Unique College Majors: Finding a Program That Matters
Are you struggling to find a major that fits? Maybe you're looking through a list of standard degree programs and realizing that none of them speaks to you or your grander life goals. That's why most colleges also offer several unique areas of study.
You're probably familiar with the most popular degree programs like engineering, biology, nursing, and business management. But what about majors in Fermentation Sciences, Ethical Hacking, or Digital Currency? Outside-the-box specializations like these go beyond the norm and might be what you need to enter an extraordinary field.
Keep an Eye Out for Niche Majors, Interesting Programs, and Unique Degrees.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 60% of all awarded bachelor's degrees are concentrated in six areas of study. That means a large minority of students prefer to get a four-year degree in something more specialized.
Although standard programs have merits, not everyone's goals fit their mold. Niche college programs usually aren't as rigid, giving students like you unique opportunities to pursue something out of the ordinary. They focus on career paths that require specific skills that a traditional major might not provide.
Colleges with unique majors provide services you can't get everywhere else. Whether these programs address the specialized needs of an ever-evolving modern workforce or prepare students for a profession that's only beginning to take shape, they have tons to offer and are well worth consideration.
What’s a Niche Major?
Anything outside the realm of a broad or general major could fall into the niche category. Niche majors are unique to less-common career trajectories. They go beyond liberal arts and cater to the students who want to learn more about a specialized craft or career. In many cases, they lead to rare professions that don't necessarily fit the mold of other education tracks. With these programs, you can become an expert in your chosen field and learn skills few people possess.
How Can I Find New and Interesting College Programs?
The best approach to finding interesting college programs and career ideas is to think about your true passions. If there's something you genuinely have an interest in pursuing, you can probably find a unique specialization degree that develops this interest. But you'll have to dig around to find out where you can learn.
You might not find niche majors advertised on the front page of a college website. Reach out to academic advisors. Explore all opportunities. You may even have the chance to create a custom degree program and build a course of study that meets your aspirations.
You don't have to choose a popular or traditional major to have a successful and fulfilling career. For many students, being enthusiastic about the subject matter makes all the difference. You can explore majors on BigFuture to learn more about your options.
What schools offer the most unique degrees?
Although larger universities may tend to have the most options, smaller colleges often provide specialized majors. You can see what majors each college offers on BigFuture. The sky's the limit when you know what's available. Here are some unique college majors available from schools across the nation:
- Astrobiology - Penn State University
- Bagpiping - Carnegie Mellon University
- Citrus and Horticultural Science: Citrus - Florida Southern College
- Comic Art - Minneapolis College of Art and Design
- Fermentation Sciences - Appalachian State University
- Mortuary Sciences - University of the District of Columbia Community College
- Nautical Archeology - Texas A&M University
- Pop Music - The University of Southern California
- Popular Culture - Bowling Green State University
- Puppet Arts - University of Connecticut
Can I Create a Custom Degree Program?
If you're having difficulty finding interesting majors in college worth pursuing, it may be worth exploring custom degree programs. The DIY degree route involves working with an academic advisor to design a unique course of study.
You can create your program from the ground up, taking relevant courses that matter to your larger career goals. Although not available everywhere, the schools with custom degree programs often cater to students with laser-focused goals. If it’s an option at your school, creating a custom program ensures you're getting an impactful education that helps you in your future endeavors.
Confirm the Major Doesn't Already Exist.
Before you do anything, be sure the program doesn't exist already. Some of the most interesting majors are challenging to find if you don't speak with academic advisors. Existing programs already have a structured curriculum you can follow.
Be Certain You Want and Can Use the Major.
Custom degree programs are perfect for self-motivated students pursuing emerging fields or niche career paths. However, it's best to focus your goals before choosing a DIY degree. Custom programs aren't a way to group random courses into an ill-defined major.
It's also important to consider how you can use the major. Will it benefit your career? Will a custom program appeal to potential employers? Academic advisers at the college you’re interested in can also help you find answers to these questions by connecting you with students who have graduated with custom degrees.
What Are the Benefits of Creating a Major?
There’s no shortage of interesting majors to pursue. If you have a passion, there's a good chance a school offers a program for it. However, there are many perks to going the custom route.
Get Ahead of the Curve.
We live in an exciting time for technology. Emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, lead to future opportunities ─ fields and careers we might not have thought of.
Many schools offer programs fine-tuned to prepare students for the ever-changing tech stratosphere. But you can create a major to learn skills that few entering the job market will have. It's your chance to get ahead of the curve, pursue something extraordinary, and develop a career on your terms.
Receive Tailored Learning.
Traditional majors are perfect if you want to enter an established field that requires a definite set of skills. For example, it makes sense for someone wanting to get into medicine to get a degree in biology.
But what if you want to chase something like artificial intelligence or biostatistics or other emerging fields?
A custom major gives you the personalized education you need. Everyone's path is different. This is just one way to ensure you get as much educational bang for your buck as possible.
Stand Out to Future Employers.
You'll catch the attention of hiring managers if you have a distinct major on your résumé It sets you apart from the crowd, and it has the potential to open new doors for you.
If you have a specific career path in mind, a custom program could cater to it. Study what matters to the companies you're interested in working for. You’ll be in a better position to look for future career opportunities in those areas.
You don't have to go with the major everyone else chooses. College is about preparing for your career and life after your academic career. If those traditional majors aren't appealing to you, there are plenty of colleges with unique majors. Check out the resources at BigFuture to learn more about how you can own your future.