.
What's the most useless college major?
April 26th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

What's the most useless college major?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With college graduation season just around the corner, a lot of young people are already underwater.

Student loan debt tops a staggering $1 trillion, more than car loans or credit card debt.

It's estimated the average kid graduating from college owes more than $27,000, up 54% from a decade ago.

As a result, many students and recent graduates want their student loans partially, or fully, forgiven.

But that could open the door to the taxpayers getting stuck with yet another huge bailout.

In Washington, student loans have been a hot topic of debate this week, with President Obama pushing hard for Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling to 6.8% as they're scheduled to on July 1.

House Speaker John Boehner says the House will vote on Friday to extend current rates for a year.

All this should make college students think long and hard about choosing what to study. With unemployment above 8%, if graduates can't find a job, they might very well have trouble paying off these loans.

A new study suggests students who major in subjects like health care, education, psychology, social work and business have a better shot at getting a job.

On the flip side, The Daily Beast reports the most useless college majors out there include fine arts, drama, architecture, graphic design, philosophy, religion, English, journalism, archaeology, music, history and political science.

Here’s my question to you: What's the most useless college major?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kevo:
The stupidest majors are things like women gender studies or textiles. You don't need to go to a university to learn about clothes, nor do you need to go to a university to study women, although that's pretty much all you do in college.

Carol:
None. I was a Spanish major and ended up Managing Director of one of the largest banks in the World. Dutch. No Spanish ever used or needed. Doesn't matter. My son is in advertising as an Econ, Journalism major. They didn't want any "marketing" or "advertising" majors. Liberal arts degrees are golden, no matter what the major. They allow you to learn to think, write and speak.

Gary:
Rocket science, Jack, without question. The market's dried up. No more moon shots, the shuttles are retired, NASA's a skeleton and the country's bankrupt. And, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Pat in Michigan:
Probably anything in the field of sports or any degree from the University of Michigan.

Raymond in Worcester, Massachusetts:
No college major is useless, Jack. I was a philosophy major after reading that the lawyers I admired most were philosophy majors. It's not the degree that’s useless, but the graduate who can't find a way to use the skills that major gave him or her.

Chris in New York:
The most useless college major is philosophy. Jobs are disappearing in the United States. A diploma in which you question logic is a sure way to end up as a statistic.

Ivan:
Trust me on this one, Jack: theater.

S.:
After reading this op-ed, I'd say journalism is the most useless major.

Posted by
Filed under: Education • On Jack's radar
soundoff (337 Responses)
  1. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    General, you learn alot about nothing and a little about anything.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  2. H.R

    I don't know of a usless major as long as the students go through college and work in that field. What sounds good for one person might not catch anothers interest. I think just be glad they are wanting to better themselves. At 73 years, I won't be attending but wish that I could have had the oppertunity.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  3. Doug Ericson

    Political Science has to be right up there. But I am sure there are some new ones that I havn't heard about, and I look forward to reading about them. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Ed from Harrisburg

    I don't know what the most useless college major is, but I do know what is the most dangerous. Middle East Studies which is loaded with anti-Israeli and anti-American professors spewing venum about these two countries and misrepresenting both history and policy. I wish I could be more amusing, but ME studies bias is worthy of press scrutiny.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  5. Pete in Georgia

    Technically speaking probably something like "Drama & Theatre Arts". I mean really, maybe 1 out of 1000 has a successful career in this never-never wasteland of wanna-bees.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: Philosophy majors are the most useless degrees. This was selected as most useless by college administrators. Henry Ford believed that a college degree should teach person how to do something or how to fix things. People who hire college graduates need engineers, professionals, and technicans badly. Heavy equipment operators and diseasel maintenance techs are worth their weight in gold. Trades and technicians are in demand.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  7. ivan

    Trust me on this one Jack, THEATER

    April 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Chris, NY

    The most useless college major is philosophy. Jobs are diminishing in the United States, a diploma in which you question logic is a sure way to end up as a statistic on CNN's unemployment charts.

    April 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Bill of New Mexico

    First: Go to the "Fine Arts"–this is the Mother Lode of worthless degrees.

    Second: Since Congress repeats history with a costly war each generation–History is a waste.

    Third: Since America can no longer afford funding for scientific research–Science is a waste, because no one will pay you for your potential.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  10. Gary H. Boyd

    Rocket science Jack without question. The market's dried up. No more Moon shots, the shuttles are retired, NASA's a skeleton and the country's bankrupt. And, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  11. voteforamerica

    As of today, Law- most lawyers objective is, win cases at any cost, they are corrupt to the core, zero values or principles their God is the Dollar and they will sell their mother for money. The US supreme court, the US Dept. of justice and many of the States courts, are the role models for this system of corruption.
    God save our country from our own demise.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    With the way things are going any STEM degree will be worthless (if not now) because of the H1-b visa and its cousins. Get rid of that thing, all it does is cause labor arbitrage and unemployment for qualified US citizens.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  13. Raymond P. Bilodeau, Worcester, MA

    No college major is useless, Jack. I was a philosophy major after reading that the lawyers I admired most were philosophy majors. It's not the degree that might be useless, but the graduate who can't find a way to use the skills that major gave him or her.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  14. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    OMG! If we start to send a message that striving to improves ones mind by making a 4 year commitment of time and monetary resources , which demands the application of discipline, study, and curiosity, is a useless journey/experience ,then we truly have lost our way as a nation which has previously lead the world in education. No college major /degree in higher education should or can be defined as useless be in terms of return on investment (money) or for the further development of one's mind. We can as a nation ill afford a notion or mindset that any college major is useless. We need students or graduates in every college major as it takes intellectual and educated diversity in all majors if we are to sustain the U. S position in the world as an exceptional nation.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  15. calaurore9

    None. I was a Spanish major and ended up Managing Director of one of the largest banks in the World. Dutch. No Spanish ever used, needed. Doesn't matter. My son is in advertising as an Econ, Journalism major. They didn't want any "marketing" or "advertising" majors. Liberal arts degrees are golden, no matter what the major. They allow you to learn to think, write and speak.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    April 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  16. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Basket weaving. Wait a minute, since most of us won’t have jobs if things keep going as they are, basket weaving may come in handy. We can sit in roadside stands selling our handiwork for a few bucks so we can buy stuff to eat in our tarpaper shacks.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  17. Richard Texas

    Underwater knitting comes to mind but there are many others like, Music Therapy or Art History. Dance and Latin rate slightly higher but just do not have a practical application in the world today.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Gary in San Jose, California

    Fashion and agriculture come to mind first but there are many. Any degree that has you making less than or equal to the amount you would make without the degree is worthless. Some just like to use college as an excuse to hide from reality.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  19. Anne

    None are useless; one can join the U.S. Military.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  20. RickFromDetroit

    The most useless major in college is athletics, but it is the most popular. Probably 5% of the athletes will earn a living as an athlete, but it does provide many jobs in the advertising, broadcasting, and television industries.

    Will athletics take us to the moon and back? NO! But we may be the first country on earth to win an interplanetary Super Bowl!

    April 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  21. dreamer from the equality state

    Love this question, Jack! Opens the floodgates for opinions and prejudices. So I am going to nominate Dream Studies as the most useless college major. This is a non-offensive answer.

    I'd actually like to say Culinary Arts and Sports Medicine, but this shows my own age and prejudice against the new wave of college majors.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  22. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    I really don't know Jack. The way the economy, and the job market are going, and it doesn't look good for the future, they all look useless. You don't need much training to handle a spatula.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  23. Ed from California

    Political Science......how much "science" is involved taking "legal" bribes from lobbyists? Or, maybe Journalism.......how much journalism is involved to work for Rupert? All you need to do to work for him is know how to wire tap and lie about the truth.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  24. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    TV evangelists, but it is the most profitable profession. It is at the top of the ladder among conmen.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  25. Gordo from NJ

    Religion. Spending years studying the Bible, Koran, Torah, or any other historical fairy tale on a factual basis is insanity. I'm all for studying philosophy and comparative religion, but when you get to the point of accepting that Noah's flood covered the world to the depth of Mount Everest, then you might as well study Harry Potter as a work of history.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  26. Pat in Michigan

    Probably anything in the field of sports or any degree form the University of Michigan.Go Green ,Go White!

    April 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  27. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    With the prevalence of reality TV spawning the likes of the Kardashians, Snooki, and the Real Housewives franchise, etc, I would have to say that the most useless college major would have to be Animal Husbandry.

    April 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  28. Tom in Desoto, TX

    What's it's always been, Liberal Arts

    April 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  29. Bob Melbourne, FL

    The most useless college degrees for the next 4 years will be Business Management and Engineering Science (mechanical electrical or chemical). Obama will continue demonize success and over tax and regulate until all business has left the country. The best bang for the buck (tax payers buck) would be a Bachelors or Masters degree in (would you like fries with that).

    April 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  30. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    I don't think there is such a thing as a useless college major. In addition to educating oneself for a specific profession one of the most valuable things a college student learns is how to learn, Any major will suffice that if the student studies and applies himself.

    I myself never went to college. But I am a published writer, published photographer, and was an electronic engineer before I retired. All self taught. But I learned how to learn in a Jesuit high school that focused on college prep.

    Once you have learned how to learn you can teach yourself anyting and demonstrated ability can take you a long way.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  31. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    My first thought was Journalism since most of the people who get this degree work for the 24/7 news lame street media and only learn one thing in 5 years which is "How does that make you feel?", but in all reality probably Art History or Undwater Basketweaving.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  32. Willy in Las Vegas

    I think that ANY "Degree" that doesn't relate directly to GETTING a JOB is a WASTE of TIME and MONEY.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  33. Kevo

    Government – unless you're going to law school.
    I say that only because I don't have the full-time position I want. Realistically the stupidest majors are things like Women Gender Studies, or Textiles...you don't need to go to a university to learn about clothes, nor do you need to go to a university to study women, although that's pretty much all you do in college...

    April 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Jenna Roseville CA

    What's the most useless college major?

    Any form of higher education is not USELESS Jack.

    Are you really asking about return on investment? If that is the case then you would lose that argument too. Many people would rather be educated and use their knowledge for the good of society than to just make a buck. It is more important to be able to look at yourself at the end of each day and your career and know that you did your best and loved what you did..

    Just look at teachers, they make next to nothing, are treated poorly in our society, are not as respected as they should be, but they do it because they want our children to learn and be successfull..

    Not everything is about money Jack!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  35. JD in NH

    Whatever the one is that has been earned by your waitress.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  36. Martha Brooks

    Philosophy...followed by Frisbee a close second.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    April 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  37. Brad, Portland, OR

    I don't think students should be bailed out. I don't think homeowners or banks or Wall Street should be bailed out, either.

    If people screw up, let them deal with the consequences. Why should responsible people have to pay for their own expenses in life PLUS the expenses of people who made bad decisions and want to be bailed out?

    April 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  38. Kevin in CA

    Probably engineering – it'll be mostly outsourced to India and China in another 5 to 10 years ... just like manufacturing was.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  39. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    The one where nobody will pay you enough to justify the cost. In other words, just about all of them. The most valuable one would probably be the study of the Chinese language, since that's the direction we're headed.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  40. Joe from Missouri

    Philosophy or theology. Have you ever known a high-paid philosopher or theologian?

