Academically Cool

Sure, you’ve got your basic composition, and your statistics, and your garden-variety American history. Any ol’ university can do those. But where else can dental students learn as they sculpt an anatomically correct skull?

Jeremy Knowles stands next to colorful costumes with LED lights.

Cool Programs

We are Rebels — and we buck convention any chance we get. So why should you expect our academics to be any different? UNLV’s academic programs are crossing boundaries and blending fields to develop innovative approaches to health care, entertainment engineering, and more.

“It’s so easy to design on the computer — this million-dollar idea — but to make
it come to life and do the installation and work with your own hands is special.”

Kelcie Cabrera, a senior majoring in interior design
Closeup of golf club next to ball
Two people using laptops sit with backs to one another
Emily Black sits on hanging hoop with red background
Four men in matching jackets on compueters
Dental Medicine professor stands on desk while students have hands raised in the air.

Cool Classes

EED is just one of our innovative programs that yield students who tackle problems from a variety of perspectives — and think outside the box. From magic and witchcraft to building robots using Legos, these wild courses can put sword fighters in training and future presidents ready to deal with environmental catastrophe.

Man looks into camera with serious expression
Professor Tyler D. Parry

Anti-Blackness in the World

In a new course debuting this Spring, Professor Tyler D. Parry will help students examine anti-blackness as a global phenomenon. This is the first course that will focus on specifically studying the history of anti-black racism throughout multiple time periods across the world. Students will learn about the origins of racism, social justice, and Africa’s prominence in world history. A very timely subject, perfect for anyone who is passionate about the recent events our country is still facing.

Politician speaks in front of U.S. flag

Becoming the President: The Rhetoric of Political Campaigns

You can run for President of the United States, right now. Bryan Blankfield’s course covers presidential elections through a historical, theoretical, and rhetorical lens. Students participate in a mock presidential campaign that allows them to create their own political parties, nominate their classmates as candidates, and choose their roles to help organize and run the campaigns. In-class debates, creating political ads, and adapting to challenges along the campaign trail will be used to determine each candidate’s success. Throughout the semester-long process students will improve their critical thinking and public speaking skills. Find out if you have what it takes to run the country (or the classroom… for now). 

Students walk outside of the Business School building

Business Connections

A first-year seminar run by the Lee Business School, Business Connections offers prospective students a taste of what the major might entail. It’s a chance for students to do some good for the larger Las Vegas community at the same time. This semester, due to Covid-19, multiple classes joined together to raise awareness for the new health and wellness program, TAO (Therapy Assisted Online) Connect through CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). Students developed a campaign to assist their university peers, who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and health issues, by using Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and advertising strategies.

Girl adds wax to a model skull

Clinically Oriented Anatomy

While the Clinically Oriented Anatomy course in the School of Dental Medicine is science, its process is art. The class replaces gross anatomy dissections with sculpture by challenging second-year students to learn the structures in the skull by meticulously building wax models.

Learn more about Dental Medicine

Rusting artifacts from Walking Box Ranch

Colloquium in Public History

In an effort to preserve a key part of Nevada history, students are learning how to become “history detectives” — using seemingly mundane clues such as paint colors, clothing materials and styles, and metal carving details to figure out and catalog the likely time periods, manufacturers, and other details of artifacts rescued from a barn at the Walking Box Ranch. In addition to in-class detective work to catalog the UNLV-owned ranch artifacts, students gain practical experience as they visit the ranch, and learn how museum curators work, and to make it easier to either donate the items to local/state museums or one day return the artifacts to the ranch for public viewing.

Students dressing a manquin

Commercial Costume Design/Costume Design for TV and Film

Students interested in fashion and digital entertainment will learn how to combine the two. This course teaches aspiring designers how to adapt to the fast paced environment of TV and film sets. In a city that thrives on entertainment, it’s crucial that students also learn about the use of costumes in marketing including: sports mascots, hotel uniforms, theme restaurant uniforms, music video costumes, and spokesmodel attire.

Learn more about Fine Arts

Man stands in front of a wall of television screens

Communication and Pop Culture

The goal in this class is to interrogate popular culture as a significant site for understanding the personal, social, and political identities embedded in who we are as individuals and communities. Students utilize cultural and critical theories in communication to identify and make sense of the impact popular culture has on local, national, and international levels of influence. By the end of the course, students will become more enlightened and informed consumers, observers, and even creators of popular culture and media.

