10 Creative and Nontraditional College Majors

Sarah Reese
May 4, 2021

Not every college student wants to major in economics, psychology, or computer science. There’s nothing wrong with those majors, but what if you’re looking for something a little out there?    Did you know that by actually enjoying what you're studying, you can actually improve your grades simply by being more interested in the topics being learned? These study habits can help even further your education and passion as you are on the pursuit for a career you love.   You’ll be happy to know quite a few institutions offer unusual and creative degree programs, some of which you probably never suspected existed. Here are 10 nontraditional college majors, minors and certifications you can choose at certain colleges.  


Spending a night at a bowling alley while enjoying snacks and drinks is a fun and traditional pastime. Some call it a sport. You probably never considered majoring in bowling at college, though.    Nonetheless, at Vincennes University in Indiana, you can get a degree in Bowling Management. The focus here isn’t so much on the bowling itself as it is on the business side of running a bowling establishment. As with any business, there many details to consider, such as acquiring and maintaining supplies and equipment, serving refreshments, marketing, and customer service. The campus has a large bowling center of its own where students learn all aspects of the business.  

Theme Park Engineer

People who love theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios might want to consider a career in this field. At California State University Long Beach, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Theme Park Engineering.   No Mickey Mouse degree, this is actually a technical program that deals with the nuts and bolts of running a theme park rather than the entertainment or marketing aspects. You’ll cover topics in electrical power as well as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic control. When you graduate, you’ll have a career as an engineer in a theme park or amusement facility, and bragging rights that your nontraditional major was actually a major power move.  

Standup Comedy

Think you’re funny? The Faculty of Media & Creative Arts at Humber College in Toronto offers a diploma in comedy writing and performance. There the focus is on everything comedy, from stand up, improv and sketch, to the business side such as getting bookings and publicity. Students practice at class shows and weekly at nearby comedy clubs. The faculty is made up of working comedians and writers, among them SCTV, Second City, Yuk Yuk’s and SNL alumni.  


Although puppet shows today are mainly children’s entertainment, the theatrical art form has been used in performances and rituals in all parts of the world throughout history. The University of Connecticut has been offering puppetry classes since 1964 and is one of the few places where you can study it formally. The program allows students to design puppets and sets for performances and TV shows. Another school offering puppetry is West Virginia University, which includes a mobile unit where students bring live puppet performances to audiences around the state.   


The oldest gunsmithing school in the country is at Lassen Community College in California. Started in 1945, you can earn a degree in Firearms Repair and General Gunsmithing. There are certificates of completion offered for pistolsmith, riflesmith, long Guns, and gunsmith machinist and metal finishing too. The NRA-affiliated gunsmithing school also offers a number of NRA summer courses including barreling and specific firearms platforms.  


For anyone who loves comics and wants a professional career in comics, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Comic Art. This program studies the art, storylines, and business of comics and graphic novels, which are at least as popular as ever before.   As with all of the arts, there’s also a strong emphasis on working in digital media. There are actually quite a few career possibilities in these areas, whether you want to publish your own comics or work in the publishing industry.  


For some, “nanny” has a quaint sound that conjures up visions of Mary Poppins. Many families, however, need professional childcare providers in their homes who have recognized training to care for their children.    The Professional Nanny Program, offered by the English Nanny & Governess School in Ohio, provides this training. The school is approved by and registered with the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools, and offers a three-month academic program, developed over 35 years, covering all aspects of the profession. Students learn about early childhood development, practical skills such as CPR as well as the business side of the profession such as insurance and finding employment.  


Pot is hardly unknown on college campuses. As an official discipline, however, it’s been mostly confined to academic areas such as drug policy. With more liberal drug laws, there’s been increased demand for practical courses on cannabis as an industry.    Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California, introduced the first cannabis degree program in the United States, focusing on areas such as indoor and outdoor horticulture and keeping up with the latest laws and regulations. OU’s faculty is composed of industry leaders, who have been involved in crafting the first compassion laws up to the most recent Medicinal and Adult‐Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act policy in the state. Its Office of Government and Public Affairs provides educational services for government agencies, elected official and non-governmental organizations.  


Because casinos are such a large aspect of the economy in Nevada, it’s not surprising that the University of Nevada in Reno is where you can minor in gaming management. The program is offered through the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming. You’ll learn about the latest trends in the casino industry, managing the variety of games and entertainment, security, and other aspects of running a successful gaming establishment.  


The University of Plymouth’s Cornwall College in the U.K. has a two-year program in surf science and technology. You study the sport of surfing as well as the business aspects of the surfing industry. Note that you won’t actually be surfing as part of the course; however, the school is located near some of the best beaches in Europe.   There are plenty of surfing colleges in the U.S., of course. These include the University of California San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, University of Hawaii, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and University of Rhode Island.   No matter where your passion lies, there’s a school you can attend to become an expert. We’ve only touched on a few above. So if your interest isn’t listed here, keep searching. You’ll find it, whether your true love is auctioneering, bagpiping or horseshoeing.