In the past just being a university graduate gave you a sort of edge in the real world. A degree often meant you had more job opportunities than the average high school leaver and what you studied, didn’t really matter. Over time the commonly accepted superiority of the college graduates waned a bit. With the blood of college graduates in the workforce, outrageous college tuition fees and internet fueled changes in the way we work, getting just any college degree wasn’t cutting it.
Around 53.6% of university graduates below 25 are unemployed or underemployed. Kids leaving high school must choose the right course of study in college or risk becoming unemployable or underemployed. Besides these degrees with doubtful viability may leave them with a lifetime of debts to repay. This makes it necessary to avoid pursuing some university degrees.
You would not want to spend over $100,000 and 4 years without a commensurate return on investment. From the unremarkable to the downright ridiculous the list below is a compilation of degrees with historically low employment and salary rates, and in most cases studying them won’t give you an edge over someone in the same field who didn’t go to college.
Here are the 10 most useless university degrees in the world.
1. Fashion design
It’s amazing seeing a lot of people being awarded a university degree in fashion. Fashion in itself is not a bad or unprofitable venture, but without a university degree in fashion design one can still be a fashion designer. The best fashion designers do not even have a university degree in fashion design, some are graduates in other fields while a vast majority didn’t bother with college. Like most art based industries fashion design is mostly about inborn artistic skills and creativity.
These are things that cannot be easily taught in colleges, apprenticeship and a hands-on approach is a much better way to learn fashion designing. Working in a fashion firm allows you to hone your innate skills and learn the business’s practical aspects. Rather than going to university you can better use your time by networking and building a strong portfolio.
In the field of fashion, another great option is a fashion school, there you’ll eliminate unnecessary theory and focus on your craft. You don’t need any degree to prove to anyone that you have a knack for whipping out mind-blowing designs, that is sure to cut across the global landscape. If you are naturally inclined towards the fashion industry you’re better off following a more hands-on approach rather than wasting 4 years of your life in college.
Unless you want to end up as a music professor or even worse writing reviews for your local rag. Studying music in college is a waste of time. Sure learning about music history, terminology and instruments may be interesting, they’re not prerequisites for a successful music career. The uber successful musicians you know all have the same things in common; natural talents, passion and thousands of hours of practice.
They never had to attend a university or get a degree in music to produce platinum selling albums. Of course some great musicians studied music in college, but their success is more likely due to the factors earlier mentioned than their music degree. Rather than go to university for a degree in music start working right away, join a band, write and perform on stage. Put your work out there to be seen, enjoyed and critiqued, this will put you ahead in your career more than years spent studying music theory in college.
3. Religious studies
With an average pay of $30,000 for recent graduates, a religious studies degree may be good for your soul, but terrible for your wallet. That is if you manage to land a job at all. One of the few career paths related to religious studies is to become a professor of religious studies, however even a job in academia is tough to get with a religious study degree.
This is one of the majors that makes people wonder what they were thinking before choosing such a sub-optimal course. You’ll wonder if such degrees were included merely to boost the school curriculum. Even the ministers and televangelists that dominate the airspace and pulpit rarely have a degree in religious studies. Some of course attend bible colleges for a few months.
4. Fine arts
Why spend over $50,000 and 4 years studying a major that depends more on your innate creativity than skills that can be taught. A successful artist is not determined by a set of objective rules but rather on the consumer’s tastes and subjectivity. A better alternative to spending money and time on a fine arts degree is to find a viable spin-off and learn on the go.
You can learn under an established artist or even learn from free YouTube videos, then rather than look for a regular job become a freelancer. You can sell your skills in more viable sub sectors, like graphic designing, photography or any other commercial art related field. The time you would have otherwise wasted in college will be better used to create a solid portfolio and finding a way to display them offline and online.
5. Computer science
Computer science is a popular course and you’re wondering why it made the list. This is why, back in the days a degree in this field will afford you many opportunities in the job market, but now the industry has evolved. Employers value skills more than a paper degree, skills such as coding do not require you to attend college. In a dynamic field such as computer science what you learned in the four years of college would have become redundant by the time you graduate.
Check out the moguls in the computer industry, you’ll hardly find any with a degree to back up their trade, and this fact alone has made the art of getting a degree in the field of computer science all the less attractive. So much for a degree that might have you contest with a high school dropout at a job interview because he or she possesses the skill. Rather than waste your time in college you can better still perfect the skills required and make yourself more marketable.
The truth is that, unless you want to end up teaching in a high school, which is even less of a possibility if history is not combined with education, you’re better off selling cookies from door to door or becoming a priest at your local coffee shop. With the relatively high unemployment rate of 18% there’s a shortage of careers in this field. Other than becoming a teacher, other career options open to history graduates include a museum curator, still that doesn’t even require a degree.
The only advantage a history major can offer is if you decide to get a doctorate in the field, a decision that will only increase your student debt with little to show for it. Rather than a history major go for social science or history teacher education that would leave you with better chances of landing a job.
7. Theater arts
A theater art degree is similar to a music degree in terms of relevance. Nobody cares if you have a degree in theater arts as long as you know what is required of you, and in most cases have the looks to back it up. Almost 98% of the big shots we have in the movie industry today, didn’t major in theater arts.
They started hustling small parts as kids or teenagers before eventually bursting onto the scene. Come to think of it what’s the point of owning a degree that requires raw innate talent. The fact that most of the gimmicks necessary to excel in this field are not taught in the classroom, and having a piece of paper will not prove otherwise.
8. Video and graphic arts
It’s not that this degree isn’t lucrative on its own, it’s just that the opportunities in this field are rather slim. And the fact that you can even learn most of the tricks required to soar in this field online, makes it all the more useless.Why spend money and time in a profession when you can have a sound knowledge of it in 6 months without needing to write an exam, it just doesn’t add up.
9. Anthropology and archaeology
Anthropology is the scientific study of human societies and cultures, at the same time archaeology is the study of human history by evaluating artifacts and other physical evidence. This already sounds boring. The unemployment rate in this field stands at a high 11.76% and there is very little any hiring agency will do with such a degree to be honest.
Most people who study this course end up making a living from careers unrelated to their field of discipline, like being a sales rep and the likes. Unless you have an extreme passion for being a real-life Indiana Jones you’re better off studying something else.
10. Library science
Almost every book can be found online including those in a library. Libraries are getting less funding from the government due to the growing need to have everything within our reach. And getting up from your house and going to the library is not usually something we enjoy doing, except it’s essential and necessary. So don’t blame the guys at Google for getting you out of a job in the next couple of years, you’re better off looking for something to do with more economic value.
A college education costs about $75,000 for public schools and $155,000 for private schools. This is a lot of investment to attain a degree especially if it doesn’t hold much headway in the labor market. While a college degree could significantly increase your pool of job opportunities and lifetime earnings, not all degrees are born equal. Most of the degrees mentioned in this list do not confer you any unique edge over those who chose the same career but didn’t splurge on a college degree. Take out time to consider your intended major before making any financial commitment to them. Not all that glitters is gold, choose wisely.