Wouldn’t it be so much easier to pay attention in class if the subject was your favorite pop star? Imagine taking notes on Taylor Swift lyrics instead of calculus, reviewing flash cards about Kanye West‘s impact on pop culture instead of biology, or taking a quiz on Miley Cyrus‘ fashion statements instead of geography.
For a few lucky students at universities scattered around the world, that’s exactly what they get to do. As a small handful of artists from the past decade or two have transitioned from pop stars to pop icons, more and more academic institutions have introduced courses dedicated to their songwriting skills, cultural significance, and everything in between.
It may not be surprising to see classes on already certified legends — Bob Dylan or The Beatles, for example — listed among a college’s offerings. But now, musicians who are still actively producing mainstream hits such as Harry Styles, Drake and Lana Del Rey are starting to join them in the canon of artists whose careers are considered profound enough to dissect and analyze in an intellectual setting.
For example, Swift in particular sparked a trend of college courses constructed around her in 2022. In fact, one offered at the University of Texas even promised to compare her songbook to the work of famous poets such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats and Dickinson. Meanwhile, a surge in Beyoncé-themed classes began sometime in 2016, with professors from Rutgers University, Arizona State and more looking to Queen Bey to contextualize pieces of academic literature on Black feminist studies.
So, grab a pen and paper, and get ready to take notes on the study of modern day musicians. Here are 10 college courses dedicated to pop stars: