Were you the type of college student who preferred to hide in your dorm room blasting Metallica instead of studying? Did you skip class to travel to a Black Sabbath show? Or sleep through mathematics after a late night of headbanging? For some students at a UK college, watching and listening to heavy metal will be studying, because the university has just launched a degree in heavy metal music.
England’s New College Nottingham has introduced what is believed to be a first of its kind Heavy Metal Music Performance degree. Students enrolled in the degree program will study the history of heavy metal, including censorship throughout the occasionally-controversial genre’s history, as well as heavy-metal genealogy, the relationship of metal to religion and philosophy, studying bands in concert, composing metal tunes, learning the ropes of the business and more, all in the interest of preparing students for a career in the music industry.
Liam Maloy, who put the course together, told the BBC, “In the past, heavy metal has not been taken seriously and is seen as lacking academic credibility when compared with other genres such as jazz and classical music. But that’s just a cultural construction.” Maloy noted that the studies at Nottingham will be academically rigorous with required papers and presentations. The two-year degree program, which will start in September, will include songwriting, finance management and onstage performances, although there is no word on whether that involves pyrotechnics or hair styling. “You can study music at Oxford, Cambridge and in all cities all over the UK, but here in Nottingham we wanted to offer something special that reflects our city’s culture and employment opportunities,” Maloy told The Telegraph. “Heavy metal is an extremely technical genre of music and the study of its culture and context is a rising academic theme, so we’re very excited to be at the forefront of its integration with education.”
Students who complete their two-year study of heavy metal can opt to continue their music studies and earn a full degree awarded by Nottingham Trent University, which has accredited the program.