Most unusual college degreesStudies have shown that only about 50% of incoming college freshmen know what they want to do when they start college. It used to be required that you declare a major when you start your first year of college but, over the years, there has been a decline in that requirement. Many colleges and schools in the United States will allow students to start school without declaring a major, and a large number of schools now give students the opportunity to ‘build their own.’

There are hundreds of areas of study to choose from. If you have passion in a certain area and would like to build a career on that passion, there is a strong chance that there is a college out there that offers the program you need to make that into a reality. Even if it is a little out there. In this article, we have compiled a list of the most unique or unusual college majors that are available.


Young people seem to be more creative when it comes to selecting a career path than they have in the past. A lot of people used to settle into careers that offered them financial stability, even if it wasn’t something that they wanted to do. Following your passion has, in many ways, replaced following the money. That is just one of the reasons that degree programs have expanded over the years.

Colleges understand that students are more inclined to follow their passions now. It is also becoming increasingly important for job candidates to have very specifically tailored education for the positions that they’re after. Those things coupled with the growth of online education have made it so colleges are offering more academic options so that they can meet the shifting demands of the incoming student body year after year. It’s also true that more students relocate or attend school online now; these rates have been steadily increasing over the past two decades. Colleges and universities want to offer diverse educational programs so that they can attract all types of students, so more unique degree options are cropping up all over the country. And while all of that is true, there are just some very unusual careers out there and people need to have the right education to keep those industries afloat.

It might be interesting to just take a look at some of the more unusual majors that you can choose from but this list offers another benefit. These degrees are uncommon and that means that many of them are in-demand. So, if you are one of those students who aren’t sure exactly what it is that you want to do, this list may offer you a sneak peek into your future. Some of the degree programs are very practical and interesting and some of them are things that you may find it hard to believe that people study. Either way, this list of the Top 30 Most Unusual Degrees is sure to offer an interesting read.

Methodology

This ranking is structured a little bit differently than our regular content. In this article, we wanted to highlight unique college degree opportunities. In light of that, not all of these degree programs will be available online. We focused on unusual college degrees that are offered in America for this ranking. To select the degree programs that were featured, we looked at how many schools in America offered each major and how many students graduate in each major each year.

We did our best to include some degree programs that are offered partially online, or to focus on schools that offer online education options even if it isn’t in the specific fields we talk about. One thing to keep in mind is that these are all very unique courses of study, so colleges and universities have not yet expanded to offer these degree programs online. However, the majority of featured schools offer online courses and programs. As an example, you may be able to take some of your electives or part of the core curriculum online, but you would need to attend campus to complete the entire degree program.

The degrees are presented in order of the way the school ranked according to our typical criteria. Each school featured was ranked based on their freshman retention and graduation rates. All of the data used to rank the schools was collected from the National Center for Education Statistics. We also held the schools to our typical standards; they had to be based in the United States, hold proper accreditation, and must not operate in a for-profit model.

Note: There is one school featured in the article that does not hold proper accreditation; however, the degree program that it offers is still applicable in a professional setting. Due to that, we made an exception so that it could be included.

 

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  1. Viticulture and Enology
    MERIT: 192

    One of the most unique majors available in the United States is in viticulture and enology. Viticulture is the cultivation and harvesting of grapes used for making wine; enology is defined as the study of wines. The wine industry is continuing to grow and there is a shortage of qualified professionals to work in it. This degree could prepare you for a career overseeing a vineyard, managing wineries that actually sell the wine, or someone who purchases wines. There are also careers in the fine dining and wedding space if you have a degree in wine. Sommeliers are professionals that have studied food and wine pairings extensively and help make suggestions and facilitate purchases based on their expertise.

    Cornell University offers a major in viticulture and enology that is deeply rooted in the sciences of chemistry and biology, while also providing you with some agricultural knowledge. The curriculum is largely made up of elective courses, too. This means that if you select this major, you will have the opportunity to suit your classes to the area of the wine industry that you would most like to work in once you’ve graduated. Some of the classes you could take include Wine Culture, Principles, and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wines, and Distillation Principles and Practices.

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  2. Canadian Studies
    MERIT: 190

    Cultural studies degree programs are not all that strange in America but it is rare to find a degree program that centers on a culture so close to home. If you’re interested in learning more about our neighbor on the northern border, you can choose to pursue a degree in Canadian Studies. One thing that is particularly unique is that most degree programs only offer this as a minor but there is one school in the country that offers this as a major that you can declare. You would study things like Canadian culture, politics, and the history of the country. This could prepare you for a career in the political sphere in America because a large number of our policymakers and other public service professionals don’t have a lot of expertise about the country.

    The only university in America that offers Canadian Studies as a major is Johns Hopkins University. The university is home to The Center for Canadian Studies. The research conducted at the center explores different topics in Canada’s political and cultural practices, the economy, and more. The Candian Studies program is available as a master’s program and features courses like Economics of Immigration, Middle Power Diplomacy, and Facing the Oil Problem: The United States, Canada, OPEC, and the World. The curriculum is largely composed of electives but includes a Consulting Policy Practicum as a requirement.

