The 5 Worst Degrees Ever
Are you concerned that a certain college major will result in you getting one of the worst degrees in the world — something utterly useless and counterproductive to a stable financial future? Unfortunately, they’re out there and colleges and universities continue to offer them despite the lack of benefit they offer the student. In a recent piece on education, Yahoo! took a look at some of the worst degrees being offered today. Not to be totally critical, the site also counteracted the negativity with some suggestions on what majors you should go for instead. Some of their findings included:
On the surface, this one may seem like a surprise considering that it deals with technology, and you pretty much can’t do any meaningful career without it these days. However, Yahoo! contributor Jennifer Berry attests that this one is a sinking ship because “this degree had a whopping unemployment rate of 14.7 percent for recent college grads.”
David Bakke, a financial columnist at Money Crashers, agrees stating that Information Systems takes its place among the worst degrees “mostly due to the fact that computer software programs can now complete a lot of the tasks and responsibilities previously held by information systems majors.”
If you wish to go ahead and earn the degree anyway, Bakke urges you to “Partner your information systems major with a computer science major or minor to make yourself more marketable.”
“Computer science has more to do with developing new and cutting-edge technology [than information systems], a skill that will always be in demand in today’s tech-driven world,” he added.
There have been some beautifully designed feats of architecture since the dawn of mankind, so it’s a little sad to see this one go, but go it must, according to the Yahoo! report. Georgetown notes that the bachelor’s degree in this field carries with it a whopping 12.8 percent post-grad unemployment rate. Bakke blames the large housing market collapse. “Although it’s on its way back, it still has a ways to go — and the housing market isn’t expected to fully recover at least for another five years.”
If architecture is “your thing,” however, Bakke recommends an internship and lots of networking!
The only thing we found surprising about inclusion of anthropology as one of the worst degrees for future grads is that the unemployment rate was so low: 12.6 percent. Unfortunately, that’s still almost twice the size of standard unemployment, making it a poor choice for a career.
“The unemployment rate for this major is so high mainly because this degree is only good for those seeking an educator position at the college level,” said Bakke. “Pursuing a career as a college educator is difficult, but you’ll typically need a master’s degree or more, and there just aren’t that many students choosing to take classes in anthropology.”
If learning world cultures is irresistible to you and worth braving the high unemployment, an advanced degree (master’s or doctorate) is an absolute must, as earning one shaves eight percentage points off the unemployment rate, taking it all the way down to 4.6 percent.
Film, Video, And Photography Arts
You may think those moviemakers have it easy, but when you cut deeper into the numbers and realize that the success stories are typically the exception to the rule, a picture of a tough degree field starts to emerge. A Georgetown study found the career field to be suffering from an 11.4 percent unemployment rate. “This is mainly because employment opportunities for these majors are limited geographically to New York City and Los Angeles,” Bakke explained. “Outside of the major entertainment centers in this country, there’s little demand for this major.” Furthermore, competition is fierce with tons of professionals vying for entry, and that doesn’t even count the outliers who are able to break in without any formal education at all.
Just to put it in perspective, a look at screenplay submissions is one of the most discouraging stats you can find if you want to be discovered the old-fashioned way. Production studios claim to receive tens of thousands of screenplay submissions per year, while the total amount of films that are actually made, acquired, and distributed falls in the hundreds.
If you must pursue this path, Bakke urges you to go the internship route “or volunteer at an appropriate organization while you’re still in school to start obtaining real-world experience.”
You’d think that with the frequent vacations, the getting nothing done to significantly improve people’s lives, and the ability to vote yourself a pay increase and stop working whenever you want, even when it could mean catastrophe on a national scale, that political science would be the most awesome major around. However, Georgetown finds that it carries an unemployment rate of around 11.1 percent. “The main reason for this is that this major is typically suited only for those seeking to run for political office,” says Bakke.
“A bachelor’s degree in political science isn’t good for general business,” he continued, “because the things you learn just aren’t applicable outside the world of politics.”
In an increasingly polarized country, we wouldn’t recommend this degree, also, because politicians are quickly becoming Public Enemy No. 1. Furthermore, if you do plan to run for office, you’ll have every stone in your life turned over by journalists looking for dirt. Sounds awful, don’t you think?
However, you do get to occasionally stand up for someone’s rights and wield power, which can be kind of intoxicating, we suppose.
Obviously, if you’re the type of person, who still feels compelled to take on one of these worst degrees after reading all this, then you’re probably in the right realm. After all, dire statistics or not, people continue to do these things because they’re hoping that they’ll be the outlier, and you very well could be, especially if all the other hopefuls throw in the towel early and pursue an accounting degree instead. Still, you should be mindful of the risks in pursuing degrees that do little to enhance marketability. If passion still drives you, then success is possible. But try to think of ways to hedge your bets.
In my own situation, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in English but didn’t want to teach. I minored in journalism, but newspapers weren’t exactly hiring alcoves when I got out of college. I ended up learning about computers and SEO and blogging on my own and was able to find my way. My college training helped me in only the smallest of ways. If I had it to do over again, I would have pursued computer science and worked on writing and grammar in my spare time. You can find a way without choosing one of these worst degrees. You’ve just got to be creative.