Here’s how long you’d survive a zombie apocalypse based on your degree
DO NOT study number two if you want to live more than a day
Do you spend your time wondering how long your fellow classmates would survive in the zombie apocalypse or a similar undead-adjacent epidemiological extinction event?
No? That would be weird.
Well, I bet you’re curious now.
Picture the scene. You’re strolling home from another lecture when you hear a faint moaning. You glance at your friend, who you assumed had just been struggling with the new material, to see that they are in fact a withered husk.
First the week five blues, now this.
If you’re an Engineer or a Medic, you’re in luck! If you’re a Natural Scientist or a Geographer, you never stood a chance. Here’s how long you’d survive in a zombie apocalypse!
Computer Science – three hours
Unless electricity wires are a match for the incessant gnawing of the fleshy remains of your great aunt Mabel, computers probably aren’t going to help you in this situation. It doesn’t matter anyway, because you’re so focused on debugging the controller for the next iteration of killer robots (yes, this is a thing apparently), that you don’t even notice when a zombie ambles into your room and rips into your flesh.
Geography – eight hours
As part of my vital research for this article, I asked one of my geographer friends what they’d do in this position. They told me they’d go to a supermarket. When I asked why, the answer was “to get pizza”.
In your desperate search for pizza, you attract the attention of quite a few zombies, with a slightly different appetite. You only manage a few bites. Oh, and the pizza was terrible.
Natural Sciences (most of you) – three days
So, you have an impressive ability to sit through ridiculously complex 9 am maths lectures, huh? That’s not gonna save you from the collapse of civilisation, kiddo.
You decide to go it alone. You take the gamble that since you’ve survived almost only in your room for months, you can probably do it for a few more. Days pass and you almost start to forget that anything’s different. Tragically, however, the animated corpse of a cleaner happens to have your key and lets themself into your room. You immediately know they’re infected because the non-zombie cleaners stopped entering your room months ago when the smell got too bad for them to bear.
You spend the rest of your days alive, cowering in your cupboard. Sorry. On the bright side, you’re quite an active zombie. You still somehow manage to wake up for your 9 am most days.
Classics – 20 days
By some miraculous coincidence, it seems that whatever ungodly pathogen causes undeath, also happens to cause the inflicted to speak perfect Latin. Nobody else notices because no one speaks Latin any more (sorry classicists).
However, once you notice that the zombie moans sound suspiciously like a rendition of Ave Maria, you start to wonder how this can be used to your advantage. Unfortunately, this new-found tool can only help you so much. You’d have just become friends with your sixth group of zombies (Classicists are very good at making friends in my experience) when one of them bites your arm off.
Apparently, tu nimium delectamenti resistere.
Land Economy – five months
I don’t think I know a land economist. I don’t think I even know someone who knows a land economist. I’m not sure if that’s because you’re really good at avoiding people, or really good at avoiding me specifically. I’m going to assume the former, which makes you a perfect fit for surviving a necrotic onslaught. Having carefully studied… uh… land, you know all the best places to bunker up and survive the coming end of times.
You quickly make your way to a nuclear bunker which is mostly empty, except for a locked room from which you hear an ominous groaning. Or is that Latin? Either way, you keep it locked. You live out a lonely few weeks until more people start arriving and you establish a commune. In return for living in your bunker (which you own because owning the rights to a property is completely normal and healthy), they simply have to work for zom-bucks, which they can pay you with. Not only that, but you control the exchange rate. Genius!
Eventually, you can’t stand it any longer and are brutally devoured when you open the door to that locked room and attempt to charge the zombies for five months of rent.
Economics – two years and seven months
There’s an interesting idea that the modern incarnation of a zombie represents a widespread cultural nervousness about capitalism. That’s the sort of thing you would have cared about before day zero. Not any more.
You spend a few frantic hours researching how the zombie uprising is going to affect cryptocurrency, but despite this lapse in judgement, manage to survive the first few weeks. Still mourning the loss of your Defi Web3 Central-Ledger-Anonymised Crypto Wallet Portfolio (is that a thing?), you attempt to trade your way onto a boat, with a printed copy of an NFT. Somehow that works, and you spent the rest of your days happily cruising through the vast and open ocean.
You eventually start to realise that there’s no real place you can land since all the ports are littered with a floating detritus of bloated zombie corpses. Luckily, it doesn’t matter because you all get dysentery and die.
Medicine – three years and nine months
I’m sorry to say it medics, but usually, you’d be the first to go. Your desperation to prove yourself, by administering first aid to anyone with more than a paper cut is not what you want in this situation. Add this to the fact that patient zero probably comes from a hospital, and the deck is not stacked in your favour.
But wait… you’re a Cambridge medic! You probably still haven’t been to a hospital, and you have far too much work to spend any time outside. That means you’ve got a chance.
You survive the first few days by keeping a cool head, finding a group of survivors, and delegating yourself the role of carer and healer. You at least pretend to know what you’re doing, and you start to climb up the ranks as your camp of survivors turns into a moderately-sized faction. You realise that you can remove your enemies by simply announcing that they’ve been bitten. The Hippocratic oath died with your college lecturer, right? You win each of the yearly elections to lead the camp (all your opponents were sadly discovered to have been infected), and rule for many years.
You eventually die in glorious combat, in an argument with some random person who got annoyed when you tried to recite the name of every bone to them.
Music – also three years and nine months
A lot of zombies retained the human instinct to exuberantly disregard any buskers they pass. You use this to your advantage and find that even holding a guitar, or telling people you know how to play Wonderwall, is enough to make most zombies overlook you.
Music is actually quite a lot more valued in the apocalypse than in our pedagogically capitalistic and ruthlessly transactional society. You quickly find a camp of survivors and form a band with a stupid name like “The Undead Armageddons”, and after covering “Zombie” enough times to make everyone annoyed, you make up some original songs and eventually realise you have the life you always wanted as a successful music star.
You die in a brutal fight against the corrupt president of your camp. You got annoyed when they tried to recite the name of every bone.
History – five years and six months
You really struggle to adjust to the zombie uprising. You can’t believe how relaxed everything is. No embarrassing essays, no stressful supervisions – what on earth do you do with all your free time?
You’ve spent so much time analysing battles that the question of where to go is a no-brainer: a castle. I’m going to let you fill in the blanks with whatever castle that is, because this is hardly my area of expertise.
It’s a fantastic idea! You have an excellent view of the surrounding environment and can keep careful tabs on any approaching zombies. Food isn’t a problem because survivors often come carrying quite a lot. Apparently, they had been kicked out of a shelter by a land economist with a god complex. You live out five happy years in a place that is only slightly worse than the architecture you’re used to, and you notice that the number of zombies lurching towards the castle gets less and less each day. You start to think you might be nearing the end of the end of days.
But one day, you’re awoken to a cacophony of zombie moans and you go to see thousands of them advancing on your homely fort. At least you get to experience one final moment of history.
Earth Sciences – as long as you’d have lived anyway
Unlike the other sciences, your degree has actually taught you survival skills and given you an excuse to load your bookshelf with hammers and rocks, which are ideal for whacking zombies in the head. The lot of you manage to survive in the wild indefinitely – congratulations!
Any other subject – three minutes
You die immediately. Maybe that will teach you to pick a more memorable subject.
Any questions? Maybe you’re wondering why you’d ever need to know this information; hopefully, you never will, but better to be prepared just in case. Stay safe, people.
All image credits: Keira Quirk