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  3. Pop Music
    MERIT: 186

    It is no secret by now that pop music isn’t something that just happens. There are plenty of artists who stumble upon the perfect formula on their own and make it big; however, in most cases, there are some additional players behind the scenes that make things happen. Having in-depth knowledge about the history of popular music, and understanding how pop music is constructed is something that could land you a great job in the industry. There are people who manage celebrity images, people that help curate artists, and even those that help build artists from the ground up. Even outside of the music industry, this degree could lead you to jobs in marketing firms, as a reporter, and more.

    If you’d like to earn a degree in pop music, there is no better place to do it than Hollywood. You’re in luck! The University of Southern California offers students the opportunity to study popular music. Minors, or concentrations, are available in both Popular Music and Songwriting. Since this is a minor, you would select electives as part of another degree program. This leaves you free to choose four different courses from a list of about a dozen. Some of your options include Hip-Hop Music and Culture, Iconic Figures of Popular Music, or Writing About Popular Music.

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  4. Social Media
    MERIT: 187

    Social media is something that has taken the world by storm over the past decade. It has completely changed the face of society. It has changed the way that people relate, interact, communicate, and more. It is hard to tell if anyone knew how much of an impact it would have when things kicked off; however, the impact that has had on every other industry is something that many companies take into account now in everything that they do. Careers in developing social media apps, maintaining social media platforms, managing brand images on social media, and so much more are all potential avenues that you could explore with a degree like this. If you’re already using social media very often, then this could be a potential career path for you. Younger faces are going to become more and more important in those board rooms over time.

    There are a number of colleges that offer degree programs in the field of social media. The highest-ranked one that we’re going to feature for this article is the University of Florida. UF offers a Master of Arts in Mass Communications with a Specialization in Social Media. Most social media degrees are going to be specializations; however, they are likely to expand in the future. This is a fully-online degree program! It is one of the only online programs featured on this list! You can earn your degree in a timeframe and two to three years and you would study all different aspects of social media. Some classes that you could expect to take include Mass Communications Theory, Branding Using Social Media and Mobile Media, Research Methods in Digital Communications, and Social Media Metrics and Evaluation.

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  5. Bagpipe Performance
    MERIT: 186

    This is one of the topmost unusual college degrees because most Americans have probably never seen the instrument in real life; however, it is a major that is still offered in America. This type of degree program can only prepare students for a professional life either playing the bagpipes or working as a conductor or teacher. The emphasis on this program is heavily on performance. There are only two institutions of higher education in the country that offer this academic discipline and the primary one is Carnegie Mellon University. This is one of the many programs at CMU that draws students from all over the world.

    The university was founded by two Scotsmen, Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, so it’s natural that the pair would keep with their ancestral roots. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Bagpiping Performance didn’t come along until almost a century after the school opened its doors but, since 1990, it has been a staple at the school. The university states that it has been teaching bagpipes for over 75 years, reaching back before the formal degree program was created. Carnegie Mellon states that there is another school in America that offers this degree program but our research did not turn up the name of said institution.

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  6. Turf and Golf Course Management
    MERIT: 180

    Golf courses are another industry that requires a lot of know-how, no matter how strange it may seem that this is something that you can study. Turf and golf course management programs will include a lot of science courses because you will be learning a lot about grass as part of this unusual college degree program. You will also learn more specific things about the golf industry. This type of degree would prepare you for a career in managing a golf course, sports field management, or other athletic management positions. Degrees like this will include a lot of internship opportunities as well.

    If this is something that you think you would like to study, you can do so at the University of Maryland. UMD offers a plant sciences bachelor’s degree in which you can major in turf and golf course management. It is a very scientific degree program where you would learn things like the biology of insects, pest management strategies, and more. On top of the things you learn about turf itself, you will learn about sports turf management and have the opportunity to participate in internships at golf courses like the ones you’d like to work at in the future.

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  7. Turfgrass Science
    MERIT: 178

    Turfgrass science may not come off as a unique college degree after you’ve read about the University of Maryland’s program; however, it is one of the most unique types of degrees in landscaping that you can get because it focuses solely on grass. There are very few schools that offer this as something that you can major in. If you have this sort of degree, you will still be able to secure a job at the local country club but because it isn’t as narrowly focused, there are other opportunities as well. You could use a degree like this to work in sod production, a professional lawn care business, parks, athletics, and more. This type of degree program would lead you to study different topics in plants, biology, and even meteorology.

    If this is something that you’re interested in, then Pennsylvania State University is your destination. The Center for Turfgrass Science at this university claims that it has been the “cutting edge” for turfgrass research for decades. There are a number of bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificates offered the area of turfgrass science at Penn State. The Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass Science consists of 120 credits in total and offers minors in business, computer applications, environmental resources, farm management, horticulture, and international agriculture.

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  8. Puppet Arts
    MERIT: 178

    Puppets used to be much more popular than they are today and that is part of what makes this degree program so unusual. Even though they are not as popular as they used to be, they are a mainstay in several children’s television series. Puppets are also used in filmmaking and in performing arts. With a degree in puppet arts, you could find a career performing in theaters across the globe or designing puppets for major productions. There are only three universities in America that offer a degree in puppetry. Frank Ballard, one of the fathers of puppetry, first began teaching classes in the art all the way back in 1964. He is the reason that this is available as an academic discipline today.

