Interested in an “outside the box” graduate degree? One that stimulates you rather than bores you? Did you know that you can get a master’s in Puppet Arts? Wood Science? Or, maybe Comedy Filmmaking would tickle your fancy. There are many unique grad degrees available and we’ve named 15 of our favorites! Some are even offered online!
Whether one is nearing the end of their degree or wants to explore other career options, completing a graduate program can give them an edge in an ever-competitive world.
Attaining a higher education degree is now considered more of an investment than an achievement. While an undergraduate degree can serve as a good foundation for a future career, acquiring a graduate degree can usher in better benefits.
For those who want to try the alternative track, these unique grad degrees will certainly catch your attention.
Unique Grad Degrees That Will Prepare You for an Interesting Career
Master of Science in Pain Medicine
University of Southern California
Practicing health professionals who want to explore a more niche field beyond their typical career paths can consider earning a Master of Science (MS) in Pain Medicine. Whether they are dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, or physicians, this unique field will suit their knowledge and expertise. Delivered by the University of Southern California online, this graduate degree contains 27 courses and equivalent to 33 academic units. It is specially made for practicing professionals who seek to develop their skills and gain relevant experience in dealing with patients who have complex pain conditions.
They can expect to learn about the diagnosis and pathobiology and the best way to manage different pain conditions. Pain Medicine is a niche field that requires advanced clinical, didactic, and evidence-based education and training. This degree program is fully available online.
A few of the top courses covered in this program are:
· Multidimensional nature of pain
· Clinical conditions
· Management of pain
· Pain Assessment and measurement
Master of Science in Digital Mapping
University of Kentucky
Today’s world is increasingly governed by complex geographic and spatial data. This aspect is often dominated by specialists who are knowledgeable in manipulating these data and create a visual representation out of them. Those who want to pursue a master’s in digital mapping can expect an in-depth look into remote sensing and learning the ins and out of GIS applications concerning emergency and disaster response, commercial agriculture, and more.
The Master of Science (MS) in Digital Mapping at the University of Kentucky is offered at four different times of the year. It is composed of 10-week intensive semesters. The program is most suitable for working professionals who seek advancement in their careers. They will be able to gain valuable technical geospatial skills favored by employers. The courses include Programming for Web Mapping, Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization, Collaborative Geovisualization, and Social Impacts of New Mapping.
Master of Science in Packaging Science
Rochester of Institute Technology
As consumerism takes hold of most people’s daily life, one cannot deny how important packaging is. Apart from durability and functionality, packaging that is visually stunning and environmentally friendly is a must. From the Rochester of Institute Technology comes a master’s degree in Packaging Science. This program is designed to help packaging professionals gain expertise in the packaging development process, including research, design, and application. From selecting raw materials to designing and creating functional packaging, this degree has everything.
The Packaging Science curriculum is a blend of theoretical and application-based learning. It covers packaging design, product marketing, package testing, quality control, and project management. Students complete the required core courses and electives and choose between the capstone project, thesis, or comprehensive exam. This program can launch one’s career in the packaging industry, earning titles such as packaging scientist, packaging designer, and packaging project management engineer. It has a total of 36 semester credit hours.
Master of Science in Foresight
University of Houston
Considered an emerging field, Foresight graduates are expected to help clients and employers anticipate significant changes in the future and how to shape those changes in achieving long-term goals. The Master of Science in Foresight offered by the University of Houston requires students to render 30 graduate hours. In this program, they are taught to address the primary challenges faced by strategists, including dealing with strategic assumptions, putting the strategy into action, and identifying discontinuous change.
The program emphasizes forecasting and planning change, both for discontinuous and transformational ones. A thorough analysis of the changes in external environments makes this possible. They will also need to use a wide range of theoretical and practical models that will enable them to map a probable and plausible future that they prefer. The program can be finished online in as fast as a year for full-time students and three to five years for those who will take the courses part-time. A few of the required courses they can expect to take include Advanced Strategies for Futures Planning, Systems Thinking, Social Change, and Futures Research.
Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy
Boston University Metropolitan College
Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers a unique and multidisciplinary program in Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy. Graduates of MLA in Gastronomy can attain careers in policy, academia, enterprise, and media.
