Throughout your time in college, you’ll likely come across dozens of people with the same majors: accounting, engineering, nursing, early childhood education. These are all great academic programs, which is why they’re so popular among students. However, there are many majors that colleges can offer aside from your typical programs. Gannon University offers a colorful variety of different majors and programs. Here’s a list briefly describing these lesser-known academic programs and majors.

Mortuary Science

The idea of a career that’s linked so closely with death conjures up images of Morticia Addams or Halloween. But in actuality, the field of mortuary science is a lot less creepy than what people would typically imagine.

“Mortuary science is a major that requires many areas of expertise. You take a lot of social work, chemistry, psychology, gerontology, and business classes,” says senior mortuary science major Nikay Homonko. The program takes you through your standard core classes, as well as courses in anatomy and the bereavement process. A lot of people don’t realize that mortuary science has a business aspect to it too. In addition to preparing the body for burial, you’re also learning how to run a funeral. Because of this, you’ll have to take courses in business administration and accounting. After your four years at Gannon are completed, students typically transfer to a specific mortuary institute for further training and education.

Students like Homonko wish to wash away the stereotype surrounding their program. “I wish students knew that my major requires a strong passion. In order to do this, you must be caring and dedicated to help the person in mourning see that their loved one is as beautiful as they remember. It takes someone with a huge heart to do this.”

Medical Technology

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at the doctor’s office, and the nurse is taking blood. Even though you’re woozy from the sudden lack of fluids in your system, you hear the nurse explain, “We’ll take this to the lab for testing and get back to you with the results.” For the longest time, I had no idea what that phrase even meant. I thought the nurses themselves did all the tests. It wasn’t until I was looking into careers in the health field that I discovered there’s a whole separate area just for medical laboratory work.

Enter medical technology. Every time your doctor issues a strep or mono test, these are the people that gather the data and results. They’re the behind the scenes superstars that keep the entire medical field operating. Gannon’s program for medical technology gives students an attempt at real-life, hands-on experience.

“We do three years at Gannon, and then we do a one year rotation-type program at St. Vincent,” explains sophomore med-tech student Kelsey Ghering. Unsurprisingly, the program involves a lot of your standard science and chemistry courses. However, students are often required to do as many as four science classes and labs a semester. “They give you four sciences your first semester. They put in you in MCB and General Chemistry, and then the two labs that go with it, and then your core classes. So it’s a lot,” testifies Ghering. If you think you’re up to the challenge and want a career in the medical field that’s lesser known, a career in medical technology may be right for you.

Philosophy Major as a Seminarian

I consider this one to be a double-whammy. Not only are you an obscure major, but you’re also adjusting to college as a student entering the priesthood. Although it might seem a little counterintuitive, philosophy and religion go hand-in-hand.

“Theology classes approach what God has said about the world […] Philosophy goes the other way. Philosophy says, ‘Here’s the world we live in, now how much can we understand?’” explains senior philosophy and seminarian student Benjamin Knopf. It might seem like the men entering the priesthood are on a whole different spectrum compared to most college students, but they’re human. They still had to adjust to living away from home when they first came to college and navigating life as an adult. In fact, their day-to-day schedule closely resembles the schedule of a college student.

“We get up really early, between 5 and 5:30 in the morning. We have holy hour, and then mass at 6:45. Then we get down to Gannon around 7:30, get breakfast, and then we’re on campus from about 8 until 3. I have 18 credits. I work in the mail room. In that sense, I’m just like every other college student,” says Knopf.

History with an Archaeology and Culture Minor

Most people hear “archaeology” and think of Indiana Jones. Actually, the archaeology minor at Gannon University focuses more on human studies and anthropology than searching for the hidden temple. “You have to take Cultural Anthropology, History of the World and the Near East. Also, for the history major, you need History Without Borders. Also, you can take Intro to Middle East,” says senior history and archaeology minor Tiffany Harris. In addition to classes with humanities and cultures, students pursuing an archaeology minor have the opportunity to travel abroad to a dig in Jordan. This allows students to truly understand the importance of other cultures and history. “History and archaeology may be humanities, but they’re just as important as the sciences […] History teaches why people act the way they do,” says Harris.