    April 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  41. Nancy, Tennessee

    There are no useless college majors. Chances of getting a job with a degree rise exponentially. There are many positions that do not require a particular degree, but employers are looking for well-rounded individuals to fill positions. A degree in basket weaving beats a high school diploma hands down.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  42. curtis in philadelphia

    Where have you been Jack? Says the English major to the journalist, its obvious, the most useless college major is the oxy-moronic: political science. Political Science makes about as much sense as "jumbo shrimp", "military intelligence" or Fox News.

    April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  43. Maje in Vancouver

    Easy! Philosophy. To be or not to be? Why me? What does it all mean? For the answer to these age-old questions we do not need a college degree. Everyone passed the age of seven knows it's "Take somethin' practical that'll get you a job in the real world, stupid!"

    April 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  44. Jenny Sills

    Gee I have a degree in Education and many years of experience in Social Work yet I cannot find a job. So I would say Education/ Psychology.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  45. toadears

    The most useless degree is currently business administration. Criminal justice would be a better choice for area of study if you are thinking of entering Wall Street or the government.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  46. RB

    Answer: Journalism.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  47. Michael

    Liberal Arts. Enough said.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  48. walter

    I'd love to know how Education is an in demand degree. My daughter has a Masters Degree in Education, a 4.0 average, glowing references from teachers, and she can't get a job. I wouldn't tell her this, but with the state of state governments, I suspect mass hiring of teachers is years and years off.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  49. Zach S.

    University Studies. It shows the only reason you were in college was to play sports. It is a waste of scholarships.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  50. Chase

    Political Science... After watching our politicans for the past year and half I have come to the realization that I learned everything i need to know about politics in the school yard.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  51. Mark from New Jersey

    The most use less college major is philosophy, especially ethics. It has no practical application in America of the 2000s.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  52. Jamie

    The most useless college major is Business. Business majors don't learn to write well, to think critically, or to master the content of any particular field.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  53. Mike

    They let Sarah Palin host the Today Show. Clearly Journalism is now a useless major.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  54. Mike

    I'm currently double majoring in political science and economics with a business minor. Political science is pretty useless, but philosophy is definitely the most useless.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  55. Dr. Robert

    Communications! Ever ask a communications major what they do? Don't bother...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  56. Chris

    Sociology

    April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  57. Albert Camus

    Sorry, I can't limit it to just one. It's Philosophy. Followed by Communications, and then American Studies.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  58. Rebecca from Georgia

    If you asked that question of college students some would definitely get offended because to them they see their major as worthwhile because they have a vested interest in it. Job wise there might be some but I don't think that I could name one cause if a person is creative enough they can use their degree to their advantage.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  59. JuneCleaversBeaver

    Gee there aren't many jobs out there in art and theatre? Whoda thunk that??????

    April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  60. winningchiver

    Journalism. Kidding. General Studies

    April 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  61. 2011 Eyes

    All the 'Majors' in Afganistan participating in the useless, debt creating war.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  62. Thom Richer

    I regret having to say this but based on what has and is going on, there are several. Not the least of which is a degree in education, journalism, psychology, social work and oddly enough, architecture. Those listed are areas that I have had involvement with in one way or another and know what these student/grads are up against.

    An education degree gets you low pay, long hours, decreasing health and retirement benefits, high stress, little appreciation, constant public and political scrutinizing, criticism, poor working conditions (in majority of districts) and little to no support or respect. Most only stay in the field one to four years. Less in Special Education.

    Journalism, psychology, social work and architecture get you no job, low pay if you land a job, long hours, no job security and few benefits if any. All require ongoing education which is so costly it is near impossible to get out from under tuition loans for years. Experience counts for little in all these areas. Universities give little or no credit for courses taken from an undergrad school if transferring to another university to pursue a Masters. This ups the cost tremendously.

    Both my sons have degrees from reputable schools. University of Wisconsin and University of Michigan. One has a Masters in Architecture, is highly qualified, has great experience in the field, has had his own business, is willing to move, very talented , highly motivated, ambitious, educated, is a workaholic. He is licensed in architecture, building, real estate and brokering and cannot find full time work in his field of architecture. Works two jobs and does free lance and struggles to make it. Still paying off student loans for the last 15 years and has not missed a payment. Hardly worth the 9 years of school and expense.

    The other is an Michigan State grad, worked two years in NY City as a photo journalist for peanuts, no benefits, no security, long hours, and no recognition of his work. Employer benefited from his skills and work. No job opportunities so back to school for a Masters in Education. Nearly five years of schooling and internships in journalism and not one credit given when applying at another prestigious grad school to obtain an English degree. Seems like undergrad years and degree were unimportant and had no value. I kind of find a close connection between journalism and English that perhaps some classes might relate to one another. Is now taking out loans. He too, is highly motivated, talented, experienced, educated and ambitious and cannot find even a part time job. What are they to do? Looks like very few degrees are worth much any more when even, educated, talented, experienced and dedicated cannot profit from hard work.

    Thom
    Negaunee, MI

    What burns me even more is the fact that one can obtain car loans and home loans in the tens and hundreds of thousands for little or no interest, in the 1 to 2% range, while student loans are nearly 7% or more. What greater investment is there than our students? It is no wonder college degrees are losing importance in America.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  63. cnmcgarry

    Journalism is full of people who couldn't do anything else especially something difficult like english.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  64. Randall Jones

    What kills me is kids going for the most useless of college majors. Fine arts is a poor man's dream; Drama and theater Arts is a starving profession for most; Commercial art/graphic design can be learned from home; Architecture will not get you a job; English literature is for teachers and we all know they don't make much money; Journalism is for unemployed writers; and Hospitality management is for hotel workers who think a degree will get them into management, when kissing up to the boss is way faster.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  65. Heath

    The most useless degree is any degree earned without passion. Money is a terrible vocation to live for in life, live for a task, live for others, live for a duty, dont vicariously live through a paycheck or you'll never be happy.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  66. Mo

    I served as an Infantry soldier, Fire Team leader and Sergeant, E-5 in the early 90s. Upon leaving I studied Illustration and I have found it to be among the most poor decisions I could have made.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  67. fells wargo banker

    business admin / concentration in management

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  68. Kevin

    Funny how we hear about Apple as a potential trillion-dollar company, with many others investing heavily in Design....yet the art students still get no respect. What era of the stone age is The Daily Beast talking about?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  69. Matt

    Pardon my bluntness, but there's no useless major, just useless graduates. Many employers do not care what you actually majored in and just want to know you got a degree and can communicate and think coherently. They can teach you the rest. As someone who interviews prospectively employees often, there are just too few people who are actually as competent as their degree tries to imply.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  70. Brian Freeman, PhD

    That's easy Jack...journalism :)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  71. David

    Aviation and Flight Science. 125k in debt for a 25k salary.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  72. Conor in Chicago

    For me the winner is a BA in “Communications”. Which basically means a BA in Call Center Work making $14 an hour. That’s your modern American Dream…

    April 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  73. Robert Henry

    I think it's journalism judging from the topic of this article

    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  74. Name*bryce

    Anthropology has to be the most useless. No technical skills or mathematics are utilized. What kind of job would be offered outside of professor or teacher?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  75. Michel

    Business degrees. While they may currently be good for any individual having one, we are already top heavy...too many people with business degrees and no understanding of things like manufacturing processes. Besides, all those business majors are the ones that got us into some of the biggest messes of the last 100 years.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  76. ckrall

    There is no "useless" major. Most jobs don't require a specific major, but just the fact that you graduated college in the first and have a degree. Having a college degree demonstrates a learned ability to solve problems and a commitment to follow through on projects. We need folks with specialized degrees in obscure fields. My advice to people entering college: take the course that connect to you and that you enjoy. Out of college, be a problem solver and find a job that fits you.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  77. GLO_UMASS

    THE BEST! Classics: Latin and Greek. Solid foundation for any and all endeavors.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  78. Larry Boston Massachusetts

    Jack, as Shelock Holmes would say, elementary my dear Watson, elementary – the most useless college major is the one you work hard for and pay a lot of money for, and do not use.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  79. Troy

    Actually, people who get technical theatre degrees do very well. my university has a 99% placement in the field with good jobs, most of my students have multiple job offrts before graduation. if you study to be an actor though, good luck. you will need it

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  80. Mike in Colorado

    Jack, no accredited college education is useless. There are certainly those that are in less demand, which is what I believe the Daily Beast's study was based on, and unfortunately they were right on the money with most of those. I think they were wrong on English though, as there is high demand abroad for English as a Second Language (ESL) or just individuals schooled in the English language.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  81. Johnny America

    Journalism, it seems the only thing you need to get published or on tv these days is an opinion. Forget the inverted pyramid and start saying silly things.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  82. John

    None of them are actually useless...many companies won't promote to management or other positions unless a candidate has a college degree of some sort...doesn't necessarily have to be in that particular field either, just has to be a degree...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  83. momoya

    "Drama" has to be the most useless.. I can't imagine trying to find a job with that degree; even students who selected a major that led to a "guaranteed" job can hardly find one in this horrible market.. Why spend all that time, money, and effort on a certificate that probably won't deliver cash return?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  84. kevin

    I worked for a trading firm at the Chicago Board of Trade in the late '80s. The company hired a daughter of a board member to work at one of our trading desks. Her college degree was in Comparative Religion. How USELESS!!!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  85. Nashoba

    Creative Writing is the most useless college major. Tell potential employers that you have a degree in CW and they will just laugh at you. It is essentially impossible to get a job with just a degree in Creative Writing because that major is only good for writing novels or screenplays, and that kind of work is hit-or-miss. You could spend a year writing a book and never get it published, or go long periods of time without having anything to write. I can hardly think of a more useless major, and I thoroughly regret the four years of my life I wasted getting my degree in CW.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  86. Loren

    I am pleased to see that my undergrad major is on the most useless list and bears out my experience – political science. Besides the obvious, that a social science is never a science, political science has the futile task of trying to make sense of the idiotic – how our politicians and electorate behave, when it can be summed up thusly: politicians say and do anything that will get them elected and the electorate will vote for anyone who promises them anything without regard to whether they can deliver. Once you know that what the use is a degree?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  87. Dan in Albuquerque

    Perhaps psychology. Unless they plan to get at least a Master's and do serious counseling, the jobs don't pay much. Besides. America needs graduates that can do engineering, chemistry, biology and technical careers.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  88. Recruiter

    History. No jobs for these grads.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  89. Fremry

    None of them. Nowadays, many professions care less about what you studied and more about what work experience you have. However, they all require a college degree, so you need one to even be considered. A college degree today is the equivalent of your generation's high school diploma. The only difference is that you guys didn't pay $100,000 out if your own pocket to get it.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  90. MC

    Any degree for which your Debt / 1st year salary Ratio is larger than 1.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  91. spiked3

    haha – actually the most worthless major is mathematics. Its a great minor, but there are no jobs, except NSA cryptography, that uses pure and only math. Didn't expect that, did you?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  92. Mark

    Art appreciation. You're now qualified to walk through an art museum, but not create anything that goes there.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  93. Key

    Ethnic Studies and Philosophy are the most useless.. They are good topics to study, but ONLY when doubled with a degree that can make bread and butter. Physics and Math typically do well with philosophy, as odd as that may sound. Theater is a very close second on the useless chart as it's more dependent of luck than skill when starting off. Once established with name recognition, you have a shot, but it's primarily driven by your looks, less your capacity.

