most unique universities
Hamburger University is a training facility at the McDonald's Corporation global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Source: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP

There’s no reason to limit what you study at uni to just medicine, science, law or business.

You can be bold — and the most unique universities in the world might just have the niche subjects or approach to learning you’re into.

Though not known by many, many universities have broken away from the traditional higher education approach.

Many take vastly different approaches to learning, forgoing the usual lectures, seminars, labs, exams, and more.

Whether you want to study on a farm or become Santa Claus, we have found you some of the most unique universities in the world.

The world’s most unique universities

universities around the world

Why spend four years in lecture halls when the most unique universities around the world let you prepare for the future in bolder ways? Source: Scott Olson/AFP

Deep Springs College, California 

Situated on a ranch in California is a two-year institution called Deep Springs College. It is renowned as one of the most remote educational institutions in the US.

The college offers scholarships to its students and only accepts less than 30 students every year.

However, despite its small size, it has produced some notable alumni, including three MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, two Pulitzer Prize winners and one Emmy winner.

On a typical day, students start with classes in the morning, followed by working on the farm in the afternoon. 

After completing the programme, students will obtain a two-year associate’s degree fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

Many of their students transfer to world-class universities such as Yale University, Brown University and Stanford University to complete their college education. 

International Space University 

If you want to study abroad, why not consider International Space University? Though not actually located in outer space, this institution takes space education very seriously.

Located in France, the university aims to prepare students to become explorers and researchers of space.

Courses are taught by space agency leaders and boast expert guest speakers. 

There are a number of courses available for anyone interested in the field of exploration.

The French Ministry of Education officially accredited the university in 2004. 


Santa University 

If you have always dreamed of becoming Santa Claus, don’t worry, you won’t have to travel all the way to the North Pole. 

Located in Colorado is a Santa University held annually to train those interested. 

It was started by the Noerr Programme to train and provide Christmas cheer to shopping malls across the country.

They have provided Santas to over 225 shopping malls in 38 states across the US.

However, this programme is more than just about jingling bells and singing carols. These Santas work hard to prepare for the holidays. 

Over this one-week course, you will learn all things Santa-related.

This includes beard maintenance and bleaching, basic sign language, media training, how to deal with Christmas wishes and how to hold children safely.

Hamburger University 

While you may know McDonald’s, what you may not know is that the company started its own institution to train restaurant managers and owners. 

Hamburger University, arguably not only one of the most unique universities in the US but has the coolest name as well, has produced over 300,000 graduates since it was established. 

As a member of the American Council on Education (ACE), the degrees students earn here are accredited.

The university only offers one degree at the moment: a bachelor’s in Hamburgerology.

But don’t be fooled by its name. You will not be learning how to flip burgers.

Instead, courses explore restaurant operations, leadership skills, customer service, operations and more. 

While it may sound easy, getting accepted into Hamburger University is not easy. In fact, their acceptance rates are lower than Harvard and Oxford.

With an acceptance rate of only 1%, it is one of the most competitive programmes in the world. 

Chicken University 

While it may be called Chicken University, it was established for humans. 

Located in Seolbong Mountain in Icheon, Gyeonggi, one of the most unique universities in Asia was started in 2000 to educate future franchise restaurant managers.

Here, employees will spend two weeks learning management strategies, marketing tactics and recipes sold at BBQ restaurants worldwide. 

They offer tours and information sessions for those interested in learning about fried chicken.

The company is focused on developing a new fried chicken recipe that will overtake others in the market. 

Apart from cooking chicken, students will also learn accounting, marketing and other skills needed to succeed in the business. 

Since it opened, Chicken University has produced over 200,000 graduates who work at one of the 1,800 restaurants. 

While the university is not accredited yet, that could all change by 2025 as they hope to become a certified educational institution open to all.