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35 Weird (But Cool) College Majors

35 Weird (But Cool) College Majors

Chances are, if you have a passion, you can get a degree in the subject.

Elizabeth Hoyt

September 11, 2014

Chances are, if you have a passion, you can get a degree in the subject. And, if typical majors aren’t your thing, there are plenty of unusual majors to choose from.

The following list includes some weird-but-cool college majors, along with an example of a college that offers it, details of what students in the field study and the jobs that students pursue after graduation, as listed on each example college’s website.

(Please note that many of these aren’t the only schools which offer the academic subjects, just an example of one of the schools.)

Check out the following unusual majors – perhaps your future calling is on the list!

1. Adventure Education

What you study: Teaches “you how to use the Great Outdoors to expose children, adults and at-risk populations to challenging adventures, personal growth and self-discovery.”

Where you can get the degree: Plymouth State University

Example courses: Rock Climbing Fundamentals, Canoe Paddling Fundamentals, Wilderness Expedition and Whitewater Kayaking

Job prospects: Working in outdoor education at a state or national park, Outdoor/adventure programs

2. Arctic Engineering

What you study: “Trains graduate engineers to deal with the challenges of design, construction and operations in cold regions of the world.”

Where you can get the degree: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Example courses: Frozen Ground Engineering, Ice Engineering and Sea Ice

Job prospects: Private industry or government agency planning and regulating development activity in cold regions

3. Astrobiology

What you study: “The exploration of life outside of Earth and to the investigation of the origin and early evolution of life on Earth.”

Where you can get the degree: University of Washington or Penn State

Example courses: Planetary Habitability, Astrobiology Field Experience

Job prospects: Astrobiology researcher, scientist or educator

4. Auctioneering

What you study: How to be an auctioneer, from learning the “auctioneer’s chant,” obtaining and appraising items to running an auction from start to finish.

Where you can get the degree: Harrisburg Area Community College

Example courses: Audience Communications, Auctioneering Law, Procurement and Appraisal of Merchandise, Preparations for the Auction

Job prospects: You guessed it – an auctioneer

5. Bagpiping

What you study: Bagpiping, “a program of study where a person can get a complete grounding in music as well as specific instruction on the instrument.”

Where you can get the degree: Carnegie Mellon University

Example courses: Studio, Theory, History

Job prospects: A bagpiper or teaching the bagpipes

6. Bakery Science

What you study: The degree program “trains students for administrative, research, production, and executive positions in the baking industry.”

Where you can get the degree: Kansas State University

Example courses: Introduction to Grain Science and Industry, Cereal Science, Flour and Dough Testing, Baking Science

Job prospects: Careers within restaurants, caterers, hotels, clubs, food manufacturers, testing laboratories, and large and small bakeries

7. Beatles, Popular Music and Society

What you study: The degree program lets students “examine the significance of the music of The Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities.”

Where you can get the degree: Liverpool Hope University (UK)

Example courses: Understanding Popular Music, Musicology and The Beatles and Topics in History: Liverpool

Job prospects: Popular music studies specialist, Beatles historian

8. Bowling Industry Management and Technology

What you study: “Overall learning and preparation for employment” within the bowling industry.

Where you can get the degree: Vincennes University

Example courses: Lane and Pinsetter Maintenance, Bowling Lanes Management, Pro Shop Operations and Instruction

Job prospects: Entry-level positions within the bowling industry in center management, sales, marketing, and technical fields.

9. Citrus

What you study: Students learn about “planting, irrigating, weed management, pruning, fertilizers, pest identification and management, and other aspects of tree management working with our on-campus collection of many varieties of citrus trees.”

Where you can get the degree: Florida Southern College

Example courses: Introduction to Citrus, Citrus Grove Management, Soil Science, Plants and Society and Plant Nutrition

Job prospects: Large citrus production companies, grove service companies, agricultural cooperatives, juice processing plants, agrichemical and fertilizer companies and at citrus research facilities.

10. Canadian Studies

What you study: The program “seeks to provide the student with an understanding of Canada.”

