Unconventional College Majors

If you’re looking for something different to study in college, these unique and unconventional college majors could be the perfect fit for you!

Take the Road Major Less Traveled

One of the first steps we take with our clients is to discuss what the student is interested in and how that might relate to the major they will declare in college.  With help from the Birkman Assessment, we have a clear picture of the student’s interests, but sometimes those don’t match traditional business, engineering, or liberal arts majors. Let’s look at some less well-known majors available to students and the schools that offer them.

There’s no such thing as a pre-law major

Many students express an interest in ultimately pursuing law school; however, they don’t know what major to select to lay a strong foundation.   Texas A&M Galveston offers a University Studies degree with a concentration in Marine Environmental Law and Policy.  This program focuses on business law, environmental law, environmental ethics, and energy politics and can provide students with a good understanding of landmark court rulings, treaties, and the development of political policies. 

Down by the Sea

Our clients often express interest in studying/protecting coastal environments, but they don’t want to pursue environmental engineering.  Louisiana State University is one of several schools that offer degrees in oceanography or coastal sciences.  Example courses include geological marine sciences, global environmental cycles, and hurricanes and typhoons.  Texas A&M Galveston additionally offers majors in Marine Sciences, Marine Biology, and Ocean Engineering.  Like the University of Jacksonville, Florida Southern College, and Eckerd College, several Florida schools also have well-known programs in this area. 

Job options: research scientist, conservation, coastal ecology, physical and geological oceanography fields.

I don’t want to work in an office.

Development of land is on the increase while the natural environment and resources are under strain.  How do we find experts who can balance the need for expansion while avoiding further damage to the environment?  Landscape architects. This rapidly increasing field needs professionals who collaborate with others to create functional designs while also encouraging sustainability and practicality.  Example courses may include design, planning, urbanism, history, sustainability, hydrology, ecology, geographic information science, landscape modeling, and social practice.  Make sure the program is accredited.  Some of the top programs include The University of Florida, Cornell, Clemson, Oklahoma State University, and UC Berkeley. 

Job options: Real Estate Development, City and Regional Planning, Golf course design, Landscape Business Owner.

It’s Actuary, Actually

“I like math and working with numbers, but I don’t want to be an accountant.” I hear this from many students who enjoy math and science and are looking for a major that allows them to use their skills in this arena. Actuarial science is a field that prepares students to work as actuaries. These professionals perform risk assessment work for a wide array of businesses, including insurance companies. Actuarial science is an unfamiliar choice for majors, but this field offers strong career prospects for math-minded grads. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an actuary’s median salary was $102,880 per year in 2018, with jobs expected to rise much faster than average through 2026. So career prospects are bright for those seeking work in this industry. 

Example classes include Linear Algebra, Computing, Actuarial Foundations, Economics, and Computing. 

Top programs offering a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science include The University of Illinois-Urbana, The University of Texas at Austin, Auburn, Michigan State University, and UC Santa Barbara.  Note: Like accountants, actuaries have to pass exams to become certified.  Also note:  This is an area where there are far fewer women in the field, so women are highly recruited.

I love the art, but not the spotlight.

Do you know someone who loves music but doesn’t want to be a musician?  Consider a degree in Music Management.  A music manager handles their client’s financial and legal business in addition to getting recording contracts and live performances. Relevant coursework includes music industry, business administration, marketing, and contract law.  Graduates work for recording studios and large entertainment venues as business managers, accountants, CFO’s artist representatives, and other roles. 

Some of the top programs are located at Belmont University, USC, NYU, Columbia Collage Chicago and The University of Texas at Austin.

In Conclusion

Although business and engineering remain the top majors among our clients, more and more students see a wide array of options to build upon their interests.  As new technologies evolve and markets change, new careers such as cybersecurity, health informatics, construction management, and game design offer students more opportunities to pursue jobs that match their strengths and interests. The counselors at Bright Futures are trained to guide students in identifying their interests.  We help clients uncover potential majors and colleges that lay the groundwork for their success.