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Interesting courses both overseas and in India that break the traditional mould

Graphic and Cartoon Art

The Kubert School was earlier known as the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art or Joe Kubert School. Based in Dover, New Jersey, it offers students a high-quality, challenging education in cartooning and graphic art. The intensive three-year program helps in the conceptual understanding of cartooning. This includes Narrative Art, Caricaturing, Lettering, Story Adaptation, and even how to go about making a graphic novel. Started in 1976 with 22 students, The Kubert School is now a coveted college with an enviable faculty, which includes previous students who have now turned professional. This school also offers a correspondence course, which includes a course book, an instructional DVD and specialised assignments, among other course material. The International School of Comics is a digital and figurative arts academy offering students a unique art-based curriculum. Enrolled students are equipped with the tools and professional guidance needed to be featured in the international comics and design market. The Academy of Art University’s School of Illustration offers students the skills required to pursue a career as a graphic novelist or comic book artist, storyboard artist, concept artist, children’s book illustrator, or an editorial or advertising illustrator, among other similar professions.

Sports Management

Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia is ranked one the best schools globally for a Masters Degree in sports management, and its alumnus are among the highest paid in their field. The university, which partners with the IPL team Rajasthan Royals, offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and also supports elite athletes in achieving academic success alongside the demands of training and competition. Sports Management entails managing organisations or associations that conduct sporting competitions or major events related to sport. It also includes management of organisations that support sporting competitions such as government agencies, sporting goods manufacturers and retailers, sports promoters, facility designers, player managers and agents. Deakin also offers scholarships in this up and coming field of study. In India, there is the Institute of Sports Science and Technology (India), which offers courses via the Distance Education Programme and the Classroom Lecture Programme. Founded in 2008, ISST is one of the pioneering institutions in the country offering courses in sports education and sports management education. It aims in the overall development of athletes, managers and even the support staff that sportspersons require.

Public Policy and Politics

Public Policy is a coveted program in the US, one that some of the brightest students take up at Ivy League colleges. The Goldman School of Public Policy of the University of California Berkeley and the Harvard Kennedy School are a stepping stone for people who aspire to high office in government. Their list of famous alumni includes presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats, and highly ranked bureaucrats spread across the world. Students are taught the inner workings of governance, including policy making, leadership, negotiation, and of course, politics. In India, the Jindal School Government and Public Policy offers a Master’s Programme in Public Policy. It brought out the India Public Policy Report 2014 (IPPR), authored by Rajeev Malhotra, a two-decade development economist who is also a faculty member. Another unusual one-year course, launched a decade ago, is at the MIT School of Government in Pune where students are trained to become politicians. Called the Master’s Diploma in Social and Political Leadership, the qualification for admission is a Bachelors degree, with an age limit of 35. Students include aspiring and practicing politicians, activists and bureaucrats. One of the highlights of the course is a six-month internship with a party or political leader.

Museology

The study of museums—of curating and managing them—combines art, history, architecture, archaeology and even ethics. One of the best places in the world to study this stream is the Museum Studies Graduate Program at Harvard. Students have to study eight courses, plus complete an internship. They are taught a range of subjects, from the proper way to handle works of art, to digital research. Other universities that feature highly sought after courses in this stream are Bath Spa University, which offers a Masters in Curatorial Practice and the Paris-Sorbonne University’s Abu Dhabi Campus, which offers a Masters in History of Art and Museum Studies. In India, the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, a deemed university, has a two-year MA course in Museology within the premises of the National Museum in Delhi. It also offers PhD research programs. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales museum) in Mumbai has a one-year post graduate diploma course in Museology and Conservation. Planning and organising exhibitions, the care of materials and management of collections are some of the elements of the curriculum.

Baking

Le Cordon Bleu has become a name synonymous with baking and the fine arts of patisserie. It has branches across the globe and offers specialised courses in baking, as well as diplomas in culinary management, wine, gastronomy and management. Their latest campus is in Gurgaon, India. Chefs from the finest kitchens and Michelin-starred restaurants instruct students, and in fact, work as mentors as well. LCB claims to offer the most comprehensive training in classic French culinary techniques available today—something not many colleges may be able to offer. Students can also take part in tours such as the Omnivore World Tour—where they train under acclaimed chefs and have the opportunity to learn kitchen secrets as well. The faculty at Le Cordon Bleu includes university professors, international personalities and specialists in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The other institutions in this field are the French Pastry School and the Culinary Institute of America. The former offers courses in cake decoration, apart from the usual pastry and baking program. The Culinary Institute of America offers intensive degree courses in baking and pastry arts management. It has branches in New York, California, Texas and Singapore.

