Journal Entry #6: Surprising College Degrees with Survival Applications


We all have our ideas of a survivalist. Someone along the lines of Bear Grylls or Les Stroud, who roughs it under the stars while roasting a rabbit over the fire.

            The reality is, not everyone can be that person even if they wanted to. However, when there comes a time to band together to get through a crisis, whether it be a hurricane or a downright global collapse, you’re going to get people with different skill sets. Especially, people with an academic background. Anybody can try to rough it in the woods and sleep under a lean-to. Just as easily, anybody can learn to start a fire. Yet, when it comes to building or rebuilding a community, these people will have a vital role to play. 

            With the amount of pressure, we put on people to get a college degree, you’re going to find plenty of them in times of a crisis. You have your obvious useful degrees, such as pre-med, applied sciences and engineering, emergency management, etc. These are well and good, but what about the other degrees? The ones we least expect to be useful in times of crisis and collapse? Well believe it or not, these degrees can be useful in some shape and form and are often surprising. 

Business General or Other Related Business Degrees

            Economies are the blood that pumps the heart of societies. When a community grows and meets other communities, markets are developed where they exchange a currency for goods and services in order to benefit each party. You’re also going to need the people who specialize in this field. Business majors work in the field of managing private businesses, whether large or small, and they specialize in studying the economy and trade on a domestic and global scale. Developing an economy may not be the first priority in rebuilding society after a collapse, but once communities start to develop, they’ll start looking for other communities. Trading with other groups for goods, skills, and services benefit everybody.


            Mankind started off by looking up at the stars, and great expeditions on land and sea were navigated by studying constellations and mapping them. Astrology majors may not appear to be the best addition to your group, especially if you have a map or GPS (if it still works). However, later down the road they can prove useful in terms of navigation if you happen to lose your other methods. Astrology majors also end up working diverse career fields in relation to their studies, such as working with computers, traveling to different places around the globe, and teaching their theories. They learn a thing or two from their experiences that can possibly later benefit your group. 


            Anthropology is the unique science of studying human culture, how cultures develop, and about the human species in general. Their studies cover the biological, linguistic, cultural, and archeological aspects of our kind. Anthropologist are very diversified in their work, and they work all over the world to study their field. They can benefit your group in terms of communicating with other communities in order to benefit yours, teaching you how to divulge in another culture, and bring a new perspective to a certain approach. As time passes by after a total collapse, they will most likely study how such an event changes other societies, and how communities develop and change. They can also advise your group on lessons from past civilizations, in order to teach your community. 

Fermentation Sciences

            Ah the study of making beer and wine, in fact many would believe that this isn’t surprising, and is in fact essential. Ever since humanity learned the power of yeast, they’ve been using it to create alcoholic beverages that help moral, but also prove to have medicinal benefits to some degree. Fermentation science majors are unique, and you often find them in vineyards or craft breweries, etc. Yet when the time is right, these specialists will make life that much worthwhile for your community, and also develop unique goods to trade (something that your business majors can help out with). When you get tired of drinking boiled water or boring pine needle tea, these degree holders are the ones to change that. 


            Archaeology (one of the subfields of Anthropology) can be immediately thought to Indiana Jones and his hat and whip, finding lost and ancient artifacts. Although Archeology in the actual world may not be as thrilling, they play a vital role in today’s world, and not just by studying artifacts. Archaeology is a very diverse field and has many branches to is as well. This includes studying faunal (plant) remains, dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), and zooarchaeology, all of which need excavating and surveys to complete a dig. Their diverse career field brings plentiful and varying skills and knowledge that can benefit everybody in your group. Archaeologist in your community may not look like Indiana Jones, but they certainly share the same spirit. 


            This is a fun one, especially since Philosophy majors tend to have the reputation of being the less committed students in college, and really the only thing they can apply their degree to is teaching. Yet when the going gets tough, and everyone’s constant thoughts are focused on surviving, there needs to be that member with the intellectual tools to remind people what they are doing it for. Philosophy is one of the oldest humanitarian studies, dating back to the most ancient civilizations. Some of the most memorable names in the field are Plato and Socrates, and their teachings have been applied in the academic field for centuries. Those same teachings can be applied to your community and help the members of your community reflect on why exactly they are surviving. Philosophy may be the overlooked degree in college, but we often forget to appreciate the field for what it is, especially since survival is a mental game. 

Culinary Studies

            One final degree worth mentioning and should remind us all to never underestimate the need of a good cook. Proper food preparation is often easily overlooked but is possibly one of the most essential roles in any group. Culinary majors study proper food preparation, maintaining a proper kitchen, and the health and nutritional aspects of food preparation that lead to disease prevention. Many diseases can be caught in the result of lousy food prep, and good food goes a long way in terms of maintaining moral in the community. So, keep in mind the benefit of having a Culinary major in the community.

            The list goes on and on with degrees that can surprisingly benefit your community’s survival effort. Some of the majors mentioned in this blog are only a handful of the possible degrees that can have survival benefits. The important lesson is that there is not just one ideal human being in survivalist culture. There is actually an ideal community, and that is a healthy and productive community. Deciding on the means to develop that community is determined on the kinds of specialists and their roles they play. Everyone has useful and unique skills that can play a role, so always consider each one. 

            There may be future blogs written on this subject, so if you have any suggestions, please mention them in the comments below!