In this degree program, students will examine the different roles of food in historical and contemporary societies. They will participate in experiential learning in culinary arts laboratories, wine studies, lab activities, and a core curriculum deeply rooted in liberal arts. While they are at it, they can expect to hone their critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills to tackle the complex food issues in the present. On top of these, they will also gain a better understanding of food in various contexts, including the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. They also have an option to choose among four focus areas: business and entrepreneurship, communication, food policy, and history and culture.
Master’s in Wood Science
Oregon State University
Wood Science is a dynamic, diverse, and highly collaborative field. From Oregon State University graduate degree program aimed at students who want to start a career in industry, higher education, government, and nonprofits. This program allows students to study the basic aspects of wood science and the latter’s role in the global framework of the forest sector. While it is rooted in Oregon’s local geography, this graduate degree’s research aspect is globally relevant.
Students’ learning is not confined inside the classroom. They have a lot of opportunities to collaborate and partner with industry members, both local and international. There are also openings for study abroad, graduate assistantships, and other hands-on learning experiences. While research for these programs has a wide scope, the majority of them are within the following areas: advanced manufacturing; art, architecture, and design; competitive forest sector; forest-based bioproducts; novel composite materials; resource extension and optimization; timber mechanics and structural engineering; and wood identification and characterization.
Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology
University of California Davis
Studying grapevines is interesting, especially when one goes deep into genetics, physiology, and biochemistry. Students of the University of California can do this with its offer of Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology. Not only do they focus on grapevines. Students can also learn all about the chemistry, microbiology, and sensory science of wines and the study of chemical engineering of winemaking. This program is the best course if one wants to make it big in the wine industry.
Some of the courses students can expect in this program include Analysis of Musts and Wines, Sensory Evaluation of Wine Laboratory, Wine Stability, Viticultural Practices, Wine Microbiology, and Wine Production Laboratory.
Master of Arts in Folklore and Public Culture
University of Oregon
Considered as one of the major centers of folkloristic research in the country, the Master of Arts in Folklore and Public Culture offers a disciplinary approach to a master’s degree. Students are free to create their focused course of study in the area of their interest. Students study the ways tradition enriches human behavior through theoretical analysis, research methods, and fieldwork techniques. They are also taught how to examine the different dimensions of expressive forms from the historical, cultural, social, and psychological perspectives. This includes legend, folktale, art, ritual, ceremony, mythology, and food.
Through this program, students gain a new standpoint on the identities of individuals within their specific communities. This MA program can be completed in a little more than two years.
Master of Science in Ceramic Engineering
A blend of theory and applied studies, the Master of Science in Ceramic Engineering offered by Alfred University is an ideal choice for students who want to start a career in the ceramics industry. This program will provide them with relevant and practical hands-on experience that will help them solve real-world problems in ceramics. They will also get the chance to work with and be mentored by industry partners.
The program can be completed in 16 months of full-time study. Ideally, applicants must be graduates of a 4-year bachelor of science degree from an accredited engineering program. Graduates of this program can enjoy various careers in the ceramic industry, including applied research, development, plant operations, and technical management.
Graduate Program in Acoustics
Pennsylvania State University
A field of engineering that deals with sound and vibration, acoustical engineering can help one gain a lucrative career that will earn a starting salary of $50,000 for entry-level positions. This unique discipline may be focused on acoustics, but it also touches on a wide range of disciplines, including architectural acoustics, biomedical ultrasound, transducer design, noise and vibration control, and many more.
The Pennsylvania State University offers a graduate program in Acoustics that is fully available online and can be completed within one year. Some of the courses on offer include physical acoustics, underwater acoustics, signal processing, vibrations, wave propagation, and thermos-acoustics, among many others.
Master of Science in Thanatology
In a distinctive field, Thanatology deals with the support of individuals and families dealing with loss, grief, and bereavement. This profession requires loads of compassion, empathy, and deep knowledge of death’s impact in various aspects, including psychological, spiritual, social, and cultural. Marian University allows students to gain a more in-depth learning and understanding of this field by offering the Master of Science in Thanatology.
In this program, they are expected to learn the ways of addressing grief and loss for different populations, including children, parents, military, and veterans. They emphasize delivering care for those who confront end-of-life healthcare bereavement issues, suicide, and many more. Graduates work in various settings, from churches and funeral homes to hospitals and nonprofit organizations.
