15 Most EXTREME College Majors

Students who want to get the absolute most out of the major, should peruse this list of the 15 most EXTREME college majors to find some programs that are physically and mentally intensive. “Extreme” in this case applies to work load, mental fortitude, physical endurance, focus, discipline, and/or a desire to travel, and in some cases, social taboo. This list is meant to introduce curious students to academic areas that they might not have considered (or even knew existed!). Individuals with an adventurous spirit and hard workers should highly consider majoring in one of these 15 extreme college majors.

The criteria of this list was compiled according to lists of the strangest college majors, most exciting college majors, and most rewarding college majors. We chose the majors according to the relative difficulty of the program, strangeness of the major, and physical and mental challenge.


The Major:
Students who are interested in both challenging outdoor experiences and the inner-workings of the human mind and emotions, should consider a degree in Adventure or Wilderness Therapy. This major combines therapeutic and counseling skills with challenging experiences in nature to promote wellness, build communities, and establish healthy relationships between people and their environment. Students will also develop discipline and self-knowledge through therapy and contemplative practice, preparing themselves to help others transform through the beauty and personal challenges encountered in nature.

Examples of Adventure Therapy Courses:

  • Technical Winter Mountaineering
  • Adventure Leadership and Programming
  • Abnormal Psychology

At this small, environmentally focused college in Unity, Maine, the adventure therapy major focuses on cultivating well-rounded, entry-level mental health professionals who are able to work competently in the field as well as develop a solid foundation of understanding related to treatment programs, fundamental clinical skills, counseling theory, and evidence-based practices beneficial to future graduate level studies. Students will take coursework in psychology and human development as well as canoeing, mountaineering, sea kayaking, and much more!

Students should continue their Adventure Therapy degree with a Master of Arts degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Wilderness Therapy Concentration from Naropa University, a small liberal arts school located in Boulder, Colorado, named after an eleventh-century Buddhist monk. This intensely experiential degree program gives students ten weeks direct experience in the wilderness, 700 hours internship experience in an outdoor therapy/educational setting, a four-day/three-night fast/vision quest while soloing in the backcountry, and integrates the necessary theoretical and clinical course work for licensure, contemplative practice, wilderness skills training, meditation skills, and ways to use such training therapeutically, the MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology empowers students to practice psychotherapy in the wild places of the mind and nature.

Career Opportunities:

  • Field instructor
  • Behavioral health professional
  • Direct care staff
  • Outdoor behavioral healthcare specialist
  • Adventure specialist
  • Youth counselor
  • Wilderness therapy guide


The Major:
Adventure education students develop skills to evoke personal change in future participants and clientele. To employ the tools of adventure, students graduate with the human, outdoor and educational skills required to make immediate professional contributions in a quickly growing industry. This major will develop visionary outdoor educational leaders who are prepared to be agents of change in the world, whether in a wilderness context or a context where these transferable skills are implemented. Through an innovative, intensive, and experiential curriculum, you’ll learn the technical, teaching, and management skills necessary to help others appreciate, respect, and enjoy the natural environment.

Examples of Adventure Education Courses:

  • Social and Psychological Dimensions of Leisure
  • Human Dimensions of Leadership
  • Essentials of International Mountaineering

At this gorgeous liberal arts college in Ithaca, New York, this program emphasizes outdoor program administration, problem solving, leadership, wilderness literacy, and recreational land use. In the spring semester of junior year, students head to the Pacific Northwest to participate in the immersion semester program. While exploring the coast and islands by kayak, studying and hiking in Washington’s North Cascades, and rafting the rivers of the west, you’ll get a firsthand look at expedition planning and risk management, examine environmental ethics and land management issues, and develop leadership, judgment, and decision-making abilities in a wilderness environment.