    Mr. Ballard taught at the University of Connecticut for several years when he was still alive. There is a museum on the campus named after him today and his spirit lives on through the first Bachelor of Fine Arts in Puppet Arts ever offered, and the only master’s programs available in the field worldwide. This degree program is structured in such a way that students begin studying their major intensely from the time that they start. As a puppetry student at UConn, you would be exposed to a range of classes in theatre production, computer drafting, and more. Some of the specific puppet arts classes that are part of this unique college degree are Costume Design, Advanced Puppetry Techniques, Rod Puppetry, Hand Puppetry, and more.

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  9. Paper Science and Engineering
    MERIT: 174

    Paper Science and engineering falls under the umbrella of engineering degrees, of which there are very many. The reason that this type of degree has been featured among our ranking of the most unusual college degrees is that it is another one of those things that people just don’t think about but is critical to the function of our society. Paper is a huge part of the lives of most people and, like many other disciplines on this list, the majority of people don’t think about what is going on behind the scenes and that makes it unique to study. Engineers in this field are in high demand. If you pursue this type of degree, you will learn about how paper is created, and the science of different bio-materials and how they can be used to create paper.

    At North Carolina State University, students can earn one of the most cutting-edge paper science and engineering degrees in the world. The university boasts a laboratory valued at over $12 million and is the only institution in America that has the necessary equipment to convert any biological material (such as wood, grass, or corn) into paper. The program website states that there is a 100% job placement rate within six months for graduates of this degree program; the average starting salary among those students is a reported $75,000 per year. This is a very technical engineering degree program that encompasses physics, mathematics, and chemistry courses.

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  10. Poultry Science
    MERIT: 174

    The chicken industry in this country is responsible for billions of dollars in economic activity, government revenue, and employee wages. There are close to one and a half million jobs in the chicken industry as of 2019. Even though it is such a widespread industry, it is hard to wrap your mind around the idea that someone can go to college specifically to learn about poultry science; however, it is one of the unusual college degrees that you can earn. This is such a large industry, it only makes sense that there are opportunities to study it. A degree like this could prepare you for a career on the business side of poultry, as well as agricultural or hospitality positions depending on the way you approach your course load. The typical curriculum encompasses concepts from chemistry, biology, statistics, and zoology, along with other fields.

    Texas A&M University has a Department of Poultry Science that has an impressive range of academic opportunities. You can major or minor in the area and there are even study abroad opportunities! There are two main types of undergraduate degrees in poultry science offered. You can pursue an industry emphasis if you would like to work in quality assurance, sales, processing, or marketing. You could also choose to pursue a technical emphasis if you would like to have a more scientific career in environmental science or public service. There is a common set of core classes that are required for both emphasis tracks and those classes explore topics in breeder and hatchery management, avian science, animal waste management, poultry meat production, and more. Texas A&M also offers a Master of Agriculture in Poultry Science that can be completed primarily online.

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  11. Packaging
    MERIT: 172

    Packaging is ubiquitous in American society. Even as low-waste, zero-waste, and minimalist lifestyles take center stage, the fact remains that almost everything we purchase will come in a package. As an area of study, packaging is very unusual but it is one of the many important things that are applicable across a range of different industries. Students in this type of degree program would learn about different things related to packaging, such as the function and aesthetics of packaging, the environmental impact of certain types of packaging, and more. One thing that this type of degree has to offer, even though it seems so strange to consider as a field of study, is job security. We are very far from becoming a zero-waste society.

    Michigan State University is home to a School of Packaging. This is easily one of the most unique academic divisions of a university anywhere in the country. MSU offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in the field of packaging. The Bachelor of Science in Packaging Science has been offered at the university since as far back as 1952. It was the first program of its kind in the world and, later on, the university established the first specialized school in the field. This is a very specialized degree program that explores all aspects of packaging. Students will learn about design and prototyping, sustainability and environmental impacts, computer applications, packaging materials, and more. Graduates of this program boast an impressive job placement rate of 97% with an average starting salary of over $60,000 a year.

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  12. Decision Sciences
    MERIT: 169

    In an article that started out talking about indecisive college freshmen, it is a little bit ironic that a degree in decision sciences made the cut. There is a range of disciplines that a degree like this could be applied to but they are most often used in business. This type of degree program prepares you to apply research, data, and analytical skill in a professional setting. Students that graduate from this type of program are prepared for very high-stakes positions in the industries of business, technology, and finance. Decision science is a discipline in which you will learn the most effective way to consider a problem and determine a solution. This is a very advanced type of degree.

    Decision sciences are such an advanced field, in fact, that the only current program available is a PhD in Decision Sciences offered by Indiana University. The Kelley School of Business is one of the premier business schools in the nation and has a worldwide reputation. The PhD program in Decision Sciences explores mathematical techniques and optimization methods that will help you make the most effective decisions possible across a range of industries. Some of the optional areas in which you can conduct research include workforce analytics, recommendation systems, wisdom of the crowd, and more. Classes will include a lot of computer simulations, quantitative research techniques, and more.

