Unique (and possibly crazy) Courses of Study (Part 2)

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Eastern Oklahoma College

Meat Processing

meat-processingMake yourself the connective tissue between the livestock industry and food retail, between the farm and steakhouse, between sow and sausage. The Meat Processing industry is a rapidly growing one and this degree program could help you land the gig.

Citing itself as the only institution in either Oklahoma or the surrounding states to offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Meat Processing and Food Safety, Eastern Oklahoma State says that students will receive hands-on training in all aspects of this important sector. Eastern also boasts small class sizes and immediate pathways into post-graduate employment. Or, should you desire, you may apply the credits of your associate degree toward a full bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State.

The Meat Processing degree program offers participants an exceptionally diverse set of courses, allowing students to explore the exciting and interwoven worlds of agriculture and abattoir, packing and purveying. And if you've got your own innovative ideas regarding meatworks, Eastern offers the option for an independent study in Custom Processing.

If meatcutting, food inspection, or safety supervision are your idea of a good time, Eastern Oklahoma State has just the program for you.

Harrisburg Area Community College



Are you a fast talker? Do you flow like Eminem even during normal conversation? Was the Micro Machine commercial spokesperson your idol growing up?If so, you might consider the Auctioneering Diploma Program offered at the Harrisburg Area Community College. Bound to the state capital of Pennsylvania, this campus is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Auctioneer Examiners and provides you with everything you'll need to know to sit for the Auctioneer License Examination.

Housed within the Business Studies Department, Auctioneering is a 20 Credit program offered only during the fall semester. Courses include Audience Communications, Auctioneering Law, and Procurement & Appraisal of Merchandise. Across the duration of your auctioneering education, you will learn everything that goes into the organization, preparation, and execution of an auction.

And of course, you will learn and hone your auctioneer's chant, that special rapid-fire cadence and delivery that make people so excited that they can't help but spend money.

Indiana University

Decision Sciences


If this seems like a good major for you, but then maybe not such a good major, but then upon closer inspection, a major that you could maybe definitely but probably not see yourself in, you would probably benefit a great deal from Indiana University's Decision Sciences program.

In all seriousness, you should be pretty sure about this one because it is a Doctoral Program. Decision Sciences is part of the Operations & Decision Technologies Department, which is itself subsumed under Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Grad students on this Bloomington campus will employ mathematical models, analytical reading, and computer simulation in order to better understand operational challenges such as supply chain management, marketing, and finance.

In other words, decision-making can be very complex. This course of study gives its students the tools to make complicated decisions by using empirical evidence, knowledge, and intelligence. Quite the rigorous course of study, the reward for deciding to pursue your Doctorate here within is a chance to work in nearly any industry you should so desire.

If you want a job helping a hospital manage its labor challenges, or teaching a baseball team's scouts to understand advanced analytics, or determining how an expanding taco operation can manage its ever-shifting hot sauce needs, choosing a major in Decision Sciences could be the first step.

Barry University

Forensic Photography


If you've ever watched an episode NCIS: Miami, the guy taking pictures of bodies at the scene of the crime is not just some weird creeper with a camera. That guy is doing an extremely important job, and one that could be yours if you have a steady hand and a strong stomach.

You might not expect to spent a lot of time investigating grisly murders as a student at Barry University's Department of Fine Arts. However, this is exactly where you would go to earn your Bachelor of Arts in Biomedical Forensic Photography. On this Miami Dade campus, those select students who are admitted into this challenging program during their junior year will gain firsthand experience helping to develop cases, prepare evidence, and photograph actual crime scenes.

Indeed, among the reasons this excellent program is so difficult to get into is because it creates a direct pathway between one's education and one's employment with the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Office. In addition to the internship that you'll complete here, you'll take on courses such as the Biology of a Crime, Introduction to Anatomy and, of course, Studio Lighting. Combining the masterful eye of a brilliant shutterbug with the sleuthing instincts of a master criminologist, the forensic photographer could have a bright future in a dark room.

