January 20 2012

Meet The Five Most Useless College Majors

Charlotte Hays

Is your sheepskin useless?

Occupy Wall Street members frequently have voiced the complaint that their college degrees often prove useless when it comes to finding employment.

Well, I hope that future grads are perusing this story about “college majors that are useless.” It comes with a list of the top-five useless majors.

I am intrigued with Useless Major # 2: fashion design. That’s—like—a college major?

The "typical coursework" includes: sewing, tailoring, color, design, and pattern making, all valuable skills. But couldn't they be acquired less expensively outside of--er--academia? 

I’ll wager Diana Vreeland, the legendary Vogue editor, never studied fashion in college. She had flair, taste and a fabulous sense of what you can do with the color red, and these are certainly more valuable attributes for working in fashion.

I am going to go out on a limb here and bet that that Anna Wintour, the current editor of Vogue, didn’t major in fashion as an undergraduate at England’s Oxford University. I am pretty sure the venerable institution doesn’t offer undergraduate degrees in fashion.

If you need to go to college to learn about color and pattern making, you are probably not going to be the next Coco Chanel.

Before I ask for the envelope, please, and reveal the other “useless majors,” I want to utter a word of gratitude: my own major—English—widely acclaimed as useless, didn’t make the list. I have not found it a useless major.

One of my prejudices is that the liberal arts—and by extension degrees in English—are not in the least useless. A major in English prepares you for all sorts of jobs. In my case, I’ve been an editor and reporter. I feel certain there are also real jobs out there where an English major’s skills would not come amiss. Ditto classics and history.

The list of useless majors is based solely on statistics regarding projected hiring in those fields. And, now, the list (in order of uselessness): agriculture, fashion design, theater, animal science, and horticulture.

What are the good majors for getting a job?

Majors like business had 83 percent of the surveyed employers saying they planned to recruit them. Close seconds were accounting and computer and information science majors with nearly 60 percent of surveyed employers planning to recruit them.

This story plays to another one of my prejudices: in my opinion, colleges all too often collect hefty fees for providing “educations” that will neither prepare graduates for intellectual attainments or get them a job.

Surely, if you are going to pay through the nose for a college degree , you should get at least one of those benefits.

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