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  13. Ecogastronomy
    MERIT: 163

    Ecogastronomy is an emerging and complex field in the food, beverage, and hospitality space. This is an unusual degree program not only because it is so brand new but also because it is essentially the science of farm to table food. Students in this type of program take courses that draw from hospitality, nutrition, and agriculture. Careers with this type of degree will center primarily on sustainability efforts in the food industry. At its most basic, ecogastronomy is defined as an alternative consumption approach that seeks to reduce the impact of food production and consumption on the environment.

    The University of New Hampshire created this unique college degree in 2006 after the inception of the Ecogastronomy Initiative and the creation of the Slow Food Agreements of Intentions and Collaborations. It was the first school to begin establishing a worldwide network of universities with a similar mission of increasing the sustainability of the food industry. The degree offered is a dual major that encompasses sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and hospitality management. It is offered as a joint effort between the university’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

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  14. Costume Technology
    MERIT: 158

    Costume technology is a unique degree program that is very important in the entertainment industry. Costume designers rarely get the credit that they truly deserve given the pivotal role they play in making fictional worlds come to life on the screen, or creating the deep realism offered by historical films, shows, and plays. This type of degree program would prepare you for a career in this industry as a costume designer. Students will learn how to physically craft costumes in this course of study. But the fact of the matter is that costume technology draws on a lot of other disciplines and includes elements from art, architecture, history, ethics, and business, among others. Not only is this a unique thing to study, but it is also unusually involved as most people see it as “just picking out clothes” even though there is so much more beneath the surface.

    Costume technology is offered as a major at DePaul University. The university offers a bachelor’s degree program but there is also the option to earn both your bachelor’s and master’s at the same time in a combined, accelerated format. Students of this program take a variety of arts and crafts courses that will help them understand what goes into physically creating a design, of course. But some of the other courses that they take as they earn this unusual degree include things like Drawing for Designers, History of Dramatic Literature, Stage Make-up, and Technical Production.

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  15. Piano Pedagogy
    MERIT: 155

    Piano pedagogy is one of several music-related majors that are ranked among some of the most unusual college degrees that you can earn. Piano as an area of study is not unusual. There are plenty of colleges around the world that teach piano for those who aspire to be professional musicians. The thing that makes this degree program unique is that it is piano pedagogy Pedagogy is defined as “the method and practice of teaching.” It doesn’t get much more unique than being taught how to teach someone an instrument, it would seem. This degree is specifically for those who want to teach piano. There are even advanced graduate-level degrees offered in this discipline.

    Nashville, Tennessee is known as one of the music hotspots in the country so it makes sense that one of the prime locations to earn this unique college degree is at Nashville’s own Belmont University. The program leads to a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy. Along with the music core that explores music theory, music history, and other basic courses in music, there are is a set of concentration courses you will need to take for this major. The piano pedagogy courses include Accompanying, Psychology of Music, Pedagogy, and Literature, and a supervised teaching experience/practicum.

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  16. Comic Art
    MERIT: 150

    Comics are one of the most interesting forms of media that people consume. The bright colors and the picture-based storytelling has been captivating readers of all ages for years. Comic books are collected, bonded over, and have served as the backbone for many of the most beloved film franchises in the world. This is an unusual college program that you can take that will orient you with the process of developing the stories, the characters, the plot, and the art that all come together to create a comic. Part of what makes this such a unique degree program is that there are very few colleges across the country that allow students to pursue this as an academic major. Most of those people who want to create comics for a living settle for a degree in drawing or storyboarding. You don’t have to do that anymore.

    The Minneapolis College of Art and Design provides students with the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Comic Art. It is a unique major that provides students with the skills they need to create a successful career in comics, whether that is in a digital or more traditional format. The degree consists of a total of 120 credits; just under half of those credits are going to be earned through required courses. These courses give you a basis in how comics are created, published, and styled. Students are required to take art history, complete an internship, and complete foundation studies in different types of studio art. You will also be required to complete 26 credits of studio electives and a senior art project.

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  17. Bakery Science
    MERIT: 146

    Pastry school is one of the many different types of culinary schools out there that aspiring chefs can attend. However, this is not the same thing. This is a very unusual college degree because it doesn’t focus on baking the same way you would think. This isn’t a culinary program. Instead, this is a bakery science program that prepares students for a career in the commercial baking industry. Science is actually a huge part of the success of modern baking technology so students in this program will take a lot of science courses like microbiology, cereal science, and more. A bakery science degree would prepare students to manage a commercial bakery; but, there are also career opportunities in recipe and product development, research, and quality control.

    Kansas State University is home to the only bakery science degree program offered in the United States. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Bakery Science and Management; it also boasts a 100% job placement rate for the program. In addition to a lot of business and chemistry courses, students will also study a range of interesting topics in baking. Principles of Milling, Bakery Layout, Flour and Dough, and Grain Analysis Technology are just a handful of the classes you might take based on the concentration you select. Kansas State offers a Production Management option as well as a Cereal Chemistry option for specializing your degree. Both options require a minimum of 128 credits for graduation and will take four years to complete.

