They Teach That in College!?: 4 Offbeat Majors That Lead to Good Careers-Part I

therapeutic horsemanship-Turbeville-best Josh

Toy Design, Comic Book Art, Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science…These are not your parents’ college majors. But they are paths to viable careers—ones being offered by a growing number of colleges and universities. Here’s a summary of what each major entails and a few of the schools that offer them:

1. Comic Book Art. Comic books are hot these days, with some being turned into television shows and movies. Also included with comic books are graphic novels, which address issues such as terrorism, racism, and bullying. Maus, a graphic novel about the Holocaust by Art Spiegelman, even won a Pulitzer Prize for literature. You can learn how to be a cartoonist by attending schools such as the Center for Cartoon Studies (White River Junction, VT), Minneapolis College of Art and Design (Minneapolis, MN), and the Savannah College of Art and Design (multiple locations).


2. Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science. Approximately one in four people have a sleep-related disorder that significantly decreases their quality of life, increases their chance of stroke or heart attack, or makes them more likely to have an accident. That’s more than 81 million people in the United States. Neurodiagnostic and sleep science technologists record and study the electrical activity of the brain, peripheral nerves, and spinal cord; the function of the respiratory system; and the function of the cardiovascular system in order to help physicians diagnose and treat sleep disorders. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers the only bachelor’s degree in neurodiagnostics and sleep science in the world.

3. Therapeutic Horsemanship. The Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at St. Andrews University (Laurinburg, NC) is the first of its kind in the United States. Students who complete the program earn a bachelor of arts in therapeutic horsemanship, a degree that graduates can use to pursue a variety of equine-related career paths, including PATH International centers that “help children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse.” “The program is multidisciplinary in nature,” explained Pebbles Turbeville, an associate professor of equine studies and the director of the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at the University, in an interview for my book They Teach That in College!?: A Resource Guide to More Than 100 Interesting College Majors. “Students take classes in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and exercise physiology to understand the human body; psychology and development to understand the human mind and development process; equine classes to understand how to manage and understand horses; and therapeutic horsemanship classes to understand the industry and how to teach.”


4. Toy Design. If you’re like me (a parent of a young child), your house is filled with toys of all types and sizes—from classic Legos to Magna-Tiles to video games. When I’m not tripping over them, I’m marveling at the creativity and ingenuity involved in the art of making an interesting toy that keeps a child’s attention for more than a couple of minutes. There are nearly 74 million children in North America, and annual toy sales exceed $22 billion ($84 billion worldwide). These stats suggest that job opportunities for toy designers should be good during the next decade. Only two colleges offer degrees in toy design: the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.


These and 96 other college majors are covered in detail in my book They Teach That in College!?: A Resource Guide to More Than 100 Interesting College Majors. Click here to read the Introduction, Table of Contents, and a sample chapter, as well as purchase a copy. My book has received some great reviews. Here are a few recent ones:

Library Bookwatch
“They Teach That in College!? showcases more than 100 intriguing, unorthodox, and lesser-known college majors, such as Culinology, Expeditionary Studies, Music Therapy, Renewable Energy, and Zoo Science. Each major is spotlighted with an overview, contact information of colleges and universities that offer these majors, lists of typical classes and employers, and more. Over 60 interviews with college professors round out this exceptional and inspirational guide for surveying the possibilities of one’s future. They Teach That in College!? deserves to be in every high school and public library collection.”

Voice of Youth Advocates
They Teach That in College?! was selected as A Perfect Ten by the library journal Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA). The book, along with 10 other winners, was chosen from a total of 1,223 books reviewed by VOYA as earning the highest ratings for literary quality and teen appeal.

School Library Journal/Curriculum Connections
“They Teach That in College!? was included in a short list of recommended books in an article titled “Life (and Learning) After High School: Exploring the Options.”

Nationally Syndicated Career Columnist Touted Our Book in a Q&A Column in the Chicago Tribune
Q. DEAR JOYCE: As a college student, I don’t know what major to choose. Help? — D.D.
A. “You’re not the lone ranger on that question. An update of a book addresses it well: They Teach That in College!?: A Resource Guide to More Than 100 Interesting College Majors, by Andrew Morkes (third edition, College & Career Press). According to the publisher, the latest edition features nearly 40 new majors plus 62 new interviews with college professors. New majors include alternative fuels, commercial space operations, computational finance, film scoring, human-centered design and engineering, mechatronics systems engineering, and social media.”

Copyright (text) Andrew Morkes/College & Career Press

Photo 1 courtesy of St. Andrews University
Photo 2 courtesy of University of North Carolina at Charlotte/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Photo 3 courtesy of PhotosToGo

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