When recent college graduates hit the employment trail this summer, they could be doing so armed with some rather unusual degrees. Whether they majored in beer or puppetry, many of today's college grads have shunned the traditional history and economics majors for things a bit more unique. Here are some of the most unusual college majors.
Students at the University of Connecticut can spend their days training to be the next Kermit the Frog or Oscar the Grouch. Offered by the school since 1964, puppetry has been a staple of UConn's Dramatic Arts department. Among the classes puppetry students must complete are introductory classes in costuming, lighting and scenery, as well as courses in marionette performance and construction. Students can earn both bachelor's and master’s degrees in puppetry at UConn.
Kentucky's Sullivan University offers a 12-month program that allows students to earn a professional nanny diploma, a certificate from the American Council of Nanny Schools, and CPR and first-aid certifications. Students learn infant-care techniques, model etiquette and manners, and how to prepare nutritious meals and communicate effectively with parents and children. Classes offered in the nanny program include "Safety and Nutrition," "Family Systems" and "Infant Care."
Students who love television, movies, comedy and magazines will certainly enjoy majoring in popular-culture studies at Bowling Green State University. The Ohio university says the major provides an opportunity to use "television programs, movies, cars, houses, music, museums, celebratory events, holidays, magazines and many other manifestations of culture insights to examine society presently and historically."Popular-culture studies courses offered by the university include "Popular Culture Research," "Introduction to Popular Film" and "You in Popular Culture." Students majoring in popular-culture studies often end up in careers in advertising, public relations, journalism, mass media, teaching, and library and museum work.
From pistols to rifles, Lassen Community College offers students a chance to learn everything they can about guns. Students at the California college can earn an associate’s degree in gunsmithing, with a focus on either firearms repair or general gunsmithing. Among the courses students can expect to take while majoring in gunsmithing are "The Fundamentals of Rifle Shooting," "Firearms Safety" and "Open and Optical Sight Installation."
Some may joke that they “majored in beer” in college, but Appalachian State University literally gives students that opportunity. The North Carolina college offers a degree in fermentation sciences, which, among other things, examines how beer and wine are made. Students pursuing this degree get exposure to the principles of fermentation sciences, systems design and engineering, as well as hands-on experience with production systems, water treatment and environmental remediation. Students also have the opportunity to work in the school's Ivory Tower Brewery, where they learn how to improve operating efficiencies or develop new recipes. Among the classes offered are "Social Implications of Fermented Beverages," "Brewing Science and Analysis" and "Viticulture: Vine Physiology and Vineyard Establishment."
Duke is one of the few U.S. universities to offer students the opportunity to major in Canadian studies. Duke's Center for Canadian Studies offers undergraduate and graduate courses, which can be applied toward an undergraduate double major or minor, or a graduate certificate. Among the courses students enrolled in the program will take are "French Presence in North America," "The U.S. Border & Its Borderlands" and " French Canada on Stage & Screen."
Employers searching for solid decision-makers should be scouting Indiana University graduates. The Bloomington, Ind., college offers a doctoral program in decision sciences that focuses on the quantitative methods used to aid decision-making in business environments. The school says the program emphasizes the use of mathematical models and analytical reasoning to solve problems in such areas as operations and supply-chain management, information technology, marketing, finance, management and economics. Classes that students enrolled in this program take include "Operations Research," "Operations Design and Control" and "Systems Simulation."
Few can claim to love the Beatles more than those who earn a master's degree on John, Paul, George and Ringo from Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom. The university, located in the band’s famed hometown, is the only school in the world to offer a master's degree in the "The Beatles, Popular Music and Society." The yearlong program examines the significance of The Beatles’ music in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities, industries and localities. Among the classes students pursuing this degree take are "Topics in History: Liverpool" and "Musicology and the Beatles."
For most students, formal sexual education usually ends in middle school health class. But one California college offers students a way to continue the conversation. San Francisco State University allows students to earn either a master's degree or a minor degree in Sexuality Studies, which the school says provides students with knowledge about the processes and variations in sexual functions and reproduction, intimate relationships, sexual- and gender-role development and behavior, and the social, cultural, historical and moral contexts of sex and love. Among the courses in the Sexuality Studies program are "Introduction to Human Sexuality," "Biological Sex and Cultural Gender" and "Sex in Relationships."
Talking quickly is just one of the skills that graduates of Harrisburg Area Community College's auctioneering program will learn. The two-year Pennsylvania college offers a major in auctioneering, which, among other skills, teaches students how to develop an auction chant, use appraisal sources and techniques, procure merchandise for auctions and conduct an auction. Classes include "Audience Communications," "Auctioneering Law" and "Preparing for the Auction."