10 unusual courses you can study in the UK

Sean Campbell
Sean Campbell

29 June 2020 • 8 min read

So you want to go to university, but you can’t understand why everyone’s falling over themselves to get into medicine, law, physics or accounting? Well then, this list might be for you!

We’ve taken a dive into some of the most unusual courses you can study in the UK 

1. Ethical Hacking & Cyber Security,  Coventry University

We’ve all seen movies and TV shows like Mr. Robot, where hackers use the “dark arts” to fight the good fight against the bad guys. Well, it turns out that it’s not too far from reality. By studying this MSci / BSci Ethical Hacking, you can learn how to find flaws in and get past advanced security systems. In turn, your job will be to help build even more advanced systems. 

Cyber security is more important now than ever, what with most of the world going digital. This means that your job prospects after gaining this degree are pretty strong!

2. Robin Hood Studies Pathway, University of Nottingham

If you didn’t already know, Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest was the setting for the tales of folk hero Robin Hood -- yes, that (probably mythical) man in tights who stole from the rich to give to the poor! 

As part of the University of Nottingham’s History MA, you can learn about the local legend, and the bigger ideas behind the stories, by delving into the tales and ballads in great detail. You can even take the chance to carry out an extended research project on the subject if you wish!

3. Baking Science and Technology, London South Bank University

Ever dream of putting your passion for baking into practical purpose? This BSc Honours degree is designed specifically for keen bakers who are looking to bring their skills to an advanced level, while also learning professional management skills to go with it. You’ll learn all about bread fermentation, chocolate production, design, food theory, and the business side of things too of course. 

By the end of this course, you should be well enough equipped to work in a bakery, or even better -- seek to open your own and provide cake and happiness to the world!  

4. Pizza Hut Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University

If you fancy eating daily pizzas from one of the world’s largest pizza chains, taste testing them and coming up with new recipe ideas… well then this isn’t the course for you, we’re sorry to say. If a course like that does exist though, please let us know and we’ll be the first to enrol. 

Contrary to what it sounds like, this degree-level apprenticeship is provided in partnership with Pizza Hut, and it’s all about honing your management and leadership skills in the food service industry. It includes a range of practical and theoretical course material, including budgeting and finances, food production and team leadership. This is all about empowering employees in the service industry to take their careers to the next level. 

5. Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion, Durham University

To all the “Potterheads” out there: If you spent your youth reading and re-reading the Harry Potter series and watching the movies, if you daydreamed about receiving a letter from Hogwarts, and if your Potter knowledge is off the charts, then good news! Durham University offers a module in all things Harry Potter as part of its Educational Studies programme. 

The course is rich with content, and aims to highlight the social, cultural and educational value of the best selling stories. The course content includes fascinating topics such as Gryffindor & Slytherin: prejudice and intolerance in the classroom; Anarchy and Rebellion from Tom Brown to Harry Potter; Ideals of Manhood: Courage, Ingenuity and Integrity; and Magic, Reason and Reality. 

6. Parapsychology, University of Edinburgh

A PhD on ghosts, spirits and paranormal activity in one of the UK’s most historic “haunted” cities. The cold and misty streets of Edinburgh, Scotland are home to some of the region's spookiest locations. This makes it an ideal location to take a deep dive into the history and the human psychology of paranormal reports, the reasons behind them, and the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of them. 

7. Perfumery, ICATs Plymouth University

Through the International Centre for Aroma Trades Studies (you better believe that’s a real place!), you can study the science and art of perfumery.  Not only will you emerge from this course with deeply satisfied and educated nostrils, but you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge on how fragrances are developed and refined to suit different occasions and locations.  Even better, you’ll learn how to monetize and profit from this knowledge. Did you know, for example, that there’s an entire industry dedicated to developing and customising perfumes for hotel lobbies? 

The IFEAT-accredited course is endorsed by the British Society of Perfumers, the British Society of Flavourists, and the British Flavour Association. It’s taught by a number of leading industry and academic experts, and is designed to enable those working in the aroma trade to further their prospects and success in the industry. 

8. Applied Golf Management Studies, University of Birmingham

A collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), this 3 year BSc course clues you in on topics such as applied sports science, equipment technology, coaching as well as business management, human resources and marketing. Employment in the golf industry is also as good as guaranteed with this course. That’s why it was created after all -- to nurture talent specifically for the industry. 

What makes it even more appealing for golf enthusiasts is that the annual professional summer placements take place in a golfing environment. As well as that, completing the course allows you to apply to become an official member of the PGA! If that’s all too much theory and not enough club-swinging, fear not: The University of Birmingham has 5 successful golf teams, and you’ll have the opportunity to represent them by studying this course. And, if you sign up to the PGA while still a student and excel at your game, you’ll be able to enter PGA tournaments!

9. Equestrian Psychology and Sports Science, Nottingham Trent University

“Equestrian” means horse riding, pretty much... Technically, it means “relating to horse riding”, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing on this course!  It’s hosted on a 200 hectare facility in the beautiful, rolling Nottinghamshire countryside. 

This course was created to address the need for more understanding of horse psychology, allowing humans to interact better with them. Effectively, this course will make you one part sports scientist, one part horse psychologist. That doesn’t mean that you’ll have horse clientele reclining on a leather couch in your office telling you about their lives, mind you. At least we don’t think it does...

As well as studying in rural Nottinghamshire, students embarking on this course will be able to go on a 6 month study exchange at a partner university in one of Canada, Hungary or Australia. Countryside, horses, travel, and a degree? What’s not to love? 

10. Brewing and Distillation, Heriot-Watt University

A 4 year university course in making alcoholic drinks? Now we’re talking! At the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, you can learn all there is to know about brewing, malting and distilling. Maybe you’ve got a new found love for craft beers and ales, or perhaps you dream of making your own gin or whiskey someday? This course is right up your street if that’s the case. And since the alcohol industry is pretty much always booming in the UK, you’ll set yourself up well for a job when you’re done. 

In fact, the craft brewing industry is growing so quickly that there’s now a significant need for educated graduates with deep knowledge in both modern and traditional brewing methods as well as technical skills with modern instruments and machinery. 

The Brewing and Distillation course is no party though, it must be said. It’s highly technical and scientific, and with good reason -- a lot can go wrong when making alcohol! You’ll complete modules on complex topics like fermentation, wort boiling, malting, mashing, filtration and even microbial biotechnology. 

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Sean Campbell
Written By
Sean Campbell

Sean is a writer, copywriter & editor from Ireland.


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