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Cool Classes Fall 2024

It's that time of year again.

Your leg is bouncing with anticipation as you refresh Self Service Carolina and prepare to take on the registration gauntlet once more. Your Stanley jingles with fresh iced coffee from Gamecock Park and your headphones are in, blaring your favorite hype playlist.

You've got a schedule packed full of required classes, but you need something else. Something that is fun, engaging, piques your interest and fulfills your elective gap.

Don't worry, because we're back again for another year and another round of some of the coolest classes you can take for Fall 2024. For this list, we've brought back fan favorites and added some new classes that are sure to make you say, "I want to take that!"

Remember, the list is by no means exhaustive. There are a ton of unique learning experiences waiting to be uncovered. Whether you’re into sports, true crime, dancing, cooking or even something a little otherworldly, South Carolina has you covered.

Introduction to Jewelry Making ARTS 255

Are you creative and fashionable? Like to work with your hands and make amazing things? Always wanted to use a blowtorch? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then Introduction to Jewelry Making might be the class for you.

Intro to Jewelry Making gives students the opportunity to get those creative juices flowing through a unique medium that utilizes tools not so easily accessed on the day-to-day. This course has three sections, one of which is taught by Thomas Bosse, who describes his coursework as “a studio art class in which students learn a variety of jewelry techniques including soldering, torchwork, stone setting, fabrication, forging/forming, casting, and more. Students approach contemporary art concepts from a perspective of jewelry and adornment as they create unique designs of their own.” 

Be warned that this class does have a lab fee and if you want to work on creating silver jewelry, you will have to provide that material yourself. No matter what you decide to create, students will leave the semester with an understanding of jewelry design, their own striking jewelry pieces and the technical skills needed to create them.
Rings made by USC students.

Anthropology of Magic and Religion ANTH 206/RELG 360

If you’re a Palmetto College student searching for an elective, look no further. This fall you can take a deep dive into cultures across the globe through the inner workings of their beliefs, traditions and myths. This online course takes students on a journey through a number of topics, from the religious concepts of Hinduism and Buddisim, to Native American myth and lore, to Voodoo and Hoodoo, all the way to supernatural assaults from hags and haints. Whether you’re an up-and-coming writer looking to find inspiration, a folklore enthusiast or just interested in learning more about the core cultural aspect that is religion, Anthropology of Magic and Religion is here to help.

book spines

Scuba PEDU 146

Here in the heart of Columbia, you can reach new depths ... in the Blatt pool. Regardless of being just shy of coastline, students have the opportunity to hone their scuba skills and even get certified. As a scuba student, you’ll participate in lectures to prepare you for your “in water” training at the Blatt P.E. Center. At the end of the course, you can choose whether or not you want to get certified in scuba diving by making your way to a “body of water,” either in-state or out-of-state (think Florida coast).

This course does have a $225 lab fee and students choosing to get their certification out-of-state are responsible for those fees. Certification is not required for your final grade.

a group of USC students in scuba gear in Blatt pool

Introduction to Comics Studies FAMS 350

Harrowing tales of Earth's mightiest heroes. A caped crusader thwarting evil under the cover of darkness. Supernatural powers and love stories for the ages. In Introduction to Comics Studies, you'll weave through the panels of some of the world's most iconic comics, graphic novels, manga and more to explore the many facets of the comic universe. This course is a deep dive into the world of graphic literature that discusses the various types of comics, key moments and the different genres that make up its rich history in the United States and beyond. Students will also learn to analyze the art of the comics themselves and the strategies and purposes behind them. If you're the person that has Disney+ just for the Marvel content, this class is a must take.

Fun fact: USC houses one of the world's largest collections of comic books. We wrote all about it in our post on Telling the American story — through comics.

