You can study that in college?

Bagpipes, surfing, puppets, and The Beatles? 

They’re real majors, and 529 funds can help

A my529 account could be your ticket to ride.

For those who have spent eight days a week curating a Beatles collection with every album, import, and 45—and even love Ringo—this obsession could turn into a college major and, eventually, a career.

With a little help from academics at Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom, a Beatles enthusiast could earn a graduate degree in The Beatles, Popular Music & Society. Beyond Beatles minutiae, the program includes the study of culture, music, gender, and anthropology, all in the city where the Fab Four began.

Even if you don’t believe in Beatles—but you do believe in nontraditional courses of study—here are five other unconventional majors that may be appealing.

    1. CATCH A WAVE. If you like to surf, an undergraduate degree in Surf Science and Technology could be on your horizon. At Cornwall College at Plymouth University in the UK, students concentrate on media, business, geography, ecology, and sociology, in addition to surfing techniques.
    2. EXHIBIT YOUR KNOWLEDGE. Feel at home immersing yourself in art and heritage? Then perhaps a master’s degree in museum studies at the University of San Francisco is for you. The program encompasses a multidisciplinary curriculum, incorporating global concerns, project management, finance, education, and technology. Museum curation, conservation, and fundraising will be a primary focus, as well as the impact of sociological factors.
    3. GOOD ON PAPER. If you scoff at any documents that aren’t digital, maybe you should reconsider. A paper engineering degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, which spans the fields of science, engineering, technology, and sustainability, is anything but antiquated. Apply the knowledge you will gain about harvesting, processing, and manufacturing to a top-flight career in engineering or nanotechnology, among others.
    4. MASTER OF PUPPETS. This major may come with strings. A fascination with puppetry could lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree at the University of Connecticut. The puppet arts program covers everything from theatre production, costuming, and performance, to computer drafting, drawing, and painting.
    5. THE PIPES ARE CALLING. You play a variety of musical instruments and have legitimate talent to boot. But you’ve always been in awe of the mighty bagpipes. Grab a kilt and earn a bachelor’s degree in bagpipe performance at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, a program that was the first of its kind.

A my529 account can help you or a beneficiary explore eclectic interests. Funds from a my529 account can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses like tuition, fees, books, internet access, and certain room and board fees at eligible educational institutions—universities, colleges, or trade schools that participate in federal financial aid programs for students—in the United States and abroad.

To determine a school’s eligibility, explore, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid website. Select School Code Search and search by state, foreign country, or school name.

Schools listed above were verified as eligible educational institutions at the time of publication; however, account owners must determine an institution’s eligibility, as it is subject to change.