Just kidding. I don't think they use dark rooms anymore. From Digital Photography to 2-D Design, most of your photo development work will be done on the computer. You'll net 48 credits for your coursework and another 12 for your gloves-on field work.

Daniel Webster College

Homeland Security


When the United States created a massive new agency charged with the responsibility of protecting us from threats both home and abroad, it also created a flood of new jobs. Of course, in doing so, it stimulated the need for applicants with a wide range of skill sets from emergency planning and disaster management to threat assessment and crisis recovery. The Bachelor's of Science in Homeland Security at Daniel Webster College aims to provide its students with these skills.

If you wish to plant yourself on America's last line of defense, consider pursuing your course of study on this private Nashua, New Hampshire campus. Your degree program in Homeland Security will include a pretty far-ranging array of course foci, suggesting the complex and interwoven dimensions of the field. Courses within the major include Conflict, Ideology and Terror; Vulnerability and Threats; and perhaps most frightening of all, Financial Accounting.

Once you've completed your training, you should be well-acquainted with the dangers, both man-made and natural, that lay in wait at our borders. With your newfound knowledge of the techniques used to prevent, prepare for, and bounce back from major catastrophic events, you could play a major role in helping us endure the next superstorm, head off the next terrorist attack, or generally strengthen the infrastructure meant to protect us from both.

So just a word of advice. If you're the type of person who loses sleep over stressful responsibilities that could have a huge bearing on the safety and well-being of others, this probably isn't the job for you. Indeed, there's a lot riding on your ability to do this job and do it well. On an unrelated note, you only need to maintain a C average to gain entry into said program. Combine this with a steely constitution and the strong desire to keep your country and its citizens safe and Daniel Webster's Homeland Security major could be put you between harm's way and the American public.

Fashion Institute of Technology

Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing


Do you wish that people smelled better? Well that could be your job. You could make people smell better. But you can't do it just anywhere. In fact, the State University of New York's Fashion Institute of Technology gives its students access to the only fragrance lab on a U.S. college campus.

Indeed, the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio—which is said to be modeled directly after actual professional aroma laboratories—gives those in pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree the chance to flex their olfactory bulbs. Learn how to perfume, cologne, and perhaps even Axe Body Spray the masses. Come to understand the difference between a subtle workplace scent and the right bouquet for a night of salsa dancing.

As long as you're learning how to make clever smells, you might as well learn how to move them off the shelves. The Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing program incorporates a full array of courses in product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales. The path to your degree will also place you in direct contact with professional mentors with years of experience in the industry.

If you think your nose could be your biggest asset, bear in mind that the Fashion Institute of Technology's Cosmetics and Fragrance BS program is the only one of its kind.

University of Arizona

Paranormal Studies


College is all about probing the deep mysteries of life like, "Just how many days after your initial order is it safe to eat cold pepperoni pizza?"; or "Can one complete a full degree program in four years without ever taking Friday morning classes?"; or "Is it possible to interact with the consciousness of the recently departed once he or she has entered into the afterlife?"

While we can't speak for the rest of you, we know that this third question consumed many a well-spent hour during our undergraduate studies. Well if you enter into the University of Arizona's paranormal studies program, this is one of many deeply esoteric stoner riddles that will drive your academic experience.

Originally begun as the VERITAS Research Program in 2006, this spookiest of degree programs was rebranded as the SOPHIA Research Program in 2010. Whereas VERITAS was largely concerned with determining whether or not it was possible for human consciousness to survive beyond death, SOPHIA expanded the discipline to include inquiry into communication and communing with an array of “discarnate entities,” which might include spirit guides, angels, or even a deity.

Whereas the average liberal arts or engineering major might pray to god only in advance of finals, the SOPHIA research program involves fairly regular attempts to interface with a higher power. SOPHIA is contained within the larger Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health and, as such, emphasizes the end goals of healing and life-enhancement. Of course, if you ever plan on hosting a reality television show in which you connect sad spinsters with their deceased kitty cats, this is also a major from which you will benefit significantly.

As Agent Mulder has assured us time and again, the truth is out there. If you want to take part in the search for said truth, consider a Paranormal Studies major at the University of Arizona.

