11 incredibly strange college majors
Forget economics and political science. Try majoring in bakery science or puppetry instead
Among the millions of new college graduates scrambling to enter the job market this summer are a select group of students with some rather unique degrees.
Sure, employers will see the usual slew of econ and English majors. But hidden in that big stack of resumes could be the student who spent thousands learning how to legally grow marijuana, going whitewater rafting, or jamming out to the Beatles.
To be fair, the most common majors are still business administration and psychology, according to the Princeton Review; but more unique and specifically-tailored degree programs have been cropping up across the world. Here are a few of the most unique:
1. Cannabis Cultivation
School: Oaksterdam University
Location: Oakland, Calif.
Tuition cost per semester: $800
Founded in 2007, Oaksterdam University bills itself as "the first cannabis college in the country," giving new meaning to the term "higher" education. Students at Oaksterdam learn about the marijuana industry and can take courses such as Cannabis Economics, the Science of Cannabis and Cannabusiness.
2. Bakery Science
School: Kansas State University
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $3,465. Out-of-state, $9,195
Students at Kansas State can cook up a four-year bakery science degree, where they can specialize in product management or "cereal chemistry." Bakery scientists spend time in the program's many laboratories and various stations for testing ingredients, dough, and finished products. Graduates of the program go on to run bakeries and work in product development.
3. Bowling Management
School: Vincennes University
Location: Vincennes, Ind.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $4,882. Out-of-state, $11,542
If you love to bowl, this major at Vincennes University is, well, right up your alley. This program — the only one of its kind in the country — offers students the opportunity to learn more about the business of bowling. Students can pick one of three tracks: Bowling center management, sales and marketing, or pinsetter mechanics. The program boasts an 18-lane alley. Its faculty includes Gary Sparks, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association Coaches Hall of Fame. Unsurprisingly, Vincennes University's bowling team is continuously ranked one of the top collegiate teams in the country and holds multiple national team championships.
4. Diving Business and Technology
School: Florida Keys Community College
Location: Key West, Fla.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $2,878. Out-of-state, $5,844
Students can dive right into the diving business at Florida Keys Community College. The major allows students to learn more about the ins and outs of diving while they submerge themselves in other disciplines, like marine biology and underwater photography. Graduates go on to operate their own diving businesses and teach diving lessons.
School: Humber College
Location: Ontario, Canada
Tuition cost per semester: $5,725 for Canadian residents. $12,950 for international students
This major is no joke. Humber offers students a four-year degree called "Comedy: Writing and Performance" that allows students to hone their craft while providing lots of laughs. Comedy students at Humber learn the art of stand-up comedy, improvisation, scriptwriting, and sketch comedy as well as the business side.
6. Adventure Education
School: Plymouth State University
Location: Plymouth, N.H.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $5,205. Out-of-state, $8,655
College is an adventure, literally, with this major. Imagine if your class schedule included canoe paddling fundamentals, wilderness expedition and whitewater kayaking. According to the program's website, the major prepares students for careers in environmental education, outdoor leadership, or therapeutic adventure.
School: University of Connecticut
Location: Storrs, Conn.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $4,628. Out-of-state, $14,102
Puppetry is an increasingly popular major at UConn. Inspiring puppet masters can hone their craft by putting on their own productions, which are performed at the university as well as in museums and theaters across the country. Nearly 500 student puppet productions have been performed since 1964 — and graduates with this degree go on to perform and design for numerous theaters, television programs, and other outlets around the world.
8. Canadian Studies
School: SUNY Plattsburgh
Location: Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, 2,935. Out-of-state, 7,660
So you want to learn about Canada, eh? SUNY Plattsburgh's Center for the Study of Canada boasts the most comprehensive undergraduate Canadian Studies program in the country. Students learn about the largest country in the northern hemisphere. Since Canada has one of the world's largest oil reserves — it's second only to Saudi Arabia — program graduates could end up having more job prospects than people might think.
9. Theme Park Engineer
School: California State University Long Beach
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Tuition cost per semester: In-state, $1,982.00. Out of state, $3,131
Who knew that an engineering degree could be so thrilling? California State University at Long Beach gives aspiring engineers the opportunity to learn how to design and build theme park rides, such as the ever-popular roller coasters and Ferris wheels.
School: Sullivan University
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Tuition cost for 12-month program: $9,100
Students who wish to make their after-class babysitting jobs or summer nanny gigs into a full time career can earn a "Professional Nanny" diploma at Sullivan University. The 12-month intensive program trains students to be professional childcare providers and includes courses in CPR and first-aid.
11. Beatles Historian
School: Liverpool Hope University
Location: Liverpool, England
Tuition cost per semester: £4,800 for UK residents. £ 5,800 (or $8,900) for international students
A "day in the life" of a master's student in this "Beatles, Popular Music and Society" program involves examining the band's cultural, musical, and historical impact on the world of music. Since it's a relatively new program (founded in 2009), it is still unclear how many employers are seeking Beatles' experts — most graduates will likely need to get by with a little help from their friends.
Note: The cost of the programs listed here only includes semester tuition and fees, not room and board or meal plans, etc.
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