17 Weird Courses Offered At American Colleges And Universities

·6 min read

At a time when COVID-19 also created a pandemic of joblessness and shut down many universities and colleges, it has become more pertinent than ever for school students and future graduates to think profoundly about which careers they want to pursue. Sometimes the "weird" can keep you ahead of the curve!

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Here are some of the weirdest courses that are being offered at American universities and colleges:

1.Bagpipe

A man playing bagpipe/

Carnegie Mellon University became the first university in the US to offer a major in mastering the instrument that was close to its Scottish founder. It launched a bagpipe major in 2009. The university takes its piping program quite seriously as is proven by the fact that the program was led by the late renowned piper Alasdair Gillies, who was the last pipe major of the Queen's Own Highlanders regiment of the British Army.

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2.Bowling Industry Management and Technology

A bowling ball and three pins

Bowling is not only a fun game but also a huge industry, and there's a lot of money to be made for people who know what they are doing. Vincennes University offers a one-of-a-kind two-year program to prepare people who are taking bowling seriously.

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3.Astrobiology

Milky way galaxy seen in night sky

Is there life on other planets? Is there a different type of biological system predominant in some part of a galaxy far, far away? Did our cellular progenitors come from a distant solar system? These are some of the questions that astrobiology tries to answer. It is the study of life in the universe. Once considered an esoteric field of science bordering on science fiction, today it is considered a serious stream as evidenced by many reputed colleges and universities offering graduate programs in it.

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4.Fermentation Sciences

A major chunk of our food and drinks are produced because of fermentation. As the difference between fermentation and rotten is of a few minutes or hours or a slight temperature variation, it's very important to master the biology, biochemistry, and microbiology of this complex process. Colorado State University and Appalachian State University are two of the few universities that offer a major in this. 

A major chunk of our food and drinks are produced because of fermentation. As the difference between fermentation and rotten is of a few minutes or hours or a slight temperature variation, it's very important to master the biology, biochemistry, and microbiology of this complex process. Colorado State University and Appalachian State University are two of the few universities that offer a major in this.

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5.Entertainment Engineering and Design

A theme park ride

Ever wondered how major theme parks, casinos, movie premieres, etc. put up dazzling set pieces? This is exactly what the undergrad program in Entertainment Engineering and Design offered by University of Las Vegas teaches. A degree in this program will enable you to create wondrous movie sets, theme park rides, acoustic designs. etc. that will enthrall viewers.

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6.Medicinal Plant Chemistry (aka Cannabis Cultivation)

Cannabis leaves

The marijuana sector is booming, and with more states (and countries) legalizing marijuana, the sector is going to get bigger. People trained in the art of cannabis cultivation and processing shall form the core workforce of this industry, and a degree will go a long way in achieving this. The Northern Michigan University offers a four-year program to train future growers.

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7.Viticulture and Enology

A man tasting a glass of wine.

Viticulture is the study and practice of grape cultivation, and enology is the study of wine and winemaking. At least two prestigious universities, Cornell and UC Davis, offer majors in this discipline. Coursework involves roaming around in grape farms, testing grapes, and tasting wines (mmm!).

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8.Puppet Art

A puppeteer handling a puppet.

Did you know that Yoda in the first trilogy of Star Wars films was a puppet? Puppeteering is an art that goes way back in human history and isn't as simple as it may deceivingly look. The major offered by University of Connecticut comes to mind if working with puppets is something you want to pursue as career.

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9.Nautical Archaeology

A man swimming under water and floating over a ship wreck.

If exploring underwater historical sites, events, debris, etc. excites you, then Texas A&M and University of Miami have something to offer that may interest you. They both offer degrees in the discipline of nautical/underwater archaeology.

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10.Turfgrass Science

A golf course

Though you may not have heard of this, this discipline is quite old, and Penn State first offered this in 1929. Graduates handle golf courses, football grounds, baseball rounds, and other fields that require specialized handling of grasses.

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11.Farrier Science

A man fitting horseshoe

Farrier science is the study of horse hooves, shoes, and the fitting of shoes to the horse hooves. Very few universities offer a degree program, of which Mesalands Community College stands out. Cornell also offers two minor courses.

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12.Bakery Science and Management

A man mixing dough in a large bowl.

This major is offered by the Kansas State University. It not only teaches you how to bake, but also delves into the science behind baking and chemical reactions that take in the oven that lead to the final delicacy, thus paving the way for innovation in food industry. Students also learn the business end of bakeries and baked goods.

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13.Jazz Studies

A man playing trumpet.

One of the universities offering this major defines it as "in-depth study in the history and literature of jazz, improvisation, jazz arranging and composition, jazz theory and pedagogy, applied music lessons in jazz, and performance opportunities in jazz combos and big bands." Two big universities, Ohio State and Northwestern, among a few others, offer a major in this.

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14.Wildlife

Red deer stag grazing.

At a time when the Earth is facing unprecedented biodiversity loss, programs in wildlife shall become more important. Some colleges offer a degree in fisheries and wildlife management that enable graduates to help in their preservation and conservation. Humboldt State University and Arkansas Tech University are some of the schools that provide quite rigorous programs in this discipline.

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15.Blacksmithing and Metalsmithing

A man holds a piece of iron with tongs while another hammers it.

The Southern Illinois University offers a BFA in metalsmithing and an MFA in blacksmithing. It is the only university that offers such a program.

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16.Comic Art

A comic art showing some people.

Today, Hollywood is ruled by movies that started out as comic books. If you want to learn the art of drawing and writing comics, then you would find the comic art program by Minneapolis College of Art and Design pretty useful.

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17.Race Track Industry

A horse race going on

A lot of effort goes behind organizing events like the Belmont Stakes or Kentucky Derby, and that's probably why University of Arizona has taken it upon itself to train people who could lead the horse racing industry.

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