Dance

Nritarutya, which has beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of dance, prides itself on its teaching methodology, where professors use movement dynamics of contemporary dance language and the physicality of the Indian dance forms. They are also invested in R&D, which involves composing, performing and appreciation of Indian dance and its aesthetics. Situated in four locations across Bangalore, Nritarutya focuses on a student being aware of her body first, before immersing herself into the form of dance that the school is involved in. They also have an arm known as Adhyaya, through which Nritarutya funds, promotes and markets talent through specially organised events. Through Nritarutya, one can progress from a dance novice to an experienced, knowledgeable dancer—in a matter of six months. In the advanced level, which involves 24 sessions, students will be able to accentuate the presentational aspects of dance such as projection and communication. There may even be occasions where the dancers will gain instruction from other reputed international choreographers. Another dance institute worth considering is India International Dance Institute based in Kolkata. It has a three-month professional dance training course, which includes lessons in Salsa, Jazz and Hip-Hop. One can also enrol for courses in curriculum design and creative movement.

Wine Making

The University of California, Davis is one of the most prestigious wine-making institutions across the globe. Created in 1880, the oenology program at the college became famous for its rigorous scientific training and the expertise of its faculty members. With its hands-on training and attention to detail, the oenology program at UC Davis is easily one, and perhaps, the only school to look out for. The course was established recognising that California had the potential to become the world’s leading wine and grape producing region. Wannabe connoisseurs can enrol for an Undergraduate or Graduate program—which takes students through a rigorous curriculum, and exposes them to cutting-edge research and current issues in the wine industry. Students will also have research and internship opportunities to further their interest in oenology. As per their graduate program students have two options—to either opt for a Thesis Master’s Program, which entails a standard research thesis in conjunction with a faculty advisor in the graduate group. The other option is a Professional Science Master’s degree, which includes a winery internship and a comprehensive examination.

Mechatronics

Mechatronics is the next step in robotics. According to a paper written by an IIT professor, it is ‘a word originated in Japan in 1980s to denote the combination of technologies which go together to produce industrial robots... the term mechatronics should be used to represent a different meaning, namely, “a design philosophy,” where mechanical, electrical, electronic components, and IT should be considered together in the design stage itself to obtain a compact, efficient, and economic product rather than designing the components separately.’ Naturally such a niche engineering subject is largely a preserve of the IITs. IIT Kanpur has a Centre for Mechatronics which earlier used to be its Centre for Robotics. It offers a two-year Master program. There is also a doctoral research program ‘to promote the research and development in future generation of mechatronic and robotic systems.’ The Massachusetts Institute of Engineering has a Mechatronics Research Laboratory, a cutting edge research and education program where mechatronics is even applied to nanotechnology.

Music

The brainchild of the Balani Brothers—Aditya and Tarun—Global Music Institute (GMI) is a one-of-a-kind institute, modelled on the Berklee College of Music (BCM). With faculty from across the globe and courses that teach basic and advanced levels of music, GMI has become one of the most sought-after music schools in the country. Students can opt for part-time or full-time courses. GMI also has a course in Hindustani music, which offers beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons in Hindustani vocals and the tabla. Their theme is ‘bringing a modern and global approach to music education in India’. GMI also has an ‘Artists in Residence’ program, which offers opportunities for students to engage, interact, learn and perform with established local and international artists. There are courses such as ear training and ensemble—both of which are crucial in developing a sound sense of music. GMI also offers merit-and-need-based scholarships to exemplary students. Another institution is the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. SAM, as it is popularly known in the music circuit, is nestled in the quiet confines of Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu. The school prepares students to enter the music industry as performers, arrangers, songwriters, composers, producers and teachers, focusing on their overall development as well.

Chocolate Making

Ecole Chocolat offers diverse courses on chocolate making, such as the Chocolate Making from the Bean Program, which teaches students how to make chocolate from dried cocoa beans. Their Professional Chocolatier Program teaches students how to make gourmet chocolate. Making chocolate from scratch can be daunting, yet tempting. And that’s what this college offers to keen learners. The syllabus covers the entire chocolate-making and manufacturing process—which includes sourcing beans, cleaning, winnowing, roasting, refining, conching and tempering—to produce bulk chocolate. The interesting part about Ecole Chocolat’s courses is that they’re online, yet able to make chocolatiers out of amateurs. Another academy for the chocolate arts is Art Chocolat where one can learn tasting, tempering and coating, to decorating chocolate. Based in Delhi, the courses include chocolate making, chocolate packing and chocolate bouquets. Students can develop a chocolate palate, which includes understanding different textures of chocolate and recipe development.

