Arizona State University offering Taylor Swift-themed psychology course

Aug 17, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2023, 11:44 am

Taylor Swift performing in Glendale, Arizona...

Taylor Swift performs onstage for the opening night of "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour" at State Farm Stadium on March 17, 2023. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

PHOENIX — The cruel summer break has come to an end, but some Arizona State University students starting class this week are shaking it off by taking a first-time psychology course centered around Taylor Swift.

PhD student Alexandra Wormley is teaching the 35-person PSY 498 class, titled “Psychology of Taylor Swift,” that will dive into the singer’s 10 albums, her life and everything in between.

“There’s a lot out there to talk about with her,” Wormley told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday. “She’s talked about romantic relationships, which I think is what a lot of people focus on. But she’s also talked about friendships and growing up and dealing with the haters and important social issues.

“So, that makes it really right material for us as psychologists to look at not only her lyrics, but her life as well.”

Wormley said she brought the idea to the ASU psychology department in March after seeing Swift kick off her ongoing Eras Tour at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

She said she came prepared to pitch the administration and that the process ended up being easier than anticipated.

The upper-level class, which will meet once a week on Wednesday afternoons for the fall semester and has no open seats, won’t be easy, according to Wormley, and she is hoping not all of the students will be superfan “Swifties.”

“This is still a rigorous academic course,” Wormley said. “I think some people have seen this and been like, ‘Oh, this is just a fan club meeting’ and to some extent it probably will end up being a little bit of fanning and fawning.

“But students are still going to take a lot away from this course academically.”

Wormley is still a “Swiftie” at heart — she admits she made stop-motion animations with Barbie dolls set to Swift’s music videos in middle school — but hopes the course can usher in a new era of higher education.

“We’re looking at this great point where we can start to rethink what higher education looks like,” Wormley said. “I would love it if we went in this direction, where after students get the fundamentals of courses done, let’s really show them how we can apply what was learned from the classroom to these fun topics like Taylor Swift.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Brandon King contributed to this report.

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Arizona State University offering Taylor Swift-themed psychology course