News & Politics

Have More Fun: College Classes

Take a College Course -- No Grades, Just Fun

Plenty of people wish they’d learned more in college. Maybe you slept through an early-morning class, or a professor stripped the fun out of one you thought you’d love. Taking a course where grades no longer matter can bump up your enjoyment level.

Many universities offer adult-education classes, and you don’t have to enroll in a degree program or take them for credit. Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (202-687-5942; attracts students of all ages. Dean Rob Manuel says its most popular courses include creative writing and leadership coaching.

Part of the fun is taking a class you may not have gotten a chance to enjoy in college, such as “Born to Be Wild: American Film and Filmmakers in the 1970s” or “Bohemians, Beats and Bebops: The Modern in Art, Literature and Music.” Prices range from $250 to $450.

At St. John’s College in Annapolis (410-626-2881;; click on “educational outreach”), continuing education mirrors the undergraduate program’s goals: to master great books of the Western tradition. Revisit—or read for the first time—classics by Homer, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Kant. Plato’s Republic and Darwin’s The Origin of Species are among the classics on which the program concentrates.

The seminar-style courses are offered during fall and spring semesters. In addition to the great-books curriculum is the fine-arts program, where painting, drawing, and writing courses fill up quickly. Classes range from $150 to $200 for eight to ten weeks.

If you can’t fit a class into your schedule, DVDs and CDs from the Teaching Company ( bring professors to you. The company offers 200 courses taught by professors from such campuses as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. “Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance” and “Books That Have Made History” are among the lectures you can order. Subject areas range from literature to science to philosophy and more. Classes cost $150 to $700, depending on the number of lectures: A course can have as few as 12, as many as 84.