This very small, environmental college in Poultney, Vermont is intently focused on experiential education and educating its students with a strong understanding of the environment. The adventure education program at GNC is consistently adapting to current trends. Students learn thorough communication skills while designing and implementing safe yet challenging adventure experiences for others. Sophomores participate in the 50+ day Immersion Semester, in which they learn and practice the outdoor, human, and educational skills required of adventure and outdoor educators, while on an intensive expedition through the wilderness. Juniors complete The May Course, which involves the design of their own outdoor challenge, which is then evaluated by professional guides and instructors who ensure safety and provide feedback on leadership, efficacy of the experience, and communication. Seniors complete a 400-hour internship at an outdoor program facility.

Career Opportunities:

  • Outdoor leadership
  • Outdoor specialization areas
  • Ecotourism
  • Outdoor education
  • Camp management
  • Natural resource management
  • Environmental interpretation
  • Youth-at-risk programs
  • Adventure education
  • Travel industry


The Major:
Those who major in Aerospace Engineering apply knowledge from many fields of science and mathematics to the design of aircrafts, spacecrafts, missiles, and satellites. Students then go on to intern and work at institutions such as NASA or in national defense. While many engineering fields may fix an individual in a specific field, aerospace engineering utilizes skills from areas such as computer science and the design and construction of engines. Students in this field must be dedicated, focused, and prepared to take on a very hefty course load, but the reward is great, allowing students to get closer and closer to the final frontier, sending their vessels and satellites of their own design into orbit!

Examples of Aerospace Engineering Courses:

  • Thermodynamics and Fluids Fundamentals
  • Rotor and Propeller Theory
  • Aerospace Vehicle Performance

The Aero/Astro Space and Systems Development Lab provides education and research in space system design, technology, and operation. Students gets hands-on experience in developing micro-satellites that are launched into orbit and controlled at Stanford. Stanford was one of the leaders in the development of CubeSats, a modular satellite payload system that allows researchers at universities around the world to design experiments that can be launched into space relatively easily. Work continues on the application of systems engineering to the life-cycle of spacecraft including design, testing, launching, and operation of subsystems.

Our undergraduates gain a fundamental understanding of aerodynamics, structures, vehicle dynamics and control, propulsion, and interdisciplinary design and are well prepared for careers in aerospace and related engineering fields. They are well-trained to function as professionals who can formulate, analyze and solve problems that may include economic, social and environmental constraints. And, finally, they are prepared to communicate well, function well in the global environment and in teams, and contribute substantially by doing research, developing, and implementing future systems and applications.

Career Opportunities:

  • Pilot astronaut
  • Mission specialist
  • Aerospace engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Energy engineer
  • Structural engineer


The Major:
While it may sound like science fiction, there is a fast growing need for robotics and robotics engineers in many different fields, from oceanographic research to health science and surgery. There is no specific discipline behind robotic engineering, so students must posses skill and capability in computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as a solid understanding of science and mathematics, which places them in high demand in the job market. Whether the goal is to relieve human workers of exhausting and repetitive tasks, increase productivity and efficiency, or take people out of harm’s way, robotics today plays an integral role in all aspects of manufacturing, medicine, and more. And it will take on even greater importance in the future.

Examples of Robotics Courses:

  • Modeling and Analysis of Mechatronic Systems
  • Unified Robotics
  • Industrial Robotics

Ongoing research keeps Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the forefront of robotics engineering advances. Focus areas include human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, medical robotics, kinematics and control systems, sensors, manipulation and navigation, and more.Leading the way and covering all the bases are descriptions that only begin to tell the story of this unique department. WPI is renowned for being first in the nation to offer a BS program in Robotics Engineering, first to offer BS, MS, and PhD programs at the same time, and first (and only) with a five-year combined BS/MS.

The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an international leader in robotics education and was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies relevant to industrial and societal tasks. Seeking to combine the practical and the theoretical, the Robotics Institute has diversified its efforts and approaches to robotics science while retaining its original goal of realizing the potential of the robotics field. The Robotics Institute is well-funded (over $65 million per year) and very broad in its variety of course offerings and programs; research volume has doubled every 7 years since its founding.

