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Mickey Mouse Degree

a worthless qualification


Mickey Mouse Degree = ein Abschluß, der als wertlos oder irrelevant angesehen wird



“Boris Johnson recently announced government plans to do away with ‘MICKEY MOUSE’ DEGREES, which may or may not include Media Studies.”

The European Commission - 11 October 2019

Did you

Mickey Mouse Degree
noun phrase

- university degree courses that are regarded as worthless or irrelevant and as being essentially just a waste of money

- degrees or certificates issued by disreputable universities or institutions to unqualified students


Although this expression has existed since at least the 1980s, it rose to prominence in the UK in 2003 after the Higher Education Minister, Margaret Hodge, issued a warning to school leavers against “Mickey Mouse courses that do little to put graduates on the career ladder”.


The YODELING DIPLOMA (Jodeldiplom) is a fictitious degree created for a sketch by German humourist Loriot. The sketch makes fun of the numerous degrees awarded by universities and folk high schools, which grant their recipients social status without providing any meaningful qualifications for the labour market.

If you ever wanted a B.A. in “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse” now’s your chance:

Tree Climbing” (Cornell University) - Students can take a one-credit class in Tree Climbing which will “teach you how to get up into the canopy of any tree, to move around, even to climb from one tree to another without touching the ground”.

Getting Dressed” (Princeton University) - Taught by scholar and author Jenna Weissman Joselit, examines how what we wear and why we wear it — shapes who we are.

Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” (University of South Carolina) -  Sociology professor Mathieu Deflem who devised the course, explained to The New York Times, “The central objective is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga”.

How to Watch Television” (Montclair State University) - Enabling students “to critically evaluate the role of television in their lives as well as in the life of the culture”.

The Art of Walking” (Centre College in Danville, Kentucky)- While the course touches on the work of everyone from Heidegger to Kant, it’s also, more specifically, just really long walks, with participants walking up to 25 miles at a stretch.

The Physics of Star Trek” (Santa Clara University, California) - Here students can study the physics that might enable their favorite intergalactic ships to fly and to discover what sci-fi predictions you can expect to come true.

Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse—Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior” (Michigan State University) - If you’ve ever wanted to know if you would make it out alive in a zombie apocalypse, this is one course that can give you a definitive answer. Better yet, since the class is offered entirely online, you can study in the safety of your own room, even further reducing your chances of becoming an undead being’s next meal.

adapted from Sarah Crow - BestLife

SMUGGLE OWAD into today’s conversation, say something like:

“Actually, some so-called 'MICKEY MOUSE' DEGREES look quite interesting, if you had time to spare."

THANKS to Jocelyn for suggesting today’s OWAD

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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