Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!
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Welcome to the third gift guide in the Ultimate Gift Guide series for geeks! This time I’m introducing you to buying gifts for gamer geeks. If you missed the introduction post  here’s a reminder of what an academic nerd is:

Academic nerds are what most people think when you say ‘nerd’, and most geeks attribute nerdiness to academics and knowledge. An academic nerd could have a love for any academic subject; maths, science, history, philosophy. I’ll be leaving out technology, art and English as I’ll be covering those in the guides for Tech Nerds, Art Geeks and Book and Writer Geeks respectively.

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

Some academic nerds have a deep passion for just one subject, while others may have a wider array of interests. Finding out your nerd’s favourite subjects could be as simple as looking at their job or academic history; they may be working in a field they love or studied it at University. You can also glean a lot from their hobbies and their interests; what is their favourite museum or gallery? What documentaries do they often talk about? What books do they read?

If you’re still struggling to pin down exactly what their favourite subject is, don’t worry! I’ll be covering some generic academic and nerdy gifts in this guide that will suit all nerds too.

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

Handmade gifts are not only an amazing, and beautiful way to show someone you care for them, they’re also unique. In the gaming world handmade items are especially precious to us because they are created by fellow fans who share the same passion we do. It is very hard to find gaming items in stores sometimes and that means there is a thriving market for handmade gaming products online.

I could dedicate an entire series of guides just to what is available on some of these sites so I have chosen instead to provide a list of sites and let you browse them at your own discretion.


Etsy is handmade heaven and you may find yourself losing several hours browsing there, so if you’re short on time go in with a plan. You can find literally everything there including things you haven’t even considered. It is also an international site so you have access to creators from all over the globe.

Store Envy

Another great handmade site that has a vast range of handmade goods for sale by creators.


Folksy is the etsy, so to speak; it’s described as the “the home of British craft”. They have some fantastic items available that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

Similar to handmade gifts are online stores where artists sell prints of their artwork and designs. These unique designs can then be bought as prints, stickers or printed on a range of products such as t-shirts, notebooks and even clocks! This can lead to you finding the quirky gift for just the right person.

Like the handmade sites above there are numerous incredible items and artists listed, so here are some sites to get you started:


Products designed by independent artists that are then printed and manufactured on quality products. Each artist decides which products they want their design featured on, so not every design can be placed on a mug, for example. The variety of products, especially when it comes to clothing, makes this a great option for gifts as there is something for everyone’s style.


If you’re looking for quality design and fine art then Society6 is the place to go. There’s graceful typography, detailed art depicting characters and everything in between – and they’re available on every product imaginable. There’s apparel, furniture, home decor, art prints, stationery and my personal favourite – bags. Finding decent geeky bags isn’t easy and here is an entire site full of beautiful designs.


As the name suggests Teefury focuses on apparel, namely t-shirts, tank tops and hoodies. They have a wide range of designs created by individual designers, which they’ve also grouped into specific collections to help you find exactly what you’re looking for – something really useful for gift hunting!


Qwertee has a different setup than the other sites on this list. Designs are only up for a limited time so you have to be quick to get your hands on the ones you want. The great thing about this is that it means there’s always something new and fresh, and you get some incredible gaming designs. It is a t-shirt only site catering for adults.

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

A subscription box is a box of products that gets delivered each month, and you can choose to sign up for a subscription for 1 month, 3 months or more. Subscription boxes make fantastic gifts because they include a range of different products, often exclusive ones for a great price. Most boxes offer a variety of products so these are idea if you’re not sure what your geek/nerd likes. You can either choose to order an actual box or buy them a subscription/gift card which they can then choose to use when they wish.

Here are my recommendations for some great boxes:

  • Matter – Described as a subscription box for curious minds, this is one for science nerds. Each month they send out materials, objects, specimens, or artifacts made of the most interesting pieces of matter from our universe.
  • Madmen & Heroes – This is a unique subscription box which could appeal to a variety of academic nerds. Every month recipients are sent a box filled with mysteries and ciphers that they need to unlock to get to the root of a story based on historical events. This is a great gift idea for people who like challenges, as well as anyone with an interest in history or ciphers.
  • Skulls Unlimited – Got a bone collector or anthropology nerd? Then this is the box for them! Skulls Unlimited it is a professionally curated Osteology box that will be fantastic for any students studying Osteology, anthropology or veterinary science.
  • WordSearchBookClub.com – If your nerd is a puzzle fiend, especially word searches, then consider getting them this box and making sure they get their fix all year round!
  • Finders Keepers – An amazing box for explorers, history and culture lovers, Finders Keepers will also appeal to mystery and puzzle lovers too. Described as getting your “heart racing and brain ticking” the box is filled with contents to help you uncover underground cultures and local traditions.
  • Curiosity Stream – Curiosity Stream is an online streaming service for award winning documentaries. So if you’ve got a documentary fan to buy a gift for then buying a gift card for this might be a good choice.
  • Kadenze – Kadenze is an online subscription service for education cources for a wide range of subjects including technology. If you’re buying for a student or just someone who just loves to learn new things then this is the perfect gift.
The best places to buy gifts for academic nerds!

There aren’t many shops that offer a great selection of products for geeks/nerds in the real world, so the best place to shop for your geek is online if there isn’t a small local store that you know about. If there is a local store don’t be afraid to go in and ask for help finding that perfect gift; like me they’re there to help and will be happy to share their geeky knowledge with you 🙂

This list is a mixture of UK and US stores.

Museum & Institution Gift Shops

Most have online gift shops now and they also source gifts from local businesses. This means that you can find some fantastic and unique gifts perfect for academic nerds so check online to see if your local museum has a store and see what you can find. Two good places to start are The British Museum shop and the Smithsonian Store.

Other unique ideas for academic nerds are memberships to their favourite institution, or an adoption/sponsorship of an animal.

Not on the High Street

Pair Of Wooden Periodic Table Coasters from Not on the High StreetNot on the High Street is an online portal to unique handmade gifts that you won’t find locally. It was created to help people find items that they couldn’t find on the high street and that means it’s filled with gifts ideal for geeks. What I particularly like about Not on the High Street is how they bring the nerdy into every day items like these Wooden Periodic Table Coasters.

They also offer fantastic jewellery gifts many of which have customisable options too. I really like these Protractor Cufflinks for math geeks.

Football Club History Print from Not on the High Street

Another idea for academic nerds is to mix two of their interests together to create one special gift. Not on the High Street is great for doing just this, and for history nerds who also love football what about Football Club History Print like this one here for Everton Football Club.

Present Indicative

I think this has just become my new favourite gift site and I’m not just saying that because they have a Library gift section 😉 Their site is divided by subject; The Arts, Humanities and Sciences and then into sub-categories which cover pretty much every academic subject. There’s a fantastic range of gifts under each one so this is the place to go for gifts for academic nerds especially those less considered subjects like philosophy, psychology and earth sciences.


SnorgTees has a diverse selection of products for all geeks, however, they really do shine when it comes to academic geeks. They have items for just about any type of science nerd, maths nerds and loads of animal and dinosaur humour t-shirts which are sure to be a hit with many nerds!


This online store is fantastic for geeks/nerds because it covers pretty much every type of geek that exists. While most stores tend to specialise in general geek products, gaming or apparel, getDigital has a bit of everything and what a fantastic choice of products does it have! I had a hard time picking a few favourites to highlight for you.

Schrödinger's Cat Glow in the Dark T-Shirt from getDigitalFirst up is this amazing Schrödinger’s Cat Glow in the Dark T-Shirt which shows Schrödinger’s Cat alive and then in the dark the design changes to ‘dead’. It you’re not a nerd this probably makes little sense to you but take it from me this is absolute genius! There’s also the Schrödinger’s Cat Plush which is also a great gift for physics nerds.

 Geek Gem Molecule Necklace from getDigital

If you’re looking for gifts for female nerds then check out their range of Geek Gems jewellery such as this Geek Gem Module Necklace which offers a sophisticated and friendly way for people to show their nerd pride.

Uncommon Goods

It’s in the name with this one; this site specialises in the uncommon and that is what makes it a great place to search for gifts for academic nerds. They’ve got some really unique and oddball gifts, so if you’re shopping for someone who’s got everything then this is your best bet.

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild

This one is one of those rare gems that you randomly find and then want to share with everyone you know. It is absolutely incredible! Most of their products are philosophy themed, although there are also some pop culture icons in there too. Products range from stationery, to apparel and handmade puppets – yes, I said puppets – and everything in between. There is so much available at The Unemployed Philosophers Guild and it’s all amazing. I can’t do it justice by picking a few items for you (but these Freudian Slippers deserve a shoutout!) so please go check it out!

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

The point of these guides are to help guide you to find gifts and that is why I’ve not heavily suggested my own gift ideas. I also wanted to provide you with some variety and alternate opinions so here are a selection of fabulous gift guides to give you some inspiration:

  • Top 5 eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas for wildlife lovers – This gift guide by Kate on Conservation is one of my favourites I’ve seen this year. Kate’s got some truly unique ideas that are perfect for biology, zoology and earth science nerds.
  • 10 Gift ideas for History Geeks – While this guide from Jillianne of the Lazy doesn’t contain any links to direct products it’s great for ideas and inspiration. Combine it with the links to the stores I’ve given you and you’ve got a winning combination.
  • 10 Great Psychology Gift Ideas – Aimed at psychology students this gift guide from the Very Well Mind offers some really specific ideas that will give any student studying psychology a helping hand.
Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

Wait a sec, she said don’t buy gift cards?! Well, I kind of did. I said don’t default to gift cards. I want to give you all the options and one of them is giving you a list of useful gift cards to get for geeks rather than just getting them an Amazon one or a general shopping one like Love2shop.

Most of the places I’ve already mentioned have gift card options, but here’s a quick and easy list for you:

Unique Gifts for Academic Nerds!

If you’re still well and truly stuck for ideas for the geek in your life or want some advice then let me know! Either leave me a comment or drop me message on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Pin This! Find the perfect gift for the academic nerds in your life. Whether they have a passion for the sciences, math or humanities this guide has something for every academic nerd.
Pin This! Find the perfect gift for the academic nerds in your life. Whether they have a passion for the sciences, math or humanities this guide has something for every academic nerd.

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  1. I loved these! I am happy to say I already shop at some of these so I must be doing something right! 😀 Present Indicative is my favourite at the moment. Thanks for your list – it’s been bookmarked for birthdays next year!

  2. I really love these recommendations, especially Uncommon Goods. They always have the coolest stuff you’d never think of!

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