13 “Unusual” Master’s Degrees
The first Master’s degrees were awarded as early as the 12th century and were probably based on degrees given by Emperor Justinian to students at his academies in Rome and Constantinople in the 6th century.
The original three: The European universities of Bologna, Paris, and Oxford, were the first institutions to offer Master’s degrees in fields such as the arts, law, medicine and theology. At that time, a Maste’’s degree from one university would not necessarily be recognized at another.
688,000: Number of master’s degrees awarded each year by U.S. colleges and universities.
Here are the most popular master’s degrees by gender:
Most Popular Master’s Degrees for Men:
1. Business Administration and Management 22.3%
2. Electrical, Electronics & Communication Engineering 2.8%
3. Education Leadership & Administration 2.7%
4. Business/Commerce 2.5%
5. Education 2.2%
6. Accounting 2.0%
7. Public Administration 1.6%
8. Computer Science 1.5%
9. Mechanical Engineering 1.5%
10. Computer & Information Sciences 1.4%
Most Popular Master’s Degree for Women
1. Business Administration 11.4%
2. Education 5.1%
3. Social Work 4.2%
4. Elementary Education 3.8%
5. Curriculum and Instruction 3.6%
6. Educational Leadership & Administration 3.3%
7. Special Education 3.0%
8. Counselor Education/School Counseling 2.6%
9. Nursing/Registered Nurse 2.1%
10. Reading Teacher Education 2.0%
But not everyone is interested in earning the “most popular” degrees.
1.Master of Science in taxation
Golden Gate University, with campuses in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Golden Gate University has the largest and one of the most respected graduate tax programs in the country, stressing real-world education and practical application of concepts and practices.
GPA requirement: You can be accepted if you earned a 3.0 GPA in any undergraduate degree program.
Specializing in: Focus your success with the specialized knowledge of a tax professional
- Master of Science in Taxation
- Master of Science Financial Planning and Taxation
- Certificate in Taxation
- Certificate in Advanced Studies in Taxation
- Certificate in Estate Planning
- Certificate in International Taxation
- Certificate in State and Local Taxation
Tuition: based on the total course cost for a 3-unit course: $2,775 per 3-unit course. The total cost would also include room and board, books and personal needs.
2. MFA in Puppetry Arts
U. of Connecticut at Storrs
Who says you have to leave your puppets in a childhood box locked away in the attic? Not the University of Connecticut, which offers an MFA in puppetry arts, where you can take courses ranging from trends in contemporary American puppet theatre to advanced hand puppet theatre.
Where: Earn the degree at the school’s Department of Dramatic Arts, in Storrs, Conn.
How: Call for application and audition dates.
Tuition: $5,112 per semester for Conn. residents, if registering for nine or more credits. Out of state students pay tuition of $13,266 per semester for nine or more credits.
3. Master of Arts in Thanatology
Hood College, Frederick, Maryland
While the word isn’t common, it studies the most common thing in the world: death. This master’s degree, offered by Hood College, , prepares students to work with the terminally ill and to be death educators. The program is 39 credits and includes classes such as THAN 523 (dying and principles of care for the dying) and PSY 501 (theories of personality). Common places of employment after graduation include hospitals and nursing homes.
GPA requirement: The applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average and meet specified program requirements in a discipline of study.
Tuition: $360 per credit hour
For more information, go to www.hood.edu
4. Master of Science in Grain Science
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Wonder how cereal is made? Study grain science at Kansas State University, and you’ll never have to wonder again. Courses in this program include cereal science, bakery layout, management applications in the grain processing industries and pet food processing.
How to enroll: The Departmental Graduate Program Committee has established the following course requirements for admission to its Masters and Doctorate programs.
- Mathematics, including College Algebra, Calculus and Statistics
- Chemistry, including Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry
- Biological Sciences
GPA requirement: Applicants must have a 4-year undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Kansas resident: $6,829 a year
Out-of-state: $18,122 a year
5. Master of Arts in Folklore
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
If you want to establish your bona fides as a folklorist, this master’s program at the University of California at Berkeley will fit the bill. The description for a course on the role of monsters (zombies, cannibals, etc.) in folklore contains the following, “This course seeks to investigate our endless fascination with, attraction to, and revulsion at awesome spectacles - displays of the marvelous and the monstrous.”
GPA requirement: The minimum graduate admission requirements include a GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 and enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
Tuition: $7669 (residents), $15,220 (non-residents)
6.Master of Gaming and Casino Management
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa.
Several schools offer degrees in hospitality management but there aren’t many master’s programs, and fewer still that offer the gaming and casino specialization. Gaming is actually a rapidly growing industry in the U.S. but the number of real facilities still numbers in the hundreds.
GPA requirement: Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last two years of undergraduate work. Graduate work should have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Tuition: The rate for the academic year 2013-14 is $1,085 per credit. This program consists of 45 credits (15 courses).
7.Masters in Plant Science - Turfgrass Management
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I.
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
This degree provides the educational underpinning for professional sports field managers, golf course managers, and managers in many other commercial horticultural ventures. The professionals in this business make football and baseball stadiums useable during and after horrendous weather interludes. URI and Ohio State University both offer masters degrees with specialization in turfgrass management.
