to look forward to, this interview makes it clear that this course is not the resume builder you thought it was. It turns out the instructor will be teaching students in the course to "chase poltergeists, talk to the dead and understand telepathy."

It does not make it clear whether he will also teach them how to catch Leprechauns or battle dragons, but we think he should because those would be way more useful skills. Instead of learning anything legit you're going to spend your time hanging out in haunted houses with tape recorders and cameras, trying to find your last shred of self respect.


The course will be like this, except without anything you see in the picture.

We have a suspicion that this course was started by somebody who saw the opening scenes in Ghostbusters and immediately told their guidance counselor they wanted to go to whichever college had the best ghost-hunting department, like in the movie. When the counselor told them that in fact no real college had a ghost-hunting department because that would be ridiculous, they decided to spend the next 20 years trying to right that wrong.

#4. Stupidity

Offered At:

Occidental College.

Occidental College is a liberal arts college in LA. The Princeton Review has it on its list of The Best 361 Colleges, otherwise known as The List of All the Colleges in the U.S.

The course is supposedly an examination of stupidity "... ranging from the presidency to Beevis (sic) and Butthead (sic)." They don't name the president but we're going to guess it's not Lincoln. Also, right away we're doubting the quality of a course that wants to teach you about stupidity but manages to spell Beavis and Butt-Head wrong. These guys may know stupidity, but apparently they don't know Google.

The description slaps together a bunch of absurd academic jargon to try to legitimize the whole operation, with phrases like "Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing..." or our other favorite, "Stupidity is always the name of the Other, and it is the sign of the feminine." Is there some kind of college course random word generator they use for these things?

Also, what's the supposed benefit here? We don't think analyzing stupidity is going to make you feel any better about it, any more than telling us exactly what's in dog poop will let us better cope with stepping in it. Even worse, you'd be paying someone thousands of dollars to point out things that are stupid, when you could have just came to this site and let us do it for the price of free.

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