    Ethnic studies... I have no idea how that's a major on it's own. It sounds more to the tune of a specialization of a liberal arts major rather than something marketable.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  94. Dave

    Jack, the most useless college major is the one not worked for and achieved. Just look at wage prospects for most high school-graduate positions these days.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  95. Anna Maria

    I never quite understood why people study things like fine arts or philosophy and some of the other majors identified in your piece, and then act surprised when they can't find a job upon graduation and end up working as a sales clerk or bartender. How many jobs are there where those kinds of majors are useful? Clearly a lot fewer than there are graduates. I have urged my children to major in something that will provide them with "hard" skills, i.e., training for a specific field. I studied accounting and ended up in banking, and my accounting degree has served me extremely well over the course of my almost 30-year career.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  96. J

    There are no useless majors, only useless people.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  97. Rony

    Biomedical Engineering is the most useless major. It sounds good, but there are no job prospects for it. When employers can hire mechanical engineers or electrical engineers to do exactly what a BME could do, then they have no incentive to hire BMEs. Coupled with the fact that companies would rather hire foreign scientists and engineers or outsource work, the whole field of science and engineering is rapidly declining.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  98. rickp530

    If my tax money goes for another big bale out, this time on people who take out student loans and then cannot pay for them, I expect the USA to put me and any other tax payers that do not have a student loans through college for free. It's only fair. Why should I or any other tax payer have to pay college tution for someone we don't even know.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  99. Sara

    The most useless major is the one you end up regretting. It differs from person to person – I regret my polisci degree, but while most people would consider my rhetoric degree to be useless, it's come in handy on many occasions.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  100. BR

    All of them if you can't get a job.

    Richmond, VA

    April 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  101. The Left Wing

    Business

    As we as a society become obsessed with the short term and forget about thinking and creativity (in the arts, the humanities, and sciences), we lose the ability to innovate. Once that is lost, no businesses will be able to compete with those in countries that are innovative. In the short term, the conventional answers will do. In the long term, they will not.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  102. Sylvius

    I have a degree in Philosophy, and I've found it hugely valuable in teaching me how to learn new things. As such, I pick up skills whenever I'm somewhere new and I've worked is areas as diverse as charitable fundraising and database administration.

    Vancouver, BC

    April 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  103. MarylandBill

    For their own sake, most of the humanities and social sciences are pretty useless. That being said they can help you learn to think and write well.

    What we really need is to get more engineers in this country. They are the ones who actually make stuff to give the business majors something to grow our economy.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  104. jean2009

    Getting a diploma for something that teaches a skill should be the main objective, and one of those skills should be critical thinking.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  105. todd in DC

    Anything from Johns Hopkins University Undergrad. Sorry Blue Jays, but a 4 year undergraduate degree there will now cost about 1/4 million dollars. No way you can get a job that pays enough to justify that.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  106. Matt from Boston

    Pardon my bluntness, but there's no useless major, just useless graduates. Many employers do not care what you actually majored in and just want to know you got a degree and can communicate and think coherently. They can teach you the rest. As someone who interviews prospectively employees often, there are just too few people who are actually as competent as their degree tries to imply.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  107. Kevin Taylor

    Rather than look at the worst, it might be best for students to understand what are the best. I know right now the sexy topic is college not providing the bang for the buck.

    Fact of the matter is, there exists a quagmire of majors that are equally bad. For the most part, they all result in the same thing...debt, a long job search and ultimately an average paying job in a field outside of your discipline.

    However, there are plenty of fruitful majors that better prepare a student for immediate hire. Some that come to mind are Mathematical and Statistical degrees as the business world attempts to bring on data scientists(i.e. NCSU Advanced Analytics Masters Degree sponsored by SAS)...and Computer Science degrees that provide a much more practical curriculum than a major in a liberal art.

    To answer your question, pretty much all of the non-business, non-law, non-medical majors could be placed in this bucket...Theater, English, Music even History are some of the ones that come to mind first.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  108. travis cohen

    It's a popular one around the Occupy crowd, Underwater Puppetmaking and with Emphasis on Gender Studies.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  109. capt beefheart

    In and of itself, any college education is useful as it exposes the student to so many experiences and "learnings" that one would otherwise miss out on. I've found that my college experience helped me understand things that would otherwise be confusing, even after 30+ years. Conversely, in today's economy they're all pretty useless when one looks at them from a cost/benefit ratio as applied to the student, and I feel it's because the college education system focuses more on making money than helping students learn, and it's sad that students start their careers (if one can call "Would you like that supersized?" a career) so far in debt.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  110. excoachken

    The most useless college major/ It is obvious............ from this article........Television Journalism.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  111. Jon

    I don't know about anyone else, but I received a Masters degree in History from the University of Minnesota, and was unable to get in to the doctoral program (which was the reason I attended in the first place), so for me that's it. What a waste.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  112. Dennis, Hampton Virginia

    The most useless major is when you have none. College is not just a job training exercise, it is an education. A person must make prudent decisions about what they want to take on but any education is better than none. Any person has to learn new things throughout their adult working life and a college education helps you in critical thinking and the ability to absorb and make the most of what your employer (and life) will be teaching you.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  113. Aunt Molly - Iowa

    Jack, I just came from the dentist --judging from my experieince, the most useless degree is a DDS in the hands of someone that should be mowing lawns and not drilling teeth.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  114. Dakosbe Ebsokad

    The most useless college major is Political Science. Not only does it not have any direct application in the business world,, but what's more you can't teach it in Elementary, Middle or High School. It's only good for graduate studies.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  115. Dave G

    Sorry Jack, its journalism.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  116. AlFetah

    LEAVE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY ALONE. If more people learned about it, there would be less problems in the world.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  117. Name*noble rodgers

    Truth is all majors are useless! If americans dont get back to manufacturing relavant products we will lag behind other countries. Buying things that are useless from other countries is our problem! We need elbow strength not brain power! Thinking doesnt get things accomplished just more questions to answer!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  118. Dave, Bloomsburg PA

    Music. Tax payers expected to pay for your music degree you can't use, since you don't want the debt. only in america!!!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  119. Solidfuel

    Useless majors? College is NOT a vocational school, and never has been. One goes to college for an education, a higher education than high school. If our schools were patterned after Germany's this useless subject would be a non starter.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  120. Melissa Estes, VT

    Ethnic Studies

    April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  121. tom

    Tucson Arizona.
    This is likely flamebait, but I believe that you have asked a bad question, in the sense that you have presupposed that your likely occupation after graduation is a direct consequence of the major you have chosen. There are multiple reasons to go to college, and if you successfully complete *any* major the doors for employment are open wider than if you don't. Furthermore, no matter what your major, a more abstract consequence of your eduction will be that you are a better thinker, and that the world is a richer place for you having been exposed to viewpoints that differ from your own.

    The list of majors on the Daily Beast's list, for example, are mo or less for majors that look like they don't have a specific 'job' associated with them, or if they do then it is a job which doesn't necessarily require you to go to college (like, say, 'artist'). But journalism graduates aren't necessarily relegated to working for a media company or a fast food restaurant. They might have to define themselves a little more broadly than that, and work out for themselves how the skills they have acquired during their education can be marketed, but they are more prepared to do it for having gone to school than if they hadn't.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  122. glynda in galveston

    As a former instructor at a local community college – I believe no field of study is worthless. Whether it's liberal arts or the sciences, it is through college course work that the student has the opportunity to learn how to rationalize, analyze and interpret; and these skills are invaluable to any upper tier jobs market. What is useless to our society is the dumbing down of the masses by teaching to the test in K-12. Unless you take some college course work, at best you'll learn to recite the drive-thru menu... "You want fries with that?"

    April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  123. Rachel

    I actually have a degree in History and I've been fully employed my entire adult life. I majored in history will the full intention of teaching, and for the most part, that's what I have been doing.

    I agree with the idea that no college major is useless. Learning HOW to learn is more important than what you learn in an ivory tower.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  124. Jim Henderson

    Most useless major, practiced by way too many US students, is partying. This is practiced, even to the extent of stretching a 4 year degree program to seven years. What a shame.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  125. NJLinda

    My daughter is majoring in FILM. (aka waitressing)... oy ee vay

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  126. Brian

    Politics.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  127. Tinker

    Seems to me that most of the worlds greatest inventions were accomplished without the inventor have ever gone to college.....Most of the "professions" listed have little place in today's world. And the resulting debt proves it. If the courses worked, so would the people who took them and they would be able to pay their debts.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  128. Rex

    Anything non-STEM related is suspect, but ANY major will be useless unless the student learns to learn and develops a work ethic. Those crying "foul" for having to work to help put themselves through school will carry this attitude to the work place. Those students who are whining about higher rates on school loans forcing them to work and "miss the college experience" will most likely be the same ones who end up missing the workplace experience.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  129. austin

    funny how engineering isn't mentioned anywhere in this article yet we were the few with the jobs coming out of college....

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  130. Joe

    Psychology majors are probably the most useless degrees. Where do you go when you graduate? Onwards to obtain a PHd in your subject and then what. You graduate with even more debt! I'm ashamed of Americans think Middle East studies should be scrutinized by american muppets who think its biased. Ignorance cerainly does precede our reputation as a nation. Get the facts and fix the problem, Jack.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  131. Andy

    General Business majors

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  132. Barry

    Like many things, an opportunity is what you make of it. Yes, there are some majors that don't have a real positive outlook, but you can screw up even the best chance if you don't take full advantage.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  133. Robert W. North Carolina

    I don't think any of them are really useless but if it does not help you enter a career field that pays off in ways that are important to you then it becomes useless. I get the feeling that many young people are getting college degrees to prove adulthood. A rite of passage if you will. I've heard graduates say "College teaches you to think". I think there are a lot cheaper ways to learn how to think. Does it really take a four year degree? I mean really, does a four year degree in basket weaving help society or the individual if there is no market for baskets? I’ve heard employers say “I can’t find qualified people to hire” in a time when there are more high school graduates going to college than ever before. Going into debt to make more money isn't so bad but going into debt to prove you are an adult is silly, even childlike.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  134. Mark

    For all you philospohy majors searching for lifes' questions...Here is yours:

    Sir, can I hang my diploma next to the fry bin?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  135. dsavelis

    Well, I'd vote my MBA is a waste of time, since I cannot find a job.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  136. OCCUPY WALLSTREET now and forever!!!

    It's not about being bailed out.

    It's about making a mistake. A lot of young folks go to school with the dreamy misconception they will land a nice job and make a nice living for themselves. Many really don't comprehend the decision they are truly making.

    We are punishing students because of the few who abuse the system. That's wrong.

