10 Remarkable & Unusual College Degrees

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While  almost everyone agrees that earning a degree can be very important for both economic and personal success, there is a lot of debate over which degrees are the best. And often the the least popular degrees can be the most rewarding, again, both economically and personally.

Students are lined up to get their MBA degree, with its promise of a big paycheck. However, possessing one of the remarkable and unusual college degrees on this list could also lead to financial success.  Quite a few of them are unusual and unusual enough that competition in their respective fields is minimal.

The definition of the word remarkable is “unusual” and “worthy of notice”. The degrees listed here are “unusual college degrees”, because their focus of study is unusual, they are not offered at many schools, or most people don’t even know the degree exists.

10. Taxation

Paying taxes is annoying but  it is definitely here to stay, so if you pursue a degree in taxation you will most likely always have a job. A degree in taxation provides you with in-depth knowledge of the taxation system, usually much more than an experienced lawyer would know. This degree allows you to work with people and organizations that regularly need their taxes done. In essence, every company and individual you can call to mind. While this degree isn’t uncommon by numbers, the number of things you can do with it trumps so many other careers that it makes specializing in taxation priceless.

But, you will most likely have friends who have ulterior motives (free tax advice) or few friends who don’t like being reminded they have to pay taxes every year.

9. Radiologic Sciences


As of mid 2009, only 34 colleges in the United States offered Bachelor’s degrees in Radiologic Sciences (centralfloridafuture.com).  As a result, most Associate degree holders are treated with the same deference as someone with a four-year degree. A Radiologist’s job can seem simple at times – reading x-rays. Yet, becoming a master in this field awards the practitioner permission to administer radiation treatment to help patients deal with injuries and diseases.

8. Archeology


Archeologists get to travel the globe, search for unseen artifacts, and unearth strange grounds when they’re not roaming through secret caves as though they’re Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Earning a degree in Archeology requires a great level of training and field work, but the rewards can be off the charts. Being able to discover 10,000 year old fossils, then taking such finds to the world’s largest museums with their name attached is every Archeologist’s grandest dream. These people help preserve the earth’s history while having the opportunity to make each day a load of fun. With the degree being popular but still rarely acquired in the US, the chance to become a real-life Indiana Jones is still very much up for grabs.

But, usually this is a low paying job and often you are trying to convince someone or some organization to grant you money. Like Indiana, you probably should have a second job for financial stability.

7. Oriental Medicine/Herbology

Illustration of a botany discussion Hortus Sanitatis, 1491

In our modern consumer culture, which values the newest trends, it seems like most people hardly want anything to do with things that are old. Scientists use technology and new research data to come up with new leads in medicine, but did you know some “new” discoveries are also based on the evolution and synthesis of ancient medicinal practices? Many of the alleged revolutionary health products on the market today are made from herb extracts and ancient medical practices.

In other words, an Oriental Medicine major knows how to make you healthy without needing modern medicine. To this date, Herbology degrees are only slightly rarer than your standard medicine degrees, but perhaps that could be related to an excess of people flocking to where the money’s at, instead of where the world’s health could be. http://education-portal.com/archaeology_degree.html

6. Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the art of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices. People with this degree are not only trained to observe and study objects that are too small for the human eye to see, but they also learn how to build revolutionary products from the ground up: new technologies, new infrastructure—even talking robots.

Nanotechnologists help create a cleaner planet, easier lives, and nearly anything else they can think of to make the world a better place. From uncovering how many bedbugs secretly nest within your bed, to knowing what is required to launch a rocket into space, opportunities for Nanotechnologists always remain plentiful. The only strange thing is that though technology claims to be the way of the future, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a dozen places in the US where you can obtain a quality degree in Nanotechnology. http://www.nano.gov/html/edu/eduunder.html

5. Blacksmithing

Nowadays this career is more often found in video games than in the real world. Blacksmiths can tune different metals (usually iron or steel) to create unique and original items: gates, furniture, tools, knives, swords. But the true magic of blacksmithing can happen when one transitions into “Artist Blacksmithing.” This art form allows the creation of custom-made decorations, ornaments, and some rather fine jewelry. Think of what could happen if a good blacksmith teams up with a pro jeweler. Ca-ching! Herefordshire College of Art & Design and Southern Illinois University currently offers the degree,

4. Aromatherapy

The smell of something can be just as infectious as the sight, and  someone skilled at aromatherapy can work miracles. Aromatherapists can create a concoction of different scents to produce many desired results. Great aromas can change a mood just as easily as a hit song. But the beauty of an Aromatherapist is that they provide therapy which can improve the health and well-being of patients. On the more extravagant side of things, aromatherapists also play a big part in the introduction of things such as new perfume lineups. So exactly how rare is a degree in aromatherapy? Both Napier University and The University of Westminster currently have the program disguised under a different name: “BSC in Complementary Therapies”. Perhaps they are trying to put potential students off the scent.

3. Global Governance


This degree teaches students about politics, sociality, humanity, philosophy, economy, and world conflict. Basically, this degree provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to run a country upon graduation. This degree isn’t as rare as many of the others on this list, but it’s rare enough that you’re not usually allowed to purse a degree in Global Governance without already having a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. With the extra benefits this degree carries, such as the capacity to comprehend various cultures and aid humankind, this degree can truly help someone imprint a solid legacy across the globe.

2. Comedy Studies


“Ha ha ha.”

“What’s so funny?”

“I have a degree in Comedy.”

“You’re right, that IS funny.”

