As the New Year settles in and thoughts turn to new beginnings, it’s worth remembering those who will begin a career having completed some of the strangest degrees around.
The below might read like a goofy guide to the UK, Scotland and Ireland’s most obscure degree courses, but it’s worth giving their savvy graduates some credit. Equipped with a niche skill in something they are passionate about, alumni of these courses are paving their way into long-term employability and job satisfaction.
As billionaire, finance expert and author Jason Butler puts it: “By improving your skills and getting a new angle on your sector, you equip yourself to earn far more in the future”. So let’s discover the weirdest courses in the world today.
Undertaking a BA Hons Artist Blacksmithing might attract a few puzzled glances, but this course challenges the norms of forge work by springing the traditional craft into the modern world of sculpture, architecture and interior design. The course is held at Hereford College.
An interview in The Independent with Yorkshire-based blacksmith Don Barker reveals how he’s taken commissions for stainless steel park gates, an art nouveau staircase which he designed himself and vast cathedral doors using five tons of bronze. Hot stuff!
Students at Birmingham City University can now devote their time to learning about, err, time, via its Horology Degree.
Combining both the art and science of time measurement, the course uses timepieces of both traditional craftsmanship and the latest technology. Restoration skills learnt on the course are in high demand within the industry and partnerships with luxury goods brands like Cartier enhance the employability of its graduates. All students find work within weeks of graduating.
Pull my strings
With this one, you may think we’re pulling your leg – or perhaps that should be strings? Puppetry at the University of London has impressive alumni with students going on to work on productions such as The National Theatre’s War Horse and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials through to New York productions of Madam Butterfly.
Cornwall College in Newquay is the only place in Europe where you can study for a degree in Surf Science. This course teaches all aspects of the surfing industry from marine conservation through to design and production business law.
An impressive nine out of ten learners go into the career of their choice after graduating, with 20% of leavers earning managerial posts within six months.
A degree in Ethical Hacking might sound like an oxymoron, but this course at the University of Abertay helps students prepare for careers as security testers – something that’s sought after. Students are equipped with skills in understanding the mechanics behind hacking attacks, and learn to develop appropriate countermeasures. It’s little wonder 88% of students are in employment weeks after graduating. And yes – they do learn to hack computer systems.
Although some undergraduates may feel they’re already fully qualified in beer studies, there’s far more to this biology-based path than lifting the perfect pint. Students at Harriet Watts University work in the brewing and distilling industries and learn what’s needed to become managers in their trade. 90% of students find work upon graduating.
And a few more…
The unique and competitive course in Viking Studies at University College London includes medieval and modern Scandinavian languages, Old Norse literature, and medieval history. And how about a course in horse psychology (Equestrian Psychology and Sports Science), which claims to reflect the industry's growing need for a better understanding of equine behavior.
Finally, why play a round of golf when you can take a whole degree in the sport? More accurately, a degree in golf management in partnership with The Professional Golfers' Association gives students the chance of combining a high-level applied theoretical degree with membership of the PGA. Entry requirements are AAB-ABB at A level – the same as one of Birmingham’s Maths undergraduate courses.
Beena Nadeem writes for Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.