Where you can get the degree: Duke University

Example courses: Canadian History, Canadian Culture, Canadian Literature and U.S.-Canadian Relations

Job prospects: Teaching at a university or college in Canada or the United States, museums or a government council

11. Chemical Hygiene Officer

What you study: The program “emphasizes laboratory and experiential coursework to develop skills needed to be a professional chemical hygiene officer.”

Where you can get the degree: West Virginia Wesleyan College

Example courses: Principles of Laboratory Safety, Chemical Hygiene Responsibilities, Personal Apparel and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), General Protocols

Job prospects: Running a science lab, working in a lab as a chemical hygiene officer

12. Comic Art

What you study: “Comic art students are taught to gain command of line, color, and composition, as well as character development, storyboarding, and plot to create complex works that pull readers in.”

Where you can get the degree: Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Example courses: History of Comic Art, Comic Media and Concepts, Comic Book Publishing: Print and web and Comic Storytelling

Job prospects: Working at comic studios as a cartoonist, illustrator or author or in comic book art production

13. Diving Business and Technology

What you study: Management of dive business along with “physics and physiology as applied to diving, emergency medicine and first aid for pressure related injuries, recompression chamber operation, mixed gas dive planning, and underwater photography.”

Where you can get the degree: Florida Keys Community College

Example courses: Advanced Diving Theory and Practice, Intro to Marine Biology, Intro to Oceanography, Scuba Rescue and Emergency Medicine, Underwater Photography, Basic Seamanship

Job prospects: Divemaster, scuba instructor, commercial diver, research diver, underwater photojournalist, etc.

14. Egyptology

What you study: Students “explore the histories, languages, cultures and sciences of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and their neighbors” and “will be exposed to the critical study of the ancient cultures of these regions (ca. 3400 B.C.E.–100 C.E.) using the tools of archaeology, epigraphy, and historical inquiry.”

Where you can get the degree: Brown University

Example courses: Imagining the Gods: Myths and Myth-making in Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Babylonian Magic and Medicine, Ancient Scientific Texts: Akkadian, Archaeology and Text

Job prospects: Egyptologist, historian, specialized archaeologist

15. Entertainment Engineering and Design

What you study: Students study “engineering principles, new materials, new and emerging technologies, and traditional theatrical practices while still being able to recognize the artistic demands of the entertainment industry.”

Where you can get the degree: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Example courses: Multimedia Design, Design for Live Entertainment, History of Entertainment and Technology

Job prospects: An engineer in the entertainment industry (shows, casinos, etc.)

16. Exercise and Movement Sciences

What you study: “Involves the theory and application of movement science in health, fitness and disease prevention in diverse populations.”

Where you can get the degree: University of Vermont

Example courses: Prevention & Care Athletic Injuries, Fundamentals of Nutrition, Exercise & Sport Psychology, Biomechanics of Human Movement, Fitness for Specific Populations

Job prospects: Health and fitness industry, corporate wellness, research labs, adaptive sports programs and community organizations

17. Family Enterprise

What you study: The major emphasizes “self-awareness, family systems, utilizing family involvement as a strategic advantage and how to consult with family enterprises.”

Where you can get the degree: Stetson University

Example courses: Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development, Managerial Issues in Family Enterprise, Family Enterprise Ownership: Emphasis on Legal, Estate, and Asset Protection Issues, Case Studies in Family Business

Job prospects: Running a family business, a family business owner or working for a family business enterprise as a professional advisor

18. Farrier Science

What you study: The art of horseshoeing.

Where you can get the degree: Mesalands Community College

Example courses: Equine Anatomy and Physiology, Horseshoeing Theory, Blacksmithing

Job prospects: Self-employer farrier, equine industries, agricultural industries

19. Fermentation Sciences

What you study: Wine and brewing from systems design and engineering to “understanding the social and cultural implications of food and beverage production.”

