Starting university can seem like a surreal experience at the best of times.

If you’ve just left school after a slightly sheltered upbringing, campus is crammed full of opportunities to let your hair down amongst fellow knowledge-seekers from around the world.

And mature students can get freaked out trying to communicate clearly with youngsters who seem like they inhabit another planet.

But in certain select spots on earth, there are seats of learning that are downright weird but delightful.

You may not find yourself on a directly vocational path in these places, like studying an MSc in Healthcare Management or taking an MBA to boost your business smarts— but your experience will be out of this world nonetheless.

  1. California Sheep Shearing School

When you want to put the baa into barbering, there’s no better place than the California Sheep Shearing School at the University of California Cooperative Extension, Mendocino County.

The popular school typically operates for only one week in early May each year — but despite its short duration, it transforms even the most nervous sheep shearers into skilful ovine stylists.

  1. National Centre for Circus Arts

If you’ve always yearned to run away from home to join the circus, finding a BA Hons in Circus Arts doesn’t involve jumping through too many hoops.

You’ll find this course and others like the UAE level three diploma at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London — book a spot and you could soon be swinging through the air as a terrific trapeze artist.

  1. The Academy of Magical Arts

Harry Potter fans who want to make their wizardly ambitions reality by becoming professional prestidigitators can learn complex tricks a-plenty at The Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California.

With four levels of conjuring classes culminating in a performance workshop and specialist sessions in cards, coins, street magic and mentalism, it’s the best place to study if you want to boggle minds for a living.

  1. University of the Arctic

If polar environmental protection floats your boat, the best place to study is possibly the University of the Arctic.

A collaborative network of institutions based in the Circumpolar Arctic region, it boasts breezy campuses in Norway, Russia, Sweden, Canada, the US and Denmark that offer diverse courses in everything from sustainable leadership to Icelandic as a foreign language.

  1. International Space University

Space cadets with interplanetary passions should set their controls for the International Space University near Strasbourg to gain the requisite qualifications for a truly stellar career.

Becoming a Master of Space Studies sounds like the coolest educational aim this side of Saturn and the Chancellor is none other than lunar legend Buzz Aldrin — if that doesn’t make you want to slip into a spacesuit and strap on a backpack, nothing will.

So there are the world’s top five strange and wonderful universities — apply today for a student life less ordinary.

What’s the weirdest institution you’ve studied in? Share your thoughts in the comments section.