Pop star on stage

You’ve seen college majors as gifs and Netflix shows and zodiac signs—it’s way past time to examine what our favorite pop sensations would be doing if they were students at UNH Manchester. Read on for what today's pop stars might study and check out the pop playlist on Spotify!

Analytics & Data Science: Dua Lipa

Analytics and data science concerns the theoretical, mathematical and computational underpinnings of modern data, and it is a fast-growing STEM field that has already begun to shape the future of the economy and business sector. In her album "Future Nostalgia," Dua Lipa utilizes dance-pop and disco influences to explore music theory and produce a more futuristic sound. She speaks to the ever-evolving nature of analytics on the title track, where she proclaims, "You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game/Like modern architecture" and even references the practice of predictive modeling in “New Rules." A pop star for the modern age, Dua Lipa’s music and stage presence cement her as the perfect celebrity to represent UNH Manchester's analytics program.

ASL/English Interpreting: Sabrina Carpenter

Her emails she can’t send and spelling out her expectations for her partner in "Please Please Please" make it obvious that Sabrina Carpenter is all about communication, and communication is the core of UNH Manchester's ASL/English interpreting program. Interpreting majors use ASL and spoken English to allow people without a language in common to interact—and what’s a more universal language than pop music? Sabrina has also seen her fair share of diverse cultures and languages opening for Taylor Swift’s worldwide Eras tour; and she’s always making efforts to ensure her message is understood, as she sings in "Read Your Mind," "Double-checkin', did I get the message in the way/You intended?" Born interpreter!


Biological Sciences: Hozier

Could a singer with an album titled “Unreal Unearth” be anything but a biological sciences major? With lyrics like “If I was born as a blackthorn tree, I’d wanna be felled by you” (“NFWMB”) and “Lay me gently in the cold dark earth” (“Work Song”), it’s obvious that Hozier is all about the natural world. Just as UNH Manchester's biological sciences program explores how living organisms (from microbes to animals to ecosystems) interact with one another and the environment, Hozier’s music also examines the interconnectedness of humans to the natural world (“Be”) and the welfare of individuals in minority groups (“Take Me to Church”). The dirt and flowers on the album cover don’t hurt, either.

Biotechnology: Chappell Roan

Biotechnology is a new and exciting field that applies biological processes to technologies that can help improve our lives and planet. Chappell Roan is a new, exciting up-and-coming pop star known for her distinctive aesthetic that draws inspiration from futurism, nature and pop culture—a blend that is extremely reminiscent of the innovative hybridity inherent in the study of biotechnology. From her fashionably feathery swan costume for her Jimmy Fallon performance of “Good Luck Babe” to using butterfly and seashell imagery on her tour merchandise, Chappell’s distinct bricolage of visual and sonic elements perfectly matches the variety of concepts and research methods that UNH Manchester biotech majors get exposed to the program.

Business: Rihanna

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more savvy businesswoman than Rihanna. Despite the seven-year drought between her music releases, she’s reached billionaire status with her iconic beauty brand Fenty and fashion line of the same name. In addition to displaying her potential business major savvy in her artistry and financial pursuits, she’s also a bona fide politician, serving as an ambassador for the government of her home country of Barbados since 2018. Just like UNH Manchester's business majors, she’s applied theory to real-world finances and hands-on ventures—she has, in the words of her chart-topping single, done the “Work.”

Communication Arts: Olivia Rodrigo

Spilling her GUTS full of SOUR emotions, Olivia’s flair for the dramatic and commitment to her artistic vision would make her the perfect communication arts major. Her advertising skills (including her (323) 622-SOUR call campaign for fans to preview her new album), unique music videos (she shot and edited “get him back!” on an iPhone to ensure the correct aesthetic), awareness of the effects of digital media (“I kinda wanna throw my phone across the room,” she admits in “jealousy, jealousy”) and keen understanding of human relationships ("I miss you, and I hope that you're okay," she assures her former friends on “hope ur ok”) are all qualities that would benefit her in any of UNH Manchester’s communication arts programs. Good for her!


