Current Issue
April 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

You Can Now Get a College Degree in Rock

In Nottingham, England, you can now get a college degree studying Heavy Metal

Heavy metal singer Chino Moreno. Photo: Focka

Looking to get that all-important college degree but care more about double-kicks and shredding than valence electrons or iambic pentameter? According to the Telegraph, Nottingham Trent University in England may have just what you’re after: a degree in Heavy Metal Music Performance.

The course will encourage students to explore how the actions of heavy metal figures have been censored throughout history, as well as to study how famous heavy metal bands came into being and the relationship of heavy metal to religion and philosophy.

The degree is a two-year focus that you’ll need to round out with another year of studies. In the end, you’ll be sent home with a nice artium baccalaureus. In England, says the Telegraph, the school is facing flak for offering what many are criticizing as a useless degree, one that sets students back professionally (on top of taking their tuition money.)

‘Education campaigners have criticised the course as something that could put students at a disadvantage with future employers.

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “The problem is I don’t think this will have credibility in the marketplace.

“I’m not against heavy metal at all, I just don’t think it will impress an employer to find a youngster has a degree in heavy metal. It could become a ‘disqualification.’”

A degree in Heavy Metal joins the fray of odd college degrees, such as packaging, comic book art or poultry science (which, if you think about it, are all actually quite useful). More than an interesting alternative educational avenue, Nottingham’s Heavy Metal degree touches on the ideological debate over what, exactly, college is for.

As a venue for securing employment, sure, maybe it’s not the most straightforward approach. Then again, according to Forbes, a whole host of college degrees, from film and art to philosophy and history, are pretty much pointless if your whole goal is to secure a high-paying wage. But as an intellectual pursuit, how is studying the history and cultural force of heavy metal music any different than studying, say, the societal impact of Renaissance era French poets?

For many, college is a time to expand your horizons, to think weird thoughts and to absorb knowledge you’d probably never encounter otherwise. Rock on, Nottingham, \m/.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Why Do People Hate Dissonant Music? (And What Does It Say About Those Who Don’t?)
What Mosh Pits Can Teach Us About Disaster Planning

Tags
About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus