Hi Rick Ross,
In fact, many colleges that have a religious studies department offer Buddhism besides other religion courses like Christianity, Judaism, etc. I took Buddhism last semester in Princeton (I also don’t intend to be a monk in Tibet or anywhere else). It is taught in different ways too. You can study the Buddhist Philosophy, you can study Buddhist practices from cultural point of view or you can also learn the practice itself (meditation and stuff). And it is a good idea if you want to know about the Buddhist perspective on different topics. I took a Buddhist philosophy class where we studied the arguments the Buddha, different Buddhist philosophers throughout history and different sects of Buddhism make in topics related existence, nature of reality, how the mind works, ethics, epistemology and stuff. I enjoyed the class so much, I would be preaching even in discussions with friends (parental advisory: that might not end up well in few cases).
You will have to check if the universities offer it as a major or not by going to the universities’ websites itself. But many universities do offer a course or two.
I have not met anyone who is a Buddhism major but I do think Buddhism is quite popular. There are certainly classes to understand Buddhism but to find a Buddhism major is difficult. Below are 2 courses offered in Buddhism by University of Chicago and UCLA:
I am not in a state to suggest if being a monk is a great idea or not. But I certainly think it is a unique and more relaxed way to live a life. If you do happen to decide to be a monk, please share your experiences either here or in our email.