5 Colleges With Quirky Student-Taught Classes

You won’t believe what kinds of cool classes students get to take and teach at these colleges.

By Sydney Nikols | February 17, 2017

Berkeley students learn archery from their peers.

Forget Intro to Psych – these colleges’ student-run courses are where the fun is really at. Whether you’re interested in teaching an awesome class or taking a course in something unique and different, student-taught classes at these schools will have you actually wanting to get out of bed.

Many of these schools allow students, faculty, administrators, and residents to teach courses that aren’t usually offered.

1. University of California at Berkeley

University of California at Berkeley has a whole student-run program called DeCal that allows students to create and teach their own classes, and over 150 student-run and faculty-sponsored courses are held every semester. Grades are doled out as either a “pass” or a “fail,” and students receive some course credit towards graduating. Current classes have wacky titles like Video Games and You: The Player’s Perspective, Discussing The Hunger Games, Modern Square Dancing and Disney in Our Daily Lives.

2. Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University offers student forums that are student-taught, faculty-run and contain no more than 15 students. In order to teach a class, students have to write a proposal that includes elements like a statement of purpose, description of the course, outline of discussion topics, and reading list. Current approved forums include Cantonese for Beginners and Food Justice and Sustainability.

3. Rice University

Rice University sponsors student-taught, credit-bearing courses in nontraditional areas. In order to teach a class, students are required to take a certain course that teaches them how to instruct and how to write a proposal for creating the class of their choice. Past student-taught courses have had titles like “Lady Gaga as a Cultural Phenomenon,” “Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in Britain and America” and “The Literary, Televised and Film History of Batman.”

Rice University receives our "Applause" for their Gaga class.

4. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s StuCo program allows every student to either take or teach a student-run course. Courses are usually a full semester long, meet once a week, and have to be in a subject that isn’t otherwise offered by the college. They’re graded on a pass or fail basis and offer elective credits. Recently offered courses have covered awesome topics like Fun with Robots, Introduction to Professional Baking, Zombie Survival 101, Introduction to Indian Cuisine and Beekeeping.

5. Oberlin College

Oberlin College’s Experiment College program, or ExCo, allows students, faculty, administrators, and residents to teach courses that aren’t usually offered. Often, they reflect current trends occurring at the school. Students can earn credit for taking classes with titles like Grassroots Organizing, Chinese Tea, Calvin & Hobbes, Funk Appreciation, and Hair, Self, and Society.

Now that you know these programs exist, might we suggest convincing some of your friends to teach an inspiring class here or there? That’s pretty much a guaranteed “pass” for you (just saying...).

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