Career Opportunities:

  • Robotics engineering
  • Electronic engineering
  • Robotics technician
  • Machine automation
  • Medical robotics engineering
  • Cybernetics
  • Air traffic management


The Major:
Kinesiology and exercise science is the study of health and human movement. Specifically, it is the study of how people move, why some people are able to move faster or for a longer period of time than others (i.e. endurance) and why they fatigue. The use of physiological, biochemical, biomechanical, neurological and psychological principles are at the crux of the course of study. Students in this major study the effects of exercise on the human body and the science behind what makes a healthy, high performing system. Kinesiology is an ideal course for students wishing to enter health professions, such as medicine, personal training, physical therapy, and nutrition/dietetics, and leads to many other areas of health science and wellness.

Examples of Kinesiology and Exercise Science Courses:

  • Sociology of Sport
  • Biomechanics
  • Human Anatomy

Rice University in Houston, Texas offers two concentrations with its Department of Kinesiology, Health Science and Sports Medicine, that focus and guide each individual student toward their specific interest and career goals. A specific intention of the sports medicine curriculum is to provide a strong natural science foundation and to interface this foundation with application to human physical function and students receive a solid foundation in nutrition, biomechanics, performance psychology, motor learning, statistics, research methods, and exercise physiology. The purpose and goal of the Health Sciences program is to provide students with a fundamental and broad background in health promotion and education that will enable them to understand and appreciate the complexities of maintaining optimal level personal health, the role that health promotion plays in society, and the mechanisms that affect community health.

Students attending the University of South California in Los Angeles who are interested in the general area of corporate fitness-wellness will find kinesiology an ideal major. Coursework is incredibly broad and will give every student a solid foundation in biochemistry, biomechanics, and mathematics. In addition to specific coursework, students are encouraged to participate in ongoing faculty and graduate student research efforts in the many departmental laboratories. Students work closely with peers and faculty to increase the knowledge and foundation of understanding the realm of health science.

Career Opportunities:

  • Athletic trainer
  • Personal trainer
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Sports medicine
  • Strength and conditioning trainer
  • Occupational therapy


The Major:
While it may not come across as extreme at first, tourism management majors lead to careers in one of the largest industries and employers in the world. This degree prepares students for positions of responsibility in hotels, resorts, food service operations, cruise ships, clubs, cultural and recreational attractions, convention and visitor bureaus, and tourism development agencies. Most excitingly, and what qualifies this as an EXTREME major, this field gives students the opportunity for a life in travel, working in one of these many industries across the globe.

Examples of Tourism Management Courses:

  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Leadership and Professional Development
  • Heritage and Cultural Tourism


Upon completion of this degree at Arizona State University in Tempe, students will possess a sound theoretical understanding of the comprehensive study of tourism. This will include knowledge related to the growth and development of tourism throughout the world in historical, spatial and economic terms; the economic, ecological, and socio-cultural impacts of tourism in both the developing and developed world; and the system of tourism production, product development, service delivery, and consumption by diverse domestic and international market segments. The program encompasses local, regional and global perspectives in the study of tourism.

The tourism program at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laie, applies the general principles of the business, management, and advanced management cores to a specific industry. Close ties with the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) provide students in this program with a unique opportunity to study and analyze one of the most successful tourist destinations in the world. To earn a bachelors degree, students complete a departmental mini-core, then pursue a program track in either Hospitality Management or Tourism Management. The program applies general business principles to a specific industry and students choose a functional area of specialization: Operations, Finance, Marketing, or Human Resources.

