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11 totally unexpected things you can get your Ph.D in

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Though many of us can’t wait to escape our undergrad days, there are a select few who elect to return to school to pursue an even more prestigious phase of education. That’s right, we’re talking about Ph.Ds. Hey, is there a doctor on the plane?

In the United States, over 50,000 Ph.Ds are granted each year in a variety of fields and practices. While many of these seem like perfectly reasonable undergrad programs, the idea of being a “doctor” in quite a few of these fields is definitely unexpected. And though the list of available doctoral studies varies by country, here are the ones you probably haven’t heard of here in the United States.


Zodiac lovers, you may want to sign up for this one. A Ph.D in Personality Studies focuses on social psychology as it relates to personality! Students in the Yale University Social/Personal Psychology Ph.D program research topics like the links between frustration and aggression, public opinion formation, and interpersonal processes.


That’s right, you can get your Ph.D in Fisheries Science. At Oregon State University, students focus on analysis of fish populations, water quality, and fish and invertebrate physiology! Their program also offers concentrations in sub-fields like liminology (the study of lakes and freshwater), toxicology, and water pollution.

3Wood Science

Wood science is just that. The study of wood and wood products! The State University of New York offers Wood Science Ph.Ds in a variety of focus areas. Tropical timbers, wood anatomy, and wood treatments are things you might focus on during your time as a Wood Science Ph.D student.

4Ceramic Sciences

Although ceramics might seem like a hobby, you can actually become a pottery doctor! Well, you can earn a Ph.D in Ceramics. At Alfred University, the Ceramics Ph.D program trains students in ceramics engineering, problem solving, and the industrial applications of ceramics.


This one blew my mind. You can get a doctorate degree in Acoustics, aka sound design and engineering. At the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, coursework includes sound design, audio engineering, recording sciences, as well as stranger fields like psychoacoustics (the psychology of sound).

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