    Let bankruptcy get rid of school loans.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  137. Brian

    All of them can be useless if your GPA is low. High GPAs get you into law school with a decent LSAT score only to be unemployed anyway after you graduate and become a jobless attorney. Pretty useless degree too if you don't finish in the top 2% of your law school class and do law review.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  138. Joe in Texas

    Most useless degree? Business. You must learn "business" in the real world anyway, so you should have your degree in something to give you some depth and perspective. I hire music majors – believe me, folks who work long as a musician learn business. They are creative problem solvers that bring new, critical thinking to your organization. I have no need for any more two dimensional business majors. (Incidentally, I have a business degree.)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  139. RL

    Philosophy. My great uncles son majored in this for 5 years and counting at my great uncles expense. I understand wanting to put your kid through college, but five years in Philosophy? Really Top that.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  140. Terry in Virginia

    Latin. Klingon is more useful today. Tristis tamen verus. [Sad] 'ach teH. (Sad but true.)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  141. Turbo

    Ethnic studies. Total waste of time, accomplishes nothing but more inflammation between the races.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  142. Erin

    I graduated with an English and Communication double major from a big ten university known for engineering. I have a fantastic career in marketing and made it a point in college and after to stand out as a job candidate. If we don't have good communicators at the helm of many ships then many businesses will be bust. It isn't the major that is useless, it is what the graduate decides to do with what they learn that separates whether they can be useful...or not.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  143. puftwaffe

    While psychology isn't much different than a lot of other majors in that the undergrad degree is relatively worthless without continuing on to add advanced degrees in the field, what makes it THE worst of the lot is that it's the most popular one, and by a very wide margin.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  144. Sirned

    Hmmmmm.... Didn't Steve Jobs say his course in Graphic Design was a key ingredient to his success. So much for stats, Jack

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  145. JM

    Religion, English and Philosophy degrees are useless? Geeze, somebody go tell those teachers, professors, theologians, ministers, and other successful business professionals with those degrees that their diploma is useless. What you've neglected to mention is some of those useless degrees are used as stepping stones to get admitted into graduate school and attain masters and doctoral degrees since an associate or bachelor's degree alone isn't enough to ensure a good job in a steady field. Take a look at Herb Kelleher, his major was English and his minor was philosophy. He used those degrees to enter to law school and later co-founded Southwest Airlines. He's now the Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. I'm not saying that's typical of a English/Philosophy undergraduate student (nor is success guranteed for those who have a "useful" degree), but that's not shabby for someone who majored in two useless study subjects!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  146. Gloria from North Carolina

    I have a philosopy degree (with honors) and have worked in Engineering almost my entire life. I am 56 years old and have been unemployed only when I chose to be (the baby years where I stayed home with the kids for a while). Many employers value someone who knows how to think and analyze. They are willing to pay well to have those things in an employee, too.

    Also, my daughter had two friends who were theatre arts majors and neither of them have ever been unemployed at all. They actually have a hard time getting days off they are so busy.

    Bottom line, your degree is what you make of it. My advice to my kids when they were chosing a major was always "Follow your heart, and the jobs will come." It has worked well so far.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  147. LB Boston

    Jack, I met a guy the other week. He said he was a Hoisting Engineer. It sounded impressive so I asked him where he got his degree, He said he dropped out of school in the eigth grade. So I asked him what kind of work he did as a Hoisting Engineer. He said he ran the elevator at the local department store.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  148. Rob

    Wow. This was the most useless article ever.

    Without architects, you wouldn't have your home or office building.
    Without political scientists, you wouldn't have your "democracy".
    Without drama students, you wouldn't have entertainment.

    And so on. What a ridiculous article!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  149. Fritz of Long Island

    Gee thanks Dad.

    Why are any of those majors mentoined considered 'useless'? This is a weighted question; you don't make mention of all the dead-end business majors this country pumps out; all the Finance majors who learned how to trade in the Wild West era; all the Mechanical Engineers that will go unemployed due to the export of jobs.

    The usefulness of the course of study can only be measured by the application of such study for paying work. To apply such inductive reasoning, that I or anyone else will be 'useless' for pursuing a particular degree of study, underlines the ignorance of the Media and the Baby Boomer generation to the problem of work and social mobility in the real world.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  150. Yomama

    A degree in religion. Might as well study fair tales while you're at it.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  151. Justin

    Maybe these are the most in-demand majors now– but who knows in 4 years? Can we really expect high school seniors to make informed career choices four years in advance in our turbulent global economy??

    April 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  152. Korie Lions

    A degree in Theology! The study of imaginary friends!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  153. David

    There are no useless majors. I loved school and loved taking classes I would never use in my career. Learning for learning sake is perfectly fine as long as the student takes ownership of the choice. If you choose a less marketable major, don't expect others to provide you an income or pay back your student loans. No one is entitled to be stupid.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  154. sefs

    Everything that isn't science or engineering.....

    April 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  155. iclark

    We tend to define something as "useless" based on one measure: return on investment. So the logic seems to go, the most useless majors are the ones which present the lowest likelihood loan repayment in a timely manner. But isn't education also about advancing knowledge and viewing the world through differing lenses? Fields of study such as philosophy, music, art, and language all challenge us to explore the various dimensions of the world around us and look at things in new ways.

    The most useless major is the major which fails to satisfy the intellectual goals of the student.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  156. alfranken

    CNN is trolling: you have to have a political science degree to get into most jobs with the CIA, Architecture? come on. As if any firm is going to hire you without it....

    pointless article with lame opinions.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  157. S.Roberge

    Philosophy has to be the most useless in terms of getting a job but it's the most needed in this world! Think Socrates, Plato,
    Erasmus, etc. An education isn't just about getting a job.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  158. Blanchjoe

    I like to believe that I have Two (2) of the most useless college Majors in existence, Advanced Fine Art Painting, and a Minor in Comparitive Relgions and Philosophy. I did not garner any College Loans ( thank God ), but instead worked during my Summer Semester at a Cannery driving Fork Lifts at night for the Teamsters on the Graveyard Shift ( thank God for Union Wages otherwise I would never had been able to go to school ).

    April 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  159. JP

    College is good for professions, where you come out and you are something: a doctor, lawyer, engineer. Otherwise it's experience that counts, not that over-priced piece of paper you're holding. I'd much rather hire someone with four years experience in my field than someone with a four year degree.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  160. Dan

    Jack: You seem to forget that some people go to college to get an "education." An education is never useless! Dan

    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  161. Mario

    Most useless major is African-American Studies (History)....Im black and my people don't know their own history let alone is any white person gonna be interested in it.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  162. Arthur Johnson in NY

    Well, Jack, if the criterion is getting a job in your field of study, chemistry is fast becoming one of the more useless college majors. With the dramatic contraction in drug development research in the U.S. and continued outsourcing of more and more of the U.S. chemical industry to the Far East, jobs for bachelor's degree chemists are becoming few and far between.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  163. Matt Lewin

    My daughter is a graphic design major and has offers coming in right and left. I can't imagine why that's on the list.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  164. Pat

    Pat from Salt Lake City – Liberal Arts/Humanities majors are mostly useless in the current job market unless you want to go all the way for a PhD and teach/research at a university (but good luck getting a position because there are too many PhDs for the number of available slots). Performing/Fine Arts and Communications majors won't get you a job, either. Degrees in Business, Math, Science, Technology, CompSci and Engineering are the way to go. Better yet, find out which tech-focused positions are in high demand in your area and specialize there. We can't find enough sysadmins and developers to fill the jobs we have available.

    (In higher ed, the "useless" degree is commonly referred to as Underwater Basket Weaving.)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  165. Mike in St. Paul

    With writing more of an indispensable skill than ever before, journalism and English–especially English–don't belong on anyone's list of useless college majors.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  166. AgentG

    Jack,

    Your approach to this issue and formulation of the question is indeed a poor reflection on you and, sadly, denigrates the educational choices and professions of millions of Americans.

    There are no useless majors and your simple, short-sided utilitarian criteria do a disservice to people's varied career interests and the educators and researchers who excel in certain fields. Of course there may be different types of opportunities and different earning potentials based on certain degree majors. However, you neglect the most important fact that excellence never has a bad day and those who excel can be successful in various fields. The most important thing is how well you learn and how you take that knowledge into the marketplace.

    Therefore, I really hope you reconsider your perspective and recognize the value (not just salary level) to society and our economy of the contributions of various degree majors.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  167. John N. Seattle, WA

    What about that degree in Home Economics that BYU offers to train good little housewives?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  168. Diane in NYC

    ECONOMICS, of course, Jack!! The Obamanomics proponents in Washington don't want real economic projections. They just want people to rearrange the numbers to their liking!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  169. SO from E-town

    Partical Physics is my pick. Think about it – they built a partical accelerator in Europe that cost billions of dollars to search for the Higgs Boson – that seems to not have a practical application. In my oppinion we could use that money to feed and educate the poor of the world – rather than look for the "meaning of universe and physics". Lofty goal – but no effect on suffering in this world right now.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  170. Jeff

    History and Philosophy would be fine if you go on to grad school and become a teacher or lawyer. It all depends on what you do with it. I would say theater is the most useless as it is very hard to succeed.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  171. Marie

    I know someone who is graduating just short of honors in 3 weeks – his major is political science, his minor is economics and he already has a paralegal degree. At a recent job fair the only company that wanted a copy of his resume was Wendy's. He is a disabled veteran and no one will even talk to him to give him a chance. How sad are we as a country that someone who has given up body parts in defense of American ideals is relegated to asking "would you like fries with that?" even after earning a degree?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  172. David

    A better question is which degrees should be subsidized by the public? The value of college is to learn to think critically, which ANYONE can benefit from. Perhaps the best degree for this is Philosophy. Philosophy majors are among the best prepared for advanced degrees. College is to teach you how to think and to educate yourself. If you want to learn a trade, go to a trade school.

    Because college is now seen as a ticket to a good job, we have lost sight of the value it really provides. 50 years ago when far fewer people went to school, the relative cost was much lower.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  173. Rick from L.A

    Everything not Business, Engineering, or Education

    April 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  174. ed

    When I graduated computer science 1993, there was around 2000 graduates for that semester. While the University President was giving his speech he asked for each department graduates to stand and be known. Around 20 from Computer Science, 50 from Electrical Engineering, 50 from Mechanical Engineering and 1500 from Psychology Department stood up, almost the entire graduating class. How many Psychology major does this country needs.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  175. Patrick

    Jack, seems to me you're approaching this entirely from the wrong angle. Higher education is just that: education, not vocational training (with no insult intended to the skilled trades). Any given major isn't "useless" simply because it doesn't necessarily lead to attractive employment prospects, despite what the non-academics currently trying to turn our public universities into intellectually sterile worker-factories think about it. While there has historically been a strong correlation between having a degree and being more desirable to employers, college exists for people to become more educated, not to polish their resumes.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  176. Larry

    ...most useless major? It's called "undecided".

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  177. Ron WPAFB

    What ever the degree is that allows you to become a guidance counselor is the most useless and damaging, Jack! Counseling our kids to take majors that will lead them to Basic wages is useless information. They need the truth, Jack. Math, Science, Engineering, Computer Science, varying types of Medical degrees, all these are the future, the only future! The arts are fine as a minor, not a major. And then there is Political Science which is not, a science, useless degree unless you want to be a liar!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  178. Dustyn Bork

    The most useless college major is any major not valued by the student receiving the diploma, the Institution granting it, or the community that rejects it. That could be a business. law, or graphic design major. As an Professional Artist and a Professor at a small liberal arts college in the South I have to object to the notion that MY college major ART is on the list as most useless. Creativity and problem solving skills taught to an artist serve them not only in the field of fine art, but in any career. Art throughout the centuries has been valued as a "useful" endeavor and had had a great impact on science, architecture, medicine, and aesthetics. Yes, it is saddening that many art students are willing to incur massive debts with very little lucrative options when they graduate– but kudos to them for pursuing a degree tract that they are passionate about. Yes, many artists wait tables at restaurants or stock books at a local bookstore while they also pursue their own creative work. However, many students wind up with jobs that do directly relate to their career as painters/ sculptors, in galleries, as curators, art coordinators, and teachers. As a result they are doing something they love and has a great impact and use in society. In my opinion the most useless degree is one pursued only for the prospect of a high paying job with no passion or interest in the greater good of society. Dustyn Bork Assistant Professor of Art Lyon College Batesville, AR

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  179. Brad

    Political Science – what's more useless than a Politician???