Career Opportunities:

  • Tourism agency management
  • Tourism development agencies
  • Resorts
  • Casinos
  • Hotels
  • Travel agent
  • Marketing


The Major:
Designed to prepare and educate students in the science and art of fermenting foods and beverages, a degree in Fermentation Science includes the development of practical research and outreach initiatives to answer questions facing the growing fermentation-related industries. Understanding the processes and learning the method involved with employing microorganisms in the commercial production of fermented food products and marketing these products requires a unique set of knowledge and skills; students are educated in a a wide variety of disciplines from biochemistry to marketing and entrepreneurship. The availability and diversity of fermented products, including cheese, bread, yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, meat, soy products, beer, and wine has increased in recent years and consumer interest in this area continues to grow. It is increasingly clear that fermented food products can favorably alter the microbiota within the human gut, which can impact the risk of developing chronic and inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

Examples of Fermentation Sciences Courses:

  • Social Implications of Fermented Beverages
  • Sensory Analysis of Wine and Beer
  • Viticulture: Vine Physiology and Vineyard Establishment

Students at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the operation and management of the Ramskeller pilot brewery (a campus based brewery), conduct laboratory research, and complete an internship with one of the local or national industries. Students will be exposed to multiple components of the disciplines ranging from production and management to basic and applied research. The Fermentation Science and Technology major blends a strong interdisciplinary science background with selected courses focused on the science, safety, culinary, and nutritional attributes of fermented foods and beverages. Industry plays a unique, active and vital role in the education of our students. Whether it is guest lecturers in the classroom, hands-on fermentation work in the laboratory, or off-campus field trips or internships at one of the CSU industry sites, learning is much more than a textbook and exams in the FST program.

The Fermentation Sciences program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina is an inter-disciplinary degree within the College of Arts and Sciences intended to provide students with a strong background in chemistry and biology and a considerable focus in business, marketing and entrepreneurial principles. Students are required to fulfill rigorous core requirements in sciences and humanities while gaining exposure to principles of fermentation sciences, systems design and engineering, and understanding the social and cultural implications of food and beverage production. Throughout the process of program development, Fermentation Sciences faculties have developed industry collaborations with local vineyards, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and biotechnology businesses to provide students with a “real-world” classroom for practical experience.

Career Opportunities:

  • Federal employment with the USDA, FDA, CDC, NREL
  • Brewing production
  • Wine production
  • Distillation technologies
  • Food and Beverage Processing
  • Bio-manufacturing / Bio-pharmaceuticals
  • Applied Chemistry / Analytical Chemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Systems Biology


The Major:
Both metalsmithing and blacksmithing programs emphasize the development of hand skills and work to enhance the student’s aesthetic values, critical thinking and dialogue abilities, as well as their technical skills. Students learn a broad spectrum of skills and techniques using traditional forms and materials to more modern experiential approaches. Learning these skills produces artists and craftspeople with a highly developed understanding of their craft and creativity.

Examples of Blacksmithing/Metalsmithing Courses:

  • Art and Design
  • Metalworking
  • 3D Modeling

This legendary program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, is one of diversity, seeking students with a range of interests, backgrounds and goals for achievement. The metals program at SIUC has developed links in Europe, Pacific Rim and Mexico and attracts students from all over the world. Campus art facilities and workshops are located in close proximity to one another to encourage interdisciplinary coursework and broaden students interests in art and design. Graduates of the program have gone on to highly successful careers in academia and museum work, as well as that of a self-sustaining independent artist.

The metals program at the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art in the University of Akron in Ohio, combines art theory, craft history, contemporary issues and personal influences with the many techniques used in the metals studio. Students refine their skills as they study and create utilitarian objects, nonfunctional objects, jewelry and metal sculpture. Metalsmithing majors work with ferrous and nonferrous metals using tools such as: electroformers, centrifuge and vacuum for casting, enameling kilns, and sandblasters. Students are encouraged to participate in co-op programs and internships. In recent years, students have participated in co-op and internship programs at such diverse sites as: design studios, the CIA, and Disney World.

Career Opportunities:

  • Metalsmith
  • Blacksmith
  • Metal fabrication/factories
  • Jeweler
  • Farrier
  • Welding
  • Automotive industries


The Major:
Nautical archaeology is the study of the remains of boats and ships and the cultures that created and used them. The program, therefore, focuses on the history of wooden ship construction; seafaring through the ages; maritime commerce, cargoes, and ports; and the techniques used to record, analyze and conserve the remains of these activities. Students in this major spend as much time in the field compiling hands-on research as they do in the classroom. Because there is so much involved in nautical/maritime archaeology, students are schooled in many different fields of ocean travel, diving, archaeology, and anthropology.