Comic book style illustration of Maxcy Monument with text over top

Pickleball PEDU 100

Ready, set, serve! You can join in on the nationwide phenomenon and see why this paddle sport has taken the world by storm. Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong to create a workout that you'll look forward to (and get class credit for!) every week. In this course, you'll learn the rules of pickleball and techniques necessary to best any opponent, all while getting active and having a blast.

girl playing pickleball outside

Canine Fitness Connection PEDU 100

School can be stressful, but in Canine Fitness Connection, you’ll get more than your daily dose of serotonin. In this course, students head to local shelter, Final Victory, to make a difference in their community by walking dogs, doing laundry, administering medications and more. Who knows? You might even meet your new furry best friend along the way. Past students have fostered and even adopted the animals they’ve cared for during the course. But, if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, you can still decompress, give back and play with pups for course credit.

Note that this class does have a $10 fee and will require access to transportation, as Final Victory is located in West Columbia.

girls with dog

The Summer Olympic Games SPTE 330

With the Paris Summer Olympics mere months away, there’s no better time to take a course that immerses you in the who, what and why of the most epic series of sporting events known to man. In this class, you’ll learn about the games, the economic and the geo-political impact on their host cities and more. The best part? Students will travel around the world via 360 virtual reality “road trips” that will allow them to experience first-hand the stories and sports that make the world’s largest global, sport tourism mega-event go round. If you’re looking to get the inside scoop on the Olympic Games and get as close as you can to feeling like an Olympic athlete, this is the class for you.

This course is open to all majors but does give preference to SPTE majors and is conducted on a 15-week schedule.

Bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Coffee, Tea and Non-Alcoholic Beverages HRTM 373

Calling all beverage goblins! Are you the person who shows up to class with a piping hot coffee, a tumbler filled with water and a protein smoothie? Or maybe you’ve spent so many hours soaking in the elite vibes of Cool Beans that you’ve started to wonder what it would be like to own your own beverage hotspot? If you answered yes to any or all of the above, Coffee, Tea and Non-Alcoholic Beverages is the perfect elective for you. This course is open to all majors and takes students through the history, culture and origins of various beverages as well as different production, distribution and consumption methods. Students can expect a hands-on learning experience that allows them to learn the basics of developing a non-alcoholic beverage program, including everything from profit planning to delicious sensory analyses of your favorite beverage types, all from the comfort of HRSM’s new Beverage Lab. If you still want to learn more after all those days of taste-testing and learning about a successful beverage program, do we have good news for you. You can sign up for the newly offered Minor in Beverage Management and continue your drink journey.

FYI: This course does require a $50 fee in order to provide class tastings and if you miss out this fall, this class is taught in the spring as well.

two girls making smoothies in a kitchen and smiling

Introduction to Painting ARTS 210

Picture this: you, an easel, paintbrushes covered in a rainbow of colors and your headphones humming with the sound of your favorite playlist or audiobook. If you’re looking for a calm course that allows you to stretch those creative muscles, Introduction to Painting is the right elective for you. Students taking this class will work on a number of projects using water-based mediums, such as acrylic and tempera paints, that will build on color, composition and other skills. If you’re thinking, “I haven’t painted since grade school. I can’t take a painting class.” Never fear. This class does not require you to be an art major and no prior skills are necessary.

Want to create portraits like the old masters? We suggest checking out ARTS 211, Beginning Painting II, instead. In this course, students work at a slower pace using oil-based supplies to create portraitures, while also building on their skills of color and composition.

Girl painting a canvas.

Wedding Planning HRTM 362

If you’ve had a Pinterest board for your wedding day since you were in middle school, we’ve got the class for you. In Wedding Planning with instructor Roxanne Price, you’ll explore the intricacies of the big day by examining socio-cultural, political, economic, religious and legal influences on wedding planning. You will also learn business strategies that will help you serve and consult an array of clients. In addition to becoming a wedding-planning rockstar, you’ll partake in a number of hands-on experiences relating to the little moments that make a wedding special, such as cake tastings, menu planning, floral arranging and even calligraphy. Guest lectures from industry professionals will make you even more prepared to take on the challenge of a client’s “I do.”
Three girls smiling behind a wedding cake
At South Carolina, the possibilities and learning opportunities are endless and as a Gamecock, all you have to do is reach for them. So, take that random class just for fun. Make new friends, develop new skills and create experiences you'll never forget.