We rounded up 10 of some of the strangest, most unusual courses and majors offered in colleges around the country.
If you have ever dreamed of logging long hours in the snow and ice while tapping trees for sap, this is the class for you (no prior experience required). Alfred, NY, is known for maple syrup production and the university devised a class to commemorate the confection’s history. The class, offered in Spring 2009, covered the history and process of maple syrup making. Participants created and ate syrupy treats and took field trips to local producers, festivals, and restaurants.
Learning how to herd cattle probably isn’t the most common objective to find on a syllabus, but at Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Institute for Ranch Management, students can complete the first- ever ranchers master degree program. The program includes courses in business, animal science, and wildlife management. Formerly a position passed down from generation to generation, ranching may come with a masters degree requirement in the future.
They say one man's trash is another's treasure and if you are interested in what happens to your trash after it hits the curb, Santa Clara University’s “joy of garbage” course might be for you.
The class studies how waste is “burnt, decomposed, landfilled, treated, recycled, reused, dumped on minority communities, or shipped abroad.” On a more scientific level, the class builds on chemical and biological principles and looks at organic vs. non-organic trash and possible sustainable solutions for waste management issues.
For those who dream of running their own bowling alley someday, Vincennes University in Indiana offers a major that will bowl you over. Although this field sounds like a fun and games, students under the major must learn the ins and outs of the bowling industry, including sales and marketing, management operations, and of course, pinsetter and lane maintenance. The university has a fully-equipped 18-lane center to give students hands-on training.
While YouTube has only been around since 2005, it has made quite an impact on the Internet and social media scene; enough so that there is now a course based on it at Pitzer College. Students watch and study videos on the interactive channel to examine the impact that video sharing has on society and even make their own video submissions.
Most people would argue that walking isn’t an art form, but Dr. Ken Keffer, professor of the “Art of Walking” course, would disagree with you. Usually taught during Centre College’s winter break, Keffer’s students discuss the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and how walking has become less appreciated with all of the transportation modes we have today. Keffer relates walking to lessons in beauty and art during the “walk and talk” sessions.
The Meat Merchandising Program at Hinds Community College in Mississippi prepares students in the areas of processing, marketing and catering of meat products. Students learn the basics of meat merchandising including slaughtering, chilling, aging, cutting and inspecting beef, pork, poultry, lamb and fish. According to the school’s Website, most of the program’s students have jobs lined up when they finish.
Going to class early in the morning may make you feel like a zombie, but if you want to understand the history and significance that the walking dead represent in horror and fantasy books and films, take this Zombies in Popular Media course at Columbia College in Chicago. Students will use media such as text, comics and movies for discussion of the role of zombies and a final project involves making connections between student behaviors and zombies.
Love the sweet smell of success? At Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif., the Floral Program is designed to prepare students for the “ever changing” floral industry. Courses cover designing with flowers (fresh, dry and silk), everyday arrangements (as well as wedding, holiday and memorial designs) and requires an internship in an established floral shop in the area. Students also learn the details of running a business including accounting, purchasing and sales skills.
Part of college is finding yourself and experiencing new things; from the ‘joy of garbage’ to the ‘art of walking,’ college really does have something for everyone.