You Majored in What?!

Graduation season is upon us, the time when we pause to celebrate the accomplishments of newly-minted degree-holders. Of course, in economic times such as these, there’s no guarantee that a new graduate, professionally green and facing unprecedented competition for jobs, will land solid employment just on the strength of a liberal arts degree. In fact, Liberal arts, shmiberal arts. You won’t believe the specificity of college majors pursued by some of today’s grads. (Cue “Pomp and Circumstance”…)

Equine Studies. Centenary College in New Jersey is a loosely-held secret in the NY-NJ area, and a popular destination among the horsey set. The undergraduate Equine Studies program offers a study-abroad semester at the University of West England – Hartpury College. Of course, the principal course of study during the study abroad program is preparation for the British Horse Society’s Preliminary Teaching Certification exam. (Duh.) Parents: don’t think this is a practical field of study? You’ll note that available within the major is a concentration in Equine Business Management. Something to fall back on.

Fashion Merchandising. The University of Delaware is one of many large institutions to offer this major, which is the kind of specialized degree one might expect to find only at an art and design school. The curriculum is designed to tailor (ahem) what is essentially a business degree into a fashion-specific cut (ahem, again).  Beyond core classes in marketing and social sciences, funky electives include textile preservation and historic costume.

Leisure Studies. Thought this one was a myth? If so, you were partaking of the ancient leisure activity called mythery. The University of Iowa offers a BS degree. [No need to make a joke here. It just wrote itself.] The University of Tennessee Knoxville advises graduating seniors in its program to sit for the national exam to become credentialed as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, thereby making them more marketable to employers. Or something.

Portuguese-Brazilian Studies. French. Chinese. Hindi. Other languages and cultures representing sizable segments of the global community have long been well-represented in higher education.  Smith College and Brown University asked: why not Portuguese? In addition to the obvious language requirements, classes may also draw from art, economics, dance, women’s studies and literature departments. And just think of the study abroad paella! I mean, potential!

Forest Operations Science and Forestry. The University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources has been attracting environmentally-minded students since “green” was nothing but a color. These majors engage environmental studies, biology, public policy, history and other academic areas. High school seniors applying to this program are obviously a self-selecting group of exceptionally focused students, and may be looking toward careers as diverse as land management, conservation advocacy, forestry administration, governmental work or tourism. Tim-BER!

Musical Theater. 525,600 minutes. That’s how they measure, measure a year at Pace University in New York. Majors graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, presumably after confirming that the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain, and that the show must go on. Mamma Mia!

About the author -

Alison Minion

Alison Minion is a writer and editor. In addition to Funderstanding, she has contributed to, the New Jersey Jewish News and other publications. She served as the editor for the Union County (NJ) Bar Association centennial commemorative yearbook. Before leaving the publishing industry to stay home with her children, Alison was an editor of children’s nonfiction and textbooks. As an editor, much of her time was spent sitting down with a manuscript and a red pencil, researching the marketplace and reading the competition. The most valuable on-the-job training, however, was the time spent visiting schools, debriefing educators, and watching children consume texts and process material. In her life as a freelancer, she does this now most evenings while her own three sons complete their homework.