Was That Wise? “Useless” College Degrees and Majors

18 comments
June 20, 2013 ‐ By Tanvier Peart
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When one heads off to college, the biggest goal is to graduate with a degree and land a great career. Now this is all fine and dandy as higher education can often lead to bigger and better things, but what happens when what we get is not good enough?

Now you are probably thinking, “Who’s to say a college degree is better than any other?” You should be able to study what your heart desires and just live. While there is great truth to that, unfortunately, all degrees are not created equal. In addition, there are certain degrees and majors that are becoming less practical — shall we say — in this day and age.

Here’s a list of college degrees and majors that may make it difficult to land a job. Of course there are exceptions as a person’s hustle will often carry them far, but we thought highlighting fields of study with declining numbers was worth a mention.

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  • Aquaria

    Useless list. “Fine Arts” as a major? “Liberal arts” as a major? Seriously?

    Who does either?

    Nobody, that’s who.

    You have to dig down into each one’s individual majors.

    And Philosophers may have hard times getting jobs immediately after school, but, ten years later, they have one of the highest median salaries.

    That’s the problem with filth lists like this. They take into account the short term, not the long term, and the long term doesn’t look so great for the “hot” majors of today. But that requires thinking and serious research, something that morons like this just aren’t bright enough to manage.

    Maybe if you’d majored in a useful liberal arts degree, you’d know how to do something with your head other than using it for a talking hat rack. That isn’t as smart as a talking hat rack.

  • Leena

    While I agree with a lot of these, I don’t think the whole article is accurate. As a journalist in TV news, you definitely do need to have a degree. I am working in a small market and if someone tried to apply for a full time job with only a blog as their credentials, they’d be laughed out the door. I don’t even think you can get a job at a newspaper without a degree. In terms of the media field, you can’t be a one trick pony anymore. You have to know how to do EVERYTHING. You can write? Well, that sounds nice and everything but can you shoot and edit? Do you know HTML? Our engineer is on vacation…can you fix this system so that the show airs on time? We literally have to know everything. If you’re majoring in journalism thinking you just want to write for a newspaper, yeah not a good idea. It’s also not a good idea to major in it if you just want to be on TV. Anchors and reporters are a dime a dozen, although good ones are hard to find. I am a news producer and because everyone mostly wants to be on TV instead of make it, we are in demand. Once you know the ropes, you make very good money. You also have to have thick skin and be able to communicate effectively. Majoring in journalism is not necessarily a waste of time.

  • Depressing

    So drop out of college because the degree I’m working on is worthless? Sure, no problem. I’ll be broke either way it goes apparently.

    • Nope

      No, just put in the leg work BEFORE you graduate. Take advantage of the student discounts offered to join professional organizations, instead of just the greek groups which are basically irrelevant once you graduate anyway. Instead of blowing money you don’t have on a spring break trip, attend a professional conference. And inetern and network your butt off because no one is going to hire a ghost. When you attend college you’re not just paying for books and the education, you’re paying for ALL of the resources they have (student services, career services, etc.).

    • Candacey Doris

      No, just consider getting a minor in something that will make you more marketable, network your but t off, collect letters of recommendation from EVERYONE, get those internships and try and set up a job before leaving school and possibly consider grad school.

      • Aquaria

        The “marketable” degrees of today aren’t necessarily the degrees that work for you ten years from now, stupid.

        Plenty of corporate slime degrees stagnate at a certain point, and don’t go up even in relation to the cost of living. A lot of liberal arts degrees only increase in value.

        One of the highest paying degrees ten years after college is philosophy. Not corporate filth. Not engineering. Not computer whatever.

        PHILOSOPHY.

        A philosophy degree is better long term than just about any other non-professional degree. Political science is good. Foreign languages, in an increasingly global world, are becoming ever more valuable.

        I promise that my sister, who majored in Spanish and did the off beat touring the Spanish-speaking world thing for ten years, working for non-profits, is making more than a lot of doctors, translating documents between corporations and assorted law firms. We’re talking over 300K a year.

        The vast majority of corporate slime degrees don’t come anywhere near that, even in the year before retirement.

  • SMHgurl24

    Im wondering where this person cam up with these ideas? Nowadays a bachlors degree aint worth squat anyway so graduate school will be needed. For instance with archeology ( which isnt a degree itself in the US take time to do more research for your article), unless your willing to follow the job path your screwed. No they just dont dig up dinosaur bones there are a lot of legalities for companies that are willing to pay upwards of $50 an hr to excavate sites thats on their building property. Do some research, unless you have what it takes to work hard ANY degree will work. And I love how philosphy is always on the list when they have a higher chance of lifetime job stability then any other path. Useless? I think not!