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  18. Jazz Studies
    MERIT: 146

    Jazz Studies may not be as unique as some of the other areas of study featured in our ranking of the most unusual college degrees, but it is still worth noting. Jazz used to be much more popular than it is today, so it is very interesting that several schools are still offering this type of degree program. Students who are working towards a degree in jazz studies will touch on the cultural significance of jazz, playing jazz music, and the overall history of jazz music just to name a few. A jazz music degree could lead you to a career in teaching music, or as an accompanist, composer, museum director, and more. Most people who earn a jazz degree go on to work in a museum or academic setting.

    There are several different schools that offer jazz studies as a major, but the top one that offers this unique college degree is East Carolina University. Through the ECU School of Music, there are undergraduate and graduate degrees available. There is also a selection of certificate programs to choose from. The Bachelor of Music offered in Jazz Studies is designed to prepare students for a career performing jazz. You can choose an instrumental or vocal path. The classes that you will take will orient you with digital music production tools and educate you in traditional, contemporary, and progressive trends in jazz. If you choose to study at ECU, you will also take part in a number of workshops and seminars with jazz experts and artists and have the opportunity to travel and perform.

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  19. Amusement Park Engineering
    MERIT: 145

    Theme parks might be part of the fondest memories you have of your childhood or they may be present in some of your nightmares if you’re someone who doesn’t like rollercoasters. Regardless of what your relationship is with theme parks, it takes a lot to design, develop, operate, and maintain them. Most people don’t truly realize everything that has to go on behind the scenes to help keep things moving at the happiest places on earth. That is what makes this such an unusual college degree; coupled with the fact that only a handful of this type of program is available around the world. A degree in theme park engineering or amusement park engineering prepares graduates for a career in managing theme parks or designing and constructing the equipment and rides.

    At Ohio University, students can earn a Master in Engineering Management in Amusement Park and Roller Coaster Engineering. Technology is expanding so there are going to be virtual reality and 3D elements that will need to be designed and built. Frictionless roller coasters, faster tunnel rides, and more are all things that are in development now. The courses that you take as part of this unusual degree program, like Project Management, Quality Systems, and Lean Thinking Methods will help you make those rides come to life.

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  20. Bassoon
    MERIT: 145

    Degrees performing music are not all that strange. It is more common to study music than the industry makes it seem and there are a lot of professional doors that can be unlocked by even the most talented musicians if they choose to hone their craft in a classroom. However, this is a very unusual college major because the bassoon is not a very widely played instrument. Even still, you can choose to major in playing the bassoon. Currently, there is only one college in the country that offers you the opportunity. Even though the bassoon is an instrument that you never hear about, it plays a key part in plenty of orchestral music ensembles worldwide. You could also use this type of degree to teach the bassoon, whether that is at a school or as a freelance instructor.

    Students at the University of Arizona can earn a Bachelor of Music Performance with a Bassoon Emphasis. This degree program is designed to train students as professional musicians. There are a lot of core requirements where students will learn about Musical Skills and Structure, Music Literature, Conducting, the History of Western Music, and participate in individual study courses. But, students select their instrument as they go through this process. If you choose the bassoon, you will learn how to play the instrument to the point that you become an expert. Other instruments are offered, like guitar or piano, but this ranking is for the unusual degrees!

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  21. Foresight
    MERIT: 144

    This is perhaps one of the most unique degrees that you can earn across the globe, not just in this list. This is an advanced degree program that teaches students to predict the future! Unfortunately, you have to leave your crystal ball at home, though. In order to predict future changes and trends, students in a foresight academic program will learn how to review transformational and systemic changes as well as massive amounts of data and make inferences based on their findings. Careers that you could land with this type of degree are going to be primarily in the business and technology fields. One thing that you would have to look forward to is that most people in this area of expertise have the title of “professional futurist.”

    The University of Houston is home to one of the only Master of Science in Foresight programs in the world. This is an emerging professional field so UH is one of the academic pioneers in this space. This master’s degree program is designed to train students in adapting strategies to change, identifying discontinuous change, translating strategy into an action plan, and challenging strategic assumptions. This is a 30-credit program that is offered in a thesis option as well as a non-thesis option. The majority of the curriculum is prescribed; students will be able to select two electives and decide which of the available research courses meet their needs but the rest of the credits come from required courses. Some of those required courses include Systems Thinking, Social Change, and Futures Research.

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  22. Floral Management
    MERIT: 138

    Flowers are beautiful! Nearly everyone likes them. It is also a common trope in shows and movies where a lone woman runs a flower shop and she makes it look like a breeze. You may be surprised to find out that this is actually a very complex field. There are not many institutions that offer degrees specifically for those who want to pursue a career in the floral business; however, there is a lot to learn. In this type of unusual college degree program, students have the opportunity to learn about different aspects of business that are relevant to running a shop. You would also study things like wholesale, designing arrangements, sourcing flowers, marketing your business, and more.

