There are college classes on The Walking Dead now

Illustration for article titled There are college classes on The Walking Dead now

Because everything has to be timely and pop culture-centric in order to make the kids want to study, University of California, Irvine has offered up a FREE online course all about The Walking Dead. Oh, and it's not graded, so you don't really have to try.


It's available to all over at the UC Canvas site. Here is the official class description:

Course Description

From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed

    Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior

    Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world

    Debate the role of public health organizations in society

    Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions

    Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage

    Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

We kind of like the idea of a campus creating another place on the internet to foster intellectual pontificating about pop culture. Hell, we may join. However, the final should just be one, simple question:

True/False: Lori is the worst.

Image via The Metapicture.



Meredith, I feel this is an unfair judgment. Classes about pop culture are nothing new. In point of fact, my terminal degree is in popular literature. The college courses I teach - which are packed every single term they run - reference everything from 'Pan's Labyrinth' to 'The Big Lebowski' to James Jean and Bioshock. Students tell me they are turned on to far deeper cultural and sociopolitical issues from discussing elements of pop culture in a focused, informative setting. If I thought 'The Walking Dead' was relevant to a course I was teaching, I'd bring it in.