Historical book opened to page with artwork

Conspiracy Theories in History

David G. Schwartz’s Conspiracy Theories in History is a specialty seminar for Honors College students. This course answers the question: Why are conspiracy theories so popular? Students will analyze theories throughout history surrounding politics, popular culture, sports, science, medicine, and world domination. These theories are constantly adapting to new circumstances and have consequences that shape how people see the world, for better or worse.

Candles and flowers at memorial

Death and Dying

Curious about the process of dying? You’re not weird because there’s a class for that! Indulge your curiosity by learning about the life cycle, stages of grief, and the funeral industry. Past classes have ventured out to cemeteries and the morgue where a coroner confirmed that Tupac was actually dead.

clapper board

Directed Studies in Film

This course explores the art and science of research innovation by way of a unique transdisciplinary learning lab that merges the curricula of EPY 729 (a doctoral-level case study seminar) with FIS 450 (an undergraduate-level film directing class). The course disrupts—and therefore innovates—traditional classroom-based learning. Under the supervision of Dr. Stefani Relles, a higher education researcher in the College of Education, and Professor Charles Burmeister, a film professor in the College of Fine Arts, students theorize and then pilot test ‘cinematic research methods’ that merge ethnographic and filmmaking techniques as they produce a true film — a short documentary on social justice issues that can potentially satisfy the peer-review criteria of both academic disciplines: social science and filmic arts.

City with air pollution

First Year Seminar: Civic Engagement

Solving our most pressing issues such as climate change, school shootings, economic inequality, and police transparency requires civic engagement, discussion, and debate. Students in the College of Education First-Year Seminars engage these issues, think critically, communicate about differences, perceive and understand global/multicultural issues, and embody the ideal of citizenship. Real-time video chat software is used to promote online student engagement and discussion of these pressing issues. The semester concludes with a digital poster presentation showcasing student research on a community social issue.

Professor ans students work in a kitchen

Food and Beverage Culminating Seminar

If you want to be a part of changing the world during Covid-19 this is the class for you. This course is designed to teach students how to help and support the hospitality industry during recovery from natural disasters and pandemics. Students are responsible for finding innovative and alternative solutions to these unique situations. Live online lectures are taught by former chefs, Murray Mackenzie and Christopher Lindsay, who have travelled the world working for top brands like Ritz Carlton and MGM Grand. Industry experts are also invited to speak. You’ll gain hands-on experience through team building, communication, problem solving, analyzing current and future trends, as well as crisis management. You’ll have all of the tools to wow future employers.

Building with Hospitality Hall sign

From the Classroom to Boardroom: Leadership for Women in Hospitality

This new course offers women in the hospitality and the food and beverage industry resources for career building and leadership in a male dominated field. Created in partnership with the Women’s Hospitality Initiative (WHI) and founded in Las Vegas by industry leaders, this remote course is taught with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, allowing students to collaborate virtually from across the country. Each week successful hospitality industry women guest speakers give insight into the industry and answer students’ questions. This course was even featured on

students passing our pool noodles in class

Fundamentals of Life Science

In an effort to engage with students in the lecture hall setting, assistant professor in resident, Christy Strong sought out examples of active learning experiences that would translate well in a lecture setting — hence the pool noodles. Students use the pool noodles to perform large-scale modeling of mitosis and meiosis, which provides a quick and easy way for Strong to determine whether or not the class as a whole is understanding these processes. It also provides students with an opportunity to interact with each other and with the instructor in a more dynamic way.

A variety foods

Health Meets Food

Diet is a key component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The School of Medicine is incorporating a “Health Meets Food” course as part of students’ training. Aspiring health care workers will learn how to have effective conversations about food and health with their future patients. Be a part of battling childhood obesity, creating diets for expecting mothers, and advising those with pre-existing illnesses. Become a source to educate your community. Even though class is held virtually, students have the opportunity to actively engage in lessons like making tacos with healthy ingredients in their own kitchens.

Neon sign that says Casino

History of Casinos

Where else can you learn about the casinos that are right in your backyard? The heart of Las Vegas’ economy has deep roots. Learn all about the history of gambling, the creation of the games, how they’ve become a worldwide pastime, and why Las Vegas became the premiere destination for it all.

Building with Hospitality Hall sign

Hotel Administration Seminar

In response to the pandemic the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality has adapted their required internship program to remote learning. Students can now opt for this seminar course in place of an internship. Investigate existing establishments and then use your skills to freely design your own original hospitality experience.

