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Topical Studies / Where Can Topical Studies Take Me?

Where Can Topical Studies Take Me?

Finding the Right Fit with the Topical Studies Major

From environmental studies to Middle Eastern studies, students across the country are custom-designing their own courses of study and creating majors that allow them to combine often-eclectic academic interests with career goals.  The topical studies  major was created for students whose interests cut across traditional departmental and college lines and who want to be on the "cutting-edge" of today's job market. It allows students to satisfy a specific interest that could not be fulfilled in any of the university’s traditional degree programs.

If you have a single interest or several interests that go beyond a specific discipline, you may select a topic of concentration rather than a departmental major. A topical studies major is theme based and courses selected must have clearly-defined objectives which give focus and coherence to the topic chosen. The university must have sufficient course offerings in the area to be studied. During the senior year the student must complete a comprehensive paper integrating the material studied in their field. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, a topical studies major offers you the opportunity for academic flexibility and creativity. A topical studies major can pursue any topic, as long as the topic falls within the broad subject areas below:


  • American Culture Studies
  • Appalachian Studies
  • Bio-Physics Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Community Development
  • Comparative Literatures & Cultures
  • Criminology
  • Environmental Geoscience
  • Film Studies
  • Film, Television & Digital Media
  • Folklore & Mythology
  • International Law
  • Jewish Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Rural Health Studies
  • Social & Behavioral Science
  • Statistical Analysis & Interpretation
  • Urban & Regional Planning

The University of Kentucky offers a variety of courses from separate departments which, when combined, support the topics listed above. However, for some of them, study through Education Abroad or the National Student Exchange may be necessary.

What skills does topical studies develop?

  • competence in research – using facts, ideas and argument
  • synthesize large and diverse quantities of information
  • ability to communicate effectively through oral and written presentations
  • integrate various thoughts and theories
  • collaborate with other scholars

Undergraduate education requirements

Career Opportunities

A topical studies degree prepares students for graduate education as well as preparation to work in a variety of professions which include, but are not limited to:

  • communication and media
  • education
  • environment
  • humanities
  • public relations
  • cultural agencies
  • government
  • hospitality industry
  • legislative work
  • marketing and advertising
  • museums
  • public service
  • publishing
  • research
  • science
  • utilities

For more information about careers, go to the following:

Inside Higher Ed

U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview


For more information about career opportunities, contact the UK Career Center.