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Quiz: Are these degrees real or fake?

university degrees
Are there really university degrees in Harry Potter and vikings? Source: Shutterstock

Knowledge spans far and wide. When compressed into four-year university degrees, knowledge is divided into neat categories – the most well-known are the sciences, mathematics, humanities, the arts and business.

Then, there are the outliers with unconventional names in higher education. Sometimes, they are so weird that it calls us to question whether such a degree actually exists or not.

That’s basically what this quiz is about…good luck!

Viking Studies

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It's REAL. The University College London (UCL) offers a four-year BA in Viking and Old Norse Studies which develops knowledge and understanding of the Viking Age through study of the medieval and modern Scandinavian languages, Old Norse literature and medieval history. In their third year, students go abroad to a university in Denmark, Iceland, Norway or Sweden.

Paranormal Activities

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It's REAL. At the University of Edinburgh, you can get a PhD in parapsychology, where you will conduct "research into the psi hypothesis, pseudo-psi (‘what’s not psychic but looks like it’), beliefs about the paranormal and the history of accounts and studies of anomalous phenomena".

'Harry Potter' degree

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It's FAKE. While the Education Studies undergraduate programme at Durham University is famously known as the 'Harry Potter' degree, the famous fictional wizard makes up only one module in the entire course. The optional module examines prejudice, citizenship and bullying in modern society using the work of JK Rowling.

Circus Studies

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It's REAL. Bath Spa University offers a BA (Hons) Degree in Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre, where students are trained to become a creative artist who can draw on a variety of circus skills that can be applied in a portfolio career.

David Beckham degree

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It's FAKE. Students of Sport, Media and Culture at Staffordshire University can study "the rise of football from its folk origins in the 17th century, to the power it's become and the central place it occupies in British and global culture today". Beckham is a significant feature of the optional module but there is no degree dedicated entirely to the British sports icon.

Heavy Metal

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It's REAL. Australia's University of Newcastle has a PhD in heavy metal where the doctoral candidate will study “heavy metal geographies” and research “the social geography of heavy metal culture”.

Puppet Arts

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It's REAL. You can get an MA/MFA in Puppet Arts at the University of Connecticut's School of Fine Arts. The course description on its site states: "Virtually all of the arts and many of the humanities and sciences feed directly into the form that is referred to as Puppetry".

Comic Arts

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It's REAL. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design offers a BFA "for students who are passionate about storytelling and imagery and want to be in a city that has a strong—and ever-growing—comic scene".

Bowling Industry Management and Technology

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It's REAL. Indiana's Vincennes University used to offer a degree from the 1970s until 2015 before axing the programme due to falling enrollment.

Bagpipe Performance

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For more than 70 years, bagpipe enthusiasts have attended Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music as Bagpipe Performance majors. It's one of only two US schools to offer a four-year degree in the art of Bagpipe Performance.

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