An initial intake of 15 students will start the degree course in Comedy Writing and Performance in September.
Former stand-up comic, Dr Chris Ritchie is running the course, thought to be the only degree in the world solely devoted to studying the practicalities and theory of making people laugh.
Watching The Office or Monty Python DVDs will no doubt be a laugh, but is it really worthy of academic study?
"Comedy isn't just about sitting around telling jokes, there's a whole history of performance that dates back to the Greeks and the Romans. There are a lot of serious things in comedy - it involves psychology, anthropology, social and political attitudes" explains Chris.
|New comedy like Little Britain will be studied|
"The course will explore how the types of jokes people tell explain a lot about the social climate of the time - mother-in-law gags don't seem very funny now, because they aren't that relevant - but in the 40s and 50s, living with your mother-in-law was a relevant part of many young people's lives."
There is also a practical side to the course - students will have to write and perform a stand-up routine at a public comedy club. There will also be units in writing radio comedy and producing TV sitcoms.
Comedy is big business with the growth in comedy clubs and giant cultural events like the Edinburgh festival, Chris thinks there'll be good job prospects for anyone with a comedy degree:
"Comedy is a global industry - students can hope to get into performance but also into script writing, having the time to nurture their script writing abilities. Its also useful to understand how the industry works if you want to get into comedy production."
|Chris Ritchie's own stand-up act|
But can you really study what is funny and what is not? "Comedy is usually about the same kinds of things - boys and girls, politics, money, sex, toilet humour - only the way it is performed has changed", maintains Chris "We're not saying 'this is how it ought to be' we're not being proscriptive, we are saying ' there is a whole bunch of ways comedy is done - what do you think about it?'"
So in a few years Chris hopes Solent University could be producing a new Ricky Gervais or Eddie Izzard: "That kind of success takes a long time but people like that are comedy fanatics, they've worked hard. What the course is doing is creating a space for comedy fanatics to get together and understand how it works and hopefully produce comedy of a more substantial quality."