A U.S. academic group is bemoaning the many universities abandoning studies of William Shakespeare in favor of such things as "Baywatch."

Timed to coincide with the English writer's birthday in 1564, the non-profit American Council of Trustees and Alumni issued a report Monday, "The Vanishing Shakespeare," which found only 15 of the 70 colleges and universities it examined require their English majors to take a Shakespeare course.

It found Shakespeare replacements at various schools include a course on whether advances in women's rights have been met with "corresponding advances in the treatment of animals, and why women feel particularly called upon to work for those advances," another that examines "pop idols and fame" and other topics such as "Baywatch" and bodies.

"A degree in English without Shakespeare is like an M.D. without a course in anatomy," the report says. "It is tantamount to fraud."