Unique College Majors

By Tessa Cooper

Published on September 13, 2021

Unique College Majors

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Standing Out: Putting a Spotlight on Interesting College Majors

Unique jobs call for unique majors. For example, aspiring beekeepers can pursue specialized education beyond horticulture or biology. Individuals who want to start their own jewelry company need to know metalsmithing and business. In these cases, a traditional major may not be the best choice.

Learners can benefit from creating a major that's different from all the others. The process allows students to specialize in their desired craft or career. It can also prepare learners to enter new and rare professions. Students with unique majors may be the only ones who can complete certain tasks.

Fortunately, many schools offer niche majors. Other schools allow students to design their own degrees. This guide explains how to make your own major. You can also browse colleges that offer unique majors.

 
 

Can You Make Your Own Degree?

Many schools allow learners to create their own major. However, the school needs qualified professors to teach the material. Many universities allow students to choose courses from 2-3 majors to create a specialized major.

Some courses allow students to take an independent study. These courses require collaboration with a professor. These meetings usually occur in a one-on-one format. Many learners who create their own major complete multiple internships for school credit.

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Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Major

Creating a major takes an eye for detail. It also requires organization skills. While there's no exact blueprint for creating a major, this framework helps. Check with your school to ensure enrollees can design their own major. You can also learn about the process for creating a major.

Find the Right School

Prospective students should look for schools that offer majors that align with their desired course of study. If a school doesn't provide a major that matches, research whether enrollees can design their own.

You can also consider online programs. Be sure to research a school's accreditation status before enrolling. Schools with regional accreditation regularly receive quality assessments from third-party agencies.

Confirm the Major Doesn't Already Exist
Once you enroll, make sure your school doesn't already offer the major. Most schools list all majors and the required courses in an academic catalog. Read program descriptions rather than relying on program titles. Sometimes it comes down to a difference in semantics. An academic advisor can help you determine if a proposed major varies enough from an existing major.
Be Certain You Want/Can Use the Major

Unique majors can help learners reach unique goals. But make sure your goals don't qualify as too unique. Read job descriptions for your dream career. Then, ensure your proposed curriculum covers those topics.

You might discover your dream job doesn't currently exist, but it could in the future. In this case, ensure your major offers versatile skills that can help you land a job in the meantime. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information about jobs, including salaries and projected growth.

Create a Proposal for the New Major

Once you choose your desired major, create a proposal. This document outlines what the major will entail. Some schools require students to create their own lesson plans and find a mentor. Colleges and universities usually require independent study learners to work closely with their academic advisors to stay on track with their major.

Local professionals or professors can help you with the proposal process. Check with your school to learn about specific proposal requirements.

Obtain Approval
After submitting the proposal, your academic department can deny or approve the request. If your proposal doesn't gain approval after the first try, do not give up. You can make minor changes. You can also explore transferring to a school that may approve the major. Consider customizing your degree through electives, concentrations, and minors.
Stay Open to Change
“Be open to making changes to your intended major proposal. Often times, approvals are not made on the first try and requirements can vary based on your school policies,” Carpenter says.

Benefits of Creating a Major

  1. A Unique Major Can Get You Ahead of the Curve

    Being a trendsetter comes with benefits. Even if your school does not currently offer your major, it could in the future. You may inspire your school to begin offering your custom major. However, you most likely get to graduate as the first person in your region with that specific degree. If you choose the right major, employers will notice. You may face a less competitive applicant pool.
  2. You Can Receive Tailored Learning

    Most traditional degrees cover topics that do not relate to every learner's career goals. When you create your own major, you get to learn about topics that interest you. However, make sure to design your major with versatility in mind. Niching down too much can trap you into one career path. This can make it hard to switch jobs in the future. Ensure that your major will help you develop skills useful for multiple jobs, like writing and presentation skills.
  3. You Can Stand Out to Future Employers

    Job-seekers need to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, creating your own major can help. Not many job applicants will have your same major. Additionally, creating your own major demonstrates determination. It shows that you care about your studies and desired field. Making your own major may help you create your desired job description in the future.
  4. Mentorship Opportunities May Open Up

    Internships and mentorships offer hands-on experience. They also help you build a network. Earning a customized degree opens opportunities for one-on-one communication with professors and mentors. These connections can lead to referrals, references, and recommendations.

    In addition, most customized degree plans allow students to complete many internships for school credit. Many internships pay. Some could lead to a job immediately after graduation.

Colleges with Unique Majors and Programs

Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media & Games — University of Southern California

USC offers this program for aspiring interactive film and game designers. Learners work directly with actors to discover how words and sounds can make a narrative come alive. Each course combines theory and practice to help students understand the framework of interactive design.

Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies — Post University

Post offers this bachelor's for students who want to work with horses. The major covers topics like safe barn practices and facility management. Learners study the basics of equine science and how to care for horses. Degree-seekers customize their studies with four elective options and concentrations.

Bachelor's Degree in Citrus and Horticulture Science — Florida Southern College

Florida Southern's program goes beyond a horticulture science degree. The program covers topics relevant to most plants. Learners study plant tissue culture and DNA analysis. Most coursework examines citrus plants. Degree-seekers get hands-on experience with citrus trees. Courses also cover topics like genetics and microbiological techniques.

Global Disease Biology — University of California, Davis

The program teaches about the relationships between the health of people, animals, and plants. Learners study how the environment impacts disease occurrence in a global context. Students explore the science behind diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases.

Bachelor's Degree in Packaging Science — Clemson University

Clemson's program examines packaging. Although food and product packaging may appear simple, it requires an exact science to ensure sanitation. Degree-seekers learn how to engineer packaging. They also learn how to design it. Learners explore package distribution and transportation.

Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Sciences — Appalachian State University

Appalachian's program teaches the basics of fermentation. Learners discover wine and brewing methods and how to use fermentation in food preparation. Students explore how microbiology and chemistry play a role in fermentation safety. The program also covers marketing and entrepreneurship topics.

Master of Arts in Popular Culture — Bowling Green State University

BGSU's program covers topics like anthropology and folklore. Learners study the media's role in spreading popular culture to the masses. Students can customize their degree by choosing an academic focus that relates to popular culture.

Metalsmithing and Jewelry — Murray State University

Aspiring jewelry makers and metalsmiths can hone their sawing and soldering skills through this major. Most of the program focuses on jewelry making. Learners also explore surface design and sculpture work. Students work with mixed media, such as wood.

Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences — Bastyr University

The major focuses on herbs' healing properties. Learners study the gap between herbalism and modern science. Degree-seekers contribute research to help close the gap. Full-time learners can complete the program in two years. Enrollees complete 44 practicum hours to graduate.

Paper Engineering — Western Michigan University

Students who want to work as engineers or researchers in the paper field can explore this major. Degree-seekers study how emerging practices like biofuels and biopolymer impact paper production. Coursework also covers tree growing and processing.



Tessa Cooper is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to international and regional publications focused on education and lifestyle topics. She earned a bachelor’s in public relations from Missouri State University and is passionate about helping learners avoid high student loan debt while pursuing their dream major. Tessa loves writing about travel and food topics and is always planning her next meal or vacation.

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