Plenty of people go to graduate school to pursue a deeper education in business, science, law and other disciplines. Others prefer to take an alternative route, going after something different. If you want to explore an outside-the-box option, or are simply interested in gaining further insight into a niche field, you might consider one of these unique master's degrees:
1. Master of Arts in Folklore
The University of California, Berkeley offers this graduate degree through its anthropology program. According to UC Berkeley's anthropology department site, this advanced degree "focuses on the relationship between traditionality and modernity in contemporary research and social life, the historical emergence of traditional cultural forms and the importance of tradition in shaping political and social projects."
The graduate degree in folklore involves a minimum of 20 units. The exact breakdown of requirements is somewhat flexible, but it's required that students complete three four-unit graduate-level courses and an MA thesis based on specific fieldwork or research. Some of the specific courses students can take in this graduate course of study, per UC Berkeley's folklore program site, include:
2. Master's in Christian Apologetics
Liberty University's 100% online Christian ministry program may be the right choice for individuals looking to expand their understanding of philosophy, history and Scripture as a means of defending the truth-claims of Christianity. If you are interested in becoming a minister, or working for the church in other ways, you can benefit from an in-depth study in Christian apologetics.
When you pursue this degree, you have the choice between a thesis track and non-thesis program. According to Liberty University, some of the courses you can take when you pursue a Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics include:
3. Master of Fine Arts in Metalsmithing
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale offers an MFA program in which individuals can gain further experience and technical skills in the craft of metalwork. In a combination of classroom and hands-on, practical courses, students can acquaint themselves with traditional and modern approaches to metalsmithing, using both iron and precious metals. This master's degree is made up of 60 credit hours, which are broken up as follows:
4. Master's in Grain Science
The Department of Grain Science & Industry at Kansas State University offers both M.S. and Ph.D. programs in this specialty. Unlike the other programs on this list, this master's degree allows students to tailor their exact course study to their individual interests in the field. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits, six to eight of which consist of research credits that contribute to their thesis. When customizing their path of study, Master's in Grain Science students must run their preferred courses by a faculty member in the department.
This graduate path of study is a great step for individuals who want to pursue careers in the food industries, specifically in feed science, milling management and bakery science.
5. Master of Science in Meat Science
A few universities offer this graduate path, but the one at Iowa State University is worth mentioning, as this school offers both M.S. and Ph.D. programs. The M.S. in Meat Science involves in-depth research on fresh meat quality, animal physiology, muscle biochemistry (both pre- and post-mortem), meat processing techniques and preservation concepts. During their time at Iowa State, graduate students have plenty of opportunities to work with established individuals operating in the meat industry through internships and networking sessions.
According to Iowa State's program site, the specific degree requirements are broken down as follows:
If you'd like to find out more about these programs or you're interested in finding your own distinct graduate path of study, check out our comprehensive breakdown of graduate schools and their programs.