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The Candy Girl's Guide to Unconventional College Courses

A list of non-traditional courses from different universities in the Philippines.
IMAGE Mark Jesalva ART Clare Magno

Just because fewer people are taking a certain course doesn't mean it's less important than others. Sometimes, people just have very little idea that such a course exists, which is why we shed light on some of them by talking to individuals who have taken non-traditional courses, and gathering pertinent information from the schools' admin offices. Whether you're looking for a course to get you closer to your dream or to help you change the world, read through this list for some unique suggestions.

BS Sports Science

If you want to be: a coach, trainer, teacher, movement therapist, or any related work involving the science behind a sport, you should consider taking up BS Sports Science.

Schools: University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila University

Duration of the course: Four years

Course description: According to UST's Office for Admissions, the course aims to provide the students a "comprehensive understanding of the scientific basis of sporting performance," which is including, but not limited to goal-oriented fitness regimens, recreational sports, and elite sports.

Rewards of the course: By the end of the degree, UP's College of Human Kinetics expects students of this course to "have the competencies to function effectively as science-oriented sports specialists prepared to work in an environment characterized by technological advances."

AB Philosophy Major in Pre-divinity

If you want to be: a theology professor (or in the far future, a female priest), you should consider taking up AB Philosophy Major in Pre-Divinity.

Schools: Ateneo de Manila University (other schools offer Philosophy, but not all have pre-divinity options)

Duration of course: Four to five years

What makes this course unique: "This was originally a course designed for those preparing to become priests. Usually, seminarians take philosophy for their undergrad course and then they take theology as their MA. However, it was opened to the laity. Some people say that I'm the first girl who graduated from this course, but don't know whether this is true," shares Rae Sanchez who took up AB Philosophy: Pre-Divinity Track. She's now teaches Theology and is studying to complete a doctorate in the same course.

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Must-have traits for this course: "I don't think I'm in the position to give general criteria for any student to do well in this course. Let me just list some things which I found or would have found helpful: A sense of wonder, imagination, deductive and inductive reasoning, critical thinking, open-mindedness, reflection, diligence, and faith. We had to read pages and pages of texts by philosophers and theologians and we had a lot of oral exams with thesis statements, which we had to explain."

Challenges of this course: "Writing a lot of papers and reviewing for oral exams; thinking through some concepts, the nuances and how they relate to one another was also challenging; because I'm a woman, people kept on asking me what I was doing in that course since I couldn't be a priest anyway. Constantly explaining my choice was also a challenge (but this also helped me understand my decision better.)."

BM Music Composition

If you want to be: a composer, arranger, teacher, or work in the music industry, you should consider taking up BM Music Composition.

Schools: St. Scholastica's College, UP Diliman, University of Santo Tomas, Siliman University

Duration of the course: Four years

Course description: St. Scholastica's College's website describes it as providing the students with knowledge to nurture the creative gifts of their students and develop them to have broader and more informed musicianship, which includes a deepened understanding of music literature. "It stresses musical, technical and conceptual development as basic elements to the creative process."

Requirements of the course: "Outstanding musical aptitude and talent and must be ready for the study of music at college level," according to Siliman University's College of Performing Arts. To determine this, the department requires an audition upon entering the Music Department to gauge the talent and potential of the student. 

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BA Anthropology

If you want to be: a professor, doctor, lawyer, researcher, and/or an archaeologist, you should consider taking up Anthropology.

Schools: University of the Philippines, Siliman University, University of San Carlos

Duration of the course: Four to five years

Must-have traits for this course: "Anthropologists in training must be keen observers, critical thinkers, and compassionate researchers," says Ieda Jimenez, a graduate of UP Diliman with a degree in BA Anthropology. She now works as a project-based consultant under a pharmaceutical company, but she still gets to do freelance work as a researcher for other local academic projects.

Rewards of this course: "The course lets you learn things first-hand. It helps you see from different perspectives and look into the deeper meaning of all things related to man; why they are and how they came to be. The field gives you a better understanding, not just of others, but of yourself as well; consequently, pushing you to become a better individual of the society. Also, you get to travel as part of your research!"

BA Fine Arts Major in Art Management

If you want to be: someone who works in museums and galleries, you should consider taking up Art Management.

Schools: Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde

Duration of the course: Four years

Must-have traits for this course: "Perseverance and hard work are necessary in being able to do well in this course. Communicating well is also vital, as it is important for us whenever you have to do a pitch or present a project," says Estela Bagos, a graduate of both Art Management and Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University. She is currently the education assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

Challenges of the course: "The most challenging part is having multiple deadlines for multiple projects. It can get tiring in the sense that you are juggling so many requirements at the same time."

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Rewards of the course: "You learn time management (even if it has to be the hard way). Especially in my case of having two courses that demand a lot of output and numerous presentations, I believe that the most rewarding part is getting out there and dealing with multiple projects at the same time."

BS Entertainment and Multimedia Computing Major in Game Development

If you want to be: a game programmer/developer, game designer, game sound engineer, graphics programer, you should consider taking up BS Entertainment and Multimedia Computing Major in Game Development

Schools: FEU Institute of Technology, University of the East, Asia Pacific College

Duration of the course: Four years

Course description: FEU Institute of Technology describes it as "the study and application of fundamental and advanced theories in game design, scientific simulations, use and development of gaming technology and tools," among others.

Rewards of taking this course: By the end of the course, students at University of the East are equipped with "creative and technical knowledge, skills and values in conceptualizing, designing, and producing digital games and tools, and in managing such projects over different technology platforms."

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AB Animation

If you want to be: an animator, concept artist, storyboard artist and the like, you should consider taking up AB Animation.

Schools: De La Salle College of St. Benilde

Duration of the course: Three years

Must-have traits for this course: "Drawing skills are a plus but as a student, you have to have passion. You enter the course very little knowledge, but you become equipped as you go along. And you'll make it as long as you have the passion and determination," says Jakin, a graduate of AB Animation in De La Salle College of St. Benilde. He now works as a freelance illustrator and has dabbled in digital design.

Rewards of taking this course: "At the end of this three-year course, there will be an animation festival where all the graduating students will present their animated shorts to fellow students, faculty, and parents. It takes one year to finish a two- to three-minute short, but watching them, together with your loved ones, and everyone appreciating your very first animated short, is rewarding." 

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What other non-traditional courses do you want to know more about? Sound off in the comments section below and we'll try our best to help you!

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Mara Agner
Assistant Lifestyle and Features Editor
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