The first degree in Comedy was awarded in mid 2009 by Southampton Solent Univeristy.  From the course description: “On this highly innovative and exciting degree you will examine comedy through both production and performance. Comedy will be studied as a media industry in its own right as well as how humour and jokes occur in everyday life.”

Majors in this field are going to be the only ones laughing when aspiring professional comedians discover that they may have to break through an additional educational barrier should they want to find success. Laughter will always be the best medicine.

1. Enigmatology


How would you feel if you were the only person in the world who had a particular degree? Yep, just you; no one else. That’s how Will Shortz probably feels as he remains the only graduate with a degree in Enigmatology from Indiana University since 1974. Enigmatology deals with the creation and solution of puzzles. If you think this degree isn’t much, then you really aren’t thinking. Should anyone ever master the field of Enigmatology that person could surpass the greatest philosophers who have walked the earth. The average mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste, so what happens should someone find a way to maximize every portion of it?

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by K.C. Hilaire
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19 Comments

  1. I don't see how Radiological science is an unusual degree and I can't believe that someone graduating from one of these programs would be considered a Radiologist, because a Radiologist is a doctor. They'd probably be a Radiological technician/technologist. Or a medical Radiographer.

    My boyfriend is an X-ray Technologist, he is certainly not considered a Radiologist.

    • LS, I beg to differ, I think you might be looking at the glass as being half-empty. Just because you've head of a Radiology degree before, and probably every one else has too, doesn't mean that it's not a remarkable degree. Remember the author's title, "Top ten remarkable and unusual degree." You're also not keeping in mind that the writer didn't say that having this degree would make you a Radiologist. He said becoming a master in the field would. This could mean anything from advanced training to earning a post graduate in a related field. On the other hand, even if your observations were perfectly accurate, why didn't you mention how great of a job was done with the other 9 categories.

      Sorry, but as a Writer who's produced several top-ten lists, I believe one should give credit where it is due. Look for the good in people, then try to help them eliminate the bad, not the other way around.

      • I never said it wasn't remarkable, I did say it wasn't unusual in the grand scheme of things, it is a fairly common job in hospitals in many places (maybe not the states?). Maybe I misunderstood the wording, but that's really the fault of the writer (hey it happens, no one is perfect). It would take another 4 + years to be able to become a Radiologist.

        I never said anything about the way the list was written. I enjoy this website immensely, and I don't generally comment unless I have something to say that isn't "oh that's cool" or something along those lines. Not all comments are praise, not all are critique.

        Also, you seem to be the one assuming that this was a negative comment. I was simply pointing out something that I know about a certain degree. Maybe you are the one "seeing the glass half-empty".

  2. Hi,

    I'm the author of this list and I must say that I'm contended with the feedback so far. LS, thanks for your words. Perhaps I should have sourced where I got my info from with respect to your qualms about one of the items on the list. I'll definitely take a note of this for future purposes. And Jadon, I appreciate your looking out for fellow writers. Truth is, all good Writers try to be perfect but fall a little short on near every occasion. It's the constant strive to mend those imperfections that molds us into who we are.

  3. Hmmm… I have a degree in anthropology (archaeology track) and it is not "rarely acquired" anywhere.

    Most universities offer anthropology degrees, and those programs offer specialties in archaeology.

    • lol. Maybe I should have named this list, "Top ten remarkable OR unusual degrees" because some people seem to be getting the idea that every one of the degrees on this list was meant to be unusual in the sense that it's extremely rare. Sure Archaeology isn't that unusual, but when compared to business and computer science degrees, it sure stands out in terms of rarity. There are quite a few other degrees that are much much rarer than a few I placed on this list, but they seem to go so out of their way to be rare that they end up being nearly utterly useless, hence "unremarkable". Still, I appreciate the feedback.

  4. Em…just a point on the "archaeology" degree…what exactly would those 10,000 year old fossils that your archaeologists are digging up be?

    Archaeologists dig up material human remains. It would be paleontologists who dig up the fossils!!

  5. Kitchen Sinks on

    I don't think that it wasnâ??t remarkable, a fairly common job in hospitals in many places……and i generally don't want to comment.. It is not such a useful information.

  6. Kitchen Sinks on

    I don't think that it wasn�t remarkable, a fairly common job in hospitals in many places……and i generally don't want to comment.. It is not such a useful information.

  7. #6. WTH, is it really that rare even in US?? it's one of the keys to open up various tech that are unimaginable nowadays

  8. Actually the Comedy Degree isn’t form Southampton Uni but Southampton SOLENT Uni,

    I’m from Solent and my university is completely different from Southampton Uni.

    Thanks to correct this mistake in advance

  9. Jobs in archaeology aren’t actually that common at all… in fact, the field is rather difficult to get into. I should know, I switched my career plan after I found out that there’s less and less dig sites going on every year. It’s not really an “unusual” career … it’s been going on for almost a century now.

  10. I don’t see many of these being all that unusual.. Taxation is a fairly common degree, so is radiology technology, archaeology, oriental studies, and aromatherapy. Even nanotechnology is becoming fairly popular. Furthermore, it lists “radiology” which is a medical specialty and talks about a 2/4 year degree. Who ever wrote this, didn’t do much research. And RTR (or other certification in rad technology) don’t “read” the x-rays, that would be a radiologist. Even MD/DO’s send xrays (MRI, CT scans, PET, whatever) to a radiologist to read (although there are some rad tech’s that I would fully trust them to read). Also, it doesn’t require a masters in radiological science to implement therapy.

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