List of 5 unique classes offered at University of Kentucky

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Interested in using television shows to study technology? Curious about the science behind different alcohols? The University of Kentucky has a class for those interests.

Beyond the typical course offerings, UK has different classes for students who want to make their schedules a little more interesting. From distilling, to circus skills, to how to apply gaming theories to education, there are classes for many different interests.

UK has more than 200 academic programs in 16 different colleges, according to the university website. Here are five of the more unique and unexpected classes that have been offered at UK.

Spirit Chemistry

If you’ve ever wanted to learn the science behind how liquors are created, Spirit Chemistry is the class for you.

“The production of distilled spirits involves three basic steps: selection and processing of a carbohydrate (starch or sugar), fermentation of the carbohydrate to produce ethanol and distillation of the ethanol. In these processes, substances are produced and concentrated in the ethanol that create the unique flavors and fragrances associated with the individual spirit,” according to the course description.

Seven spirits are discussed in detail: moonshine, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, bourbon and scotch, according to UK.

Circus and Philosophy

UK professor Meg Wallace takes lessons from circus skills and applies them to philosophy in Circus and Philosophy. Students of all experience levels with circus skills, including juggling, aerial arts and acrobatics, are welcome to enroll in the class.

“How is juggling like being a good person? What does the trapeze have to do with free will? What does circus have to do with truth?” the course description asks.

The class is divided into two portions each week. One section is about learning physical circus skills, and the other is about investigating philosophical topics.

Inspired by the class, Wallace also helped start the circus club at UK last year.

Theory, Popular Culture and ICT

If you’re a fan of shows like “Black Mirror” and also interested in technology, UK has a class that connects the two. Theory, Popular Culture and ICT (Information Communication Technology) takes a look at the darker depictions of technology in media.

Offered through the Lewis Honors College, this class uses anthology TV shows to explore the “darker side of new technologies and theory,” according to the course description. Netflix’s “Black Mirror” is among the shows used in this class.

“The selected artifacts will explore our uses of technology and be matched with theoretical frameworks for understanding potential behaviors around this phenomenon,” the course description says.

Gaming in STEM Education

For fans of gaming, UK’s Gaming in STEM Education course allows students to play games for a grade. From video games to board games, games of all types are included in this class, which looks at how gaming can be applied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

“For example, as one part of the course, students will choose a game to play and conduct a detailed analysis of at least two STEM concepts embedded in gameplay,” according to the course description.

The class was first offered last fall as a fully online course.

International Trade and War with Dune

Fans of the “Dune” novels can take lessons from the series and apply them to politics in International Trade and War with Dune.

Offered through the Lewis Honors College, the class covers topics related to why states go to war, how trade and war are connected, and negotiation in politics, according to the course description. Knowledge of the “Dune” series is not a requirement, and students with any level of familiarity with the series are able to take the class.

“In many respects, this course serves as a gateway to studying international diplomacy, free trade, economic statecraft, and peacemaking through a pop culture lens,” according to the course description.

Monica Kast covers higher education for the Herald-Leader and Previously, she covered higher education in Tennessee for the Knoxville News Sentinel. She is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University.
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