Sunday, May 29, 2011

Top ten most unusual degrees

As hard as my degree is I choose it because of it's exclusivity. Very few people will have a degree like mine. Doesn't change the fact that it can be as boring as hell at times or really tricky. When I was at school I really looked forward to university because it meant that finally, I could study something that I wanted to. But in the end common sense told me that Drama and Film Studies was not the most practical choice to put bread on the table. And unfortunately I wasn't blessed with the brains it that would require me to study Psychics or Astronomy. But despite all this, being unique is something that I have always tried to go by in my studies and soon I will have to make a decision on what to study further once I have my degree. I had this on my mind one day while I was trying to avoid studying for my Integrated Organisational Communication exam ( having written the exam, I STILL have no idea what that's about). I googled the ten most unusual degrees. The results I got really surprised me....

The Beatles, Popular Music and Society (MA)

Are you a fan of The Beatles?. I mean, are you really, really a fan of The Beatles?. Enough to spend a year of your life studying everything about them?. This degree examines the impact The Beatles had on music, society, fashion...everything and it's offered by a university that is based in none other than their hometown, Liverpool, England. Beware though and I know this from experience...a way for you to stop becoming a fan of something is to study it academically. You might just land up hating The Beatles once you are done.

Egyptology (BA)
Remember the nerd in Stargate?. Well he was an Egyptologist. There are several universities around the world that offer this degree and you can also do a Masters and even a PhD in it. I will confess that back when I still wanted to be an actress, a singer and an astronaut this is something that I wanted to do because I was fascinated ( and still am ) by ancient Egypt. As fascinating as this degree may be...exactly what you would do with it- besides telling people all about ancient Egypt and maybe write a book- I'm not sure. It mostly goes hand-in-hand with Archeology and I would think that you would have to make some great big discovery to be noticed and for it to start paying off. Right now I think more attention should be given to what is happening in present day Egypt than to what happened in it's past.

BFA, MA, MFA Puppetry
The University of Connecticut is the only university in the world that offers a Masters in...making puppets. Having seen the photographs of the students work I will say they are absolutely stunning. I don't think a degree is required to be a master puppeteer- some of the best puppets I have ever seen were made by South Africa's poorest who pretty much taught themselves how to make puppets. In fact South Africa are rather famous for their puppet shows, some of which have gone on world tours. Still, I think that this could be a hard business to break into and having had an actual academic education in something so unusual could say that you have perfected your craft and will put you a cut above the rest.

B.A. in Enigmatology
This degree is so unique that only one person in the world has it!. Will Shortz always had a passion for puzzles and somehow convinced Indiana University to let him design his own curriculum and he graduated in 1974. Today he is the the puzzle editor for The New York Times. Shortz is said to have been able to solve any type puzzle or code given to him, in record time too. I attempted one of this guy's crossword puzzles on a flight from New York to San Francisco a few years ago- I'm not exactly a master code cracker but I have solved a good puzzle here and there. Two hours into the flight and after bugging the passengers on either side of me and a couple of air hostesses I was stumped and had to give up. So it seems that this unusual degree is paying off. My question is why hasn't anyone else done it?.

Degree in Anime and MangaOkay, I had to do a double take when I saw this can get a degree in Japanese cartoons and comic books consisting of characters with overcompensating eyes, annoying straight hair and BIG boobies (that magically don't jiggle)?. Then again I shouldn't be very surprised since it does play a big part in Japan's culture and is an obsession of emos and nerds worldwide- I'm one of them by the way. I have loved both anime and manga since I was small but because it is just animation and not live action, you will be amazed at what they can get away with- let's just say that I didn't know people could have sex in cartoons. Some of the stuff is downright disturbing. Mostly it is very interesting and a lot of fun with some really good story lines. But trying to keep a straight      face in front of a potential employer when he says "You have a degree in what!?" might be a little tricky.