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  180. Mr. D

    Apparently it's ipod listening 101 and texting 201. Let's have people skills 101 so we will be able to communicate on a human level.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  181. Gary

    Jack – I'm a Human Resources professional with 20 years of experience matching jobs to people. I can tell you that no major is useless so long as you're passionate about that field of study. The problem is that all too often, college students chase the money rather than what interests them. Just because a doctor or a lawyer can make a lot of money doesn't mean you will if your heart isn't in that line of work. Students should reflect deeply, know what their interests are, and then choose a major based upon what they see themselves doing for 30+ years. If you enjoy doing what you're doing, it shows and the money will come.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  182. Chris Rand

    Jack,

    That's really a loaded question. Your phrasing suggests that if a major doesn't lead to a high paying job, it's useless. However, without music and literature, life would be a bit duller for all of us – even though the writers and musicians don't make a lot of money. What would history say of the US if we turned into a country that didn't value the arts? We might not know, as there would be no history majors to study it.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  183. Kit

    I have majors in history and anthropology and have never had a problem finding good jobs. Many employers realize that those of us who major in the social sciences or humanities have been taught to think critically and therefore can be a great asset to their businesses.
    My daughter has degrees in music (conducting) and has never been out of work. Her problem is deciding which of many jobs to accept.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  184. Steve Robles

    If the fine arts and music are considered "useless," we may as well cut our throats and be done with it. Students who go to college ONLY as job-training are missing the whole point of what an education should be. It's supposed to broaden one's mind. By the way, I majored in Music undergraduate, and went from there to a top 10 law school. The study/practice discipline and creativivity Music instilled in me was a great background for the rigors of law school.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  185. Sirned

    Hmmmm..... Didn't Steve Jobs say his course in calligraphy played an important role in his success at Apple? So much for stats, Jack....Find what you love and figure out a way to make money doing it...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  186. tylerblazer

    Architects are responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. If one considered architecture as a "worthless" degree one should remember to appreciate that an architect designed the spaces where you currently reside.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  187. Jason K. Johnson

    Jack, the most obvious bandwagon answer would be anything to do with the fine arts. On the contrary, this country suffers from epic lack of creativity in solving problems. Why make it worse by cutting on the fine arts. The most useless degree is the one earned prior to returning to waiting tables.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  188. Ryan

    The fundamental flaw in the question is the notion that college is meant to be career training. That is what graduate school is for. College is about education for its own sake. The benefits of college, particularly a liberal arts major, is the development of critical reading skills and persuasive writing skills. This background, coupled with a professional degree, makes one very marketable.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  189. David

    Most people I work with have degrees in areas other than the field they are working in. They may not be using their major directly in their career, but their education is not worthless.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  190. Bob Lorenz

    Most of the majors listed do not train someone to do a specific job, as does accounting. Universities exist to educate. A political science major can work at Wal Mart just as well as a business administration major. Maybe if we had more of the "useless" majors we would not have had Enron or the sub-prime debacles.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  191. Justus in Knoxville, TN

    Political science is among the most useless. What can you do with it other than be perhaps an area advisor or commentator? What can you fix, repair, trade, or otherwise use to produce anything with it? Great for an intern in a state senator's office, but chances are, that road won't continue much further.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  192. DT

    Economics. Nobody can agree on anything.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  193. Phil

    Im not sure if worthless is how I would describe it, maybe value or return on investment might be a better way. as long as the institution provides classes on critical thinking, than any major would have value. we need a society of critical thinkers more than any specific major. we are slowly but surely becoming a nation of sound bites and ideology. if we were critical thinkers, would we really think it is sensible to borrow money from other countries inorder to provide all types of government programs that are ineffective and wasteful? if we were critical thinkers, would we continue to overspend only increasing a deficit to pass onto the next generation? we need to be critical of ourselves and our government and stop the knee jerk reaction to follow a leader who only offers fear and envy, rather than critical and sound solutions to our problems. we also need critical thinking voters to understand why our leaders use this strategy to basically keep themselves in power and not to uphold, protect and defend the constituion as they pledged when they took office. america start thinking, there is not much time left.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  194. Conrad Shull

    Pretty much any major ending with the word, "Studies"

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  195. Zack Maze

    My sister and I both went to UCLA as liberal arts majors. She was a graphic design major, and I studied Theater, Film & Television & also took classes in design and media arts. Both she and I are fully employed at New Media companies in New York and Los Angeles respectively (Two cities where survival can be tough).

    I don't doubt that there are some who learn little while in school, but to make the claim that certain majors are useless is short-sighted and feckless. It's about who you meet and how well you are able to articulate what you've academically cultivated–not about your major of choice. I can't tell you how many folks I know who studied to become doctors, lawyers and businesspeople who still are unable to find work.

    But then again, Jack, despite a successful start to what I hope is a promising career in New Media, perhaps my education was useless after all! (But I doubt it ;)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  196. Nannette

    College is not vocational education. College is the opportunity for a student to spend two years learning about a number of subjects in a general way and then two years studying one specific subject in depth–be it literature, natural sciences, music, psychology, history, philopsophy, etc. The general study leads to an educated and well-rounded individual while the in-depth study promotes critical thinking and reasoning in addition to a fuller understanding of the chosen subject. The parents of the post-secondary individual who want direct vocational education should either send that young adult to a vocational or trade institution or an apprenticeship.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  197. JW

    General Studies...., confounds me that they even offer this degree. Make up your mind on and a field of study or your better off going to trade school.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  198. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There is no useless college major as long as you're looking for work outside the U.S., if not, any major may be considered useless in the U.S. if everyone stays here expecting employment.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  199. PJ from Texas

    Unless your name is Kennedy the most useless major is Art History

    April 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  200. rc

    All of them have too much fluff. Why does someone have to take music appreciation if they want to be an engineer? Get rid of all the useless classes and educations will come down in price.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  201. Douglas

    There are no useless degrees. Any effort to develop your thinking ability, open up new areas of thought, and generally understand how the world has progressed (or regressed) and functions is worth the effort. We need to get away from the notion that education has value only if it will result in income. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is a worthwhile pursuit. Debt is to be avoided, but better to incur debt for expanding your mind than to indulge materialistic chimeras.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  202. Charles in North Carolina

    Jack, the most useless major is Education in general and teaching to be more specific. Those who are graduating with a teaching degree can't get a job and the older teachers are afraid to retire now. Guess what Republicans will cut first if they win the next election?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  203. Paul from New Jersey

    Jack, if people are dumb enough to take out these exorbitant student loans, ready for the government to step in and bail them out at the first sign of trouble, than no college major can help them.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  204. Peg E

    Software engineering – because any U.S. company will ship that job oversees where the labor is cheaper.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  205. CNNuthin

    Most Useless? I'd say whatever major all those College Advisers have. You spent 4+ years misguiding students, tricking them and their parents out of tons of money, and....wait no. I guess they learned how to become wonderful scam artists. But, as a college drop out, engineering major, now making $60,000 a year (but over $100,000 in debt), I will say that the piece of paper is not a necessity. It took me 4 years and 6 contract jobs to get to this point, but it was well worth it as things are still moving up for me even without a degree.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  206. Peter Wolfe

    I wonder how many of these commenters went to college? Probably not that many just saying from the outcomes of the abundance of ignorance on display here. First the study didn't explain whether under graduate or graduate fields and which of these most people fall into or what the circcumstances of each failure or success. I'm a political science senior at a major university and think that its one of the best in social science as a whole. There are many things that my field needs to do like deregulation, expansion of civil rights, budget reforms and tax overhaul, international affairs, voting updates, immigration reform, streamlining, etc that is quite important to the american public.

    Secondly and finally, the most useless majors are philosophy, art, psychology (under grad), unenspired political science majors (staying in ones own state or locality), religion, sociology, music, criminal justice, anthropology, history (under grad), graphical design (small businesses crushed), english, lawyers (under employment), etc not political science. I adamently think that my field can branch into business, law, international affairs, teaching, etc you just have to have the willpower to see it threw that is all. Many fellow majors in political science don't have drive nor vision of what they want to do but some like me do. yes, you are in a sense right that its not a terminal degree but neither is psychology, english, journalism, and the others.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  207. Bill From Long Island

    If everyone goes to college... who will clean the fish?
    I have several college degrees, but we need to realize that this country stands on the back of people who work at jobs that have no need for a college degree. And those of us dressed in white shirts sitting in carpeted boxes.. er, I mean cubicles.. owe those folks a great deal.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  208. Hadenuffyet

    Fugedaboudit...be a plumber...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  209. David

    Being a social worker; I can firmly say that Social Work and Psychology are the most useless degrees. Average starting pay for social workers is around 36k for bachelors degrees; masters is 45k. For me it was 27k then i got a "better" job at 31k.... Its all a sham. The best degree is a Financial degree that will give you enough bearing to be an accountant/auditor or some type of finance worker. Starting salary is easily 50k+ for the same 4 years of work.

    Social workers even have to do crazy unpaid internship hour amounts in order to be licensed eventually. Licensing is a whole other crock, having to pay several hundreds of dollars to take the test and several more hundred each year in Continuing education credits.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  210. acspore

    There are no useless college major, just uselss college majors.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  211. becky - Las Vegas

    Most liberal arts majors are useless. I was a Political Science and Sociology major. What did that qualify me for? Nothing. I was taught how to do research, present ideas and defend arguments/theories. Oh yeah. I also learned how to function on 2-4 hours sleep a night when I had a deadline, outrun/outwit a rent-a cop and play a wicked game of beer pong or drink checkers (shots for game pieces).

    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  212. iceload9

    Not sure what the most useless is. Definitely plenty out there. This is how costs became astronomical is the misbegotten notion one major is as important as another. More majors, more loans, more debt, higher costs. This can all be rolled back. Base student loans on needed majors. The more needed, the more you can borrow. If you want to study the daffodil with less rainfall, no problem but you pay for it. With this roll back the colleges will have to roll back costs to the new reality. Too bad we have no politicians with courage.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  213. White Coat Investor

    The worst major is one that you don't finish. Any degree is better than no degree. It shows you can put it together enough to finish college, a valuable skill for any employer.

    That said it isn't about the degree, it's about the value of the degree divided by the cost of the degree. It might be worth going $150K into debt to be a physician, but it certainly isn't to be a librarian.

    But if pressed, I'd say Athletic Training. Not only is the hourly pay pretty low, but it's hard to get very many hours.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  214. Mark - Northbridge, MA

    Human Resources. They're just shills for employers now and do nothing for
    employees. Hardly Relevant

    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  215. John B Cape Coral Fl

    Who are we to say what is and what isn't "useless". My wife took fine arts. She makes the most amazing bowls and vases. She gives them away. It makes her happy and that's what it really is all about.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  216. MS

    I don't think there is really a black and white answer to this question. Most of us know people who majored in the arts, humanities, or social sciences who have gone on to have successful careers. We also know folks who majored in business, engineering, or the hard sciences and continue to struggle to make ends meet. We also know people who didn't go to college who have had successful careers and some who have done much better financially than their formally educated counterparts. What matters is ambition, drive, will, desire, and perseverance. If someone majors in business but never bothers to enhance his/her resume with internships, volunteer services, campus involvement, or work experience while in college, how is that person a better potential employee than the English major whose resume is packed with experiences?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  217. Ken

    The most useless College degree is better than a High School diploma. My daughter majored in Anthropology, and ended up in a great paying job in IT doing quality assurance testing and software deployment management. A high school diploma would not have been enough to even get an interview at her company. The money spent on her 4 years in college was some of the best money she and I ever spent. Very much worth it.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  218. Daily Llama

    Worthless degree – squared? Philosophy. Ponder how, why, when and *if* to scratch your own butt when it itches ....

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  219. Dakosbe Ebsokad

    POLITICAL SCIENCE. It has no direct application in the business world. Not only that, but what's more, you can't teach it in Elementary, Middle or High School. It's only good for graduate studies.
    Dakosbe Ebsokad, Louisville, Kentucky

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  220. Richard

    "Black Studies"

    I have no idea what this is or what it gains in you in terms of knowledge and how it places in you the job market, but it appears to be the most useless. I have never ever ever seen a "HELP WANTED – Must have a degree in 'Black Studies'" ad anywhere. Ever.

    I was sitting in an airport bar at Dulles and this young recently graduated afro-american woman sat next to me. We struck up a conversation. She was lamenting her inability to garner gainful employment and the fact that she had a bunch of student loans that she was going to default on. I asked her what she majored in and she replied "Black Studies".

    That was a few years back and I have never seen anything that that degree could get you into. Save for what she was hoping to do – teach Black Studies.

    Math or computer science will at least get you a job outside of academia (i.e., being educated so you can get a job in education is dead end-ish). This one seemed useless.

    Philosophy has a close second.. what a useless degree. Sit around, smoke pot and dream up some fancy notions on how YOU perceive reality for other people. blah.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  221. Patrick

    The key phrase here is 'useless college major'. If you got a degree in one of these useless majors, but then went on to succeed in some other field then that is not the point; you didn't *use* what you majored in.

    Add to the list:
    Women's Studies
    African-American Studies

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  222. karl

    As somebody with two engineering degrees and no job, I'd say engineering–you are discarded if you fail to constantly refresh your education, or if you become middle-aged.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  223. Thane Kerner

    Forget college unless you want to major in something that requires you do homework 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 8 to 10 semesters. Get a diploma in something like CADD or electrician's training instead. No one is hiring grads in these majors because there is no demand.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  224. David Rudmin

    Okay, I admit it. Philosophy and Theology are useless! . . . . But that's because they're ENDS in themselves, which is much better than being a use. Touche!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  225. Darbwg

    Easy!

    The most useless major is Journalism.

    MSM outlets, especially CNN, have gone decades without hiring a single one!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  226. Jesse

    English shouldn't be considered a "useless" major, although you'll have a hard time finding a job without a good university backing that degree up. I got a job doing business consulting for one of the greatest companies in America straight out of college with an English degree by applying myself and demonstrating that I was more than one subject.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  227. Lenny

    Philosophy and History go right up there. We need to live in the present to prepare for the future.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  228. KaraOK

    Worthless: Ethnic anything, LGBT anything, Education (Marxist "social justice" mills)

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  229. Joe

    Psychology majors are probably the most useless degrees. Where do you go when you graduate? Onwards to obtain a PHd in your subject and then what. You graduate with even more debt! I'm ashamed of Americans think Middle East studies should be scrutinized by american muppets who think its biased. Ignorance certainly does precede our reputation as a nation. Get the facts and fix the problem, Jack.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  230. Neil in Salem, MA USA

    Why learn English? Millions refuse to even use it, or at best they refuse to use it correctly. Most Americans murder the language when they speak it and few can manage to write anything that is grammatically correct.

    Neil in Salem, MA

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  231. Paul

    Paul from Washington DC. Jack. As often is the case, my career is both "useless" and worhtwhile these days. A musician in the Army carries the burden of coming to grips with creativity in the military and finding ways to support those leaders who rely on that tradition of troop support and entertainment that only an Army musician can perform. Thanks for listening.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  232. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    Astronomical Engineering. All brains, No shuttle.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  233. MNResident

    Based on experience of people I know, I would suggest Animal Science if you are allergic to animal hair, and horticulture if you are allergic to plants. TRUE story–I know people who fit into BOTH catagories........

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  234. JMO

    Medicine: What other major saddles you with 200k+ in debt, after residency, fellowship, junior partner, certifications, licenses, blah blah, by the time you can actually be a full partner you can collect Social Security. If that wasn't bad enough, you have the gov telling you what you get paid and lawyers to run you into the poor house if you make a mistake.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  235. SR

    I am not saying this to be prejudiced or biased or racial.
    I am saying this as a practical matter.
    Hopefully someone will read this and realize the truth of this and save themself much future dissapointment.

    The most useless college major is "Black History" or "African American History."

    What skills will you have?
    How many "want ads" are looking for people with a "Black History Major" degree?

    It is a dead end.......or if you are lucky – you my find a job in social work, in the military (which does not require any skills to enlist), as a librarian, or in a government position that does not initially require any skills.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  236. Sally

    Really, English? That's considered a useless major? It is discouraging this think that a major that emphasizes effective communication, proper grammar and the ability to convey ideas and thoughts would be considered of no value. It's probably no wonder then that we can't seem to communicate with each other anymore.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  237. Maamoo

    Undergraduate college majors are not terribly important in the long run. If you make it through the customary four years, you just may have learned how to learn. That’s the ticket to a successful future. Many people never learn how to learn and they’re stuck where they are.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  238. Steve

    When I was an undergraduate and my fellow Science/Engineering majors were griping about the Liberal Arts majors who were holding class outside because "it was so nice out" and "the outdoors stimulated their creative process", we calmed each other with the following joke:

    "Q: What did the liberal arts graduate say to the STEM graduate?

    A: Do you want fries with that, sir/madam?"

    It seemed like just a joke at the time, but 20+ years later has shown me the truth in the joke. When the economy tanks, I still have people falling hand over fist trying to hire me, while my friends who studied purely liberal arts are fighting with high-schoolers to get jobs at McDonalds. The real kicker is that most of those liberal arts majors are *still* paying off college loans while I had paid mine off shortly after graduation.

    Steve in St.Louis, MO

    April 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  239. Zack Austin, Texas

    Jack, I have often thought about that very question over the 76 years of my life. If one reads the obituaries that outline the life of the deceased, you will find that few of any of them who graduated from college went out in the real world to work in their major field. Life follows a changing path, but a college education no matter what field provides a good foundation for most any job.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  240. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    It always depends on what you do with it. Bruce Bartlett turned a history major into a career that has him me a thought leader on taxation. Philosophy gets you into Seminary and most majors at least let you teach, if combined with education.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  241. Deaborah Wright

    Useless in what way? No college degree is useless if it broadens your knowledge base. What's really sad is that it is frowned upon to go to college for an education. It's all about being trained for a particular career. We could use more people who have a more expensive world view and aren't pigeonholed into one thing or another.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  242. Eli

    Communications all the way. I learned about the history of the tv, telephone and radio. Watched a lot of movies. Talked about varitions in communication between sexes, cultures, etc. I'm still trying to figure out what that degree prepared me for...still paying for it as well. My bad!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  243. Lea

    Photography. Everyone can take amazing photographs with digital cameras and capture "breaking news" on cellphone cameras. I think the market for professional photographers will become obsolete very soon.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  244. Just say'n

    Womans Studies
    Ethnic Studies
    Journalism
    Poli Sci
    Unless you are getting a Masters or Doc
    Phyc
    Soc

    April 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  245. Steve

    Based on the photo that went along with this question on the CNN website, I'd say fashion design!

    IL

    April 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  246. Bob from West Virginia

    What you list as "useless college majors" are what one refers to as the "liberal arts" majors. In the past, what one majored in did not necessarily matter, as just having a "any college degree" would open doors. That has changed in a tight competitive job market. Kids going off to college these days need to know where their accademic strengths, weaknesses, and talents are and they need to know where the jobs will be in demand when they graduate. Such knowledges and counseling will help them make optimal choices in macthing the schoo and major to there personal preferences. Unfortunately under the current market situation there are way to many liberal arts majors and not enough graduates from the technical fields. In my profession of engineering this has been the case for decades. Anyone majoring in engineering will not have trouble finding a job after graduation and that job will provide you with a comfortable living.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  247. Bill

    ...should be self-evident: journalism. Look how much time Jack Cafferty alone has wasted!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  248. George from Raleigh, North Carolina

    Pick whichever degree you like, it doesn't matter. College can open your eyes but its up to you to see.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  249. brucegrinstead

    My son majored in Comedy...I get free coffee now.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  250. Cindy

    The problem isn't the major, it's the students' desire to succeed through memorization rather than through critical thought. Frankly, the best critical thinkers on any campus are often the studio art majors who must figure out how to use various media to make a point and then be able to critique the finished work. Will they all become famous artists? No, but they have developed the thinking skills necessary to move our economy forward. If all majors focus on critical thought, all majors will lead to productive, thoughtful citizens who lead better lives.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  251. Peter Rankin

    What happened to math, science and engineering in that survey? I thought those were the best fields to be in. Close to 95% of my engineering school's seniors have a job when they graduate. Can't get much better than that. Not to sure about the accuracy of your quoted survey.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  252. Matthew Dunnyveg

    The major one decides upon should be chosen according to what one wishes to do with their life. For example, since I'm a librarian, the master's degree was the crucial thing; the undergrad degree is just a prerequisite.

    My bachelor's is in philosophy, and if I had to do over, I'd get the same degree. While it's true that there isn't much call for philosophizing, philosophy teaches those who study it how to think and evaluate arguments effectively. As such, it is invaluable.

    The problem today is not wrong majors, but a lack of jobs. For the last fifty years, our biggest export has been jobs. And to drive wages down as far as possible for the jobs left, immigrants have been admitted by the tens of millions to compete for the jobs that are left. Under these circumstances, there are very few "good" majors if one's goal is to find a job. Even technical jobs, such as math and engineering, are being filled with immigrants with guest worker visas.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  253. Steve in Dallas, TX

    Jack: I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology (Freshwater Fisheries to be exact!) in 1980. As Regan became President, so did he ecology focused jobs go away. So a 15 yr career in Retail Mgmt, which eventually led to career change at 40! I've been in the Information Technology field now for 16 yrs and function as a Project Manager. As many people have said prior to my post, it's not so much what your degree is in, but earning one and then doing something with ones' life that is meaningful to that person. No, I'm sure a degree in Fine Arts or Philosophy may not get the new graduate a job immediatley, as a degree in IT, Engineering or one of the Sciences will, but earning that degree WILL open doors that those without may never get a chance to walk through! It's all in what the person does once they walk through that door that counts!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  254. Kevin

    The most useless degree is the one that doesn't encourage you to think critically. In a democracy, the "useless" humanities should be fundamental to our culture and our public life.
    I wouldn't encourage everybody to major in English, Philosophy, Religion, etc It takes all kinds, and I would not criticize the more practically minded.. But I also think that to disparage the Humanities shows a dangerous disregard for knowledge and the human spirit.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  255. Susan in Atlanta

    I have an Accounting degree, which I have never directly used. Our universities need to put an emphasis back on researching and writing...so, I say support the history, english and philosophy majors. We tend to pigeon hole young people by picking a degree which is supposed to be their career- when they have no clue as to what they will want to do in a few years.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  256. Al - Orlando

    None. Your future can only be enhanced by the major you select. You appreciate humanity despite the wealth or
    leadership you attain