Examples of Nautical/Maritime Archaeology Courses:

  • Post-Medieval Seafaring
  • Archaeological Artifact Conservation
  • Deep Submergence Archaeology

The Nautical Archaeology Program is a part of the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University in College Station. The program was established in 1976. Students and faculty conduct underwater archaeological research in conjunction with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in various regions of the world, delving into time periods from prehistory to the recent past, and working with a plethora of societies and cultures. Students attending the program work in the classroom as well as in the field, and are encouraged to pursue individual projects that will help direct nautical archaeology’s future.

Of the handful of existing Maritime Studies programs in the United States, none is as diverse and widely appealing as the University of West Florida’s in Pensacola. The Maritime Studies program at UWF prepares students for a variety of occupations through the integration of diverse maritime themes. Students tailor their degree program to their individual interests and will also gain structured field experiences in sampling, recording, and other practical aspects of professional work in the field environment. Field study and internships in underwater archaeology and overseas history are available, and other field experiences can be designed.

Career Opportunities:

  • Coastal zone management
  • Coast Guard
  • Navigation
  • Maritime law
  • Underwater archaeology
  • Anthropology


The Major:
Maybe the most EXTREME college major, as it is only offered at one university as a major, and at most other colleges and universities as a concentration and/or minor. Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field devoted to the analysis of human sexuality. It explores the historical, political, biological, cultural, sociological, educational, legal, health, aesthetic, and psychological contexts of human sexuality. The next closest department, Gender and Sexuality Studies, is an interdisciplinary concentration and/or minor that examines the construction of gender and sexuality in social, cultural, political, economic, or scientific contexts.

Examples of Sexuality Studies Courses:

  • Gender, Sexuality, and Science
  • Love, Sex, and Relationships
  • Feminist Utopias and Dystopias

The Sexuality Studies program at Ohio State University in Columbus pays particular attention to processes and practices of normalization in different cultures and times through which certain sexual behaviors, expressions, or identities are esteemed and others devalued. It also investigates the ways in which sexuality is shaped by other social differences such as race, gender, class, dis/ability, religion, nationality, and ethnicity. It is the only university in the country to offer a “stand alone” program, allowing undergraduate students to pursue it as their sole major program.

Students in Swarthmore’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program study the social relations of power in a variety of cultural, historical, and national contexts. The objective of the program is to bring feminist and queer theory in conversation with new research methodologies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The program emphasizes complex interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race and class, and local and global politics. Students have the opportunity to pursue an academic minor in gender and sexuality studies or to design their own special major in the field.

Career Opportunities:

  • LGBTQ counseling and organizing
  • Social work
  • Therapy centers
  • Hospitals
  • Victim and human rights advocacy
  • Reproductive rights advocacy
  • Education


All Viticulture and Enology students learn about the science and practices of growing grapes and making wines. The major increases student interest in and understanding of science by supplying a real world application. Students have the opportunity to learn the processes and chemistry behind wine fermentation and use specialized equipment in campus labs and wineries to create their own student wines. Viticulture and enology graduates frequently take advantage of their research and internship positions to find work in vineyards and wineries. They may enter careers such as production management, quality control and research.

Examples of Viticulture and Enology Courses:

  • Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability
  • Wines and Grapes: Composition and Analysis
  • Wine Microbiology

Viticulture and enology majors at UC Davis benefit not only from the outstanding faculty and laboratory resources but also from the campus’s location. The Napa and Sonoma Valley regions, the nerve centers of California’s thriving, innovative wine industry, are easily accessible from campus. Students may complete internships with some of the area’s world-class wineries and research grape cultivation and winemaking at the renowned Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science located right on campus. Many students go on to graduate-level study in related fields such as food science, horticulture or agricultural and environmental chemistry.