    Mississippi State University offers one of the only floral management degree programs in the nation. This is offered as an undergraduate program and has courses in Interior Planting Design and Maintenance, Sympathy Floral Design, Post-Harvest Care of Cut Floral Crops, and more. The majority of the classes you will take that are directly related to floral management will be electives, so you can tailor your program to what you’d like to do upon graduation. This is offered as a traditional four-year bachelor’s program but there is also an accelerated degree option that would allow you to finish your entire degree a year early.

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  23. Family Enterprise
    MERIT: 132

    Family enterprise is a unique college degree that you can pursue because it takes something that you would assume just comes together naturally, family businesses, and explores them in an academic setting. There are very few of these programs available nationwide and the first one is only just turning twenty years old. This type of program would lead you to study business in a traditional way so you can learn the basics but it provides that knowledge in the context of working with your family. It may seem strange at first but, keep in mind that some of the most successful businesses in America are technically family businesses. Some notable examples are Walmart and Ford.

    Stetson University was the first institution to offer a degree in Family Enterprise and it remains one of the only schools where you can study this subject in such an in-depth way. This program is offered as a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a Major in Family Enterprise Management. You can also select this as a minor. The entire degree program is focused on orienting you with the complex concepts that you’ll face in running or starting a business with your family. Some of the classes you might take include Managerial Issues in Family Enterprise, Legal and Fiscal Foundations for Family Enterprises, and more. Topics in problem-solving, taxation, law, analytics, and real estate are all featured as electives in the curriculum.

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  24. Sexuality Studies
    MERIT: 135

    Sexuality Studies is not all that unusual. There are a lot of people in America that work as sex therapists. There are also a lot of other careers that this type of degree will qualify you for even though it is a major that is often joked about. You could work in human services, non-profit organizations, communications, as an advocate, in policy, and more. Even though this is often joked about as being one of the most useless degrees, and certainly one of the most taboo, this type of academic program could set you up for some important work in your profession.

    The sexuality studies degree program we’re highlighting is the one offered at San Francisco State University. The degree offered is a Master of Arts in Sexuality Studies. The university states that this program is for those who want to have a career that focuses on human sexuality, sex education, and social policy. The curriculum is designed to be interdisciplinary so that students graduate with a solid background in sexuality with a nuanced understanding of the cultural, social, developmental, and historical relevance of sexuality.

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  25. Popular Culture
    MERIT: 133

    Popular culture is a field of study that is fairly new in the grand scheme of education but it is one that can end up being extremely valuable based on your aspirations. If you would like to have a career in advertising, public relations, or journalism, this might be something to consider. Popular culture is sometimes referred to as just pop culture and it is typically defined as a set of practices, beliefs, and objects that are ubiquitous within a society. Pop culture shifts often but having a grasp of that could lead to you being very effective at advertising because you would understand how to reach a target audience, and that’s just one example. Careers in sociology, mass media production, and even in a library are all other potential uses of this unusual college degree.

    If this is a degree that you might be interested in, Bowling Green State University offers popular culture as a Bachelor of Arts program. This university is one of the leaders in this space academically and is affiliated with a lot of internationally renowned centers and associations that focus on pop culture. The Bachelor of Arts in Popular Culture consists of 120 credits; 36 of those credits would be fulfilled by meeting your major requirements. Five core courses are required and the remaining majority of credits come from electives that you get to choose based on what career or further study you plan to pursue. Some of the different classes you could take are Youth in Popular Culture, Introduction to Folklife and Folklore, and Television as Popular Culture, along with plenty of others.

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  26. Entertainment Engineering & Design
    MERIT: 118

    From the outside looking in, it seems that there are not a lot of areas where engineering and creativity overlap. However, in this unusual degree program, that’s exactly what they do. Entertainment engineering and design is a field of study in which computer science, civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, and drawing, entertainment history, and entertainment sounds/visuals all collide. If you earn a degree like this, you could land a job helping to create arcade machines, design different components within a casino, or helping to design and create entertainment venues like concert halls or theaters.

    It is only fitting that the best place to earn one of these unique college degrees is at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This is a Bachelor of Science degree program that offers four different distinctive tracks that all blend engineering and fine arts differently. Those four concentrations are Structural Engineering, Acoustics, Robotics, and Systems & Live Entertainment. Depending on the courses that you take, you could graduate with as little as 120 credits like a typical bachelor’s program, or you may need to take one additional course and make it 123 credits. Fundamental courses that you’ll take regardless of your concentration include classes like Digital Logic Design, Robotics, and Recording Technology.

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  27. Equine Studies
    MERIT: 117

    It is safe to say that everyone knows at least one person who loves horses; that one person could even be you. While this may seem like a very unusual degree program, it is one of the more widely offered that has been featured on this list. A degree program in equine studies would prepare students for a career relating to the animals that they love so much. You could secure a career as a riding instructor, managing stables, training horses, and more. Pasture management, horse reproduction, and riding school management are just a few of the different types of equine studies degree that you could choose from. Some schools even offer equine studies programs that prepare graduates to work in a veterinary science discipline.