    April 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  257. Mildly annoyed by the conversation

    The point of education (college or otherwise) is not to get a job. It is to improve your quality of life, and, hopefully, your ability to think about problems. As long as we pick majors based on job prospects, we are just setting people up for meaningless and unfulfilled lives. The current most useless major is elementary education, not because you can't get a job, but because you spend very little time thinking critically, and a lot of time doing elementary-level thinking and activities.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  258. Erik

    This is a ridiculous question, measuring learning and knowledge against a greenback yardstick. It smacks of a deep seeded anti-intellectualism, not uncommon in our commercially driven society. And how would one weigh the knowledge of ethics, morality, and public policy, or the understanding of foreign cultures, that accrues from studying history or politics versus the narrow skills obtained by studying business or accounting? Which group would you prefer leading us in the coming years?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  259. Steve R

    Remember when the purpose of an education was to hone your intellect and broaden your perspective, and not to slog through a four-year vocational training course designed simply to plug you into a job? Me neither. But it's offensive to call a field of learning "useless." I was a "useless" journalism major, but actually worked in that field for 10 years before transitioning into educational marketing, public relations, and related positions. The only thing that's useless is the person who thinks that receiving a piece of paper that costs six figures magically endows them with erudition, enlightenment, and industriousness.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  260. bertilack

    The most useless college major is business. It doesn't equip its graduates to do anything except steal money from those who try to do real work.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  261. george whitney

    You have confused college with vocational tech schools. I should not be surprised. You consistently stack the deck with distorted questions, and ginned up speeches preceding.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  262. moe from buffalo

    philosophy was the best major for me in terms of understanding ancient vs modern philosophy and where my internal views of the world coincided with the experience i was having growing up, i.e., plato vs aristotle...if you haven't studied these classics and how modern philosophy stole from them it is a must....when i hear politicians spouting "new idealogy" i know they are full of it because there is no such thing

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  263. Scott

    Interdisciplinary Studies unless it is really customized to fit a career niche once completed.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  264. basketcase

    I'd say just about anything that ends in "studies."
    In general though, it's not so much that certain majors are "bad," but that certain fields are very limited. Music, for example, is a great major if you are talented enough to become a professional musician. There is, however, a very small number of those, so most music majors are left trying to scrounge up a teaching position.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  265. Jill

    Whats amazing to me is most people cant even aford to pay for their own kids to attend college. And now you want us to fork out money to pay for the ones who took out loans and cant pay them back?? I would demand a universal vote on that before its passed and I bet you wont get it to go through. Why dont we just get rid of everyones debt??? Who gets to decide which debt is worthy anyway?? People just live beyond their means. If you cant aford to pay college back, you can aford to go.....simple economics people...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  266. Fanohio

    No college degree is useless. The college experience is invaluable. It teaches self discipline, independence, maturity, and provides lifelong friends. History majors have become CEO's; English majors – TV newcasters, Graphic artists- fllm producers. With a degree you can achieve more than your major may say. It is what you do after college with the experiences you explore, the friendships you cultivate, and the paths you choose that make the difference.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  267. Eddie

    I can tell you what degree is worth taking instead of what not to take. My daughter has a Masters in BioEngineening and after 1 year of break while taking care of her baby she went back to the job market. In 2 weeks she had 5 interviews and 3 offers. On the 3rd week she was working.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  268. Nat

    Depends. A Psychology major is useless unless you do graduate work, as is philosophy. Education is worthwhile if it focuses on actual teaching with a practicum (Special Education being best). Theater is a total waste, but supplies many waiters and waitresses in New York and LA. So I vote Fine Arts.....that is like a degree in fashion that lands you a sales clerk job at the GAP.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  269. Bunk Moreland

    Whatever major the chick on the left is taking is the one I would steer my sons toward.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  270. Emperor Vadik, CA

    The most useless Major in college???!!!

    Easy, that's economics and business...

    ...might as well just teach them to take from the poor and give to the rich, and don't worry about getting caught, we've made it all legal now....

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  271. Bruce Eder

    When I was in college back in the 1970s, they said the very same thing about the arts, English etc. Didn't mean a thing to me, and I graduated with a B.A. in English literature, and was never without work in my field, as a writer, and earned enough to live comfortably right to the present day, and got a lot of fulfillment out of my work, as well. So I think it all depends who is doing the defining, and what your definition of "useless" is. Some might even apply it to the question itself, or the questioner.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  272. Gary

    Most useless college major?? That would have to be Political Science since that often leads a person to run for the U.S. Congress which HAS to be where the most useless people work...

    April 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  273. Lance Riverside CA

    There are no useless college majors, only too many misguided people graduating from few esoteric programs. Regarding the 27,000 $ debt – it is a fantastic investment. What other business can you start with 27,000 $ and get 200% and more return year after year for the rest of your productive life?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  274. Tom A, Orlando, Florida

    Sorry, if it doesn't help you get a job, it's useless. Too many people waste too much money and too much time in pursuit of academia for academia's sake. There are higher level thinking opportunities in every field, just please don't study just to fill your brain with useless information.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  275. LROSE

    Philosophy is NOT the most useless degree – someone has to learn how to think critically in this country.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  276. Brian Wickremasinghe - Woodland Hills

    From the money making point of view a Major might be less attractive. Does that mean it is useless ?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  277. Capt. Awesome

    The Arts because our culture is made up of quantitative reasoning. And the highest paid people in the Arts industry don't necessarily have a degree in ANYTHING let alone music performance or acting.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  278. MC in TX

    Uselessness is very relative. There are some majors, e.g. nursing, that getting a degree is almost guaranteed to get you a job no matter what. There are other majors, e.g. math, where unless you have a certain level of proficiency the degree doesn't do much for you. And yet others, like psychology, where the bachelors does nothing for you and you need the doctorate to get a real job.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  279. gatecrasher1

    Any of the "specialized" pseudo-degrees in the sociology family that usually are called "... Studies" or "... Theory" like Gender Studies, or Queer Theory. And what exactly do you do with those degrees?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  280. lmdeshler

    I also believe it depends on what the intent of the student is, rather than the major. Also, I believe there is an expectation for graduate studies for certain fields. If you major in Library Science as an undergraduate student, don't expect to get a job in a library without going on to obtain your master's in Library Science. Conversely, if you're fine accepting a job position in a field completely unrelated to your major, you might be just fine. I graduated with my B.A. in Sociology at the end of 2007, but accepted a merchandising job with a retail company after gradutation – it clearly had nothing to do with what I majored in, but I was happy and received a decent salary.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  281. Dude

    The debate over useless degrees is set up only to distract the American people and trap them in a cycle of self blame. The only thing that makes our degrees worthless is the easy availability of inexpensive people with similar degrees in a global marketplace. Americans are getting crushed between internet-enabled outsourcing and the mass importation of H1B workers.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  282. Eric Hatch (Loveland OH)

    Most useless? If you consider college as a job-training center, it's probably Greek or Sanskrit. If you consider college as a place to learn how to think critically, gather information, and communicate in writing ... then it has to be architecture or pharmacology.

    College isn't only about jobs.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  283. John

    I don't have a college degree and work as an operator at a power plant in California and make well over $100,000 per year. The job is easy and stress free and I get an average of a $10,000 annual bonus every April. All I did was apply. I learned interview skills and a little creative answering at the interviewing processes and I was in. Now I have a huge house with a pool, two cars, 3 kids and NO debt!

    April 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  284. Nat

    Some degrees which used to be worth while are now a dime a dozen, like MBAs. Law degrees if you are looking for a big firm job are a waste but useful if you go into public service, environmental law or other niche area where you can find a job but not make alot of $$.

    My favorite useless degree??? Poetry

    April 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  285. DaleW in MA

    Clearly Political Science. There are no tenants of the scientific method in any aspect of today's politics. One can't even postulate Intelligent design for politics and politicians.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  286. Bryan

    Sanskrit? You're majoring in a 5,000 year-old dead language?

    April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  287. Jeff In Minnesota

    I'd have to say Political Science and Juris Doctors. I don't think we need any more career politicians or lawyers.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  288. Lori Dupre

    Any degree have the potential to be useless especially if a person is not truly passionate about their profession. I know many students who have become doctors and lawyers only because they thought that they would become rich and only to find that once they graduated from college they had hundreds of thousands of dollars owed in student loans. Which means that by the time they could actually enjoy the benefits of earning a large salary it would be almost time to retire. College is NOT for everyone...period

    April 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  289. Relativity

    The question is, relative to what? Relative to getting a job, sure philosophy or something of the sort. But philosophy/theatre/music/liberal arts degrees are EXTREMELY important in the long run for the overall health of our society.

    April 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  290. Tom Jones

    I hold a Ph.D. in one of those fields that you mentioned as "useless" and it resulted in a great job and benefits.

    But enough of the Corporate Concerned Network's war on degrees deemed unworthy by the various CEOs in the United States. Your bosses, Jack, only want a nation of workers, not thinkers.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  291. Augusto from Los Angeles

    I don't know of a totally useless college major. For me Jack the real sadness are the ones who can't even afford to attend college to decide on a major.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  292. coolcpsecrets

    Jack, the most useless college major is whatever ones Mitt Romney took, because they aren't gonna help him much in November.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  293. Tony Astor

    Sadly anything that is not Engineering Based. 

    -Tony A.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  294. parmeldv

    I'm graduating on May 5th with a degree that prepares me for web design and development. In looking for a job there are tons of opportunities, but many want a few years experience, even for jobs that have an entry level look and feel to them. Maybe what I have studied for four years is useless but only to a certain extent. Anything related to drama and music seems pretty useless. There are only a few large record labels and you don't hear much about the minor ones. The music industry needs reform for a degree in that field to matter. Where do drama majors go? Maybe those are the waiters...

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  295. William (Durham, NC)

    I find it interesting how many people claim that philosophy is the "most useless" college major, since the primary goals of philosophy are to expose poor thinking through the use of logic and critical analysis, and thereby develop new avenues of thought. My colleagues in the sciences would do well to pay attention to the problems addressed in philosophy, if only so they can stop chasing theories and experiments that philosophers have exposed as flawed decades, and sometimes centuries ago. From a theoretical standpoint, this would prompt better advancement in the sciences. From a practical standpoint, this would save a considerable amount of taxpayer money.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  296. Bizmarck

    Unless you go to school for a specific professional skill (doctor, lawyer,etc.), there is a very good chance that you will not actually use the vast majority of what you learn in college. Instead, I think that college degrees give exposure to information but, possibly more importantly, the opportunity to learn how to learn – that can be a valuable skill regardless of the specific degree.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  297. quitepositive

    There is absolutely no such thing as a 'useless' college major! We should be careful to not discourage our kids from pursuing their passions. In today's economy, however, we should certainly be pushing students to attend grad school and go for a Master's or Doctorate after receiving their four-year degree. It makes you more competitive in the job market, and hey... a 'useless major' will never be useless if you at least have the credentials to teach it!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  298. M Scarpelli

    1980's – Get a Degree, any degree, you will have a job; YEA right! ALL degrees are worthless if no one is HIRING! My guess is that someone with a GAS exploration ENGINEERING degree is worthless with this Administration, but then again I have a Business Degree and being unemployed makes it worthless too.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  299. Bostonian

    The world is three dimensional. Life is multidimensional. We need all the degrees as the people with the skills that some of us feel useless flesh out the rest of the structure of life. If CNN would ask what degree has the worst return on "financial" investment, then that would be more appropriate. We need athletes, artists, musicians, geologists, social workers, and the engineers, doctors and etc. TV and cinema runs the world, and those who deliver this media to us went to drama/theater school. Check out Tom Hanks and many others. We need all degrees. I just wished they could all be afforded.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  300. Pierre Alexander Emond

    Hi Jack,

    I was going to say theology or divinity, but being someone who graduated with a double degree in Philosophy and Spanish and who has worked as a database administrator in the Canadian federal government for the past 20 years I would say that perhaps no degree is completely useless. What's more important is the kind of person you are and how open you are to learning.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  301. x

    If you want practicality go to a trade school. A higher education should develop your entire being not just a practical skill. Youth is the time to take a chance on yourself and follow your dreams as crazy as they might be.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  302. MM

    A good course to take would be Consumer Economics – but that should be taught in High School. Lesson 1: Don't borrow money if at all possible. Not for your education, house, or car, or wedding, or anything.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  303. Tim scholes

    Obviously journalism is the most useless.
    There is not one cable news chanel and few other news sources, that actually use journalists, or conduct any real research and reporting.
    Pew found only 11 percent of the latests campain coverage had any usable content, the other 89 percent was garbage.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  304. Dan Markim

    Most useless? An ethics degree from Penn State?

