Michigan State University to Offer Course on Surviving Zombie Apocalypse

by on January 14th, 2011
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Should a “zombie apocalypse” ever befall the campus of Michigan State University, its students will be prepared — or at least the students who take its new course, “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – Catastrophes and Human Behavior.”

According to the course description, students will undertake a “catastrophic event simulation” involving a “zombie pandemic.” They will be broken up into “survivor groups” and “must face the challenges of living and surviving together during a catastrophic event.”

Although the idea of studying an attack of the undead may sound absurd to many, instructor and course creator Glenn Stutzky told MSU News “the topic is serious and worthy of academic study, the challenges presented in surviving a hypothetical zombie pandemic have real-world applications.”

Those real-world applications according to Stutzky include, “the nature, scope and impact of catastrophic events on individuals, families, societies, civilizations and the Earth itself.”

In other words, a zombie apocalypse scenario can be used in order to contemplate the physical and social consequences of real catastrophes. The class is ultimately about human behavior during disasters, the zombie element is just a unique way to make it a bit more interesting. As Stutzky told the MSU News, “After all, zombies make everything more interesting.”

Michigan State is not the first university to offer an unorthodox class that mixes pop culture with serious subject matter. In the past the University of California at Berkeley has offered “Simpsons and Philosophy,” which studied the deeper meanings of the hit cartoon show, while Frostburg State University in Maryland has offered “The Science of Harry Potter,” exploring the relationship between real science and magic featured in the popular book series.

Despite the seemingly comedic topics of these courses, they were generally praised by the academic community for their original approach. Michigan State University is no doubt hoping to replicate their success.

How Michigan State students fare their upcoming “zombie apocalypse” — or how much they actually learn from it — is yet to be seen, but for a preview of the horrors to come, take a look at the course’s official YouTube channel: About Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – Catastrophes & Human Behavior.

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