The 13 most bizarre courses you can study at a Canadian university

Have you been a little bitter since J.K. Rowling revealed there’s a whole wizarding world out there you’ll never be a part of? Well, young Muggles are getting a second chance at Hogwarts with Carleton University’s “Study in Conjuring Arts” program. 

In other words, you can finally major in magic. Yes, seriously. 

The Ottawa university announced last week that they are currently accepting “applications, nominations and expressions of interest” for the Allan Slaight Chair for the Study in Conjuring Arts. The program will fulfil Slaight’s life-long dedication to the scholarship of magic. 

According to Carleton’s posting, the areas of research include, “psychology, history, literature, communication, media, religious studies, and theatre” and focus on “perception, illusion, deception, influence, and the history of magic.” 

Carleton’s new sorcery program isn’t anywhere near the weirdest class you can take at a notable Canadian university. From Beyoncé to wine science, Canadian kids sure are having a good time (you know, when they’re not bogged down in essays and lab reports). 

Here are some of the strangest classes you can take at universities across this great country. 

The Many Faces of Harry Potter – Western University
Want to learn about the boy wizard who started it all? And by “it all,” we mean several fantastical and youth-oriented literary genres and a multi-billion-dollar franchise. 

According to the Western website, the course will examine all seven books as well as the series’ “roots in a wide variety of genres including the gothic novel, detective fiction, fantasy, adventure, and even the dystopian novel.” So it ends up being a typical English course, but at least you get to tell your friends in chemistry that you’re reading Harry Potter for class while they’re doing titrations.  

How To Win An Argument – Dalhousie University 
If you like How to Get Away with Murder, you’ll love this course. We can only imagine the multitude of practical uses because the average person argues more often than they commit murder (we hope). 

In this philosophy course, students will develop, “the practical skills involved in evaluating reasoning and producing convincing arguments.” Viola Davis cameo, TBD. 

Beyoncé – University of Victoria
Most universities have a course where you learn about the Queen of England, but why don’t more have studies on the Queen of the World? This course uses Queen Bey as a case study and jumping off point to explore “popular music as a cultural construct.” 

“Starting with Beyoncé’s roots as the lead singer of the girl group, Destiny’s Child, the class will position her in relationship to girl groups of the 60s,” the course description reads. “From there, the course will follow her career trajectory through her development as a solo act, film star, and Jay-Z collaborator.” A lesson in Beyoncé history? Where do we sign? 

American Pastoral – University of Toronto
If you’ve ever been anywhere near an English course, you’ve read a poem by some old guy describing nature. This course examines classic American literature and “key works of eco-criticism in light of twenty-first century environmental realities.”

That’s not even the best part though. The course is partially taught on Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, ON where graduate students will take in the pastoral views and learn about beekeeping, vegetable gardening, animal feeding and cheese-making. 

Girls on Fire – Western University
Ever wondered what makes Young Adult dystopian fiction with female protagonists so popular and revolutionary? All your questions about Katniss, Tris and a whole host of other female teen protagonists will be answered in “Girls on Fire: Constructions of Girlhood in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction.” 

In the course, students examine how girlhood and feminism are portrayed in popular Young Adult fiction and study what makes it so appealing to young female readers. It’s your teen years brought back to life, but this time you get to analyse every detail.  

Poker 101 – University of Ottawa
If you’re a broke student attending a Canadian university, chances are pretty high that you need a side hustle to pay the rent. Look no further than “Poker 101” where students learn the math and probability that apply to games of chance. 

By playing and discussing poker and other games, the “class we will get acquainted with the basic tools and concepts from game theory, probability theory and decision theory.” It sounds like counting cards, but as long as they don’t do it at a casino, they’re probably fine. 

Intro to Wine Science – University of British Columbia
No, this course isn’t what you want it to be. Apparently it’s not about wine tasting (although you could always do some while studying for extra credit, of course). 

This class actually studies the “principles of viticulture, enology, and wine microbiology and chemistry” (so, yes, real science) and the “marketing, regulation and classification of wines from selected regions of the world.” Not to mention the ever-important “social, economic and health aspects of wine consumption.” Apparently there is also “wine appreciation” so that sort of sounds like tasting? 

The Science of Batman – University of Victoria 
Who knew there was science behind how a comic book character behaves? This exercise science course uses “Batman as a metaphor for the ultimate in human conditioning” and analyses exercise and injury “through the life of the Caped Crusader.” 

It’s all about human potential and limitation. Just don’t tell them that Batman is a fictional character. We can’t imagine that ending well. 

Caring Clown – Ryerson University
Yes, seriously. This is pretty much “Clowning 101” but it’s actually quite sweet. In this course, students who are 50+ learn to “bring cheer to residents in long-term care homes” by developing “imagination, spontaneity, and musicality.” It’s not all fun and games though. This course also teaches an “understanding of aging and the dementia process.”

Religion and Disney – Memorial University of Newfoundland
For many, Disney is a religion, but this course isn’t about dedicating your mind and soul to an anthropomorphic mouse and his band of friends. It actually looks at religious themes within Disney films and cartoons as well as religious resistance to Disney and Walt Disney’s own religious beliefs. 

The course markets itself as “not just another Mickey Mouse course,” and with a description like that, we certainly believe it. 

Medicinal and Hallucinogenic Plants – University of Manitoba
It’s unlikely you get to try hallucinogenic plants in this course, but for people who don’t do hard drugs, reading about them might be enough. This course is a “botanical and historical survey of medicinal, hallucinogenic and poisonous plants used in various cultures.” So while it might not be overly practical for your life, you could certainly freak a few friends out with your extensive knowledge of naturally-occurring poisons. 

Gal Pals: Women and Friendship – University of Windsor 
A course all about female friendship? Count us in (and 10 of our closest friends)! This class examines the complexities of female friendship (and everyone knows how complicated those can get). 

According to the university’s website, the course covers topics like, “the meaning of friendship for women, how women's friendships have been portrayed in literature and film, the link between friendship and social activism for women, and the political meanings of women's friendship in cultures resistant to woman-centered consciousness.” Even if you have an understanding of that already, it would be interesting to have actual terminology to describe our daily interactions with each other. Let’s go, ladies!
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