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Dr. Kat’s List: Five Colleges with Unusual Majors

College is all about getting a great education that will serve as the building blocks for a successful career. At IvyWise, we encourage students to follow their passions – whether it’s science, art, music, business, or another area of study. Some students, however, have some “nontraditional” interests that often don’t fit into common majors.

In order to help students explore their passions and interests, many colleges have created cool – and odd – college majors. Here are some of Dr. Kat’s favorite colleges with wacky, weird, and super cool majors.

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Irish Language and Literature
Don’t just cheer for the Fighting Irish – learn the language! At the University of Notre Dame, students can major in Irish Language and Literature in the College of Arts and Letters. This program is the first of its kind in the US, making it a truly unique area of study.

This unusual major gives students the opportunity to learn the Irish language and study Irish literature and culture, among the oldest in Europe. Irish is a Celtic language, meaning its “sister languages” are Scottish Gaelic and Manx (that of the Isle of Man). Irish has rebounded in use since the beginning of the 19th century, and is recognized as an official language of the Republic of Ireland and the European Union.

Literature studies are rooted in medieval literary tradition, dating back to the sixth century. Students can choose to focus in either Language or Literature, with upper- level language classes taught solely in Irish. Other courses within the major include Ireland on Screen, Irish Literature and Culture, and Old Irish Language and Culture.

Students in the program are encouraged to study abroad in Ireland, either interning for the Irish government in Dublin, or enrolling in an intensive language immersion program in Galway.

Belmont University, Nashville, TN

If you’re an amateur lyricist looking to take your creations to the next level, the songwriting major at Belmont University might be a great fit for you! A little-known course of study, this songwriting major is unique in that it not only fosters creative ability – but also prepares students for the business side of the music industry.

Students applying to the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Business for the songwriting major, must submit two original songs along with their regular application to Belmont, located in the heart of “Music City.”

Students will develop their artistic crafts while gaining a practical understanding of the business aspects of a songwriting career. Students in the songwriting program take courses and complete required mentorships with professional songwriters, all while learning the ins and outs of the business of songwriting.

Courses such as Lyric Writing, Studio Production, Copyright Law, and Music Publishing are all requirements for the degree. Graduates of the program are prepared for all aspects of a career in the songwriting business, and have the unique experience of spending four years in a city at the center of the music industry.

Boston University, Boston, MA

Lighting Design
There’s more to lighting than just flipping a switch. In the world of stage production and entertainment, lighting is an art, and students interested in lighting up the world can get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Lighting Design at Boston University.

While the program focuses on studio and stage production lighting, students are prepared for all types of entertainment media, and are encouraged to develop their skills as a theatre artist.

Students spend four years in the studio, focusing on collaboration, communication, imagination, and professional decorum. Art history and dramatic literature are required, as well as design classes, so students gain an appreciation for the industry.

In addition to lighting design, students also take courses like Matinee, Scene Design, and Stage Direction, ultimately completing a Lighting Project during their senior year. Students graduate with a comprehensive understanding of stage production elements, and are prepared for an illuminated career backstage.

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Turfgrass Science
There’s nothing quite like strolling through a lush lawn of healthy grass, and few people appreciate it more than the Turfgrass Science students at University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture.

The Turfgrass Science major at UConn is one of the most unusual college majors in the country, but necessary. Students are prepared to manage commercial and residential lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields, to name a few areas of expertise.

Students learn plant management, including insect and disease identification, water quality and environmental protection strategies, as well as the importance of professional development. Courses in the Turfgrass Science major include Principles of Turfgrass Irrigation Systems, Golf Course Design, and Urban Horticulture.

California State University – Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

Theme Park Engineering
Love the rush of riding a rollercoaster? What about building one? At California State University – Long Beach, engineering students have the option to major in Theme Park Engineering.

Students learn the foundations of engineering, and the basics of everything they need to know about a career in theme parks or amusement facilities.

Along with the core courses that all engineers must complete, Theme Park majors focus on electrical and mechanical power, as well as other aspects of theme park rides, like hydraulics.

By the end of their time, students have focused on the important aspects of safety and development of our favorite attractions.

Other colleges that offer unusual or unique majors include Indiana UniversityDuke University, East Carolina University, and Kansas State University.

Interested in an unusual career like golf course management or theme park building, but not sure what you should be studying? Our team of expert counselors can guide you to the right college and area of study. Contact us today for more information on our counseling programs.


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