Useless Degrees? This List Doesn't Sit Well

by Melissa Brunner

A list caught my eye today that seems to pit doing something you love versus doing something soley to earn a paycheck.

The list is a Yahoo! Education article on what they consider the five most useless degrees. To me, the list appears driven simply by professions that are either narrowing in number or are highly competetive. I'm also wondering whether my reaction to the list is tainted a bit by my farm-girl roots.

Of the five degrees on the list, three could be thought of as directly related to rural life - agriculture, horticulture and animal science. Agriculture and horticulture make the list because labor department statistics show the number of jobs in those fields is dwindling. While animal science jobs are projected to grow 13% by 2018, the article says those jobs are competitive to get and the degree is so specific that it's not easily translated to other fields. As a girl who grew up around farms, gardens and animals, it's just a bit to tough to swallow hearing that studying those areas is deemed unworthy.

The final two "useless" degrees on the list are fashion design and theater. Again, this isn't because the industries aren't growing, it's because theyr'e deemed competitive and to have unsteady incomes. For these areas, I'd think it goes back to that initial question of pursuing your passion versus just a paycheck.

As a parent, what advice would you give your child if they wanted to seek one of these "useless" degrees? I imagine the heart would tell you to let your child go after their dreams, but, then again, many times parents are footing that bill and would like some assurance that the investment in a college degree will pay off.

If you'd like to read the full article, here's the link -


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