COVID brochures

Interpreting Illness

This Honors College specialty seminar focuses on how storytelling shapes experts’ and citizens' responses to disease and illness. There couldn’t be a better time to study this than during a global pandemic. Students will discuss the recurring themes of past disease outbreak trends to better understand what is currently happening. Investigate past and present narratives, utilize your own observations and experiences, analyze rumors, memes, and public health announcements in order to be a part of documenting history. Your fear and anxiety of the great unknown may be comforted by the answers you find. You can help make sense of Covid!

Las Vegas Strip at night

Las Vegas - The Class!

Las Vegas and its surrounding landscape has long served as inspiration for artists, writers and cultural theorists. This studio seminar explores Las Vegas as context for contemporary artists, a microcosm of American culture. From scavenger hunts as research to visits and conversations with contemporary artists making work informed by Vegas, the class will examine the Las Vegas produced for and presented to tourists and the Las Vegas created by local communities, off the Strip. The seminar will culminate in an online exhibition of student work responding and inspired by Las Vegas. Open to all disciplines. Assignments may be interpreted through any medium or discipline as 2D and 3D artworks, installation, performance, creative and scholarly writing, video/film, dance, etc.

Several people grouped tightly together during protest

Law & Inequality: Policing, Protest, & Reform

Inspired by the protests and cases of racial injustice across the country this past year, this course for law students helps them understand the legal and historical consequences of these events. The concerns and questions surrounding policing, racial injustices, and the criminal justice system will have a significant impact on the future of the legal system. Students that have a passion for addressing these issues head on will be a great addition to this program.

Group of people being sworn in

Legal Clinic on Law, Ethics and Advocacy

An education student as a member of a law firm? Yep, you heard that right. Students in this course not only learn about law, ethics, and advocacy related to special education, but they also become members of the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic. Through an experiential and collaborative process with law students, education students provide educational advocacy for children and their adult decision makers who could not otherwise afford legal representation.

Two people playing baseball

Popular Culture In 19th Century America

Elizabeth Nelson's Popular Culture In 19th Century America examines the history of pop culture as a way to engage major social, political and economic issues in American history. Not only do students get to use a stereograph (the nineteenth-century version of view master) to look through nineteenth-century magazines and popular books and novels, but they take the learning outside, as they play nineteenth-century baseball on the academic mall and participate in a digital treasure hunt through the Lied Library databases — ending the semester with a tea party, complete with china tea service, scones and cucumber sandwiches.

Learn more about Liberal Arts

Pile of legos


“Not now, I’m working with my Legos. It’s important.” For anyone who wants to be able to say that and mean it, Paul Oh’s mechanical engineering elective Robotics teaches students mechanism design, programming, and electronics through hands-on labs — using Legos. It also delves into the ethics of robots in society, so we don’t have a Terminator-style uprising coming out of the Beam Engineering Complex.

Learn more about Engineering

People at a craps table

Sociology of Gambling

Learn about the various forms of gambling that are happening right down the street. These 24-hour games affect the city’s politics, economy, and overall community. Students will be able to analyze the patterns and participation involved in this leading Las Vegas industry.

robotic hand

Technology Commercialization

If you’ve ever wanted to know how a product comes to market, this is the course for you. The course teaches students how to commercialize a product and take it to market. Throughout the course, students do a feasibility analysis on tech projects, especially around the Las Vegas area to help local start ups. This not only helps the community come together, but students are exposed to which questions they should ask and what effective tools will make a product successful. There is a big focus on conducting customer interviews and talking to people. You are able to learn much more about an industry if you’re engaged and asking questions, learning if there is a market for your product, and finding who you can sell it to.

Woman applies makeup to another woman sitting in car

Urban Adventure

This experiential, scenario-based class puts students right in the middle of the action to solve a metropolitan crime. Utilizing core skills and knowledge from across the urban affairs disciplines, students enhance their interpersonal communication and critical thinking abilities, their leadership and collaboration skills, their capacity to interact with the media, their ability to empathize with people and understand how communities provide social support, their knowledge of the justice system, and ability to conduct a criminal investigation.

Learn more about Urban Affairs

Student demonstrates biometrics technology applied to golf

Whether your interests lie with a pre-professional program that will lead you to an advanced degree, or something unique that will let you explore and push the boundaries of what’s possible, you can find your fit at UNLV.