By Wayne J. Downs and David A. Tomar, condensed by Rich Tatum

Over at TheBestSchools.org, Downs and Tomar have compiled a thorough and comprehensive guide to the best college majors to help you survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse. We encourage you to head over and read the full treatment there, The 25 Best Majors for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

Don’t forget to check out and share their infographic HERE  (or at the end of this article) featuring their top-five pick!

Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the major benefits and uses for each life-saving course of study.

Remember: Zombies favor the unprepared mind…

Agricultural Sciences

01-agricultural-sciences-sign2_2In the coming Zombie Apocalypse your best chance of surviving is: location, location, location! Go remote. Avoid densely populated areas, roads, streets, and strip malls. Venture off the beaten path, choose the less-travelled road.

As an agricultural sciences major, you will help your community to produce, gather, and stockpile food, manage crop cycles, optimize growing conditions, conserve soil, and maintain ongoing food production.

Remember the Alamo! In the event of a zombie siege or a sustained assault by human assailants, you must be able to provide fresh, locally sourced, and nutritious alternatives to human flesh without leaving your fortification.

Animal Husbandry

02_ac0qd1no_2Closely related to agriculture though a bit more “romantic” in nature.

Chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, and goats don’t just farm themselves. Your skills in animal husbandry will make you a useful and rare commodity.

Probably not well-suited for the vegan temperament: A stock of live animals will become a sustainable source of food that isn’t people.

Applied Sciences

03_qi5vw8hc_2Pimping out your tastefully appointed college dormitory is easy. Homesteading in an abandoned colonial ore-mining village is hard. You will need “a very particular set of skills.”

When creating something from nothing — whether erecting sturdy fortification, sound structures, or harnessing renewable energy sources — your applied sciences major will be critical.

Your chosen major will bring your technological ingenuity, engineering innovation, and project leadership skills to the forefront — though we encourage you to consider a subspecialty that will make you inherently more valuable than a bipedal Snack Pack for zombies.

Applied science is “real world science:” biochemistry, electrical engineering, civil design, industrial design, mechanical engineering, and so on. These skills will aid your long-term survival.

Not so much statistics and probability theory.


04_wi5cav3j_2As an architect, you will help transform wilderness into something resembling civilization. But not all architectural tastes are equal: think more Frank Lloyd Wright than I.M. Pei. You and your fellow survivors will be wilderness pioneers, vying to persist in harmony with nature while harnessing it for survival.

You will need to design fortification capable of withstanding both lumbering zombies but also cunning bandits and looters.

Think like a military architect: your structures don’t have to be beautiful, but they must be sturdy and defensible.

Your building skills and your knowledge of structural engineering will be critical. Your comprehensive knowledge of AutoCad shortcuts will not.


05_748oslq2_2As the study of life, biology will be ironically valuable in a world crawling with the undead. Our ability to understand, prevent, and perhaps even treat the zombie virus will depend on our shared knowledge and understanding of life.

A major in biology puts you in the admittedly dangerous — but potentially heroic — position to achieve any number of breakthroughs in our understanding of and ability to neutralize the solanum virus.

Sure, your major in biology will make you an asset and a value to your fellow survivors on a daily basis. But most importantly, with this degree in hand, you just might save the world.


06_fd1b6ylh_2While fleeing from urban zombification to the sparsely populated wilderness, your knowledge of flora will improve your chances for survival. Only you can unlock the secrets hidden in the flowers, trees, herbs, berries, nuts, seeds, fruit, and fungi around you.

From harvesting medicinal solutions to cultivating food sources, your botany major will make you an expert in plant species and their many benefits for non-zombies.

With deep knowledge of air, water, and soil quality, you will also help guide plant reproduction that is sanitary, sustainable, and industrious as well as non-poisonous and tasty.

As a botanist, you will be a linchpin for your community’s agricultural, medical, and culinary operations — but don’t get a big head: you should be equally comfortable working with plants, humans, and, to a lesser extent, the walking undead.

