Top Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad – Part 1

Gone are the days when students used to go religiously after engineering, medicine or management after class 12. These days, more and more students are going after unconventional courses. Students have become more audacious, informed, and parents (and society) are also becoming more accepting. While traditional and mainstream courses are still extremely popular, the unconventional courses are very effective when it comes to combining passion with the career. In the first part of the series on unconventional careers, we will look at the top 10 unconventional college majors to study abroad for excellent career opportunities.

Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad
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Top Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad – Part 1

Adventure Education

All of us want a little bit of adventure in our lives. Outdoor activities like paragliding, bungee-jumping, rafting, skiing, rock climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, and abseiling are becoming very popular these days.

Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad - Part 1

We also need experts who can manage and guide us in these activities. If you are adventurous, passionate, confident, and love the outdoors, this could be a perfect undergrad major for you. You might find career opportunities in national park recreation, experiential learning, environmental education, outdoor adventure leadership, and of course, international secret espionage super-agency.

Where can you study?

Plymouth State University

Prescott College

UTICA College

Green Mountain College

Humak University of Applied Sciences

Messiah College

Fort Lewis College

Related Article: Careers in Adventure Tourism


Astrobiology deals with the understanding of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the Universe. The origin of life is still one of the biggest mysteries of Science and probably would require help from every discipline to crack this mega mystery.

Astrobiology encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and on planets around other stars; the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry or life on Solar System bodies like Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn’s moon Titan; and research into the origins, early evolution, and diversity of life on Earth.

cool courses to pursue abroad

An astrobiology career gives you an opportunity to apply many areas of science to your job from astrophysics to biology, chemistry, astronomy, planetary science, and geology. You would be studying the effects of space on human and animal life, categorizing the properties of exoplanets, or collecting ice core samples in Alaska.

Ecology, cosmology, geology, and imagination converge in a course that could be your first step toward a space odyssey. Future occupations include microbiology, environmental conservation, and Martian ambassadorship.

Career opportunities are available in Astronomy, Geology, Space Sciences Research (NASA, ISRO etc.), Biomedical Research, Environment Research, Post-Secondary Teaching, and University-based Research.

Where can you study?

Arizona State University

Florida Institute of Technology

University of Washington

Lund University

Swinburne University of Technology

University of Zurich (Minor)

Penn State University (Minor)

McGill University (Training Program)

McMaster University (PG)

University of Colorado Boulder (PG)

Bakery Science

Offbeat Courses after Class 12A major in bakery science trains students for administrative, research, production, and executive positions in the baking industry. Students can choose to focus primarily on either production management (a business-oriented approach) or cereal chemistry (quality control or research and development).

Bakery scientists spend time in the program’s many laboratories and various stations for testing ingredients, dough, and finished products. Graduates of the program go on to run bakeries and work in product development.

India is the world’s second-largest producer of food next to China and has the potential of being the biggest with its food and agricultural sector. The bakery industry is one of the oldest businesses in India, which is modernizing and is constantly changing in terms of product range and services.

The bakery industry is one such industry in India, which is growing as never before. With a market size of Rs 1500 billion (2014-2015) the industry is growing at a CAGR of around 12-15%. The bakery industry is widely dominated by unorganized players, which accounts for 90% of the total share.

Unusual College Majors

The bakery segment in India can be classified into three broad segments of bread, biscuits, and cakes. India’s organized bakery sector produces about 1.3 millions tonne of bakery products (out of three million tonnes) while the balance is produced by unorganized, small-scale local manufacturers. Since the advent of multinational companies (MNC) selling pizzas and burgers in the country, people are changing their tastes also. Today, they are not restricted to bread, cakes, and biscuits, but to other bakery products also.

You can find jobs in restaurants, caterers, hotels, clubs, food manufacturers, testing laboratories, large & small bakeries. Additionally, you can start your own business as well. Read How This Indian Academy Is Churning Out World Class Pastry Chefs And Entrepreneurs.

Where can you study?

Kansas State University

London South Bank University

University College Birmingham

Johnson & Wales University

Dublin Institute of Technology

New England Culinary Institute

Drexel University

Culinary Institute of America

Entertainment Engineering & Design and Management

India is home to the world’s largest film industry. The Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry is a sunrise sector for the economy and is making high growth strides.

Top Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad for Excellent Career Opportunities

Entertainment Engineering & Design emphasizes the importance of the creative process to the designing and building of engineered entertainment components. Students are educated in the application of high-level scientific and mathematical principles to the design, manufacture, and construction of structures, machines, processes, and live systems.

The Entertainment Engineering & Design degree spans the disciplines of computer science, civil and structural engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical and computer engineering. Additionally, students will also get exposed to the fields of structural engineering, robotics, acoustics and systems, and live entertainment.

Excellent career opportunities are available in the entertainment and media industry.

Where can you study?

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

University of Derby

University of Central Florida

Queensland University of Technology

Australian Institute of Music

Fermentation Sciences

Fermentation science is based on the natural chemical process by which sugar is broken down into carbon dioxide and alcohol utilizing a single cell microorganism called yeast. However, most people would probably be more familiar with this term as it relates to the creation of beverages such as beer, wine, and spirits.

With a degree in fermentation sciences, you can find opportunities in a wide range of industries that include the brewery, wine, food & beverage, and dairy sector.