    • Lady LP

      Various institutions and companies monitor things like this paying attention to unemployment rates in various fields, job availability and scarcity. Sure a graduate degree would be more marketable but a.) not everyone can afford it, and b.) with today’s times that’s not guaranteed.

      As a person with a degree in art history/archaeology, I can say that much of this is spot on as the average salary is low and there has been reduced funding both publicly and privately for excavations, etc for decades. Unless you can get into an elite company, $50/hr is very unrealistic to receive and for most companies nowadays to pay because of the market.

      At the end of the day, you should definitely go to school for what you want. It’s cool to have a heads up about possibly obstacles and I can appreciate this writer coming from that perspective.

      • SMHgurl24

        I have to disagree, if a company buys land that carries historically important artifacts (such as villages, mass graves, ect) they are legally required to cease all work on that land until its deemed ok by go officals to continue. This take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months so if.a company is that desperate to.continue.on.with plans they are willing to pay top dollar. Of course not all of these jobs are definite but if your willing to travel to where the jobs are its possible to make a desent living. Sadly graduate schools are going to become the norm for secondary education if you wanna stay competive. Many people are starting to realize this as the undergrad people flood the market. Education has taken a bad turn for the worse but if know what you want to do and are willing to take a few extra steps, it can work out.

        • SMHgurl24

          A degree doesn’t get you a career, your ability to use what you’ve been taught to get you one does ya kno

    • Nope

      ” Nowadays a bachlors degree aint worth squat anyway so graduate school will be needed.”

      Let’s end this myth and stop exaggerating. These type of comments usually come from people with wack degrees and poor networking skills. Do you realize that only about 30% of adults 25 or older even have an undergrad degree?

      IMO, advanced degrees are only really hyped up in the Black community, hence it appearing in a lot of Black people’s facebook usernames, twitter handles, linkedin usernames, and personal email addresses. I know people of other races that have advanced degrees and you would never know it unless you asked them. But a lot of Black folk plaster their’s on EVERYTHING.

      • SMHgurl24

        It isnt hyped up is the truth. If 2 people are going for the same job, unless you have connections the person with the more advanced degree is probably going to get it. And if your number is correct that further backs up my statement bc nowadays school advertisements are everywhere. Some kind of secondary type education is needed and in 10 to 20 yrs you gonna be competing with hundreds of other applicants with the same bachelors degree. Like I said degrees aint worth squat if you dont know how to put it to good use. If an advanced degree can put you ahead of the game in the future why not get one. Doesn’t have to be in one go but imo its something people need to consider.

        • Nope

          “And if your number is correct that further backs up my statement ”

          No it doesn’t. Your previous comment said, “Nowadays a bachlors degree aint worth squat anyway”, which incorrectly implies that a lot of people even have bachelors degrees.

          “If 2 people are going for the same job, unless you have connections the person with the more advanced degree is probably going to get it.”

          I agree, unfortunately I think way too many people put way more effort into the books rather than meeting people and becoming visible in their field. A person might be educated, but what have they done, who do they know (which brings value), and better yet know knows them (brings value and respect). I’m not saying that should be all of what gets a person hired, but doing something about it shouldn’t be ignore either. There’s basically a lot of educated nobodies.

          • SMHgurl24

            I’m curious as to where you got your info from being that that number could of doubled between it being published and now. Im really speaking on people I know and others I encounter. Your absolutely right, I do see a few people who flaunt their degrees but have absolutely no idea where their heading. Thats why I dont see people as being educated until they use what they know to make something out of themselves and they cant teach that in a school. Secondary education is now starting to become another company where you can just buy yourself a degree and call it a day.

            • SMHgurl24

              Its very scary where education in this country is headed

            • Nope

              I agree.

              Those figures were common knowledge to me but you can find them from the US Census Bureau’s “Education Attainment in the United States: 2012″. Most of the people in one’s professional bubble might have degrees, but especially for people of color, we’re a minority within the minority. This country isn’t as smart and educated and many people think it is. Then again name one positive thing the US is #1 in, besides self-esteem.

  • Jane Doe

    Getting a white man is the only thing I major in.

  • Happy

    Good list. Although i respect people following their dreams…you have to consider job marketability