Where you can get the degree: Appalachian State University

Example courses: Social Implications of Fermented Beverages, Viticulture: Vine Physiology and Vineyard Establishment, Brewing Science and Analysis, Sensory Analysis of Wine and Beer

Job prospects: Vineyards, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and biotechnology businesses

20. Floral Management

What you study: “Involves sourcing, purchasing, distributing, marketing, designing with, and selling floricultural products. Students enrolled in this concentration are provided with courses in design and horticulture, balanced with business and sciences.”

Where you can get the degree: Mississippi State University

Example courses: Floral Design, Retail Floristry Operations Management, Interior Planting Design and Maintenance

Job prospects: Freelance floral design, garden design and management, hotel/casino hospitality floriculture management, horticultural therapy, media design and styling, retail floristry, specialty visual design, traditional and concept floriculture retailing, wedding and bridal design planning, wholesale floral management

21. Metalsmithing/Blacksmithing

What you study: The program is designed to “emphasize development of hand skills, and work to enhance the student’s aesthetic values, critical thinking and dialogue abilities, as well as their technical skills.”

Where you can get the degree: Southern Illinois University

Example courses: Fine Arts, Introduction to Visual Culture, Studio courses
Job prospects: Careers in academia and museum work, independent artist

22. Mortuary Science

What you study: “All phases of funeral service and to assist them in the development of skills necessary to meet and exceed the standards of care in dealing with health, safety, and welfare associated to the preparation and care of the deceased.”

Where you can get the degree: University of the District of Columbia Community College

Example courses: Anatomy & Physiology, Funeral Service Orientation, Descriptive Pathology, History & Sociology of Funeral Service, Theories of Embalming & Disposition, Funeral Service Law

Job prospects: Funeral service practitioner in funeral homes, hospitals, medical schools, health, and the offices of medical examiners or coroners.

23. Nannying

What you study: Child development training, infant care techniques, etiquette and manners, how to prepare nutritious meals and snacks, communicate effectively with parents and children, create learning opportunities focusing on the eight multiple intelligences, safety with CPR and First Aid certifications and Water Safety training, planning learning opportunities for children from infancy through adolescence, etc.

Where you can get the degree: Sullivan University

Example courses: Infant Care, Creative Enrichment, The Growing Child, Safety and Nutrition

Job prospects: A private nanny, childcare provider, daycares, schools

24. Nautical Archaeology

What you study: “The remains of boats and ships and the cultures that created and used them.”

Where you can get the degree: Texas A&M University

Example courses: Books and Treatises on Shipbuilding, Outfitting and Sailing the Wooden Ship 1400-1900, Archaeological Photography

Job prospects: Maritime Archaeology and Conversation, Nautical and Underwater Archaeology

25. Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

What you study: Programs “focus on ecological and oceanographic processes extending from the coastal zone to the deep ocean.”

Where you can get the degree: Louisiana State University

Example courses: Introduction to Marine Sciences: Geological & Physical, Introduction to Waves and Beaches, Global Environmental Cycles, Hurricanes and Typhoons, Biology of Marine Invertebrates, Fisheries Acoustics, Fish Recruitment

Job prospects: Research scientist, conservation, coastal ecology, coastal fisheries, wetland soils and vegetation, and physical and geological oceanography fields

26. Popular Culture

What you study: “Everyday life, including but not limited to everything that is mass produced by us and for us. Its subject matter is the world in which we live, relax and have fun.” Students take courses which “focus on the impact various aspects of popular culture (such as television, movies, rock music, popular books and magazines, sports, holidays, festivals, and folklore) have on our culture and how they reflect the values of our society.”

Where you can get the degree: Bowling Green State University

Example courses: Introduction to Popular Culture or Popular Culture and Media, Black Popular Culture, Television as Popular Culture, Folklife and Material Culture, History of Popular Literature

Job prospects: Advertising, public relations, journalism, mass media (management, performance, production and marketing), teaching, library and museum work

27. Puppet Arts

What you study: Puppetry or the art of the puppet; creating, building and managing puppets and puppet shows

Where you can get the degree: University of Connecticut

Example courses: Puppet Production Techniques, Voice and Diction, Scene Design and Painting, Trends in Contemporary American Puppetry, Marionette Performance, Marionette Construction

Job prospects: Theatre performance and design, television and film puppetry, school and museum programs

28. Race Track Industry

What you study: All aspects of the hose race track. Students choose either a business track to learn race track management, regulation and pari-mutuel racing organizations or an equine management track to study racing and breeding animals.

