Lady Gaga, 2011 Grammy Awards

No. 3: Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame - University of South Carolina

Celebrities, on top of being lightning rods for gossip and advertising, can also be focal points for learning -- especially about, well, being a celebrity. And Lady Gaga represents the most dramatic rise to stardom in recent history, making her an excellent point-person.

In this University of South Carolina sociology class studying stardom, you get to ask, "Why does everyone care about what Lady Gaga does?"

No, seriously. Break it down a little: she has two albums with a few hit songs. That may be a dream for most people, but doesn't explain the attention she gets as many, many other pop singers can sport freshman album breakthroughs. (Remember Natalie Imbruglia?)

So while it might seem redundant to pay yet more attention to this fame monster, let alone in the entirely new setting of academia, it is a conversation that might be worth having.

Our next odd college course is a walk in the park ...


pedestrians walking across the street

No. 2: The Art of Walking - Centre College

You do gotta hand it to them -- for two reasons. First, when's the last time you paid attention to the way you walked? And two, think of something you do more of?

Call it the most applicable class ever. (Unless, they have one on breathing, which they just might.) And perhaps it's a great unifier, a course that can bring people from a variety of disciplines together for a stroll. Aww.

Actually, at Centre College in Danville, Ky., this is a philosophy class -- another thing everyone can jive with. And the walking, it turns out, is more of a complementary activity, allowing the various settings visited -- a park, a cemetery, what have you -- to stimulate thought and discussion.

Hmmm, on second thought, maybe it's all a diversion, a way to get otherwise sedentary philosophy loafs up off their derrieres and on their feet.

Last up, if you're wrestling with your course schedule, consider this class ...

Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant in Wrestlemania III

No. 1: American Pro Wrestling - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elitists like to look down their noses at professional wrestling fandom, but at the upper-echelon college of MIT, they heed a bit more respect.

In "Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling," they see it as a useful tool for examining masculine role models and also looking at the increasing aspect of drama into the wrestling productions.

There has been an evolution, hasn't there? The stars have gone from merely hefty to ridiculously ripped; and the story lines have gotten increasingly exaggerated and involved. Everything always has to be more. It's all kind of a neat polarization of stereotypes: "dainty" theatrics and "manly" muscles.

And to continue with the stereotyping, it's the geeks of MIT that are studying this. So maybe a little brains can go along with all that brawn and drama that makes up pro wrestling these days.