New Survey Says Whatever You Majored In Is Probably Useless

Whenever a new one of those studies about the lowest-paying college majors comes out, I always instinctively scan the list for my own majors (English Lit and Gender Studies – a lovely melange of “you will never have a job when you grow up”). Surprisingly, neither one is on this Yahoo! list of the worst things to major in this year. There are some of the usual suspects like art history and religious studies, but there are some more ‘practical’ degrees on this list, including education, nutrition, culinary arts, and graphic design. What gives? Maybe some of these jobs – shoutout to all my teacher and social worker friends – are just naturally low-paying anyway.

Here’s the full list. Is your own area of study on there, or are you somebody who was smart enough to major in economics and could totally buy and sell me?

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    • aleia_jade

      I’m an English lit major/ gender studies and applied linguistics minor. I always get “Oh, so you want be a teacher? No? [blank look] Then…what will you DO with it?”

    • Eileen

      Early modern European history. Didn’t make the list, but I’m guessing that’s probably because it’s kind of rare to see someone leave school permanently with a bachelor’s in history.

    • Sivan

      Does it EVER matter what you major in? Isn’t it ALL about connections when you actually have to find a job? I say major in whatever makes you happy to study, then let the “real world” break you down and sell you into corporate slavery.

    • Colleen

      I’m #20 and I regret it EVERY! SINGLE! DAY! Why on earth would I pay someone to teach me something I could have learned on my own from reading books? What a waste, what a waste. Shoulda done something worthwhile.

    • johnnycomelately

      Shocked by this list. Professional degrees not earning anything and liberal arts ones that don’t “make” the cut.

    • Corporate Tool

      I majored in something useless that I loved (military history) and it hasn’t failed me yet. I work in finance, and every interview I go on, they ask about it. I’ve gotten many compliments about how nice it is to see someone passionate about their course of study. On the downside, I get a lot of military-themed presents from my office-mates.

      Do what you love, excel at it, and get relevant work experience during the summer.

      Also, a lot of these are “professional” degrees for low-paying professions. No one goes into social work for the money.

    • sjgjess

      I majored in Classics… probably too low on the totem pole to even be included.

    • Jen Dziura

      I’m not surprised by this. Keep in mind that Ivy League schools in the U.S. refuse to even teach subjects that are regarded as “professional” rather than academic; most don’t have undergraduate business departments, mine cut the education department while I was there, they constantly defend their CS departments by pointing out that they’re really teaching computer “science” and not programming, and they would never offer a degree in something as ephemeral and utilitarian as graphic design. (I’m not necessarily advocating this view; just pointing out something about the American educational landscape). Thus, those who majored in such “practical” degrees have marked themselves as coming from less well-regarded institutions. Investment banks, for instance, prefer an Ivy Leaguer who majored in econ or poly-sci and to whom they can teach business to a non-Ivy Leaguer who actually studied business.

      I majored in philosophy, and while I did not grow up wealthy, people view a real, live philosophy graduate with a certain sort of wonder and awe, which is probably tied in with some kind of interesting class assumptions.

      • Kay

        Hey Jen,
        I’m currently majoring in philosophy. Just wondering, what job do you have now with that degree?

      • Jen Dziura

        Hi, Kay. I am a career columnist here at TheGloss (just search for my name), and I actually have written a one-woman show about what I did after graduating with a philosophy degree — in short, nothing very philosophy-related (dotcom entrepreneur, egg donor, comedian). However, my philosophy background has come in handy — I’ve been writing and editing parts of logic textbooks, debating in public events, and other interesting adjuncts to an otherwise eclectic career. Good luck!