Where you can get the degree: University of Arizona

Example courses: Race Track Marketing and Media Relations, Racing Laws and Enforcement, Race Track Organization, Structure and Financial Management

Job prospects: Track-related careers such as track secretary or announcer, journalist, photographer or other horse-related careers

29. Recreation and Leisure Studies

What you study: Students explore “the historical, political, biological, cultural, sociological, educational, legal, health, aesthetic, and psychological contexts of human sexuality.”
Where you can get the degree: University of North Texas

Example courses: Programming in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services, Leisure: Human Diversity and Environment, Principles of Leadership, Planning, Designing and Maintaining Recreation, Park, Leisure and Sport Facilities and Areas, Commercial Recreation

Job prospects: Community organizations, government or privately owned leisure, parks and recreation programs, health and fitness industry

30. Sexuality Studies

What you study: Students explore “the historical, political, biological, cultural, sociological, educational, legal, health, aesthetic, and psychological contexts of human sexuality.”

Where you can get the degree: Ohio State University

Example courses: Primate Sexuality, Visual Representations of LGBT Subjects, Sex and Gender in the Ancient World, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion, Love, Sex, and Relationships, History of Modern Sexualities, Sexuality and Sport

Job prospects: Social services, counseling, health care, victim and human rights advocacy, social justice and activism, LGBTQ rights organizing, reproductive rights advocacy and education

31. Surf Science and Technology

What you study: In a nutshell, how to be an awesome surfer.

Where you can get the degree: Cornwall College (UK)

Example courses: Culture of Surf & Sport, Physical & Geographical Influences on Surfing, Surf Business

Job prospects: Surf-related fields, surf business, surf instructor

32. Theme Park Engineering

What you study: “Electrical Engineering, with additional training from the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments, and covers topics in electrical power, and electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic control.”

Where you can get the degree: California State University

Example courses: Engineering Problem Solving and Design, Computer Methods in Engineering, Engineering Problems and Analysis, Manufacturing Processes

Job prospects: Engineer in theme parks, amusement facilities and related industries

33. Turfgrass Science

What you study: “Turfgrass species, establishment, maintenance, and pest control of turfgrass species used for sports, lawn/utility turf, and golf courses.”

Where you can get the degree: Penn State

Example courses: Turfgrass and Ornamental Weed Control, Turfgrass Nutrition, Case Studies in Turfgrass, Turfgrass Pesticides

Job prospects: Golf course maintenance, professional lawn care, grounds maintenance, sod production, sales and service, athletic field maintenance, and research technician

34. Viticulture and Enology

What you study: “The science and practices of growing grapes and making wines.”

Where you can get the degree: Cornell University

Example courses: Wine and Grapes: Composition and Analysis, Winemaking Theory and Practice, Sensory Evaluation of Food, Wine and Grape Flavor Chemistry

Job prospects: Winemaking, vineyard management, teaching and research, wine businesses

35. Wildlife

What you study: “The preservation of all species, the enhancement of wildlife habitat, the control of wildlife problems, and the consumptive use of wildlife.”

Where you can get the degree: Humboldt State University

Example courses: General Zoology, Introduction to Wildlife Conservation & Administration, Wildlife Policy, Mammalogy, Animal Energetics, Principles of Wildlife Diseases, Conservation Biology

Job prospects: Wildlife biologist in the field for state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, private ecological consulting firms, private timber companies, zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers as wildlife managers, wildlife biologists, refuge managers, park rangers, park naturalists, game wardens, recreations planners, consulting wildlife biologists

Did you have a unique major? If so, we’d love to hear about it!