Business Administration

07_dl3n9gzf_2Though corporate-ladder climbing ambitions won’t protect you from discerning zombie diners, a business admin degree can still be valuable to you and your fellow survivors as you organize and lead the charge for community survival.

Sure, managing the needs, responsibilities, expectations, and ambitions of your fellow survivors may not be the stuff corporate giants are made of, but on the day legions of groaning necrotics besiege your compound, your skills as a transformational leader will play a major role.

Your skills in leadership, delegation, operations management, project implementation, and contingency planning will determine whether your operation thrives like a Macy’s or gets swallowed up into oblivion like a Bamberger’s.

City Planning

08_v6eqqfid_2Today, your average city is a colorful mix of metropolitan elites, hipster bohemians, and low-income families. The city is where it’s at! Tomorrow, it’s where the zombies are. Fortunately, a degree in city planning will help you navigate and plunder a rapidly crumbling infrastructure while you and fellow survivors escape its confines.

Your knowledge of urban design will enable you and your band of survivors to carefully traverse an urban landscape marked by death and carnage while outflanking mindless zombie lurkers, evading military blockades, and surmounting a combination of traffic bottlenecks, exploding bridges, and felled overpasses.

Think of yourself as Kurt Russell in Escape from L.A. (and, to a lesser extent, Escape from New York). Avoid highway rest stops, no matter how badly you crave a Cinnabon.

You can rebuild civilization and urban parking lots later. First, you must salvage the survivors and useful material from a fiery urban hedge-maze.


09_n04fsqtj_2A communication degree will teach you the art and science of delivering, disseminating, receiving, interpreting, and acting on information. Overcoming a failing communication infrastructure will give you a tactical advantage over the inarticulate zombie hordes.

You’ll need to create practical ways of maintaining communication without the benefit of texting, emojis, or 4G-powered smartphones.

Consider yourself your new settlement’s chief public information officer without access to Reuters, CNN, or even Fox News.

Criminal Justice Administration

010_yut3qs34_2When civilization wanes, chaos, disorder, banditry, and warlordism will rise. As a criminal justice graduate, you will ensure that your delicately balanced society does not succumb.

Skilled in administering justice, exercising mercy, protecting public safety, and enforcing the letter of the law, you will draw the line between order and chaos.

With a strong sense of ethical responsibility, you will play a key role in helping create a body for legislating basic rules and providing for the personnel and structure for enforcement.

This isn’t Mayberry and you aren’t sheriff Andy Taylor. You are a more sane Rick Grimes, ensuring your fledgling community is safe, secure, fair, and equitable.

Culinary Services

011_io91hkm6_2Both zombies and humans get really cranky when hungry. However, only humans require balanced nutrition.

You will be skilled in the preparation, preservation, distribution, and rationing of food.

Presentation won’t really matter.

A refined set of knife skills will prove handy both in the kitchen and when repelling zombies.


012_hc964i5l_2Commodities trading will take on a whole new meaning after the apocalypse.

Though not particularly bright, zombies require nothing to survive but living animal meat and require no creature comforts. Humans, however, need stuff, and stuff must be made, scavenged, bartered, and traded.

As a student of economics, you will help maintain a healthy balance between income (goods being produced) and expenditures (things — not humans — being consumed) for your tiny, autarkic community.

Your knowledge will help foster a prosperous and thriving community, in stark contrast to the chaotic orgy of viral cannibalism inhabiting the outside world. You are the protector of the invisible hand.


013_npx9dszf2_2The outlook for educators may actually improve with Zombie Apocalypse. Absent standardized testing, you will be able to focus on decidedly practical matters. In the apocalypse, a failing grade means getting eaten by a zombie.

Your curriculum will necessarily change: science classes will expand their focus from Drosophila-mating and frog dissection to include taxonomy of the undead and training in armed combat.