    The Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies that we’re highlighting today is that one that is offered by Becker College. This is a traditional four-year program that students take in a classroom setting while also benefiting from Becker’s beautiful 40-acre Equestrian Center in a tucked-away town in Massachusetts. The reason why this is one of the more unusual degree programs in equine studies is that this one is specifically designed to prepare students for graduate study in equine nutrition, equine sports medicine, or equine reproduction. These are more rare areas of study that are not typically offered as the sole focus in a program; they are usually minor concentrations. Students will take business courses as part of the core curriculum as well as classes like Fundamentals of Farm and Stable Management, Equine Industry and Law, and Equine Biomechanics and Conformation. Students are also encouraged to complete extensive career-relevant externships over the summer.

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  28. Bowling Industry Management and Technology
    MERIT: 84

    Bowling is one of the many hobbies that it seems like people are either all in, or they’re not very interested at all. You don’t often come across someone who likes bowling casually. Even though you don’t hear much about it, it is a very popular sport with a passionate following. Because of that, bowling alleys have been in business across the country for decades. One of the most unusual degrees that you can get has to do with bowling alleys, and that is the degree in Bowling Industry Management and Technology. This type of degree program is only offered at one school in the country and it is designed to prepare students for a career in this industry. The only available degree is an Associate of Science right now.

    Vincennes University is home to this very unique college degree. It is a two-year program that prepares its graduates for entry-level positions in management, marketing, sales, and even the more technical fields in bowling. Students will be required to take the prescribed curriculum and there are no electives. The classes you would take as part of this program include Lane and Pinsetter Maintenance, Lineage Development, Bowling Lanes Management, and Responsible Alcohol Service. Students will also have to take business, psychology, and food sanitation courses.

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  29. Auctioneering
    MERIT: 64

    Auctions are a longstanding tradition in America. An auction is a process of offering products and services up for bid and then awarding them to the highest bidder. Cars, livestock, real estate, antiques, and several other categories of items are sold this way. Auctions are a very specific way of selling something and in more rural parts of the country, auctioneering is viewed almost as an art. If you pursue this unique college degree option, you would learn everything there is to know about conducting an auction and the process that goes into curating or selecting products to be auctioned, how to appraise the items to make sure you are getting the most profit out of them and, of course, learning how to do the mesmerizing call at an auction.

    Right now, in Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg Area Community College offers this as a diploma. Instead of being a traditional degree, this is more like a trade school program. Most auctioneers are self-employed so this diploma is designed to make sure that you are adequately prepared for that. It is a total of 20 credits and is offered entirely on the Harrisburg campus. One thing that you may not know about auctions is that auctioneers have to be licensed. This college has you covered there as well because you will be eligible for licensure upon graduation. Something great about deciding to earn a diploma instead of a more traditional degree is that you are guaranteed to only take the courses that you need. Some of the ones you would take as part of this unusual college program are Audience Communications, Auctioneering Law, and Procurement & Appraisal of Merchandise. It only takes one semester to complete all of the diploma requirements.

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  30. Cannabis Cultivation

    Last but not least, one of the most unusual college degrees available is one in Cannabis Cultivation. Marijuana is slowly becoming legal across the United States. Many states already have full recreational legalization, and some are taking smaller steps such as decriminalizing the use of cannabis on personal property. As the marijuana industry grows, there are going to be a lot of careers that open up. If you choose to study cannabis cultivation, you could see yourself having a career growing the plants, creating products that contain THC, or running a dispensary. This is a very narrow industry right now on a national scale, but the marijuana industry is huge in the states where it has been fully legalized. If you have a passion for natural medicine or for cannabis itself, this is a great way to get a start on a (legal) career in the business.

    There is only one school that currently offers this type of degree. Unfortunately, this is the school that doesn’t hold proper accreditation. That is because there isn’t really an accrediting body on the matter. Oaksterdam University is the country’s first-ever cannabis college. It touts itself as a trade school of sorts but built around the marijuana industry. The university’s mission is to provide “quality training” for the industry and it offers a variety of different seminars and programs in both business and horticulture. There are ample online learning opportunities but it is important to remember that not all states view cannabis the same way. Online programs at Oaksterdam are currently in further development and you can learn more at the university’s website.

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How Do I Choose a Major?

There are countless numbers of guides on the internet that guarantee that they have the foolproof process to figure out how you should select your major but the bottom line is that it isn’t always a simple process. Choosing a major is something that is very personal to you and is going to have an effect on your future in a big way. When it comes time for you to select your major, you should think about the things that are important to you. Consider what you would like to know more about, consider the impact that you would want your professional endeavors to have. You should also consider more practical things like your own academic strong suits and the level of education you would need in a certain field to land the career that you want.


Something that you should keep in mind is that a lot of schools allow you to begin with your general education requirements to get them out of the way; in that time, a lot of schools allow you to remain undeclared. This gives you a chance to get your feet wet when it comes to higher education before you have to fully dive in and pursue your major. We’d also like for you to remember that it is very rarely too late to change your mind. If you have several years of psychology under your belt but would prefer to pursue a career in education, talk to your advisor.

One more thing, if none of the unconventional majors we featured in this article caught your eye, you can take a look at our Top 100 Best Online Colleges ranking to see what your other options are and find a school that’s a good fit for you.

