Journalism Tops List Of The Most Useless College Degrees

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Some cities are better than others for college graduates. Some college courses are definitely hotter than others. Even some iPhone apps are better for college students than others. But when it comes down to it, there’s only one question that rings out in dormitories, fraternities, and dining halls across the nation: What’s your major?

See The Most Useless Degrees >
With college graduation nearly upon us, two questions are running through the minds of nearly every soon-to-be-alumnus: Was my degree worth it? And: What do I do now?

While the most important factor in choosing a college major may be a student’s interests, a close second is certainly the likelihood of actually finding a job and making a living after graduation, especially when factoring in the high cost of tuition. Turns out that when it comes to post-college earning power, not all degrees are created equal.

To find the most useless degrees college students can get with their four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, we wanted to know which majors offer not only the fewest job opportunities, but those that tend to pay the least. The Daily Beast considered the following data points, weighted equally, with each degree’s numbers compared to the average for each category, to achieve a categorical comparison that accounts for differentiation from the mean. Data are from the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics and Payscale:

  • Starting and mid-career salary levels, using the profession most associated with the degree.
  • The expected change in the total number of jobs from 2008-2018.
  • The expected percentage change in available jobs from 2008-2018.

For informational purposes, in this accompanying gallery, we provide the number of degrees awarded for 2008-2009, the most recent academic year available from the National centre for Education Statistics.

Several majors on this list—photography, literature, theatre—suffer from low starting and mid- career salaries, but still show potential for job growth, and industry superstars can still make a very nice living. But the most useless major in America? It’s a degree close to our hearts here at The Daily Beast.

This post originally appeared at The Daily Beast.

1. Journalism

Median starting salary: $35,800

Median mid-career salary: $66,600

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -4,400

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018:-6.32

Undergraduate field of study: Communications

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 78,009

2. Horticulture

Median starting salary: $35,000

Median mid-career salary: $50,800

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -15,200

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -1.74

Undergraduate field of study: Agriculture and natural resources

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 24,988

3. Agriculture

Median starting salary: $42,300

Median mid-career salary: $59,700

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018:-9,100

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -0.88

Undergraduate field of study: Agriculture and natural resources

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 24,988

4. Advertising

Median starting salary: $37,800

Median mid-career salary: $73,200

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -800

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -1.71

Undergraduate field of study: Communications

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 78,009

5. Fashion Design

Median starting salary: $37,700

Median mid-career salary: $72,200

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +200

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +0.81

Undergraduate field of study: Visual and performing arts

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 89,140

6. Child and Family Studies

Median starting salary: $29,500

Median mid-career salary: $38,400

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +36,100

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +12.33

Undergraduate field of study: Family and consumer sciences

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 21,905

7. Music

Median starting salary: $36,700

Median mid-career salary: $57,000

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +19,600

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +8.16

Undergraduate field of study: Visual and performing arts

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 89,140

8. Mechanical Engineering Technology

Median starting salary: $53,300

Median mid-career salary: $84,300

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -700

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: -1.45

Undergraduate field of study: Engineering technologies

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 15,112

9. Chemistry

Median starting salary: $42,400

Median mid-career salary: $83,700

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +2,100

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +2.48

Undergraduate field of study: Physical sciences

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 22,466

10. Nutrition

Median starting salary: $42,200

Median mid-career salary: $56,700

Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +5,600

Percentage Change in number of jobs, 2008-2018: +9.24

Undergraduate field of study: Biological and biomedical sciences

Number of students awarded degrees 2008-2009: 80,756

For the rest of the list, head over to The Daily Beast.

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