Located in luscious Ithaca, New York, the Viticulture and Enology major at Cornell University increases student interest in and understanding of science by supplying a real world application. Cornell students don’t just hear about science, they practice it every day. Students complete coursework in either the enology or viticulture concentration. The concentration in enology provides students with a foundation in biology and chemistry, demonstrating principles with specialized coursework in wine chemistry, production methods, and sensory evaluation. Students concentrating in viticulture apply concepts learned in biology and chemistry to coursework in vineyard management, grapevine biology, and grape pest management.

Career Opportunities:

  • Cellar workers
  • Lab technicians
  • Winemakers
  • Wine consultants
  • Wine critics
  • Sommeliers
  • Vineyard managers
  • Pest control advisors
  • Crop/fermentation researchers


The Major:
Electrical engineering and computer science majors can do practically anything. Students improve the stability and security of computers and communications networks, and they increase the efficiency of solar panels. They create unique algorithms to analyze financial markets and design robots capable of thinking like human beings. Typically, electrical engineers focus on products that generate or transmit electricity or that use electricity as a power source. They might design, assemble or test new devices anywhere from the semiconductor to the aerospace industries. Computer scientists also use technology to solve problems. They might write software to achieve new things or do them faster. They create applications for mobile devices, develop websites or program software.

Examples of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Courses:

  • Components & Design Techniques For Digital Systems
  • Computer Architecture & Engineering
  • Microelectronic Devices & Circuits
  • Artificial Intelligence

At UC Berkeley, the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences offers one of the field’s strongest research and instructional programs anywhere in the world. The program initiates cross-disciplinary team-driven projects, with strong interactions that extend into biological sciences, mechanical and civil engineering, physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics and operations research. The faculty at UC Berkeley have won prestigious awards such as the National Medal of Science work at the cusp of technological possibility in artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber-physical systems, sensor technology, micro and nanoelectromechanical systems, big data, and computer architecture, graphics and engineering.

World-renowned for both rigor and innovation, EECS is the largest undergraduate program at MIT. Our flexible curriculum and intensive, hands-on coursework gives students a holistic view of the field, an understanding of how to solve problems, and a focus on modeling and abstraction that prepares them for success in a wide range of industries, from software to bioengineering. Taught by world-class faculty, EECS students explore subjects critical to advancement in today’s high-tech society — from mathematical computer theory to circuit design and electronics, control and communication theory, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Career Opportunities:

  • Electrical engineering
  • Broadcast and communication engineering
  • Communications
  • IT Consultant
  • Multimedia programming


The Major:
The process of making the oil and gas available in the huge quantities needed to sustain our industrial economy and maintain our standard of living is quite challenging. Petroleum engineering majors are trained to face these challenges. In petroleum engineering, students learn to evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs, oversee drilling activities, select and implement recovery schemes, and design surface collection and treatment facilities. As a petroleum engineer, you can expect to work in a variety of the U.S. locations from the East Coast to the West Coast and from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. There are also immense opportunities to become an international engineer and work all over the world.

Examples of Petroleum Engineering Courses:

  • Engineering Evaluation of Oil and Gas Properties
  • Drilling Design and Production Engineering
  • Reservoir Modeling

This challenging and rewarding field of engineering requires application of a wide range of knowledge­—from the basic sciences of mathematics, physics, geology, and chemistry to the principles of engineering analysis, design, and management. Graduates of the program are expected to understand the fundamental principles of science and engineering behind the technology of petroleum engineering to keep their education current and to give them the capability of self-instruction after graduation. Petroleum engineers must solve the variety of technological, political, and economic problems encountered in these assignments. These exciting technological challenges combine to offer the petroleum engineer a most rewarding career.

Located in State College, courses at Penn State are structured to serve as a melting pot for theory, application to case studies and engineering project design. This enables the student to appreciate and understand that a successful engineering design project requires a sound theoretical foundation, experimentation and engineering judgment. Design projects are required throughout the curriculum. Execution of these projects requires an amalgamation of problem formulation strategies, testing of alternative design methodologies, feasibility studies, and economic and environmental considerations. Graduates of the program are expected to perform in various facets of the petroleum industry including drilling, production, evaluation, transportation and storage.