Field trips will likely require armament and edged weapons.

As an educator, it will be your charge to instruct with knowledge, compassion, patience — and some level of urgency. It’s a tough world and you will be the thin red line standing between our children and ignorance — and its close cousin, a horrible, bloody death.


014_c3spnyeb_2This is the biological science which studies patterns of infection and attempts to trace infectious agents to their points of origin.

Identifying a cure for the zombie virus must also be a top priority.

You should:

a) Avoid being bitten by a zombie;
b) Avoid sharing your cola with a zombie; and
c) Avoid romantic relations with a zombie.

Environmental Sciences

015_wt46i6g6_2Once the zombie outbreak has reduced the world to a steaming heap of rubble, you will get a second chance at harmonious cohabitation with the earth. It will be your only shot for long-term survival.

In the absence of civil order, many will descend to an essentially feral state. Distinguish yourself as an environmental sciences major who knows how to conserve resources and reduce consumption, how to produce clean energy and how to compost waste responsibly.

Your knowledge will be critical to architects, agriculturists, and civil engineers in rebuilding a society that is sustainable, ecologically sound, and excrement-free.

Energy Studies

016_5h2f50hb_2Having established your community far off the grid and away from the zombie swarm, your energy studies degree will help your community achieve energy independence.

Having secured a settlement close proximity to running source of fresh water, near an ample supply of lumber, and at a strategically windy, sunny elevation, your specialized knowledge will make you strategically valuable.

As a major in energy studies, you will lead your community as it harnesses, harvests, and sustains a variety of natural energy sources. Your work will impact every aspect of daily life from the production of heat and light to aiding large-scale farming operations and powering life-saving machinery.

The ability to create and use power has historically set us apart from the undead. As an energy studies major, you’ll keep the lights on for us.

Human Services

017_lr8fxkfp_2In a context where humans are being eaten, “Human Services” may sound like a Soylent Green-sponsored course of study. However, as civilization collapses, the most basic social services will disappear, from policy development and law enforcement, to trash disposal and after-school youth programs. With your major, you will help fill that gap.

As a human services major, you’ll know how to coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies, how to make support resources readily accessible, and how to engage in public health and safety campaigns.

Odds are the last of these will require finding a sensitive way to inform otherwise uneducated citizens on the dangers of consorting with the undead.

Integrated Water Resources Management

018_jucequ1z_2As a constant source of fresh running water will be vitally important to community survival ,your actionable knowledge of water resources management will keep your community alive and well- hydrated.

With your skills in marine and freshwater sciences, you will know how to test water quality, observe the habits of aquatic life, and help your community avoid hazardous plant life, animal species, and bacteria.

Channeled properly and responsibly, your water source will also provide for agricultural irrigation, fishing, travel, and basic hygiene — including the occasional, refreshing dip in the community hot tub.

Remember: potable water is also zombie-free water. Fortunately, zombies are also poor swimmers.


019_xi6fbv1n_2Creating a community from scratch out in the wild is not as easy as the cast of Lost make it look. Your skill in logistics will aid in properly stockpiling munitions, keeping an inventory of survival necessities, coordinating the physical distribution of goods, and in forecasting future needs.

The effective distribution of fuel, artillery, food, medicine, and even people to the right place at the right time could be a matter of life or death. All this without FedEx tracking numbers or Amazon drone delivery.

As the transportation czar for your community, your logistics major will hep you administrate, schedule, and deploy public transport vehicles — or just make sure that people don’t illegally park their horses.

Mechanical Engineering

20-mechanical-engineering-sign2-175x175_2You may well benefit from a fusion-powered, armor-plated, all-terrain vehicle able to deploy lethal force, traverse zombie hordes sans impediment, and withstand a military-grade blast from above or below. Without this degree…? Forget about it.

Your knowledge of circuitry will help your community turn energy into power. Your understanding of fluid mechanics will help your community produce innovative solutions to agricultural challenges.

