At Humber College in Toronto, majoring in comedy is no laughing matter. Students in the school’s comedy writing and performance program learn improvisational skills as well as writing and practicing in a number of comedy styles, including stand-up, physical shtick and skit comedy. Humber comedy professors are award-winning professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to the craft, and graduates of the program work on stage and at major television networks like Comedy Central. Of course, if you don’t have the guts for a career in stand-up, the degree is also useful in related professions like advertising and public relations.
4 Pop Culture
Bowling Green State University defines “popular culture” as “the expressive practices of everyday life”—including television, video games and the Internet—and offers students the opportunity to study the impact these expressions have on cultural and individual identity and societal norms. While several universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in popular culture or similar disciplines, BGSU is the only U.S. school to offer a master’s degree. If you think you could write a scholarly thesis on cultural homogenization and One Direction or the Kardashians’ challenge to cultural values, this program might be for you.
In 1965, Frank W. Ballard established a puppetry curriculum in the dramatic arts department of the University of Connecticut. The program remains one of the few of its type in the world, offering B.F.A., M.A. and M.F.A. degrees. Students learn all aspects of puppetry, including how to construct and operate their own puppets, as well as set design and script writing. UConn puppetry graduates have had their hands in nearly every major production involving puppets since the prestigious program’s inception, including long-running and award-winning Broadway plays like “Avenue Q” and “The Lion King.”
It sounds like the punch line of a fraternity joke, but at Appalachian State University, undergraduate students can indeed pursue a B.S. in beer. The school’s fermentation sciences program provides students with strong science backgrounds and an interest in business the skills they need to manage a brewery or winery or even start their own. The inter-disciplinary program teaches not only the basics of agriculture, microbiology and chemistry necessary to successfully brew your own beer, but also the entrepreneurship and marketing skills to sell it. Of the program’s core courses, “Sensory Analysis of Wine and Beer” sounds like it’s probably the most popular.
1 The Beatles
While there are plenty of schools offering varied degrees and coursework in the discipline of musicology, Liverpool Hope University offers the world’s only master’s degree in The Beatles—”The Beatles, Popular Music and Society” to be precise. The program is designed around four course modules covering general studies in popular music, Liverpool history, critical approaches to the band’s cultural impact and the musicology of the Fab Four themselves. In 2009, Canadian beauty queen Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy became the program’s first graduate.