    Seriously, asking about the usefulness of a college major is like comparing the relative value of elementary schools or finding out how early someone learned their ABC's. None of these things have a direct correlation to success in life. Frankly the work I did in extracurricular activities has more to do with what I do for a career than anything I learned in a classroom.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  305. JIm Canuck

    An MBA has to be the most useless degree, because I've never met an MBA grad who wasn't educated beyond his/her intelligence.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  306. Lee

    Yep, I have a degree in history and it has been completely useless. I was lucky enough to graduate with no debt but in hindsight I wish I had chosen a major with a future instead of one I was interested in. So much for going to college to find yourself. Now college is just about majoring in something that will land you a decent job. Whatever, I still like history and I loved my time in college even if it didn't help my chances in the job market.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  307. al london

    We don't need more intellectuals, we need more plumbers.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  308. Dale N.M.

    The most worthless is ethics, but the most useful one is proctology.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  309. JLK in Tucson

    I know, I know the answer... It's Women's Studies. I saw an interview with a lady in the Occupy Wall Street group in NYC. She was protesting loud and clear because she couldn't get a job. She volunteered she had a Bachelors and a Masters degrees in Women's Studies and was over $35,000 in student loan debt. It was Wall Streets fault, that is so obvious

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  310. Kyle -Cleveland, Ohio

    In the age of email and electronic applications, an Physical Education/Exercise Science degree is useless. I've been applying for full time work (in and out of my field) for a year now. Over a hundred applications resulted in 6 interviews, still no job. Is CNN hiring?

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  311. Yuri from florida

    Most useless career choices are ones that give you a degree in nothing. A kind of degree that attributes to 50% of your income that you simply throw into this bottomless well for a few decades in hopes that something comes of it. Example of such degrees are Sociology, Early Child Development/Education. More importantly, Jack, problem starts in college. When I went to Rutgers there were over 100 career choices available, most of which were in liberal arts with no particular emphasis on anything. By considering such diverse circle of career choices... gullible students fall into trap of dropping tens of thousands of dollars into something that will give them nothing. True story Jack.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  312. Deb Wright

    I think Art Therapy has to be one of the most useless degrees one could earn. Right up there with Religion and Philosophy.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  313. el don Rodrigo

    Jack it's the one that only gets you an above minimum wage due to the lack of jobs. In San Jose, CA companies are offering $12 an hour for part time and a BA is required. You also need to have expert computer skills and type 60 WPM! I plan to sign up 6 months from now.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  314. Nina Fox

    Jack,

    That would be a BS degree in Homemaking. My sister in law received her BS degree and still was unable to cook!!! Why not call a spade a spade and rename this discipline as Future Husband Seeking

    Nina ~ California

    April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  315. Nathan Elkins

    Jack,

    As a university-based educator, I am tired of hearing the media tell students what they should and should not major in. Inevitably, majors in the arts and humanities are always sneered at. The arts and humanities, which includes subjects like philosophy and other liberal arts were the genesis of western higher education. Today, people over specialize and are told to study something just so they can make bigger bucks. But what's that money worth when you're not really doing what you have a passion for? If you have a passion and drive for what you do, you will succeed it and you'll be happier for it. I was an archaeology major, a major you declared useless, and yet I was successful in finding employment and know many other art history, archaeology, history, and philosophy majors that have similarly succeeded. It's 90 percent drive and initiative.

    Nathan

    April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  316. The Thinker

    Architecture is useless????
    What, have we outsourced building design also? The next thing you know Korea will be building our aircraft carriers!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  317. Jim from PA

    Jack, the most useless college major? One of the ones you mentioned – Political Science. They learn to lie, cheat, manipulate, make a lot of money via inside information, critisize, be oppositional and defiant – but wait, all that is great if they want to become a politician! Oops, I guess I was wrong!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  318. Cam

    It is particularly amusing to see people who don't have a college degree argue about "how worthless" different majors are. I guess you miss the whole point of education, which is to teach a person "how to think". The world is made up of lots of different types of people. Everyone has something to offer. Let's not degrade those whose talents you do not appreciate.

    Thanks

    (oh, ...just for the record, I am an engineer)

    April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  319. justin

    I don't think there really is any "useless" degree. So long as you go to class, work reasonably hard and actually deserve your degree, it can only make you better a person. Part of the growth as a person is being around a lot of different kinds of people and becoming an independent critical thinker. As a person with three music degrees, I agree that certain fine arts degrees are kind of useless. But, only in the sense that a great artist, actor or musician doesn't always need a degree to succeed in their field. If a 20 year old can perform better than I can, they are getting the job, no matter how many pieces of paper I have. But, I wouldn't give up any of my degrees and, I feel that my education has maked me a better performer anyway. The short version of all that? "none!"

    April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  320. Susan from Idaho

    Well I wouldn't aspire to be a teacher right now. Take up welding students you can work on those bridges to nowhere.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  321. Drew Carlson

    I'm not sure if this question has been asked yet, but is anyone asking WHY college is becoming so expensive? I know the president will not lambast the universities as they are one of his primary electoral bases, but why is tuition skyrocketing? Again, why is college so expensive?

    Downers Grove, IL

    April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  322. parmeldv

    Drama and music seem to be useless. What do drama majors end up doing? A lot of waiters I know studied drama/fine arts for undergrad degrees. The music industry is run by only a few record labels, the minor ones don't seem to get a lot of talk. My degree, web design and development, appears to be both useful and useless. Many of the jobs I've applied for have the look and feel of an entry level position but the companies still want a few years of experience outside college. It also depends on the program one gets into, I felt like mine was a let down. Graduating May 5th and no offers yet...

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  323. Brent

    Double major in Philosophy and Spanish...and quickly went back to get my MBA so I could land an interview!
    I wouldn't trade those majors for anything though. Philosophy taught me to think critically and write logically, and learning Spanish has enhanced my life in ways I can't even articulate. Both majors helped me succeed in grad school. Some logic at work: education is good. a college degree is education. therefore, a college degree is good!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  324. Mark, NY

    Attending an Obama rally seems to be the biggest waste of time in college.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  325. Charles

    To put it bluntly... there are no useless college majors. Frankly, I'm appalled that there would be a suggestion that someone's personal interests and how they wish to live their life is useless in the terms of education. It is a dark day in society when people are choosing their college majors not based upon who they are as an individual, but what could get them a job. I plan on majoring in philosophy soon, and I chose this major not due to the money I could make, this decision should never be about money, I chose it because of my infatuation with solving major issues logically and rationally. So how is one's interest, such as mine, to be deemed useless? If someone is willing to put for the effort in a field they love, why should they worry about such things. It seems to me this country needs to focus on education and what its definition of its "usefullness" is. Choosing money over personal interest should have never been a debate in the first place.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  326. alisonc700

    Jack, I created my own major in university back in the early 1980s, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Women in Mythology. Sounds like the most useless major ever, right? But instead, when I applied for jobs employers saw by that major that I was focused, able to think creatively and well positioned to find solutions to seemingly intransigent problems. In other words, that I was educated and intelligent, both qualities that have served me well. As long as people insist upon seeing a college education as being primarily, or even only, about enabling the individual to get a well-paying job, as opposed to valuing education for its broadening effect and for the sheer joy of knowledge, universities will continue to decline. And you know that US universities are falling into that trap now.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  327. randy

    1/2 of them, should cut studies to those that will get them a paying job so they can pay off their own student loans and not try to pass the bill to us, the tax payers that have worked our butts off all our lives. We are paying a billion of their student loans now with the interest forgiveness that the democrates want to keep, and their even whining about paying their half. It is a fact that college graduates make double that of high school graduates bover their lifetime, think they can afford it, and have the obligation to pay their own debts like the rest of us.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  328. Sandstone.

    "As you may have guessed, Jack. I never went to University, but I went to college four or five times in and around Electronic's to Electromechanics. I think that just about anything to do with my fields of experience is overloaded. Kid's are going to have to try and improvise on anything they feel they know, then make the best of what they can afford! As for what once was, I'm afraid is not around anymore!"

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  329. Larry IN Houston

    Most Useless ? lol – well, let me put it this way – I know people out there who are – or have made around 100K per year, on a High School Education, and some that I know, have retired by now.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  330. Jerry Mund, Appleton, WI

    Not long ago I heard of a German fellow who received a doctorate in field hockey. I can understand one taking up the study of field hockey, but how do you intellectually raise it to the doctoral level? Beats me.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  331. Butchie67

    Whatever the one that Obama got obviously.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  332. Ellie

    I'd have to say that my degree of Political Science is probably the worst of the worst. I thought that it would be a good building block for law school but with the debt I have from obtaining that degree , I'm now hesitant to take on the humungous debt of law school. A family friend who's a lawyer says the field has been hard hit by the economic downturn and is over saturated as it is. So now that I've decided to put off law school if I ever do decide to go for it...as a result my political science degree isn't of much value. Ironically I had been majoring in Biology and changed to political science because I feared ending up in the exact situation I'm in now. Going back to school in the fall for Occupational Therapy...like my dad had briefly suggested..Father really does know best!

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  333. Brian in San Antonio

    They are all the same. College just teaches you how to research a topic, and where to look. The desire to apply it to problem solving after college cannot be taught. 90% of success in life is just showing up.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  334. CR - Portland

    I I worked with someone whose wife was having a hard time finding work in her college major – Dance Theraphy

    April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  335. Tony Astor

    Not everyone needs to go to college. The U.S.A. Also needs workers. Factory Workers. We need to understand as a society that not all of us have to get a higher education. How did my Grandparents get by back in the 50's and 60's I'll never know. 

    -Tony A.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  336. Fred - Boulder, CO

    A useless major at the undergraduate level does not exist because you need a Master's degree for the majority of jobs. It doesn't matter what students major in on the undergraduate level, because without the bachelor's degree, you cannot pursue a master's.

    April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  337. ingyandbert

    Psych degree, useful? Only if you have a Ph.D. Otherwise, it's a joke. Many psychology students don't figure out how utterly limited the job market is (even in a good economy) at the bachelors or masters level until they're too far down the road toward graduation to switch majors. Then the question becomes, "Well, what ELSE can I do?"

    April 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm |