15 Cool College Classes Any Arizonan Can Take

By Claire Mainprize

August 28, 2023

Be the most interesting person in the room with these 15 classes, from cake decorating to serial killers.

If you think college classes are only for students enrolled in a degree program, guess again. Most community colleges in Arizona offer courses to the public, charging by the credit hour (FYI: They’re each about 2-3 credits). 

For a couple hundred bucks, you can spend a whole semester learning about something that genuinely interests you, from teachers who are pros.  

Note that the prices listed below are only for Arizona residents. Sorry snowbirds, you’ve got to pony up full price for these classes. 

Introduction to Comic Book Writing

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges (Phoenix)

How Much: $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

Forget hefty textbooks and academic studies, the only books you’ll need for this class are Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman.

If that sounds like your dream college course, you can take it at Phoenix College, which was the first of Maricopa Colleges’ 10 colleges across the state (Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain). 

Each school caters to adult learners of any age. In fact, seniors can attend some classes for free (and others are half-off). 

The class covers the elements and techniques of this unique and popular form of art. You’ll learn all the necessary comic book lingo as well as how to propose an outline and complete a character study. You’ll be narrating the adventures of a brand-new hero in no time. 

Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing: An Introduction to Comparative Religion

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges

How Much: $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: Online and in-person 

While some people would be put off by the title of this course, it’s actually quite spellbinding. As a part of the class, you’ll get to watch a number of films, including Dances of Ecstacy, Between Two Worlds: The Hmong Shaman, The Burning Times: Witchhunts and Violence Against Women, and Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java. As well as the magic, witchcraft, and healing covered in the title, the readings cover various world religions and all things supernatural. 

If such taboo topics intrigue you more than they spook you, sign up. 

Kendo

Where: Arizona Western College

How Much: $70

How Long: 10 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

Kendo, which means “way of the sword,” is a Japanese martial art that’s been around for more than 1,000 years and is still hugely popular today. Although it began as sword training for Samurai warriors, it’s now the top scholastic sport in Japan. 

At Arizona Western College in Yuma, you can spend your Saturday mornings learning the basic skills of the sport, from mental discipline to physical conditioning. People of all fitness levels are welcome, and you can’t beat that price. 

Hip Hop Music and Culture

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges 

How Much: $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: Online and in-person

Whether you’re a skilled dancer or just a Nicki Minaj stan, you’ll love this course that’s devoted to the history of hip-hop music. You’ll get to study “how cultural, social, political, and economic conditions have shaped its evolution” by reading books like Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation and God Save the Queens: The Essential History of Women in Hip-Hop.

Of course, there will be plenty of audible learning as well. In fact, we speculate that this class will make you want to get up and dance.

Introduction to Design and Game History

Where: Arizona Western College

How Much: Ages 59 and under: $282, ages 60 and over: $225

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

Arizona Western College has some top-notch degree and certificate programs in the wonderful world of video games, and one of the prerequisite classes is Introduction to Design and Game History. This course teaches you all about the behemoth video game industry, from video game life cycles to analysis of contemporary failures. We’re willing to bet that Call of Duty is on the syllabus?

Survey of Broadway Musicals

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges

How Much: $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: Online and in-person

If you’re a self-proclaimed musical theater geek, this will undoubtedly go down as your favorite class ever. The course syllabus will take you back to Broadway’s origins and follow its iconic history up until today. There will be an emphasis on “stylistic periods, composers, lyricists, directors, and choreographers,” so you’ll learn more than you ever thought you could about your favorite musical, whether it’s Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, or Les Misérables

Horseshoeing

Where: Central Arizona College

How Much: $172

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

If you work around horses and want to expand your skill set, consider learning how to use horseshoes and practice proper hoof hygiene. This class is a part of Central Arizona College’s Skilled Trades & Technology Division and, more specifically, the Equine Management and Training degree/certification program. However, you can take this course even if you’re not on an associate’s degree track. 

It will give you hands-on experience in one of the most important aspects of equine care. 

Ethical Hacking for Cybersecurity

Where: Coconino Community College

How Much: $452

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

At Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, you can learn how to hack. I bet you didn’t think you’d come across that in a college course, did you?

Don’t worry, though—as its name implies, this class is all about ethical hacking in order to learn about and counter network attacks. According to the course guidelines, “Students will develop the knowledge and skills required to plan and scope an assessment, to explain legal and compliance requirements, perform vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, analyze data, and effectively report and communicate results.” 

There is a prerequisite for this course (CIS 261: Cybersecurity Fundamentals), however, so you’ll need to take that one before moving on to the good stuff (i.e., hacking). 

Cake Decorating Principles

Where: Cochise College

How Much: $273

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

If you’re a foodie who lives in or near Sierra Vista, consider signing up for Cochise College’s Cake Decorating Principles course. It covers leveling, torting, fondant, borders, flowers, color flow, gum paste, and so much more. 

If you end up loving the class and want to take more like it, the college’s Chef Patissier and Baker’s Apprentice certificate programs might be right up your alley. You only need to complete eight classes and then you can live out all of your professional baking dreams. 

Death and Dying Across Cultures

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges

How Much:  $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12-14 weeks

Virtual?: Online only

Before you reject this one because of the morbid title, hear us out: Death is a universal human experience, yet every culture across the globe seemingly handles it differently. Why? This Social and Behavioral Sciences course dives into that question, as you’ll study responses to death by various cultures—from antiquity to today. It’s really not as creepy as it sounds. 

This class is offered online through several Maricopa Community Colleges. If you opt to take it at GateWay Community College, you can go at your own pace and you won’t have any scheduled meetings. 

Film Comedy

Where: Maricopa Community College

How Much: $291 (with possible discounts for seniors)

How Long: 12 weeks

Virtual?: Online only

If you dreamt of becoming a film critic, screenwriter, director, actor, or comedian—and your favorite movies are all comedies—this class is for you. Offered online through Mesa College and Glendale College, it covers the basics of humor in movies by tracing its history, artists, and theorists—from Charlie Chaplin, to the Coen brothers, to Judd Apatow. In other words, the knee-slapping classics

According to the syllabus, students will investigate “how comedy, and film comedy in particular, provides an essential and unifying force for culture and society.” So although you’ll get to partake in movie-viewing, there’s a lot more that goes into it. 

Paint for Personal Development

Where: Cochise College

How Much: $182

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only 

You don’t have to be an art major to experience the joys of artmaking. This class serves as an introductory class for all levels of art lovers. You’ll learn how to use painting as a form of self-expression, focusing on the materials and composition involved in acrylic and oil painting. 

Take this class and you’ll not only gain a new skill, but you’ll come out knowing yourself a little bit better. Art is one of the best forms of therapy, after all. 

Geology of the Grand Canyon

Where: Coconino Community College

How Much: $246

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

The most desirable outcome of this class is that you’ll be able to impress all the family members and friends that come to visit on their way to the Grand Canyon. Finally

But in all seriousness, this introductory-level geology course is one of Cococino Community College’s best, and it’s an incredible way to learn more about one of the seven natural wonders of the world that’s housed in your very own state. You’ll learn about geomorphology, stratigraphy, volcanology, and the glacial and structural geology in the Grand Canyon. Plus—there are FIELD TRIPS! 

Serial Killers and Mass Murderers

Where: Maricopa Community Colleges

How Much: $291, $145.50 for Maricopa County senior residents

How Long: 8 Weeks

Virtual?: Online and in-person

If you thought this list couldn’t get more morbid than death and dying, you were wrong. Alas, several Maricopa Community Colleges offer a course all about serial killers and mass murderers. Obviously, this one isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s right up a true crime junkie’s (dark) alley.

According to the course details, the class “examines the history and frequency of these crimes, profiles the killers and their victims, explores theories of causation, and discusses the problems and techniques of investigation, prosecution, punishment, and prevention.” Have…fun?

Songwriting

Where: Central Arizona College

How Much: $172

How Long: 16 weeks

Virtual?: In-person only

We’ll end on a sweet note after that dark turn. Rather than hearing about sadists, in this class, you’ll hear some of the best songs ever written—and even try your hand at writing one of your own.  

Whether you’re a gifted poet who wants to learn to integrate music with your words or you have a killer singing voice but want to sing originals at the next open mic night, this class will help you get where you want to go.

READ MORE: Where’s the Best Barbecue in Metro Phoenix? Here Are 7 BBQ Joints Arizonans Love.

Author

  • Claire Mainprize

    Claire Mainprize is a writer and editor who covers the intersections of pop culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. Find more of her work at ClaireMainprize.com.

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