Do you love The Walking Dead so much you want to major in it? That's not possible just yet (at least, not really), but thanks to AMC, Instructure and University of California, Irvine, we can pretend for just one quarter, through a cross-disciplinary massive open online course. It's called "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead," and it's free. You can already count us in.
The class, which is scheduled to start the day after TWD's premiere, brings together UC Irvine instructors from the departments of public health, social sciences, physics, and math, giving a well-rounded perspective on TWD's Season 4 episodes. According to the course description, topics covered will range from general stuff like Maslow's hierarchy of needs to questions we only consider when imagining a post-apocalyptic world, like, "are squirrels good for you?"
Other topics really enhance our understanding of the show itself, like the social orders of the farm, the prison, and Woodbury; or "social identity, roles, and stereotyping" in characters like Rick Grimes and The Governor.
Course organizers anticipate the class taking up about two to four hours of your time per week, which a lot of y'all are spending on TWD, anyway. In case survival scenarios don't interest you (which would be weird), the course will also feature exclusive interviews with cast members discussing their characters.
What about spoilers? They've "put in place provisions to help international participants avoid spoilers," but we're not sure what they are. We're sure the occasional spoiler could get through, but the class is about so much more than the plot of TWD, so we're not too worried.
The course is free, anyone can join, and, like other open source education platforms like Coursera, there's little to no application process — just your name, email address, birth date, and some questions about how and when you watch TWD, presumably to help prevent spoilers.
With no sarcasm, this course seems 100% legit. It looks like it's only taught by professors at the Ph. D. level, so at the very least it's a great opportunity to learn — for free — from great minds we normally wouldn't have access to outside a university setting. And we'll learn more about TWD, which is always more than a bonus.
Will you be taking "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's The Walking Dead"? You can sign up here, and let us know below!
The Walking Dead Season 4 premieres on October 13 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.