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Innovative Graduate Programs for the Intellectually Curious

We speak often of “the bestgraduate schools. But what about the most innovative -- those programs that perhaps point to the future of work itself?

Here are some of our favorites - if we could do it all over again, it’d be tough to pass these fun opportunities up!

MLA Gastronomy, Boston University

Founded by renowned chefs Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, BU’s MLA in Gastronomy encompasses the arts, the humanities, and the natural and social sciences. Students “examine the role of food in historical and contemporary societies from a variety of perspectives, gaining a holistic view of the impact of food, food science, and nutrition on world civilization.” 

Specializations are optional and include Business & Entrepreneurship, Communication, Food Policy, and History & Culture.

The course list looks like fun from top to bottom, but highlights include:

  • Planning a Food Business
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Fundamentals of Wine
  • The Science of Food and Cooking

Graduate Certificate, Digital Mapping, University of Kentucky

This program at the University of Kentucky prepares students to use advanced techniques of quantitative spatial analysis, build online visualizations incorporating web programming, discuss historical developments in cartography, and explore the social context and implications of digital mapping. As technology continues to illuminate the wonder that is our planet -- remember, over eighty percent of the ocean remains unmapped -- this degree provides an amazing opportunity to work at the forefront of earth’s final frontier.

Courses include:

  • Spatial Data Analysis And Visualization
  • Collaborative Geovisualization 
  • History Of Critical Cartography
  • Social Impacts Of New Mapping

MS in Foresight, University of Houston

You don’t need an MS in Foresight to see how unique and valuable this degree would be! The University of Houston says its degree “prepares students to enter an emerging professional field helping clients and employers anticipate significant changes that lie ahead and to influence those changes to achieve long-term goals.” 

What do professional futurists do? Unlike traditional forecasters, who focus on incremental change based on existing conditions, they emphasize systemic and transformational change. Working for businesses, governments, and nonprofits, they describe alternative plausible and preferable futures in addition to the expected future. In so doing, they give shape to the actual future - quite an exciting idea that comes with a not-insignificant amount of power and responsibility.

Courses include:

MA Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Students in this MA program at RISD work closely with an interdisciplinary faculty across liberal arts, design, and science, focusing in areas like Anthropocene studies, climate change cultures, green urbanisms and sustainable design futures. RISD calls its students’ final projects “radical new forms of intellectual idea sharing” that “probe the interconnections between the natural and built environments” that inextricably bound us together.

Courses include:

  • Inventive Political Ecologies
  • Eating the Way Back Home: Food, Literature and Identity
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Climate Futures, Design and the Just Transition