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16 Lesser Known Fields of Study

Choosing a degree path is something uniquely personal, as it will create the course for your future career. For those who like to explore parts unknown, these are 15 unusual degrees and courses to investigate.

Apr 15, 2021
  • Education
16 Lesser Known Fields of Study

1. Futurism

Are you great at planning ahead, adapting to changes swiftly, and making plans based on limited information? If so, consider a Master of Science in Foresight. Using qualitative and quantitative tools, futurists “describe alternative plausible and preferable futures, in addition to the expected future.” Additionally, futurists help clients and employers “anticipate significant changes that lie ahead and to influence those changes to achieve their long-term goals.” For the person who thinks ahead, this emerging field might be the ticket.

2. Packaging science

Did you know there’s an industry -- and related studies -- dedicated to packaging products? “Students majoring in packaging science learn all about the design, engineering, science, innovation, research and business that make up this diverse industry,” according to Clemson University. This is a hands-on program, and one of only a few offered in the United States. The huge home delivery business has soared even higher during COVID, as shops have been closed to keep people safe and so people have not been able to shop in-person very much. Studies in packaging science can help you gain the edge in this sector, while also helping to make the industry sustainable.

3. Ecogastronomy

Sometimes choosing an area to specialize in can be difficult. A degree in ecogastronomy from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) helps by blending various different disciplines into the course of study. makes it so you don’t have to choose. UNH states the degree “integrates UNH strengths in sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition to offer a unique academic program emphasizing the interdisciplinary, international, and experiential knowledge that connects all three fields.” Students get first-hand experience in food security issues, and international cuisine, giving them a breadth of useful knowledge.

4. Somatic studies

For students with an interest in psychology who don’t want to take the traditional approach, try exploring a specialization in Somatic Studies. Pacifica Graduate Institute's program in this field, for example, covers eight streams, including “Integrative Health and Wellness, Somatic Depth Counseling and Psychotherapy, Community Development, and Embodied Depth Leadership.” After leaving this program, students have a better understanding of the mind-body connection, which they can apply to their chosen field.

5. Fintech

Cryptocurrency markets are now worth billions and blockchain -- a method of collecting information together in groups, or blocks, that hold sets of information -- has quickly spread from being used for cryptocurrency to many other sectors. As such, there are now many degrees and courses in fintech (financial technology) and digital currency. Students in these fields gain a better understanding of what digital currency is, how it works, and its role in the future of digital monetary systems, so they can push these industries and technologies forward.

6. Puppetry

Are you into artistry, storytelling, and theatre? Then a puppetry program could provide all of those things! Students on the University of Conneticut's MA/MFA Puppet Arts, for instance, learn the mastery of puppeting in a hands-on way that includes field studies and internships, as well as components from design, to scriptwriting, to set design.

7. Fermentation sciences

Do you love kombucha? If so, consider making your own. The science of fermentation has been around for centuries, and now students can pursue a degree in it. According to AP Guru, “In a Fermentation Science program, students learn about the chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology of fermentation of food and beverages and ways to ensure food safety and quality.”

8. Adventure education

For those who enjoy the outdoors but aren’t sure what to do with that love, try an adventure education program. Students pursuing degrees in adventure education blend theoretical knowledge in environmental science and education with practical knowledge and outdoor skills. People who achieve these degrees often work as recreation instructors, park naturalists, and wilderness first responders. For example, Humak University of Applied Sciences in the wild, rugged nation of Finland offers a bachelor's degree in Adventure and Outdoor Education, which prepares students to work as outdoor adventurers and educators. The program offers opportunities for self-exploration and challenging yet fun experiences in nature.

9. Auctioneering

While working in retail can come with long hours and low pay, considering courses in auctioneering can help boost your skills up several notches. However, this isn’t a path for the faint of heart. It requires hours of training and practice, which can be accomplished by attending auction school.

10. Comedy

If you’re ready to put your comedic chops to the test and hone your craft, a course in comedy is a great place to start. Bath Spa University, for instance, offers a BA in Comedy, allowing you to further explore just what makes people laugh.

11. Family enterprise

Many students pursue degrees in business with the intention of taking over a family business one day. However, did you know you can get more specific and actually get a degree in Family Enterprise Management? Graduates of this Stetson University program will be well-equipped to take over their family’s business or get a position with another family-owned company.

12. Farrier

With rising interest in homesteading and farming, there’s a need for people who tend livestock. Cornell University, which has one of the most revered animal husbandry programs in the world, offers a Farrier Program. Students can choose between an entry-level and advanced course to learn about the care and keeping of horses’ hooves.

13. eSports

eSports, competitive video gaming, is now huge business. The global eSports market is valued at over $1 billion and is set to reach around $1.62 billion by 2024. In 2019, American teenager Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million for taking the top prize at the Fortnite World Cup. So it's no surprise that universities are starting to get in on the act. Many universities, particularly in the USA, have teams that compete in college sports competitions and some offer degrees in eSports. Staffordshire University's BA in eSports, for instance, teaches students about the business side of eSports, giving students the skills to host eSports events and create business plans to build teams, create online communities and promote your events through digital marketing.

14. Nautical archaeology

If the ocean calls to you and you’re ready to take on a highly specialized degree program, nautical archaeology is offered at several schools in the United States. According to, “Nautical archaeology is the study of human artifacts in the harsh sea environment,” and can be studied at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

15. Sexology/sexuality

Sex is a fascinating part of the human experience and students wishing to explore it in depth can find various courses and degrees to help them do this. On the MA degree in Sexuality at San Francisco State University, for instance, students explore many topics surrounding human sexuality, from its representation in the arts to social justice for sexual minorities. Studies in sexology, meanwhile, tend to focus more on the psychological aspects of sex (and in that respect it may be thought of as a specific branch of psychology). Graduates in this field may go on to work as sex therapists.

16. Floral management

Have you ever thought about who creates the beautiful floral arrangements you see at various events? That person could be you. However, it’s more than just arranging pretty flowers. Students who study floral management get an in-depth look at what a career in floral retail, wholesale, design, styling, or display gardening feels and smells like.

As you start planning your degree, keep in mind that the world is changing. The degrees and jobs done by previous generations are becoming more obsolete -- or are beginning to be structured differently, meaning there are many opportunities to find a field of study and career in the niche that fascinates you and gives you the most joy.

Find your perfect program

Use our search to find and compare programs from universities all over the world!


Find your perfect program

Use our search to find and compare programs from universities all over the world!

Chelsea Castonguay


Chelsea is a Student Affairs expatriate, who now works as a freelance writer and editor. She homesteads in a small town in rural Maine, USA. She enjoys hiking, fishing, cooking, reading, all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, spending time with her family, and chasing her black lab puppy, Cash.