Career Planning

34 Weird (But Cool) College Majors

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

Elizabeth Hoyt

June 23, 2017

34 Weird (But Cool) College Majors
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. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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

10. Chemical Hygiene & Safety

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

11. 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

12. 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.

13. 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

14. 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.)

15. 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

16. 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

17. 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

18. 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

19. 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

20. 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

21. 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.

22. 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

23. 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

24. 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

25. 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

26. 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

27. 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

28. 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

29. 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

30. 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

31. 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

32. 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

33. 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

34. 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 Do you have a unique major? If so, we'd love to hear about it!

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