Indiana University, Bloomington


Crossword Clue: 12 Letters Across: Will Shortz is the only man in a world with a degree in this subject.

The answer is Enigmatology (though I admit it isn't that enigmatic when you list the answer as a subject header directly above the clue). But you get the point. Mr. Shortz, of New York Times crossword fame, is the only person ever to hold a degree in the study of puzzles.

In fairness, it's not exactly a major listed in the Indiana course catalog (though it is our second entry on this list from the Bloomington university). Mr. Shortz completed the course of study as part of the school's Individualized Major Program, which suggests that he designed the course himself. On the one hand, that makes it about as specialized a major as exists. On the other hand, it does have a 100% completion rate at this juncture so there is that to consider.

If you would like to follow in the illustrious Mr. Shortz's footsteps, you would be required to undergo the semester-long process by which a Bloomington campus student applies for entrance into an independent major. Though there are no prerequisites specific to individualized studies, you would be required to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA before applying. Likewise, your major must extend across a minimum of three semesters.

Should you attempt to earn history's second ever enigmatology degree, you could be the next great "Travel Sudoku" book author, you could infuriate the masses by inventing the next Rubix Cube, or you could drive your friends to hostility with constant, impossible-to-solve brainteasers. However you figure it, popularity is in your future.

And should you presume that there is no glamour in being an enigmatologist, be aware that Hollywood has tapped Will Shortz on more than one occasion for his unique set of skills. Indeed, the crossword magnate was responsible for composing all of the Riddler's deadly brainbusters in the 1995 superhero schlock-fest, Batman Forever.

Morley College



If you have a life-sized replica of Frodo Baggins in your living room, a cartographically accurate rendering of Middle Earth hanging over your bed, and are constantly prone to calling things “the precious,” then your weekends are probably pretty free. Consider using the spare time to master Elvish.

At Morley College, you can dive into the rich linguistic tradition that permeates J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings saga. Offering an introductory Elvish Stage 1 course for the first time in the 2014-2015, this central-London based school gives its students access to a Language Department program that engages the phonology, vocabulary, and grammar through which elves converse.

And in case you have concerns over the cultural inclusiveness of the program, you'll be pleased to know that the course spends significant time on both the Common Eldarin and Sindarin dialects of Elvish. Indeed, you never want to be the guy who shows up at an Eldarin party blabbing at everybody in Sindarin.

Though Elvish, much like Orkish, is a language largely invented by Tolkein, it is not without its relevance to the evolutionary history of linguistics. The Morley course reveals the roles played by both Finnish and Welsh dialects in Tolkein's invention.

More than just a study in linguistics, this fledgling course also brings students into close contact with the Drama Department. Participants will be given the opportunity to perform together using the Elvish language. This collaboration will culminate in a three day live performance of the entire LOTR trilogy. If a starring role in this production doesn't fill up your weekend dance card, then nothing will.

Oberlin College

Super Smash Brothers Melee Theory and Practice


 File this one under: stuff you spent full semesters on in college without ever earning credits.

If you don't know, Super Smash Brothers Melee is a video game--issued for the Nintendo Gamecube consul--which frequently involves both multiplayer interaction and competitive drinking. For just one credit (which still seems like kind of a lot), students on this Oberlin, Ohio campus will study basic, immediate, and advanced combat techniques for successful performance in the Super Smash Brothers game.

This is a particularly applicable skill if you intend to spend your adult life playing Super Smash Brothers. If that isn't your plan, you should at least enjoy the stimulation that comes from the course's open discussion on ethical and cultural issues connected to gaming. These issues include censorship, character stereotyping, and video game addiction, the last of which is also more likely than not an actual consequence of taking a course designed to legitimize the amount of time you spend gaming.

This course demands roughly two-and-a-half hours of your time every week. One-and-a-half of these hours will be spent in class while the other hour is set aside for independent refinement of skills (read: playing Super Smash Brothers Melee).

Successful completion of this course should give you all the skills you need to successfully complete this course. Acquisition of any additional skills will be merely incidental.


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