Your knowledge of aerodynamics and robotics could be invaluable if your community ever intends to use unmanned drone technology to conduct reconnaissance, warfare, or recreational airborne battlebot tournaments.


021_nqpsimqa_2In the world immediately following a sustained doomsday event, nursing and medical majors will have their hands full.

If you like helping people and aren’t squeamish about everything that dysentery implies, one of these might be the major for you, including nursing, general practice, surgery, neurology, pediatrics, neonatology, and even podiatry. (Don’t underestimate the importance of good arch support when out-sprinting an undead attacker.)

Your medical studies will become life-saving skills. Learn to treat patients in combat zones, to provide care without the benefit of modern life-support technology, and how to differentiate the symptoms of zombification from those of common influenza.

And here’s a bonus: you get to deliver the next generation of pioneers and zombie-hunters!

Military Strategy

023_uwwvzdpq_2Unlike the undead, you’ll have a background in tactical movement, urban combat, defensive positioning, offensive maneuvering, and discipline within a chain of command.

You will teach hand-to-hand combat, weapons use, tactical engagement, and personal discipline.

You will not waste time taking names. You will take heads.


022_ncrqn0cv_2Given the postapocalyptic chaos and infrastructural decay, the risks of tetanus, cholera, and botulism will never be higher. The need for antibiotics, inoculations, and non-recreational narcotics will be substantial.

As a pharmacology major, you will understand which chemical compounds have proven medicinal benefit, the side-effects of various treatments, and the drugs needed to treat and prevent illness.

It will be up to you to synthesize treatments and remedies using only what is at your disposal, including the flora, fauna, and other features of your natural environment.

As a major in pharmacology, your importance to the world’s survival cannot be overstated. In the face of a massive viral epidemic, no weapon is more powerful than the cure.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. But, really, medicine is the best medicine.

Physical Education

024_ojhxba77_2Nothing makes the work of a zombie easier than out-of-shape humans. As the Zombieland documentary illustrates: the least active will be the first to go.

The goal of physical education will be to prepare and harden students for survival. If you feel that you have the character and leadership skills (and fitness) to take on this responsibility, you should consider a degree in physical education.

Of course, the content of physical education must change in life after zombies. Low-impact activities like badminton, pickle ball, and Newcomb will be replaced by grappling, gauntlet running, and stamina training.

“Survival of the fittest” will necessarily take on a whole new meaning. Cardio is key.


025_jlroa5g8_2Admittedly, there won’t be much time for lying around on a couch and discussing your feelings of inadequacy in the time of the undead. However, even in the Zombie Apocalypse, understanding the mysterious inner-workings of the human mind will remain an important preoccupation.

As you attempt to forge a stable and lasting community, people will still argue, disagree, and call each other creative but cruel names. This is where a psychology major could have a profound impact on the trajectory of your community.

You will take the lead in helping to mediate conflict, mollify rogue factions, and bridge ideological gaps. You will help the members of your community move beyond personal differences in favor of shared survival and not recrimination, in-fighting, and mutiny.

Your training will also make you a source of calm for those dealing with PAAD (post-apocalyptic anxiety disorder) and a source of comfort to those whose loved ones are transformed into oozing flesh-eaters.

Honorable Mention: Philosophy

026_5529cu1z_2In a world where the responsible adults you once knew are now trying to eat you, a philosophy major can give you the intellectual tools you need to find yourself and help others in their own internal journeys.

As a philosophy major, you will facilitate open discourse over ideas, and stimulate abstract and critical thinking. In a world where hot showers are in short supply, you will be armed with the rational tools necessary for coping with your new reality and with the rhetorical gifts to help others do the same.

Zombies never establish fulfilling or lasting personal relationships because they lack empathy and the ability to hold stimulating conversations. With a major in philosophy, you can help to ensure that your community is caring, compassionate, and conversational.

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