All very good comments here. I would second the opinion that virtually any SLR or dSLR should be just fine for a photography course. I could guess a wide range zoom plus a bigger aperture normal (50mm or so with either full frame or APS-C) lens should be ample.
Being rather technical and mathematical in background, the real challenge to me in photography is composition (I am probably stating the obvious). I once saw among many booths at a photography exhibition a group of absolutely stunningly composed monochrome (sepia) pictures. A little blur, especially at the edges, seemed to be judiciously applied to good effect. Beautiful work.
I saw a moment later that these were taken with a pinhole camera.
Finally, I would throw in this piece of advice. A few years ago, I brought myself up to date equipment-wise by getting a Canon 30d with a nice zoom (24-104mm f/4 L) -- this was coming from an A1 (film SLR from ~1980). Wow, fully automatic! All kinds of automatically selected focus points, exposure calculated with even more measurements, white balance calculated for you, on and on.
I am embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to figure out I could do a much better job by setting the camera manually. Maybe not full manual all the time, but at least using aperture priority if not full manual exposure, manual focusing under some conditions, choosing RAW in contrasty situations, using flash fill-in controlled manually, and so forth. Maybe restating it, just knowing what the camera is doing, and taking control if it is not right.
So, maybe the moral here is: compose carefully, and don't let a fully automatic camera lull you into indifference to its operation.