Unique College Majors
These schools offer students some of the country’s most interesting concentrations
While many students opt for college majors like business, history, and biology, others decide to take a more unconventional path in school. Interdisciplinary studies allow students to combine a variety of interests into one major, but some schools decide to create distinct majors on their own. Colleges across the country offer a slew of unique majors for students with highly individualized interests, and the list grows every year.
Here are some of the most unique college majors!
Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL – Comedy Writing and Performance
Columbia College in Chicago is offers students a major in comedy writing and performance, in partnership with the acclaimed Second City troupe and school of improvisation. This major, a part of the school’s theater department, will be the first of its kind in the country. Courses will develop students’ writing and vocabulary, analytical skills, personal comedic voices, and more to train them for professions in comedy writing, acting, directing, and producing. The school’s partner, Second City, boasts alumni like Dan Aykroyd and Tina Fey, and their expertise in all things funny will be incorporated into Columbia College’s program. The school’s Semester at Second City Comedy Studies Program allows students from around the country to delve into an intensive semester in comedy writing and performing full-time at the famed school. So, if you’re interested in following in the footsteps of Stephen Colbert or Amy Poehler, Columbia College’s program is worth checking out.
Columbia College is one of the largest art schools in the country with an undergraduate population of around 12,000 students. The college has three schools: the School of Fine and Performing Arts, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Media Arts. The school offers a semester in Los Angeles program where students engage in intensive coursework in television, entertainment, and media management. In addition to their many programs in art and film, Columbia College has one of the few programs in cultural studies in the country, as well as an esteemed and progressive education department.
University of Connecticut, Storrs-Mansfield, CT – Puppetry
Famed puppeteer Frank W. Ballard started UConn’s puppet arts program in 1965, and since then, the department has become the only program in the country that offers a BFA, MA, and MFA in puppetry. Under the School of Fine Arts, students in the puppet arts program develop and perform puppet productions at the Connecticut Repertory Theater, and are encouraged to produce and design their own shows at the university and at schools, museums, and theaters around the country. Majors take courses in a variety of concentrations including architecture, costuming, mechanical engineering, and acting as a part of their studies, and students learn skills in all areas of theatrical development including lighting, set design, and directing. Puppet arts students have put on nearly 500 productions since the program’s inception, and creative minds from around the country continue to flock to this uniquely artistic program.
UConn is a large public research university. As a land, sea, and space grant institution, the school’s six campuses offer students around Connecticut research opportunities in a variety of subjects. Founded in 1881 as an agricultural school, UConn now offers students almost 100 majors and three combined specialty programs in dentistry, law, and medicine that feed directly into those graduate programs following students’ undergraduate careers.
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH –EcoGastronomy
New Hampshire’s program in ecogastronomy is meant to complement one of the school’s many related majors in sustainable agriculture and food systems, natural resources and the environments, and hospitality management. UNH’s dual major in ecogastronomy allows students to study and explore food production, ecology, ethics, cuisine, nutrition, and health all while concentrating on sustainability. From lectures to food tastings, students are exposed to the world of food, both domestic and international. UNH is a sustainable food community, partnering with the state and local farmers to support environmentally friendly farm and food production in New Hampshire as well as the rest of New England.
The University of New Hampshire’s nearly 12,000 undergraduate students benefit from the school’s strong ties to research. This land, sea, and space grant university offers strong programs in subjects such as oceanography and agriculture, and the school’s Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research provides opportunities for in-depth student research in New Hampshire and abroad. UNH’s campus is only four hours away from Boston, and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, White Mountains, and Lakes Region offers students a scenic study environment. Students enjoy biking and hiking through the 2,600 acres of forests and fields surrounding the campus.
University of California-Davis, Davis, California – Viticulture and Enology
UC Davis offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in viticulture and enology. Viticulture is the culture of grapes, and enology is the science of wine and wine-making. Located in California’s wine country, UC Davis offers students hands-on experience in the growing and maintenance of grapes, as well as the art of making wine. Their B.S. in viticulture and enology has students take courses in organic chemistry, biology, and calculus as well as plant and soil science, food science, and atmospheric science. A concentration in French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese and an internship complete this unique major’s requirements.
Located just 15 minutes outside of Sacramento, UC Davis was founded in 1905 as the University Farm of UC Berkeley. UC Davis is the largest of all the University of California campuses in terms of acres, and campus activities range from bike riding through the city, to visiting the school’s botanical garden. Students are considered some of the happiest in the nation, and the town of Davis is one of the most student-friendly in the nation.
Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT – Adventure Education
Green Mountain College offers a major and minor in adventure education as well as minors in recreation, recreation management, and therapeutic adventure. Courses in outdoor activities including scuba diving and sailing are offered, in addition to outdoor living skills, wilderness first aid, program planning and leadership in outdoor recreation, program design and management, and outdoor education. In the fall of sophomore year, students take a rock instructor course, participate in raft guide training, go on a canoe expedition, take a mountain bike management course, and complete a weeklong backpacking course. Students’ junior year culminates in a 21-day, 100% student planned and managed outdoor expedition. Internships are available and encouraged at a variety of outdoor adventure and education facilities.
Green Mountain is an environmental liberal arts college located between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, at the foot of the Taconic Mountains. Traditional majors like history, biology, and education are offered alongside more unique programs like sustainable agriculture, youth development and camp management, and natural resources management. Green Mountain’s core liberal arts education emphasizes environmental studies, topics, and issues, and their progressive program allows students to engage in interdisciplinary studies and/or a self-designed major.
These are just a few of some very unique programs from around the country. In addition to offering the option of designing a major, colleges and universities are constantly constructing programs to keep up with the world’s rapidly changing concerns and industries. So, as the skills demanded in the job market evolve, so do college majors and concentrations.