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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Five unusual subjects to study at university

With so many universities in countries all over the world, students are spoilt for choice when it comes to what subjects they can study. Take a look at some of the most unusual.

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With hundreds of universities all over the world, all with a great number of courses to choose from, it’s only natural for some of these to be on the more unusual side.

From degrees that are very specific to courses you may have never even thought of studying, there is just so much out there for students, especially if they decide to study abroad. Take a look at just some of the most unusual subjects you can study around the world. 


Ethical Hacking 


When you think of hacking, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The most likely answer in this case is of criminals accessing computers and big systems to get information they shouldn’t have.  


The majority of the hacking that goes on in the world is certainly this type but did you know that there are hackers who are employed for good reasons? Big businesses and organisations hire ethical hackers to check their own security systems for vulnerability and weaknesses.  


This can be a major help, as it allows them to avoid situations where real hackers would take advantage of the holes in their system. With this degree, you could find yourself as a vital part for a number of businesses. Finding their weak points and helping them build stronger systems can be an extremely rewarding job with an average yearly salary of USD 103,583 in the US and GBP 44,000 in the UK 


Coventry University in the UK has an Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security course that “has been developed to provide you with a good practical and theoretical understanding of cybersecurity, hacking, digital forensics, and the underlying computer science.” 




Those looking to study in the US, will find that the University of Washington offers a very unique degree. Astrobiology is “the study of life throughout the Universe (i.e. both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial), its origin, distribution, evolution and fate.”  


For most university students, discussing whether extra-terrestrial life exists isn’t a day-to-day topic of conversation, unless you’re studying Astrobiology. 


Students on this course will gain a detailed understanding of popular theories surrounding life on Earth as well as potential life elsewhere. Students with an interest in the world around them and a similar science background in their previous education may find themselves at home on this course. 


Those with a passion for this subject will be pleased to know that this course can lead to a number of careers in this field. From lecturing on the subject yourself to writing about it in a wide range of websites or publications, there are a good number of careers that will let you delve into this interesting topic on a daily basis. 


Surf Science and Technology 


Surfing is a popular hobby for many living in coastal areas all over the world and is now a course for those who want to study in the UK.  


The University of Plymouth, in partnership with Cornwall College, offers this as a foundation course that promises to teach its students about the history and mechanics of surfing as well as providing a deeper look into the international bodies that govern sports and the impact they have.  


Anyone familiar with the UK will know that Cornwall has some of the most surf-friendly beaches in the country. For students who want to see other beaches, the course frequently offers students the chance to visit popular surfing destinations in France and Spain. 




If you have a real passion for surfing, this degree can be a major asset when pursuing the sport as a career. However, even if surfing is more of a hobby, you may still find that this degree has much more to offer. With modules focusing on sporting politics, climate change and meteorology, the course certainly has more to it than might first appear 


Game Design 


Playing video games might be commonplace at university for many students but probably not as part of their degree. Unless you’re studying Game Design at somewhere like the University of South Australia, of course.  


Gaming has grown rapidly over the past few decades and is continuing to do so. The industry employs many graduates with this type of degree or similar each year to work on exciting new products and releases.  


If you have a passion for the world of gaming and are interested in turning it into a career, a course like this might be for you. Students studying this subject will learn about the game development process from start to finish and see how different games are designed for a variety of reasons.  


With this knowledge, you can apply for roles including graphic designer, game animator, game audio engineer and game programmer. All of which you can find in a number of different industries. 


The Beatles 


For those with a music degree looking to specialise through a Master’s, the University of Liverpool offers an interesting approach to this field.  


Their course on The Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage, focusses on the world famous band that came from that part of the UK. The course promises to “explore how today the Beatles, their music and their story are inextricably bound up within an increasing number of creative and cultural industries including (but not limited to): music, media and social media, tourism and heritage.” 



This type of course is ideal for those who want to expand their education in the field of music while delving into a unique part of that subject. Studying the Beatles on this course will give an insight into how the music industry and pop culture has changed over the past 60 years.




For those looking for a career in the world of music, this master’s course can offer further knowledge in this extremely wide and varied field. Whether you go onto teaching, song writing or musical production, there is so much that a music degree like this can do for you. 


University is a time to build on your existing education in a topic that interests you. From courses in fields you're passionate about to degrees that can boost your career, there is so much that the institutions all over the world can offer students. 


Find the perfect course for you, no matter how unusual, with our course matcher tool

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