Thanatology. The study of death. That's right DEATH. But despite the morbid undertone there is actually a lot of practicality in this degree and there is a huge demand for it. Graduates work with people facing terminal illness and the bereaved as well and generally educating people about death. I have a lot of admiration for people like that but I can't imagine dedicating my whole life to dying and using death to earn a living. I guess it might make the very moment of one's own death kinda like an anti- climax- "I'm dying! what did I learn in Thantology 101again?"

MSc in Parapsychology
Staying with death, this degree examines life after death and psychic abilities. It's mostly aimed at graduate students of psychology and sociology. And it's offered online. After having a look at the outline of this course I don't know if could ever get a peaceful nights sleep while studying this. I can't imagine writing an exam on
Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis Research or Studies of Evidence for Survival of Bodily Death. What do you do for a living with something like this? "There's a ghost! what was it that we learnt in Apparition class again?".

Complementary Healthcare (Aromatherapy) BA/BA (Hons)
Trying to get anyone to take you seriously when you tell them that you are doing a degree in Aromatherapy and making your parents pay university level fees on top of that may be a little difficult. With this degree you will learn how to blend essential oils for your clients well-being while studying the benefits and philosophies of complementary healthcare. You could also learn all of this during a six month course at a fraction of the price but then again I guess it is all about leading the pack in a tough market.

BFA in Instrumental Performance- Bagpipes
I guess you could see this as a major in any other "normal" instrument like piano or violin...but still bagpipes?... AND it is offered by a university in the U.S. Having looked at their website Carneige Mellon University looks like a really cool, eclectic sort of place to study. I am not ashamed to say that I actually like the sound of bagpipes (might have something to do with my Scottish ancestry). But there us still the lingering question of how a degree such as this will bring home the bacon.

 BSc (Hons) Surf Science and Technology
Surfs up dude. Now you can like, totally get a degree in surfing. Ha-ha, ha-ha. No you can't do it in Australia or Miami or can like, do it in sunny England. At a place called Plymouth. Ply....mouth. They say it's a "A globally unique qualification" sh*t. This degree will offer "Practical beach sessions focusing on scientific method"...say what?, just grab your board and go!. Amongst their alumni a couple of dudes/ dudettes went on to become an "accountant" and a "solicitor" in God's name did that happen!?. I grew up around surfers and I know that there is definitely a very unique and dynamic culture that surrounds surfing (and I am not naive enough to believe that nobody surfs in England). But this is ridiculous. When you are dragging your butt off the beach to go and study the science of your surf may just be missing the perfect wave.

Do you have a degree? Are you, like me still in the process of getting a degree. What are you studying?. Is/ was it worth it?


  1. Wow. There's really a little something for everyone, isn't there?

  2. I don't know if this is true but I heard some professor was writing a cirriculum for a Star Wars degree!. Seriously? May the force be with you,

  3. Great post Steph! Am also fascinated by Ancient Egypt and would love to do a degree in you say, the career options are not exactly plentiful!

  4. Fox! I am still thinking of doing a course or something one day once I am established, just for interests sake. Did you hear they have just found the remains of 17 pyramids?. I'll tweet you the article...

  5. What a fun post, Stephi! I always wanted an archaeology/anthropology degree...But did you know that you can also get a PHD for mythology at the Grad. school, "Pacifica Grad Institute" that I attended? Now, that's one I want to get someday. I do have a Masters in Counseling Psych. but unfortunately I didn't go through the process of the exams for a number of reasons, sigh...

    I'm so proud of you for hanging in there despite your illness' and actually managing to maintain a sense of humour, I'm impressed ;)

    It was so great to hear from you over on my blog and would you consider being one of my "Saturday Salon" guests in the July? I have June lined up, ha-ha! Trying to be more organized. I'll email you later and big hugs and kisses to little Milo. Can we some more pics of him?

  6. Wow! you have a Masters? Wow! I want a Masters. I am surrounded by some very clever people!.

    I'm actually still reading your blog right now- I'm avoiding studying for my Media Studies exam!. I did know there was something on a graduate level for Mythology. I LOVED it when I was a pre- teen and it was yet another thing I wanted to study. Mr Zeus was a player!.

    I'd love to be on your Saturday Salon! Just e-mail me when the time comes.

    Pics of Milo coming very soon...