Career Opportunities:

  • Petroleum engineering
  • Natural gas engineering
  • Drilling engineering
  • Reservoir engineering
  • National and international oil and gas companies
  • Government agencies
  • Independent companies


The Major:
The wildlife major concerns the preservation of all species, the enhancement of wildlife habitat, the control of wildlife problems, and the consumptive use of wildlife. At the same time, wildlife majors are concerned about endangered species wildlife biologists must also deal with locally abundant species that can cause serious ecological damage in an area. Students have the opportunity to work directly in the field for a large majority of their academic/professional career, and students often take field/camping trips to practice additional practices and techniques in more secluded and will areas. Students also work directly with wildlife, whether rehabilitating, tagging, or researching animals, the degree allows direct contact with wildlife.

Examples of Wildlife Courses:

  • Upland and Wetland Habitat Ecology
  • Management of Mammals
  • Zoology
  • Conservation Biology

Wildlife students at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, conduct individual and group field projects in most upper division courses. Many lab classes are held outdoors and over weekend camping trips in nearby natural habitats such as the Arcata Community Forest, Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Six Rivers National Forest, and many other locations. Students work in close proximity with peers, professors, and graduate students in the many research and lab projects conducted throughout the program. Each student conducts an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member for their culminating experience.

The Wildlife major meets the educational requirements for Certified Wildlife Biologists, as stipulated by The Wildlife Society.The course work is broad-based, furnishing an understanding of the interrelationships among the physical and biological elements of the natural environment, an appreciation of the social, political, and economics forces that influence wildlife management, and the ability to analyze natural resource problems to forge realistic solutions. Students learn to determine the biological and ecological conditions required for maintenance of healthy populations of game and non-game species, tend these species, and manage their environments to meet wildlife conservation objectives.

Career Opportunities:

  • Raptor and migratory breeding bird survey field technician
  • Forester
  • Senior wildlife biologist
  • Botany field technician
  • Monitoring manager
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Public land management


The Major:
Geology majors study the science of the Earth—its relationship to the solar system, its origin and developmental history, its structure and composition, its dynamic processes, and its evolution. Geology also relates to human endeavors and needs, including the use of natural resources, the preservation of the environment, global change, and the mitigation of geologic hazards. Geology majors draw data from firsthand field observations and laboratory analyses of minerals, sediments, rocks, fossils, natural fluids and gases, and landforms. Students in this major spend much of their academic lives outdoors, on field trips and camping trips, studying the geological makeup of their surroundings.

Examples of Geology Courses:

  • Earth Surface Processes
  • Geochemistry
  • Earth Materials

At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, students who choose the Earth and Environmental Sciences major build a specialization/concentration area that suits their own interests by taking additional upper-level courses in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department, and the university has one of the best geology programs in the country. The Geological Sciences Concentration trains students to receive a broad foundation in natural and physical sciences related to environmental and Earth sciences. Students are required to learn material from several core areas of the Earth sciences. The program also includes a field requirement that takes students off campus to study and apply their knowledge.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is ideally suited to the study of geological sciences. At the junction of the high plains and the Rocky Mountains, the Boulder area represents a natural outdoor laboratory where you can study geological features of all ages in diverse settings, and observe Earth processes firsthand. Fieldwork in the Rocky Mountain region is an essential part of instruction and research. The major in geology offers two options, each leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. The Geology Option is flexible and offers in-depth training in geology and the opportunity to explore broader aspects of the geosciences (eg. water, surface processes, geobiology). This option requires a broad scientific and analytical background based on chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The Geophysics Option is specially designed for those students who wish to pursue a career focusing on the materials, structure, and processes of the Earth’s interior, as well as the deformation and dynamics of the Earth.

Career Opportunities:

  • Energy and economic-minerals industries
  • Environmental evaluation and regulation
  • Industrial relations
  • Reclamation
  • Resource evaluation
  • Research
  • Surveying
  • Education