You’ve probably already changed your major more than you’ve switched up your skincare regime, but there might be a reason for you to switch your major again. Teen Vogue reports that UC Berkeley plans to debut an entire meme studies department. That’s right, an entire department—which means you can use your scholarships and grants to study your favorite evergreen obsession: memes.
Although the meme department might seem like an abrupt decision, other universities have introduced courses about memes in the past. Last year alone, Cambridge University introduced its “Understand and Analysis of the Meme Revolution” course, according to Varsity. Likewise, Northwestern University announced its meme studies major back in 2011, which includes classes on “Redditology.” Clearly, UC Berkeley has to step up their meme studies by integrating an entire department.
— UC Berkeley Admissions (@CalAdmissions) May 31, 2018
Teen Vogue adds that the new department will debut in Fall 2018, and the department will host a slew of meme-related courses. From courses in frog-specific memes to a course dissecting Spongebog memes, the department plans to use these viral images to discuss the broader ripple effect of memes.
While you might think that a single class about memes, let alone an entire department about these images, isn’t academic—memes are more than just funny clips from your favorite reality series. In fact, the types of memes you recreate and retweet can tell researchers a lot about yourself and your behavioral tendencies, which could explain why UC Berkley is already conducting a research study about memes, according to a professor at UC Berkeley.
Professor Meme Lord, who takes his profession very seriously, tells The Daily Californian that memes, and thus meme studies, as a critical form of self-expression: “Memes are quickly becoming a foundation upon which adolescents are building their relationships. The campus and I believe that studying the mechanisms by which we come to construct, and in some cases deconstruct, such seemingly simple images is key to understanding the nuances of adolescent communication."
Arguably, memes have a crucial impact on a multitude of topics beyond just adolescent communication and behavior, seeing as memes can even have scientific applications. According to The Guardian, memes and meme culture could have had some negative implications for the past U.S. presidential elections (as well as specific special elections).
Regardless, it makes sense why UC Berkeley is constructing this department fit for even the most devout meme snob, because memes—as well as other viral modes of communication, like GIFs—impact other vocations beyond social media components. On an anthropologic scale alone, the types of memes and who we use them are often dependent on our culture and global region. Still, UC Berkeley’s impending Meme Program will likely supplemental a plethora of major curriculums from psychology to communications and more.