GPA requirement: URI: To be accepted into a degree program, applicants must have maintained an average of approximately B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better in their undergraduate work.
Ohio State: minimum undergraduate GPA is a 3.0.
Tuition : URI: Rhode Island residents, $12,4350; out of state, $28,016; New England regional, $20,610. Ohio State, $12,200 for Ohio resident; $29,512 for out of state resident.
8.Masters in Range Management
University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
The care and feeding of agricultural land has extended to grazing land for years, but only after millions of acres of arid pastureland in the West and Southwest was left barren by overgrazing. Today the University of Idaho is one of several schools in agricultural states that have rangeland management degrees.
GPA requirement: All Graduate School applicants must possess a Bachelor degree and have a minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 grade scale.
Tuition: 7586, Idaho residents; $20,662, nonresidents.
9.Masters in Global Apologetics
Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.
From the catalog: “the…program provides students with in-depth study on the doctrines, views and lives of people from the 12 major world religions. Through this program, students will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to personalize the Christian message for effectively and passionately reaching our increasingly diverse world with the gospel.” Liberty University was founded by Jerry Farwell.
GPA requirements: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale)
Tuition: Seminary Master’s tuition: $330 per credit hour. Tuition for seminary students enrolled in nine to fifteen credit hours may qualify for the Seminary Tuition Cap ($2,200 for 2013-2014).
10.Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) - Blacksmithing:
University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.
There are dozens of crafts centers and art academies that teach basics of metalsmithing. There is only one established university in the country, however, with a Masters in Blacksmithing. The program was founded in 1968; since then it has grown in breadth to include the complexities of fine metalwork and craftsmanship.
GPA requirements: 2.7 (on a 4.0 grading scale) on approximately the last two years of your Bachelor’s degree.
Tuition: $11,820, resident; $29,950, non-resident.
12.Masters in Meat Science:
Iowa State, Ames, Iowa (note: several other universities in the livestock states offer this degree, including Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Colorado State)
Meat science only becomes a science when the hormones enter the food chain, the preservatives are injected into the packaging process and the e coli bacteria appear in the processing plants.
Tuition: $8,880, resident; $21,190, non-resident.
13.Masters in Depth Psychology
The Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, Ca.
This degree is offered with three areas of specialization. The program begins with some baseline education on Jungian and archetypal studies and launches from there, “…To study community and ecopsychology in the light of liberation psychology… innovative group approaches [include] council/circle, appreciative inquiry, theater of the oppressed…community dream work, liberation arts, restorative justice, [and] somatic approaches to trauma healing.”
GPA requirement: No mention of GPA. But applicants must have a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from an accredited or state-approved institution of higher learning. Applicants must also demonstrate aptitude in the following areas: a background in psychology through formal coursework or personal study and experience; a background in interdisciplinary studies, such as the humanities, sciences, and social sciences; a demonstrated interest and ability in scholarly research; and a familiarity with the perspectives of depth psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, and archetypal psychology.
Bonus (non USA): MA in The Beatles, popular music and society
Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, England
No list of unusual college degrees is complete without this degree offered by Liverpool Hope University. It might not be on your home turf, but they grant you a master’s for studying The Beatles, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The program examines the significance of the band’s music and, according to the school’s website, “by doing so it will suggest ways to understand popular music as a social practice, focusing attention on issues such as the role of music in the construction of regional identities, concepts of authenticity, aesthetics, meaning, value, performance and the use of popular music as a discursive evocation of place.” It’s a one-year program if done full-time and two years if done part-time.
Admission requirement: American applicants should have qualifications equivalent to either a first class honors degree from a UK University, or a second class honors degree and a Master’s degree with Merit or Distinction from a UK University.
Tuition: 4,800 U.K. pounds or $7,387 (as of June 6)
All of these non-traditional graduate degrees can lead to promising careers.
Celebrities with not-so-traditional Master’s Degrees
1. Peter Weller:
Peter Weller’s best known for RoboCop and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension also got a master’s degree in Roman and Renaissance Art from Syracuse University, in 2004.
2. David Duchovny:
Before “Californication,” “The X-Files,” and “Twin Peaks,” David Duchovny earned his master’s in English lit from Yale.
3. Dolph Lundgren:
Graduated from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology before heading to Australia and picking up a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney.
4. Kristen Chenoweth:
Kristen is a classically trained opera singer who has a master’s in opera performance from Oklahoma City University.
5. Sigourney Weaver:
Although she would later be immortalized in the Alien franchise Sigourney Weaver started her professional life with a graduate degree. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University’s School of Drama.
6. Ron Silver:
Ron has had a long and varied career on TV and in film, and he was also a prominent political spokesman before succumbing to esophageal cancer in March 2009. He studied Spanish and Chinese at SUNY at Buffalo, and went on to get a master’s in Chinese history at St. John’s University.
7. Hill Harper:
The skilled CSI: NY actor holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University.
Overall source for the list: http://master-degree-online.com/10-most-unusual-graduate-degrees/