5 Offbeat College Majors: Part II

Last month, we got you up to speed on some offbeat college majors that can lead to pretty great careers, like Egyptology and Turfgrass Science. But there are still plenty of other worthwhile majors out there that are off the beaten liberal arts path.

From niche majors centered on design and engineering, to several programs focused on the slow metabolic processes that creates delicious food, one of these oddball majors might be right for you.

Packaging Science

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Are you endlessly fascinated by how the presentation affects how we make purchases? Do you have a total soft spot in your heart for crinkling packaging peanuts and popping bubble wrap until super-annoyed friends and family members insist you stop? You may want to consider a major in packaging!

Both Michigan State and the Rochester Institute of Technology offer a degrees in packaging science, which may sound about as bland as Wonder Bread, but actually combines math and science with elements of creative design, and a side of environmental sustainability.

Theme Park Engineering

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If you played hours and hours of RollerCoaster Tycoon as a kid and were never able to shake the notion that you could totally design the most incredible roller coaster on earth, you might want to head to California State University, Long Beach and pursue a degree in Theme Park Engineering. Side bonus: you get to hang out in Long Beach for four years.

Of course, this is still an engineering degree. This means there's a whole lot of number crunching involved (those rides you build have to be safe after all), so getting that diploma will require much more than knowing where to install a booming ice cream booth.

Fermentation Science

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Hey guys and gals: brewing beer and making cheese isn't just something pretentious people do at home in their spare time. Currently Appalachian State, Colorado State, the University of California, Davis, and Oregon State all offer majors in fermentation — the important metabolic process by which microorganisms create some of the most delicious things we consume.

Fermentation is a potentially awesome major for the food-obsessed and science-minded, as the restaurant and craft brewing industries aren't just stable, but growing. Even in a bad economy people want to eat and drink beer.

Entertainment Engineering and Design

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If you've ever been to a casino, or even seen Ocean's 11 (Clooney or Sinatra), you know just how much thought goes into every aspect of the hugely profitable gambling and entertainment business. And what better place to study the art of slowly-but-surely draining bank accounts than Vegas?

UNLV's Entertainment, Engineering, and Design program offers courses of study in Design Technology and Engineering, both of which are hefty on the technical aspects of making casinos and the gaming mechanics behind them work. That is to say, don't enter this program looking to shoot craps for eight hours a day.


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A relatively new addition to the curriculum at the University of New Hampshire, the EcoGastronomy dual major features a focus on sustainable food development, as well as elements of hospitality management and nutrition — meaning it taps into pretty much every aspect of the farm-to-table trend exploding in the culinary scene. Plus, the major offers awesome study abroad opportunities in Italy and France. Molto bene.


Ruggless, Ron. "NRA: Restaurant sales to reach $683 billion in 2014." National Restaurant Association: Restaurant sales to reach $683 billion in 2014. Nation's Restaurant News, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 May 2014. http://nrn.com/latest-headlines/nra-restaurant-sales-reach-683-billion-2014.