As in many other pursuits, supervillainy is a career that many stumble onto in college, often thanks to a lab accident. So, if you’re looking to further your education in how to take over the world, here’s how to get the most out of your time on the quad.
Go Ivy League
Yeah, you might be able to get away with a school that attracts a lot of talent, like Marvel’s own superpower factory, Empire State University, but, more likely, an Ivy will give you the best opportunity to meddle in affairs beyond man’s domain. They’ve just got better stuff, big endowments will do that for a school. It will also help you develop an arrogant air and view others as lesser to yourself, and remember, supervillainy starts with the attitude.
Pick A STEM Field…
Supervillainy is the ultimate applied STEM field. Oh, sure, you’ve got your evil warlocks and the like, but those guys are all thousands of years old, get all their knowledge from evil spirits, or steal it from a tomb. You also want to avoid the soft science and literary disciplines because that tends to be where the heroes turn up; the Marvel universe’s most notable Harvard grads are Doctor Druid and Vivisector, who studied psychiatry and literary theory respectively.
Finance might be okay, but it’s easy to get seduced by the private sector. Then you become the kind of Batman villain who doesn’t even have a gimmick.
One or two supervillains do in fact have literature PhDs, but it’s generally just not a skill set useful for the field. Focus on the hard sciences; quantum physics, chemistry, robotics, anything that might give you the ability to build a death ray and/or an army.
… But Minor In A Soft Science.
That said, you will probably at some point in your career fight said warlocks, or maybe one of those annoying heroes who are gods on Earth or otherwise magical. In that case, it’ll be good to have a solid background in psychology, archaeology, mythology, or another soft science or literary discipline you can use to either better understand/kill your opponent, or trick them into attacking somebody else you can’t stand and leaving you alone.
The Best Supervillains Are Doctorates, Full Stop
Come on, you knew this. It’s not “Doom, M.S. In Applied Physics.” Nobody respects Sivana, the guy who almost finished his thesis. Doctor Octopus didn’t get where he was because he got his B.S. and started working for a start-up making fart apps. Every mad scientist and supervillain who has “Doctor” next to their name did the grunt work, defended their thesis, and was certified a doctor.
An exception can be granted if your thesis project A) grants you incomprehensible power and drives you mad or B) if you kill your thesis committee with your thesis project. Then you’ve got every right to call yourself a doctor. After all, it worked as intended… and it’s not like your committee will argue.
Ignore Safety Protocols
Really, if we believe comic books, the best science is achieved when you ignore OSHA rules, lab safety requirements, legal obligations, and preferably common sense. If working with uranium suspended by lasers to create a pocket universe seems like a terrible idea, and you’re told not to… well, they don’t give Nobels to the timid, right?
There’s No Shame In Teaching
Lots of supervillains, it turns out, not only do, they also teach. In fact, higher education is a disturbingly popular pastime and day job among supervillains. The aforementioned Doctor Octopus, Miles Warren, also known as The Jackal, Scarecrow… heck, Hugo Strange is so proud of his teaching career he actually insists on being called Professor Strange. So, if the supervillainy thing isn’t quite working out during your time in the lab, or you’re not the absolute ruler of a small country like some people, take a teaching job to make rent and help fund your morally questionable experiments.
So, good luck, and remember, when building your ion cannon or battle suit, check to make sure your field of research is unique. Getting scooped on your thesis might be enraging, but that’s the worst supervillain origin we can think of.