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The Coolest Penn State Minors You Never Knew Existed

Penn State offers a total of 202 minors, all of which are intended to supplement your regular studies. Even if you’re majoring in something like toxicology or medieval studies, there’s probably a minor out there for you. I took to MinorQuest to find some of the coolest and weirdest minors at Penn State, and the results were far more interesting than anticipated.

Astrobiology: This minor may sound unusual, but it’s exactly what it looks like. Astrobiology is a branch of biology that is concerned with life on Earth and in the universe. According to Penn State’s University Bulletin, the astrobiology minor educates students in “the varied scientific disciplines that contribute to our general understanding of life, the origin of life, the past history of life on Earth, possible futures for life on Earth, and the possible existence of life on other planetary environments.” Students in this minor are required to take a combination of astronomy, biology, geoscience, and meteorology classes. If minoring in astrobiology means I can graduate as an intergalactic warrior, I’m all ears.

Music Technology: A minor in music technology might be a good fit for you if you’re looking to drop a #fire mixtape in the future. This program, administered by three departments in the College of Arts and Architecture, is designed to cover topics like sound design, musical acoustics, and entertainment systems. Prescribed courses for the music technology minor include music and theatre classes, as well as some integrative arts gen eds.

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management: If you were left in a hole of emptiness and despair after the final season of “Parks and Recreation” like the rest of us, now is your chance to give your life meaning again. This minor introduces students to the world of leisure and recreation services, offered at places like resorts, universities, athletic facilities, and of course, public parks. Every RPTM class you take is just one step closer to becoming Leslie Knope.

Mushroom Science and Technology: While a minor in mushrooms may seem a little strange, it’s not completely useless. Students minoring in mushroom science and technology can gain work experience in the mushroom industry at Penn State’s Mushroom Research Center. Anybody with this minor in mind is probably really fungi.

Off-Road Equipment: This minor, offered by the College of Agricultural Sciences, is a great supplement for any engineering or agriculture major interested in the mechanics of mobile equipment like excavators and tractors. Students interested in this minor are encouraged to take a wide range of horticulture, turfgrass management, and agronomy classes.

Poultry and Avian Studies: In all honesty, who wouldn’t want to minor in chicken? According to the university bulletin, the poultry and avian studies minor was designed to supplement any major with “studies focused on the biology, and management, of avian species, with an emphasis on domestic fowl.” The program focuses on the study of avian species as well as the commercial industry of poultry, preparing students to enter a surprisingly large number of animal science and agribusiness disciplines.

Which cool or interesting minors at Penn State did we miss? Tell us in the comments.. 

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.


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