MARQUETTE, Mich.  – A university in Michigan is offering an unusual degree – in marijuana.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the university began its four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree this semester, with about a dozen students in the first class.

Northern Michigan’s program combines chemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, marketing and finance to offer a four-year degree.

Brandon Canfield is an associate chemistry professor at the university in Marquette. He says students don’t grow marijuana plants in the program, but instead look to other plants that are traditionally recognized with medicinal value, but are legal to grow.

University officials say the program fills a need because 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, including eight states where marijuana is also legal for recreational use.