Nine Uncommon Degree Options For Students Looking For Something Different

Published on: February 05, 2024

From foresight and social media to thanatology and psychometrics, plenty of unusual degree programs are available. Many of these degrees won't appeal to students looking for a typical degree but could be perfect for those with more esoteric tastes. Below are a few more degree options for students looking for something different.

Classical Civilization

Students interested in ancient Greece and Rome can study classical civilization and earn a Ph.D. in this subject. Classical Civilization degrees cover the culture, history, language, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome with topics that include mythology, religion, politics, philosophy, and more. Many students who earn their classical civilization degrees go on to work in archaeology, historic preservation, and museum work.

Puppet Arts

With the prevalence of CGI these days, many students don't realize that it is still possible to get a degree in puppet arts. Far from being a dying profession, alums of puppet arts degrees go on to form touring companies, work on theater stages, work on movie and television sets, perform educational programs, and much more. Degrees in puppet arts focus on the history, theory, and practice of this profession, with programs covering performance, directing, technique, design, technology, fabrication, and other topics related to the industry.


Animal Behaviour and Psychology

Students interested in conservation and welfare science can opt for an animal behavior and psychology degree. This degree focuses on the science of animal behavior in their natural habitats and can be combined with a biology or psychology degree. Students can specialize in ecology and conservation or animal management, and modules include animal cognition, behavior in conservation, genetics, disease impacts, and specialist animal management.

Wood Science and Technology

Wood Science is available as a M.S. or Ph.D. degree for students who have completed a degree in science or engineering. It is also not uncommon for students to take wood science as a dual degree and partner it with civil engineering, mechanical engineering, material science, and forest science. Students can focus on the processing area of the industry, such as the production of wood products and other renewable plant-based materials, or the utilization area, such as timber harvesting, forest engineering, timber procurement, etc. 

Hand Embroidery

Hand Embroidery is a very niche degree option, with only one institution worldwide offering this program. The degree is also only taught to very small groups, and students are guided through the materials, processes, and equipment needed to build their specialist knowledge of this topic. Curriculum topics include visual research, design methodologies, specialist hand embroidery skills, and contemporary approaches to hand embroidery.

Viticulture and Enology

A viticulture and enology degree can prepare students for employment in the wine industry as cellar managers, enologists, sales representatives, tasting room managers, and more. It teaches students the genetics, physiology, and biochemistry of grapevines as well as the chemistry, microbiology, and sensory science of wines. As the focus is on the scientific aspects of the discipline, students receive a thorough grounding in the natural sciences before proceeding to more advanced courses.


Ceramics is available as a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Philosophy degree options. These degrees typically provide students with practical, hands-on experience in solving real-world problems related to ceramics. Graduates of the M.S. program are equipped to enter careers such as plant operations and technical management, while Ph.D. graduates can work in academia, national labs, and industry. Students are taught traditional and innovative materials and processes, historical and contemporary practices, as well as theory and discourse related to ceramics. 

Surf Science

While it might sound too good to be true, Surf Science is an actual degree, and while it helps, you don't even have to be a competent surfer to apply. It is an interdisciplinary program that covers everything from Surf Culture and Biomechanics to Wave Mechanics, Coastal Processes, Surf Media, Performance Psychology, and more. The degree can be helpful for careers in the surf industry, including sales and marketing, event management, product design, and coaching.


Students with a master's degree, reading proficiency in two foreign languages, or in-depth knowledge of a single foreign language can also apply for a Ph.D. in Folklore. Folklore degree holders can work in various settings, including college and university academic departments, as well as libraries, museums, arts councils, and the publishing industry. Course topics for a folklore degree may include forms of folklore and the history of folklore. Some degree programs also allow students to combine their Folklore degree with an Ethnomusicology minor. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its social and cultural contexts, which makes a good match for folklore.


There's plenty of information available about the best degree programs to choose for jobs that are in demand or pay the highest salaries. Still, not everyone is motivated by these factors. For some students, it is about following their passion and becoming experts in what they care about the most. The degrees mentioned in this article prove that no matter how obscure some topics may seem, they can still be studied and turned into a fulfilling career if you are dedicated enough.

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