Careers focusing on the microbiological processes that go into making beer, wine and dairy products demand solid backgrounds in microbiology and biochemistry, but they also incorporate special expertise in food science and sensory training.

Career Fermentation Sciences - Unusual Career Path

You will develop a sound understanding of how fermenting microbes behave, and how their metabolites change the properties of foods and beverages.

Courses will focus equally on the agricultural, industrial, and commercial processes. The students will engage every part of the process from farm to market, from barrel to bottle. Major courses will be Social Implications of Fermented Beverages, Viticulture: Vine Physiology and Vineyard Establishment, Brewing Science and Analysis, Sensory Analysis of Wine and Beer.

If you have got a passion for chemistry, a feel for biology, and an entrepreneurial spirit, this could be a great career option for you. After all, making a good glass of wine is a lot harder than drinking one. It’s certainly among the cool courses to pursue abroad.

Although the major focus is on spirits and alcoholic beverages; the learning can also be applied to other products like biopharmaceuticals, biofuels, and enzymes.

You can find job opportunities in vineyards, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and biotechnology & pharmaceutical companies.

Where can you study?

Colorado State University

Oregon State University

Appalachian State University

Middle Tennessee University

Washington State University

University of Idaho

Southern Illinois University

Surf Science and Technology

If you love the thrill of studying surfing without the tedium of actually doing it, this is the major for you.Unconventional College Majors

You will be taught to coordinate surfing events, judge competitions, train competitors, or pursue a career with a notable apparel company.

Courses include physics & biomechanics, ecology and estuarine studies, maths, IT, geography, & oceanography, marketing, and event management.

It’s a very niche major. But, if you have got an affinity to be near the beach and/or enjoying the waves, it could be a very satisfying career for you.

Where can you study?

Cornwall College

University of Plymouth

Diving Business and Technology

Commercial diving is a term that covers a remarkably broad spectrum of activities. It involves a variety of trades and skills, all of which are complicated by the hostile environment in which they are performed. Jobs like welding are tough, but even tougher when performed in the inky, cold blackness 400 feet below the surface.

The major allows students to learn more about the ins and outs of diving while they submerge themselves in other disciplines, like marine biology and underwater photography. Graduates go on to operate their own diving businesses and teach diving lessons.


It’s a career that can take you to all four corners of the world – working in locations as diverse as the North Sea, the Indian Ocean or off the coast of Africa. The oil and gas industry is currently the largest employer in the subsea sector, and over the next decade massive developments, which are already in place, will create a large volume of employment in the offshore renewables sector. This means that there will continue to be a demand for offshore personnel including divers, ROV pilots and Life Support Technicians (LSTs).

Job roles include divemaster, scuba instructor, commercial diver, research diver, underwater photojournalist, etc.

Related Article: Careers and Jobs in Underwater Archaeology

Where can you study?

Florida Keys Community College

Santa Barbara City College

Arctic Engineering & Technology

If you enjoy doing really complicated math while freezing your face off, this is most definitely the major for you.

The Arctic contains large quantities of biological and mineral resources of great commercial and scientific value. Sustainable industrial development and exploitation of biological and mineral resources require tailored technology and expert knowledge of the region.

Arctic Engineering & Technology

Arctic technology involves the upgrading of well-proven technology to suit the Arctic climate or the development of completely different and specialized technology specially adapted to the harsh environmental conditions.

Knowledge of Arctic engineering technology is essential to provide sound design and construction recommendations both offshore and onshore in the Arctic.

Where can you study?


Technical University of Denmark


It’s usually not a good sign when people laugh at your college major. But, this is the one case where you must be doing something wrong if people aren’t laughing.

This major is no joke. Nowadays, a career in standup comedy is actually gaining huge traction. Just like musical concerts and theatres (plays), standup comedy is also attracting a huge audience, both on TV and live events.

stand up comedy career

While pursuing an undergraduate degree in Comedy, you will learn the art of stand-up comedy, improvisation, scriptwriting, and sketch comedy as well as the business side.

Apart from being a comedian on the stage, you can also pursue careers in management, promotion, or booking.

Where can you study?

Humber College

University of Salford

Emerson College

Columbia College Chicago

Goldsmiths University of London

Turfgrass Science & Management

Growing grass may seem like a simple concept, but there’s more to it than just sowing a seed. Turfgrass Science & Management

Turf management includes many job options in grounds-keeping and greens-keeping, especially for sports fields and golf courses. Sports turf management is one of the fastest‐growing areas of the turf industry.

If you are someone who doesn’t like to be confined to an office, this is another great career option. If you’re artistic, you can apply your creativity to landscape design. If you enjoy science, there are good enough research opportunities in natural & industrial sciences.

Courses include biology, chemistry, landscape design, meteorology, ecology, agricultural science, pest control management, irrigation, soil science, etc.

Where can you study?

Penn State University

UMass Amherst

Purdue University

Clemson University

University of Maryland

University of Guelph (Ontario Agricultural College)

University of Missouri (Minor)

University of Florida

Related Articles:

Best Unconventional College Majors to Study Abroad – Part 2

Top Courses to Study Abroad for Jobs Getting Overseas

Best Career Paths without Math and Science

Careers in Liberal Arts

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Image Sources: iStock and College Websites

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