Master of Arts in Puppet Arts
University of Connecticut
Often considered a crossroad of various disciplines, Puppet Art encompasses arts, humanities, and sciences. The University of Connecticut offers the Master of Arts in Puppet Arts, attracting undergraduate students in music, Acting, Graphic Arts, English Literature, and Political Science, among others. It is a suitable graduate program choice for those whose interests lie in performing arts, drama, and theater.
Students can expect the following courses in this degree program: Trends in Contemporary American Puppet Theater, Advanced Rod Puppet Theater, Studies in Theater History, Design, Scriptwriting, Construction, and Direction.
Master of Science in Herbal Medicine
American College of Healthcare Sciences
The American College of Healthcare Sciences features a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine. This program is designed for those who want to gain a practical and theoretical understanding of clinical herbalism. They will be taught how to apply this knowledge to educate clients and consumers about the best approach to health and wellness, whether for the mind, body, or spirit. This area is one of the fastest-growing in the field of healthcare. Herbal medicines are allowed in allergy management, pain management for military service, and a holistic approach to anxiety and depression.
Graduates of this program are expected to apply their critical thinking skills in influencing other people’s commitment to wellness by implementing safe and effective herbal medicine protocols. The required courses that they need to take include Advanced Herbal Materia Medica, Anatomy and Physiology, Integrative Pathophysiology, and Botany and Plant Identification for the Holistic Practitioner, among many others.
Master of Fine Art in Jewelry + Metalsmithing
Rhode Island School of Design
One of the Rhode Island School of Design offerings is the Master of Fine Art in Jewelry + Metalsmithing. This program has a primary focus on rigorous research, material experimentation, and creative practice. Through this graduate degree, students will understand that the contemporary movements in jewelry are influenced by the history of adornment. They will be aware of the value of materials, authorship, audience, and identity. This program will also help them put their concepts into words and demonstrate their creative development process with a strong portfolio.
Some of the program requirements include completing courses like Graduate Jewelry I and Graduate Jewelry II. They are also required to complete a seminar on graduate jewelry and a jewelry + metalsmithing thesis.
Comedy Filmmaking Graduate Program
The Cinematic Arts School at DePaul University offers a Master of Arts in Screenwriting with a concentration in Comedy Filmmaking for students who want to develop their comedy voice. They will also learn how to hone original material through a methodology perfected over decades. At the end of the program, they are expected to create a rich portfolio of original scripts and films to give them a solid foundation once they enter their chosen industry. This program is in collaboration with The Second City, an improvisational comedy enterprise.
The concentration offers a variety of interesting courses. This includes Evolution of Comedy, Foundations of Screenwriting, Advanced Comedic Storytelling, Writing the Sitcom, Writing for Film Thesis Development, and Comedy, Joke, and Sketch Writing, among many others.
In the United States, the estimated number of male and female students who earned a master’s degree in 2020 are 327,000 and 505,000, respectively. It is worth noting that graduate programs are competitive.
Not only do they provide a better head start to one’s career, but graduate degrees also serve as training grounds that impart knowledge and experience beyond what entry-level positions can offer.
They are students’ best bet if they seek to acquire technical skills and mentoring that they would not otherwise get as a mere employee. In a way, graduate programs build their character and prepare them for far bigger challenges in the workplace, particularly in society.
With a graduate degree, it will be easier for job seekers to gain a higher position in the company, allowing them to climb through the ranks faster. They do not have to worry about being pigeonholed into one role within their organization. Instead, they can expect to be honed into future leaders who are given the necessary training, mentoring, and opportunities that their educational qualifications and experience deserve.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has designated more than a hundred occupations that typically require a graduate degree. A few of the most in-demand career fields that often ask for a graduate degree as qualifications include:
- community and social service,
- postsecondary teaching,
- legal education,
- and medical, dental, and nursing, among many others.
While these mainstream graduate degrees give students plenty of chances to build a lucrative career, there are instances when a typical career is not just that attractive. Many prefer to take a different route by exploring a career that is out of the ordinary.
For these people, the motivation is not always the idea of earning better and gaining recognition but the thrill of being in a unique field that offers exciting experiences they would otherwise miss out on in conventional career paths.