Entrepreneurship

Enstitute offers apprenticeship courses, both one year and full-time, at high growth start-ups, small businesses, and corporations around the US. The course aims to prepare students for the workforce and accelerate their career trajectory. It works on a four-pronged value approach—Experience, Mentorship, Education, and Community. Mentoring involves each apprentice being trained on a one-on-one basis by an innovator-leader in a chosen company. Apprentices have the opportunity to interact with Enstitute’s talent-pool, which includes some of the best entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators in the world. Practically anyone can enrol at Enstitute—right from a college student, to someone who has put off graduation for a bit and those who are in a ‘gap year’, looking to reinvent themselves. Each apprentice is expected to set professional and personal development goals for themselves and strive to complete them independently and as a group.

Fashion Technology

One of the leading fashion schools today is Central Saint Martins in London, an institution with a history going back to the middle of the 19th century. Both its undergraduate and graduate programs are in high demand and some of the leading lights of the international fashion world, such as John Galliano and Alexander McQueen have graduated from here. In India, Pearl Institute of Fashion and Technology, part of the Laureate International Universities global network, offers a bachelor program in Fashion and Design. Students can also choose their specialisation from a variety of courses ranging from Luxury Brand Management to Fashion and Lifestyle E-commerce. There are also post graduate diplomas in subjects like Luxury Brands and Diploma courses in Fashion & Media Make-Up and Fashion Women’s Wear. Every two years, the academy organises a conference which invites design professionals from all over the world to speak on different subjects. Students are encouraged to study the practical aspects as much as theory, and have exhibitions for their work every year. The institute is based in New Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Noida.

Shoe Design

Based in Italy, Ars Sutoria School has been organising courses in shoe and bag design since 1947. The curriculum focuses on the technical development of shoes and bags, which is a fundamental background for those that work in this field. The courses include a 13-week module of shoe and pattern making and prototyping, as well as a three-day intensive course on sketching and digital drawing. While the school has courses that one can apply for in the US and Mexico, its original course in Milan continues to be the most sought-after. Ars Sutoria is a good option because of its location, Milan, but also because students are taken on factory visits such as footwear manufacturing plants, leather tanneries, heel-makers and sole manufacturers. Another factor worth considering is the fact that one doesn’t need any prior experience or credits to join the course. The Pensole Footwear Design Academy is another institution where a ‘learn by doing’ curriculum teaches students the entire footwear design process. This includes inspiration, concept-development, design process, problem solving, materials, prototyping, marketing, business, networking and branding.

Future Media Marketing

As the virtual world encroaches on the real, buying and selling is increasingly moving online. So is the shaping of preferences and making products and services more attractive. Marketing is therefore reinventing itself, and social media is the field of these new changes. The University of Birmingham has a one-year Masters in Future Media for which they have partnered with McCann Erickson. Students are given a direct experience of real digital marketing campaigns, in a studio. Instead of classroom teaching, professionals guide students toward creating real marketing solutions. The New York University also has a full time MBA in digital marketing. In India, NIIT offers a digital marketing certificate course. Primarily meant for professionals who are in marketing and advertising, it touches on topics like generating traffic to websites, running effective online marketing campaigns, and email campaigns.

Coffee Making

People are extremely picky about their coffee, some of them even particular about grinding and roasting the beans at home. Now there’s an entire school for that. The American Barista and Coffee School, also called ABC, conducts workshops that include lectures and demonstrations followed by hands-on practice. ABC also has a coffee bar setting to allow students to get a ‘real-life’ experience. Students can also learn how to develop menus for their businesses. The idea behind ABC is to equip students with the knowledge, experience and solutions to help create, build and grow their specialty coffee business. And if you were always fascinated with latte art, the ABC school will teach it all to you. They have a 2,300 square foot state-of-the-art espresso lab, which features 10 different espresso machines, eight coffee brewing systems, roasting equipment, and an on-side coffee bar and micro-roaster. The ABC school also has a sensory room, where students learn the art of coffee tasting. There is also the London School of Coffee, established in 2004, that offers independent training and education for coffee enthusiasts and professionals. There are courses on coffee roasting, coffee cupping and how to start one’s own coffee shop too, apart from Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Barista courses. The Espresso Academy, based in Firenze, offers courses in even latte art, to make different designs atop your coffee. The courses, in addition to the classical topics of the barista like frothing milk and machine maintenance, follow the latest trends of the world of professional baristas. One can learn coffee roasting, brewing different coffees with different boiler temperatures and different pressures, and cupping.

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