Bender: I went to bending college. I majored in bending.
Fry: What was your minor?
: Robo-American Studies.
This is when a character reveals that she or he was educated in (or is being educated in) a field or subject that is unexpected for the character. Typically, this gag takes the form of a college minor, as per the title suggests.
For example, a tough macho man could minor in Women's Studies or a ditzy society girl is minoring in Particle Physics.
A great, if narratively cheap, way to showcase Hidden Depths
. Bonus Points
if this comes up at a plot relevant moment and not just as small talk. In such a situation this can act as a justification
for a Deus ex Machina
or Ass Pull
(possibly softening the blow). Sub-Trope
of Suddenly Always Knew That
. Compare Subject101
. See also Minored in Asskicking
Not exactly related to becoming TV Tropes savvy.
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Anime & Manga
- Gambling Emperor Legend Zero has the comic relief idiot Yakuza answer a ridiculously difficult quiz question and reveal that, because his father was a diplomat, he knows a lot about world geography and international relations.
- One of the Sigma Tau Delta Alpha Bitches in Hazed is majoring in "Hitler Studies". Main character Ileana's major is Women's Studies, which wouldn't be so unusual if she weren't a Sigma Tau herself.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Team Four Star's Nappa graduated from Sayian University with a major of Child Psychology and a minor in PAIN.
- Doctor Jeremiah from Code MENT has a PhD in Ass kicking, a Bachelor's in Pain and a minor in Women's Studies.
Films — Live Action
- In Mr. Holland's Opus, it becomes a minor plot point that that the school's physical education teacher "minored in modern dance."
- James Bond himself, in the film version of You Only Live Twice, claims to have earned a first in Oriental languages from Cambridge. However, he only says this to Moneypenny and never demonstrates any great language skills, so it's possibly an exaggeration or joke.
- The James Bond books actually do emphasize Bond's language skills quite a lot.
- In Up in the Air, George Clooney's character inspires a recently fired man by reminding him that he had minored in French Cuisine.
Films — Animated
- In Monsters vs. Aliens, the Mad Scientist Dr. Cockroach (who turned himself into a half-cockroach monster while working on a teleportation system, in a Shout-Out to The Fly) turns out to have a very plot-relevant degree.
My Ph.D. is in DANCE!
Live Action TV
- Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, claims to have a degree in violence.
- Indiana University offers a "Build Your Own Major" major. It's the same way New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor Will Shortz got his degree in Enigmatology.
- Uwe Boll holds a doctorate in Literature.
- Thanks to Polish psychologist Andrzej Łobaczewski, students may now receive an actual degree in evil—ponerology, in his terms. It's the study of societal causes of sociopathy and social injustice, although nonetheless his students can legitimately claim to have least taken a few courses in evil.
- Indie actress and screenwriter Brit Marling majored in Economics at Georgetown University and was offered a job with Goldman Sachs, then turned it down to pursue acting.