5 lesser-known majors sure to dazzle you

No matter what college you attend, some majors are always popular. Business, Biology, Psychology, and Engineering often hold the top spots throughout the U.S. as the most-popular college majors. But what about those majors you don’t hear much about? With hundreds of academic programs, CSU certainly offers choices. Here are five you might not have considered.

#1. Art with a Photo Image Making concentration

A photography student showcases her work to peers

As a CSU art major, you’ll have 11 different concentrations to choose from, including Photo Image Making. Within this concentration, you’ll explore everything from the fundamentals of digital photography to historic techniques like silver-based imagery production, cyanotype production, and palladium printing. As you learn the various mediums and techniques, you’ll be encouraged to find your individual interests, create expressive, personal projects, along with being challenged to experiment, combine other artistic disciplines, and explore photography’s connections to the contemporary art world.

Potential careers for Art/Photo Image Making grads include:

  • Professional/studio photographer
  • Creative director for a magazine or brand
  • Exhibit designer
  • Photo gallery director/curator
  • Photo lab technician

#2. Horticulture with a Horticulture Therapy concentration

girl in greenhouse with flowers

Horticulture Therapy is a branch of horticultural studies that combines the science of plant life with the social sciences to help improve and enhance human well-being through gardening and working in the outdoors. A horticultural therapist works with any group that can benefit from interaction with plants, including veterans, children, the elderly, and those dealing with addiction and mental-health problems.

Potential careers for Horticulture Therapy students include:

  • Mental health therapist
  • Corporate well-being consultant
  • Botanic garden special events professional
  • Researcher

#3. Ethnic Studies

Students have a lively discussion in an ethnic studies class

If you’re drawn to the study of society’s constructed roles, oppression within class, gender, sexuality, race, and more, Ethnic Studies is the major that allows you to explore that passion. You’ll learn to identify and understand oppression to gain a deeper and more-complex comprehension of the world we live in. You’ll be empowered to realize your own ability to act upon the world. The major aims to nurture civic-minded and culturally informed students who strive to engage with and strengthen their communities.

Potential careers for Ethnic Studies majors include:

  • Educator
  • Refugee/immigrant educator/counselor
  • Diversity trainer
  • Lawyer
  • Advocate for marginalized people/groups
  • Overseas non-profit worker
  • Social worker

#4. Social Work

Social work student meeting with a community member in office

Have you always known you were meant to work in a field that helps people and makes the world a better place? CSU’s Social Work major is an often-overlooked discipline that is directly aimed at change makers like you. Social workers are often advocates for underserved populations or individuals, and work to help ensure proper care and welfare of people within their communities and families. As a student in the major, you’ll get a strong foundation in the deep interpersonal skills and knowledge needed to become an effective professional in a wide range of settings. CSU’s social work program is known for its close-knit, supportive community and hands-on learning opportunities, so you can be sure you’ll find people just as invested as you are.

Potential careers for Social Work majors include:

  • Child welfare worker
  • Adolescent group home director
  • Counselor
  • Community outreach coordinator
  • Youth program counselor
  • Probation officer
  • Adoption worker

#5. Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

a teacher instructs to a class on the top of a mountain

Nature lovers, this one’s for you! Actually, the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources major is a wonderfully diverse major that almost anyone can find a home in. As a student in the program, you’ll learn how to see conservation through a human lens; you’ll explore the perspectives of an environmental issue along with its political, socio-economic, and ecological implications. You’ll gain a strong background in communications, hone your skills in collaboration and environmental preservation, and get a considerable amount of time in the Colorado outdoors and at CSU’s Mountain Campus.

Potential careers for HDNR majors include:

  • Environmental educator or communications professional
  • Nature center director
  • Protected areas manager
  • Park/wilderness ranger
  • Environmental analyst
  • Policy liaison
  • Public outreach coordinator

Ready to see more?

Here are five more unexpected majors to consider.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.