Are Some Degrees Useless?

If you majored in any field in Liberal arts or art chances are you were probably told by family, friends, and even the news that your degree is useless. This rhetoric seems to have increased with the economy not being that great and more people seeing college as a step for a lucrative career, meaning students choosing majors that are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or business.

To me, I feel that creating a hierarchy between degrees in counterproductive and doesn’t really help anybody in the long run. The most important fact we all need to remember is that not everyone is suited for STEM or Business. To go off Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, we see that there’s a variety of areas a person can be suited for. In my case, I have to say mine lies in Linguistics and Visual-Spatial. That is not to say I am bad at math, but why should I try at a field that will take me longer to understand the concepts?

There’s also the fact that while yes, jobs in non-STEM fields aren’t growing as fast, they are not obsolete. The issue comes in that if you do major in any of these, you are still looking exclusively for jobs that require your degree. This type of job search is not very productive. I have a Radio-Television-Film degree, but I am looking at jobs in the public relations and marketing arena. When I go to interviews, I state how my degree has made me understand the importance of aesthetics and that I can work on a team. The key is to use what you learned for you degree and apply it for a job. A journalism major will have just as easy time writing press releases as the public relations major.

This is not to say that STEM degrees are overhyped. I believe that we do need to have more students pursue these fields and degrees in STEM are so varied, you could probably find a field you’re interested in or would succeed at. I just hope that in our pursuit to be at the top again in STEM fields that Liberal Arts and Arts do not fall by the wayside. One solution we could do is encourage more students to minor in the Liberal Arts. Not only can you have the mathematical and scientific knowledge, you can also have the writing and creative capabilities to set you apart from the crowd. My other suggestion would be that unless you can afford it, you might want to choose a more affordable college to get a degree in Liberal Arts.

In my opinion, degrees aren’t useless in themselves, but more in how the person uses said degree.


2 thoughts on “Are Some Degrees Useless?

  1. Angela says:

    I hear a lot of STEM majors saying they can’t find jobs because they are having to compete with all the incoming H1B visa folks who will do these high tech jobs for half the cost. I was a journalism major with an advertising emphasis and have never been unemployed. Right now I work in investment relations for a private wealth management firm. I have never been real interested in doing a lot of math classes because I don’t like a lot of rules (LOL). All kidding aside, what good is majoring in STEM if you can’t find a job because you are competing with outsourcing and foreign H1B visas?

    • J.Lee says:

      I think what most people forget is that sometimes the major doesn’t matter so much as your skillset and who you know. I’ve heard of some people hiring people in their tech jobs despite not having a tech degree if they have taken a good number of math courses.

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