Does Your College Major Matter?


A lot of entry-level jobs simply state that they require a bachelor’s degree and while it is always better that you have some background education in the field that you’re planning to enter, sometimes they won’t care. Another thing that has become a trend in the job market is that soft skills and work experience are more highly considered than your college degree. The point is that you don’t necessarily have to study English to be a writer. It is possible to build a solid career in a field that you didn’t earn your undergraduate degree in. However, is that the best choice?

Earning your undergraduate degree in the field that you want to work in is a smart choice. More employers are expecting more specialized education now; more organizations are requiring higher levels of education for graduates to meet licensure requirements and there is more emphasis being placed on continuing education than ever before. By majoring in the field that you want to work in, you’re ensuring that you’re not going to run into problems later on. You will also benefit from having an understanding of the field that you enter, if you should decide to enter the workforce right away. The most prominent reason for majoring in your chosen field is that it makes continuing your education a much more seamless process.

There are programs that will allow you to complete any prerequisites you missed in order to start a master’s degree program. However, even in cases where that master’s program is available online, the prerequisite courses may not be. So, to sum everything up: yes, your major matters. It may not be a serious problem to change gears but that doesn’t mean you should write off what you choose as your undergraduate major altogether.

What Are the Weirdest Degrees?


While this ranking goes through some of the most unusual college majors, there are still a few that are pretty out there but they didn’t make the cut. We’ll take a look at them below and explain why a weird major might still be worth looking into.

One of the weirdest majors that was not featured in this ranking of the Top 30 Most Unusual College Degrees is Adventure Education. This type of degree program is only offered at one school in the country, Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Classes that you will take in this program will teach you how to rock climb, paddle a canoe, and explore the wilderness. It may seem like a very strange thing to study but this is a weird degree with a lot of career prospects for its graduates.

Another super weird college degree that you can pursue is: a degree in Citrus Farming. If you have ever had oranges from the Sunshine State, you’ll know that cultivating citrus is art that was perfected in the state of Florida. They’re delicious. At Florida Southern University, you can be let in on all of Florida’s secrets and learn about planting, weeding, irrigating, pruning, and all the other tasks that go into maintaining a citrus orchard.

Some schools also offer degrees in studying The Beatles, or Harry Potter, or even Memes and Meme Culture. There is a way to study almost everything you can think of at an institution of higher learning, you just have to be willing to leave no stone unturned in your research. Even though it’s fun to look at wacky options for a college degree, you should keep in mind that a lot of the more rare academic fields are going to be in demand because of their obscurity. Imagine the shortage of nurses if the medical field wasn’t a common area of study. By getting one of these “strange” degrees, you could end up creating a great cushion of job security for yourself.

What is the Most Useless College Degree?


There is a running joke about useless degree programs in America. You’ve probably heard about “underwater basket weaving” or a “bachelor’s in McDonald’s.” While there are some people who find these jokes funny, it ends up creating a stigma around some areas of study that can be quite lucrative in the long run.

We don’t want to say that any college degree is useless. If there is something that you are passionate about and would like to build your career around, we think that you should go for it. With that said, there are some college degrees that are statistically more likely to not serve graduates very well. Some areas of study could be considered not worth the investment because of several different factors like low salary, high unemployment, low chance of upward mobility, or stunted job growth.

According to MoneyWise in 2019, the average cost of a four-year college education at a public university was $77,000; the cost of a private education was nearly double that at $158,000. Using a methodology consisting of earnings, employment rates, and unemployment rates, this publication created a ranking of what they considered the “Most Useless College Majors You Can Choose.”

On the list were things like Library Science, Educational Psychology, Cosmetology, and Composition, among others. They stated that Fine Arts is the “most useless” major based on the average income of $40,855 combined with an unemployment rate of over 9%.

Which Majors are In Demand?


If job security is one of your main concerns, then researching majors that are currently in demand is a safe bet for you to find a secure career. A good thing is that there are a lot of majors that are in high demand so you will still have a lot of options to choose from instead of feeling boxed in. Determining what majors are in demand is an awesome starting point if you’re not sure what you would like to do as a career or you have several interests. If something you’re into has a high demand, you could explore that as an option.

One of the most in-demand majors is Physical Therapy. There is a projected growth of 33% in this industry by the year 2020 and there will be hundreds of thousands of jobs created. Because of this expansion, there will be a high demand for qualified individuals to fill these new positions. The entry-level degree program in this field is a bachelor’s degree. This is a medical degree so it focuses very much on biology, anatomy, physiology, and other health sciences.

Another major that is in demand is nursing. Year after year there is a shortage of nurses across the board. In hospitals, doctors’ offices, the private sector, and in education, there are millions of job openings. The projected growth rate for the field is 26%.

The third major that is in the highest demand in the United States is Computer Information Systems. This field has a projected growth rate of 18%. Students can earn a bachelor’s in this field in as little as three years.

More from OnlineCollegePlan

Whether you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree, masters degree, or even a PhD program, OnlineCollegePlan strives to bring you the most information about the online college degrees you’re interested in so that you are able to decide which program would work best for you. Check out some of our other rankings and guides to learn more!