Every statistical analysis points to the fact that the bulk of employment in the modern age requires a college degree and it is grossly improbable to find a well-paying job, particularly in the formal sector that doesn’t require a college degree. Still, that doesn’t mean every college degree has proven to be valuable in securing a good wage and career. Some of the most useless college and university degrees boast of the highest percentages of unemployment and low wages compared to non-degree holders.
Considering there is an abundance of options when it comes to choosing a college degree, it is important to know just how valuable is that degree in a job market, and in this article, we discuss the ones that are not, exploring some of the most useless college and university degrees in the world. Check ‘em out below.
Most Useless College and University Degrees
In no particular order, we will take a look at twelve degrees that may not be worth the student loans or the effort.
1. Art History
The art industry might be a niche worth several millions of dollars, with several paintings worth millions on the open market. Learning about art, and becoming an expert to identify quality and original pieces might seem like a great idea, especially after watching many of the cool Hollywood movies about the subject but a degree in Art History might prove useless in the real world.
The world of art is often driven by connections and lucky opportunities in major museums or art galleries. With such little options available on open job markets for an art history major, and the few available options unable to match the over $50,000 spent on acquiring the degree, it qualifies as one of the most useless college and university degree.
2. Composition and Rhetoric
This might seem like a great idea two to three decades ago, but the growing extinction of print media where this degree is primarily useful means it is no longer a viable option to plan a career on.
The transition to digital media means a growing need for graduates of majors like English Language and Literature, which boasts of a much smaller 7.92% unemployment rate compared to Composition and Rhetoric at 17.54%.
At such numbers, it is a certifiable useless college degree and pursuing other degrees might be a better use of your college funds.
3. Environmental Science
Science says the planet is dying, but while climate change might be a legitimate problem, it remains a low to non-profit field so far, and thus graduates of courses like Environmental Science find themselves among some of the highest unemployed degree holders at 11.79% rate of unemployment.
However, thanks to the growing attention to the need for swift action to stem the effects of climate change, the value of environmental science as a degree is on the rise, but this might still not be enough to justify its cost.
A better option for this field might be Natural Resource Management, which not only has a very low 2% unemployment rate but is broad enough to give you different career paths.
4. Anthropology and Archaeology
National Treasure and Indiana Jones are two movies that are bound to leave their audience interested in a career path of finding rare historical objects. Although they starr two charismatic men playing characters in the field, the reality paints a very different picture.
This is because studying the history of society and the culture of various parts of humanity is not a very profitable subject, and graduates are most likely to find themselves teaching the courses in colleges and universities.
At 11.76%, Anthropology and Archaeology is considered one of the most useless college and university degrees a student could acquire.
5. Liberal Arts
We will be the first to admit that every single one of these courses has their value and place in society, but a capitalist world driven by science and technology means there is very little opportunity for abstract subjects like Liberal Arts.
That is why, if your goal is a life full of regular paychecks and a career that you can live off its retirement benefits at the end of your life, liberal arts might be a college degree you want to avoid.
We are not trying to be mean, but when there is less than two percent of employers interested in college graduates with the degree, it is certifiably one of the most useless college and university degrees you can have.
6. Performing Arts
There are a lot of art-related subjects that fit into these criteria of the most useless college and university degrees but performing arts might be one that stands out because of how valuable it makes itself look.
With many actors and actresses boasting of several million dollars in net worth, studying their vocation to earn the big bucks might seem like a wise idea but it is important to remember that only less than 1% of actors and actresses earn millions of dollars over the course of their careers.
There are several million people whose dream of becoming an actor has left them working in Starbucks or as assistants with low wages in movie studios. Additionally, acting is a career driven by talent and charisma. If you have none of these, it doesn’t matter what your degree is. And if you do, you don’t need a degree to excel.
Reading historical accounts in books and articles might seem like fun and a great idea, just don’t try to make a career out of it. Getting this degree means you are likely to end up as a teacher, a museum curator or a consultant for Hollywood’s period pieces.
However, if you are a great writer, you might be able to combine your writing skills with your knowledge from this degree and become the next Yuval Harari. Bear in mind that, this will mean getting luckier than the over 18% of history graduates who found out the hard way that it is one of the most useless college degrees.
8. Ethnic and Civilization Studies
Some courses are better off being personal research projects, and ethnic and civilization studies is one of them. The course’s ability to immerse you into a different culture and become an expert in a demographic might sound like a great knowledge to share at a party but not so much in the world of employment.
This course has over 10% Unemployment rate and research says you are better off studying International Relations which has wider options when it comes to career opportunities.
9. Communication Technologies
It isn’t so much that it is useless than it is the fact it is too broad for employers to properly deploy their graduates. Technological companies prefer graduates who have focused knowledge of a field and can use it for applicable and profitable solutions.
At 9.40% unemployment rate, it is not the worst out there, but it is not the greatest either, and you might have a better chance at a profitable career by pursuing a degree in computer engineering, which has a much lower 6.63% unemployment rate.
Biology, as a degree, suffers the same issue as Communication technologies when it comes to some of the most useless college and university degrees in the world. Like Communication Technologies, Biology as a degree is a broad field that limits the applicable fields in which its graduates can operate.
With more specialized courses out there like Biochemical sciences, switching out your major for something with a little more focus might be a better idea, at least according to the 8.76% unemployment rate it has recorded.
11. Religious Studies
The study of religion might be valuable in helping us better understand the world’s religions and maybe even quelling problematic ones, but as a career, it is not exactly the most lucrative, if you can secure a job in the field that is.
Religious Studies is better left to those who have committed themselves to their religion, like priests, who simply desire a better understanding of their religion and others. If you can secure a job with this degree in a related role, you might be looking at a very modest $38,000 to $43,000 in starting salary and after a few years in the field, a mid-career bump of up to $62,000.
Such a wage structure makes this one of the most useless college and university degrees a person could own.
12. Exercise Science
You have seen gym chains springing up and a greater percentage of the world appears to be focused on achieving a healthy body, thus studying a degree like Exercise Science might seem like a good idea. It is not.
If you desire to become a physical trainer, it is much wiser and financially prudent to simply obtain a certificate from a physical training school. Not only does it cost less, but you can also begin working and earning money within a short time, often less than a year, compared to the minimum of four years at a college or university.
Aside from the more financially prudent option, a degree like Exercise Science is considered irrelevant in its industry and will only fetch you $32,000 per year, making this degree one of the most useless college and university degrees you could have.