Polygence blog / Education and College Admissions

Unique College Majors & Where to Find Them

5 minute read

If you can think of a subject, be it about management information systems, Latin American Studies, or even seemingly out subjects there like Korean pop music education or domestic animal science, there's a fairly good chance that you can find a comparable college major at one or more universities. With the rise of interdisciplinary in the academy, an increasing number of schools are beginning to offer different majors in college that break the mold of traditional disciplines. If you’re incredibly passionate about a topic that isn’t taught at your high school, college is an incredible space to explore such passions and even take it up as a double major. 

That said, high school can be a fantastic time to begin exploring the ‘unique’ or ‘weirder’ interests that you have. Take it from Polygence students – any interest can be turned into a research project. Your project could take on mental health services for Filipino Americans, the reality-shifting effects of psychedelic compounds, or performing arts education as a foundation for youth development. At Polygence, we take ‘unique’ or ‘weird’ projects seriously – and can help you frame your intellectual interests in ways that align with your future goals. If you are looking ahead to college and are not satisfied with the typical laundry list of university majors, here are some of the most unique college majors you can get a college degree in within the United States:

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Comic Book Art

School of Visual Arts (New York City, New York)

Have you always been a fan of reading graphic novels or comic books? It’s not just a hobby – it's a legitimate path of study at the New York School of Visual Arts. In the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, instructors will guide you through every step of the process including “Writing and plot development along with fundamentals in composition, perspective, figure drawing, penciling, inking, panel layout, traditional and digital coloring, lettering, and production.” Several well-known artists have graduated from the program, and their classroom spaces have been customized to the needs of comic book artists. 

Pop Culture Studies

Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio)

If you like to keep up with media and headlines, Bowling Green State University’s Pop Culture Department might be right for you. Bowling Green offers Popular Culture courses to all students, in addition to a dedicated major. Faculty of the department hail from a variety of fields, including American Culture, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Folklore, Political Science, Liberal Arts, and Women’s Studies. The interdisciplinary major will allow you to analyze popular culture texts and determine their larger influence on society. 


Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

In addition to being the only university that offers master's and doctoral programs in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, LSU’s oceanography program is also a popular choice among undergraduates interested in Earth science. LSU has its own College of the Coast and Environment aimed at preparing for environmental changes on land-based terrain – informed by the location of the campus itself. In case college seems a bit far to start to pursue this area of general education and research, you could instead work alongside a Polygence mentor like Sydney, whose expertise as a marine microbiologist would prove helpful for budding researchers. 

Fashion Merchandising

University of Arizona (Tuscon, Arizona)

Can’t get enough of clothes? You are not alone. The University of Arizona's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing provides a comprehensive approach to fashion merchandising, with a combination of academic instruction with hands-on training and collaboration with industry leaders. This equips graduates with the necessary skills to pursue various opportunities in fashion retail. Polygence students like Shaijla understand that fashion merchandising extends past the realm of clothes, as one can pursue opportunities at the intersection of merchandising and artificial intelligence. 

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Bakery Science

Kansas State University (Kansas City, Kansas)

Kansas State is the only university in the country that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Bakery Science and Management, producing hundreds of the top-performing bakers and restauranteurs. They boast a 100% job placement rate, with most graduates in development laboratories, commercial bakers, and research. Suppose you aren’t interested in pursuing the entire applied science major. In that case, the Bakery Science Club on campus allows students from all majors to learn about various elements of the production (and consumption) process. 


California Baptist University (Riverside, California)

Are you someone who can’t get enough of shows like Saturday Night Live or Parks and Recreation? Are you always making jokes in class to a less-than-receptive audience? You don’t have to be a theater major to concentrate on the art of comedy at California Baptist University, which offers one of the only comedy majors in the country. Director of the Communication Department at CBU John Pate noted that the program was started following recent trends in Hollywood favoring family programming over reality-based scripts. Additionally, “individuals that seek a career in Hollywood have an opportunity to gain training and develop a career plan near the "entertainment capital of the world."

Costume Technology

DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois)

The Costume Technology program of The Theatre School at DePaul is tailored (pun intended) to equip students with the necessary skills to pursue a career in the costume industry across different roles. Aside from the four-year general education curriculum, students also obtain hands-on experience in production as stitchers, firsthands, drapers, craftspeople, wardrobe personnel, and shop assistants throughout the production season. The program teaches students how to interpret, pattern, construct, and craft costume designs into wearable garments and accessories for actors. Students in this program are much like Polygence student Lydia, whose passion for fashion history led to a project recreating an 18th-century dress.

Anything (really)

Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island) 

To start – this author is biased as an alum of this institution. To continue – I fully stand by my bias. Brown University allows students to create their major (concentration, as Brown calls it). This has allowed students to pursue one subject, like happiness or peacekeeping, across disciplines in a way that allows flexibility and encourages curiosity. If you have not seen any associate degree or bachelor's degree majors on this list, or others lists, that strongly interest you, perhaps Brown’s option to create a major might suit you. 

Cultural Anthropology

University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

The University of Chicago has historically been renowned for its focus on social sciences, with its Department of Anthropology providing a comprehensive cultural anthropology program. The institution's dedication to interdisciplinary studies enables students to delve into cultural anthropology from a broader perspective, encompassing aspects of sociology, history, liberal arts, and other relevant disciplines. Learning about cultural anthropology enables you to ask, similar to Polygence student Sanaya, why Serbian radios in Croatia influenced the recent rise of nationalism.

Global Studies

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

While most universities offer some version of an international studies major, some of the best colleges like the University of Michigan offer an alternative in Global Studies – a major that many students prefer for its real-world applications. For Polygence students like Audrey, Global Studies is an interesting subfield that intersects with all areas of public life, including civil engineering, infrastructure, and other programs that affect day-to-day life.  Students can delve into global issues from different angles thanks to the institute's commitment to all-encompassing work in the humanities and social sciences. Additionally, the university lays great emphasis on language education, thereby augmenting the global studies experience.

Regardless of which university you eventually attend, you will no doubt have plenty of chances to learn about your academic interests by taking courses outside of your major. Remember to keep an open mind, and consider a range of aspects about a program (location, prestige, cost) before deciding on a university. That being said – college is one of the few spaces where you can fully explore your intellectual interests, and it might be worth exploring the range of majors that might interest you. Before then, it might be worth starting a research project to explore your current intellectual passions and join the growing community of young scholars leaning into their interests.