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Unique College Majors: Colleges With Unique Programs

unique college majors: students studying plants in greenhouse

Unique college majors provide an unforgettable educational experience that leads to exciting career opportunities. It can be difficult to know which college major to pursue and how unique college majors can set you up for success. The tools gathered from colleges with unique majors provide the technical skills to enter a competitive field or equipped to tackle a niche position.

Colleges with Unique Majors

Colleges with unique majors allow students with varying passions and career goals to find the degree that best suits their needs. The most common majors completed by students provide them with general knowledge and a standard skillset to allow them an introduction to the field. This is a great option for students who are looking for a particular field or wish to continue their education.

Unique college majors can be more specialized as their fields are highly specific and targeted. Colleges with unique programs introduce students to fields of study they may have not known about before. Students can tailor their studies to their interests, and unique college majors can prepare them for those industries. Colleges with unique majors can vary in fields from language and culture, sciences, energy management, high altitude training, and much more. See some examples of specialized majors at Western below:

Specialized and Unique College Majors at Western

Program Department
Cell & Molecular Biology Natural & Environmental Sciences
Climate Action Planning Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability
Energy Management School of Business
Environmental Geology Natural & Environmental Sciences
Fisheries & Aquatic Ecology Natural & Environmental Sciences
Food Systems Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability
Geography & Geospatial Analysis Behavioral & Social Sciences
M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
Outdoor Environmental Education Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
Outdoor Leadership Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
Recreation & Outdoor Education Recreation, Exercise & Sport Science
Wildlife & Conservation Biology Natural & Environmental Sciences

Cell & Molecular Biology

Are you curious about developing new medications and treatments, or conducting groundbreaking research? The cell and molecular biology emphasis provides students with backgrounds in biology and chemistry that enable them to tackle the unknowns in a laboratory environment. The blend of coursework gives students experience in cell biology, molecular genetics, and biochemistry. The unique skill set applies to the fields of biotechnology and opens the door to future educational opportunities for biology, medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and physician assistantship positions.

unique college majors: students in lab

Climate Action Planning

As the world faces a climate crisis, it is important to have experts in the planning process. The climate action planning emphasis teaches students the tactics to reduce the effects of climate change in the present and future and how to implement solutions. Students will be tasked with solving climate-related problems on a small and large scale during their studies. These ideas empower students for roles in policy and advocacy for a variety of climate issues.

Energy Management

The energy management programs help students to understand the business standards behind the management of energy. Students will become familiar with energy production through oil and gas, as well as the dealings of energy trading. To meet the change in the industry standards, students devote a large amount of time studying the sustainability efforts in place for the energy industry and renewable energy sources. Pursuing a career in energy management now allows students to become leaders in renewable energy.

Environmental Geology

The colleges with unique majors provide students with the ability to explore their passions, one of which may be environmental geology. Students who are interested in careers in hydrology, natural hazards, environmental consulting, or policy can study these topics at Western. Interactions between people and the physical Earth are the primary areas of study with students completing fieldwork in the surrounding environments. Trek through the West Elk or San Juan ranges or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to understand tectonics and erosion.

Fisheries & Aquatic Ecology

With many streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and fish hatcheries within minutes from the Western campus, the fisheries and aquatic ecology program provides a unique opportunity. Classes will focus on biological research to support natural resource management to protect aquatic biodiversity, ecological processes, and aquatic ecosystems. After graduation students can pursue graduate studies, earn entry-level state or federal positions, work with nonprofit organizations, or choose an environmental consulting firm.

Food Systems

Interested in improving access to food and nutrition for all communities? At colleges with unique majors, you can study food systems and their impact on sustainability, distribution, and security on a local, national, and global scale. Students will be tasked with identifying opportunities to improve access to food for communities to increase food security and nutrition. Get hands-on experience with local projects like the Mountain Roots Food Project, the Gunnison Country Food Pantry, or the Coldharbour Institute.

Geography & Geospatial Analysis

Studying natural and human-altered landscapes introduces clues from the past and provides answers for the future. Learn more about geography and geospatial analysis as you divulge data from maps and aerial images to analyze landscapes and determine changes over time. Students will also work with satellite imagery to analyze the patterns of humans from a geospatial perspective. Geographic trends can be used for a global perspective to understand the world at large.

M.S. in Exercise & Sport Science: High Altitude Exercise Physiology

Western is uniquely situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, resting at 7,700 feet above sea level. This is incredible for those studying high altitude exercise physiology for the opportunity to study at such an extreme. The research conducted can help provide answers for extreme mountain athletes as well as providing testing for specific conditions. Students will engage with a program that rewards them with a master’s degree which grants them access to a wide range of post-graduate opportunities.

Outdoor Environmental Education

For those inclined to outdoor activity, the outdoor environmental education program combines being outdoors with teachable skills. Students conduct field-based courses in the Rocky Mountains surrounding Gunnison, Colorado. The skills are rooted in the natural and environmental science programs. Another draw of the program is the lack of a dedicated classroom, students routinely partake in study abroad programs to take them around the country and world.

colleges with unique programs: outdoor education majors rafting

Outdoor Leadership

The outdoor leadership program provides students with access to the outdoors for well-being and community building. Graduates will walk away being able to organize and run outdoor programs for at-risk youth, corporate team building, outdoor skills education, and much more. Not only will students gain knowledge from the classroom, but also earn certifications and credentials, like Wilderness First Responder, to be prepared to tackle any situation they may encounter in the outdoors.

Recreation & Outdoor Education

If you’re passionate about living a healthy lifestyle outdoors, then the recreation and outdoor education major is essential to study. After completing the program, you’ll have the managerial, technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills required to work in the multi-billion dollar outdoor industry. Plus, you can form relationships with various organizations like Outward Bound, National Outdoor Leadership School, and the National Park Service.

colleges with unique majors: students on hike for outdoors class

Wildlife & Conservation Biology

The wildlife and conservation biology program teaches a broad foundation in the natural sciences. This knowledge is especially important for the fields of climate change, population growth, urban development, and wildlife conservation. Students will work in the classroom and laboratory to start to learn how to juggle these complex relationships. Protection and ensuring the success of the natural world is crucial and requires extensive work and commitment. Graduates can choose to work in many fields that spark their interests.

Colleges with Unique Programs: What to do Next

It is important to find a major that you enjoy and that provides you with the tools to enter your desired field. Going to college is not only about finding a great major, but exploring, making connections, and having new experiences. At Western, you’ll uncover the best things to do in western Colorado inside and outside the classroom.

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