Computer Information Systems and Computer Science: Beyonce

Is there anyone who knows the ins and outs of the music industry better than Beyonce? She’s been performing since she was eight, been part of an iconic R and B band, been on a world tour and traversed genres most artists wouldn’t even dream of. Just like a computer science or computer information systems major, Beyonce understands the details of her technology and uses her knowledge in various contexts, from voice acting to movie directing. Plus: her song “Rocket”? She’d fit right into a UNH Manchester computing class.

Engineering Technology: Lady Gaga

Mechanical and electrical engineering technology involves the design, development, testing and modeling of various technologies. Engineering requires innovation, tenacity and initiative, all qualities that Lady Gaga has displayed throughout her career. From her 2009 debut “Just Dance” to her iconic performance at the 2010 VMAs, she’s been forging new connections and providing a much-needed electric shock to the musical landscape. Not to mention her increasingly complex stage sets—including but not limited to animatronic unicorns and rainbow strobe lights for her Chromatica Ball—that likely required the input of an engineer to design and implement.

English Studies: Taylor Swift

The chairwoman of The Tortured Poet’s Department, author of the longest number-one song in chart history, accomplished novelist by middle school…could anyone besides Taylor Swift more perfectly personify English Studies at UNH Manchester? The quintessential English major, Taylor has always prioritized lyricism in her music—you’d be hard-pressed to find another pop star who uses terms like “precocious,” “sanctimoniously” and “eulogize” in their songs. Not to mention her multiple literary references, from cottage core classic “The Secret Garden” on “I Hate it Here” to the Greek myth of Cassandra on the song of the same name. Taylor’s eloquence and verbosity are emblematic of the English major; she could have written “Romeo and Juliet,” but Shakespeare never could have pulled off “Love Story.”

English Teaching: Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen’s original life plan included becoming an English teacher, which makes her, along with her fun, bubbly, upbeat catalog, a perfect fit for our English teaching major. Most famous for her standout singles like “Call Me Maybe” and “Run Away With Me,” Carly’s music is a great blueprint for exposing others to and teaching them about pop music. Carly also owes her pop career to an educator—she auditioned for Canadian Idol only after one of her high teachers encouraged her to do so.

Homeland Security: Lana del Rey

From covering the famous “Country Roads, Take Me Home” to ensuring that the public is aware of the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard, it is clear that Lana del Rey has a deep concern for national affairs and domestic security. Many of her iconic music videos reference this, including “Born to Die,” which utilizes classic Americana imagery like eagles, flags and motorcycles, and “National Anthem,” which references one of the most infamous homeland security incidents in national history: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Lana has also been lauded for her complex and esoteric lyrics, which require the critical and analytical skills built within the major to understand and appreciate.

Florence Welch
Florence Welch

Humanities: Florence Welch

The humanities major is an interdisciplinary program that examines the human experience through society, culture and art. From referencing various Renaissance artists through her album covers to publishing lyric books with faerie-inspired aesthetics, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine perfectly personifies the program. Covering the full “Spectrum” of the humanities, Florence often holds book club events with her fans and even has an honorary fellowship from the University of the Arts London. She is a true patron of arts and culture, and her music catalog is as diverse and well-rounded as a UNH Manchester humanities major.

Neuropsychology: Ariana

Neuropsychology is a narrow field that specializes in brain functions like attention, language and memory, all subjects that Ariana Grande covers in her music. Songs like “Thinking 'Bout You” and “NASA” chronicle her fluctuating attention spans with subjects; she references Gary Chapman’s famous love languages on her appropriately titled track “Love Language” and grapples with the difficulty of remembering a lost loved one on “ghostin." Furthermore, her precise and immaculate vocal techniques reflect the meticulous research methods employed by neuropsychology majors at UNH Manchester.

Psychology: Harry Styles

Harry Styles cares about your mental health. From his encouragement to “treat people with kindness” to speaking out about the benefits of therapy, Harry embodies the deep and holistic understanding of human behavior that our psychology majors glean from the program. While “Harry’s House” is currently closed for therapy, the insights he provides through his music (especially in songs like “Matilda” and “Love of My Life”) indicate that he would be an excellent psych major.


Check out the pop stars as majors playlist below!