Hey, all of you history professors, grad students, and majors, The Daily Beast has some good news: History is nowhere to be found among their rating and ranking of the “20 most useless degrees!”
In fact, what struck me as I clicked through their gallery of majors is that there are only two “traditional” liberal arts or natural science majors in the top ten (music and chemistry?)–the rest fall into the category of majors associated with specific trades, like Journalism (they’re number one!), Horticulture (2), Agriculture (3), Advertising (4), Fashion design (5), Child/Family Studies (6), Mechanical Engineering technology (8), and Nutrition (10). The liberal arts come up more frequently after the top 10: Theater (12), Art History (13), Photography (14), Literature (15), Art (16), Fine Arts (17), Psychology (18), and English (19).
Who ever would have thought that Art History was a more practical choice of majors than “Mechanical Engineering Technology?” (And didn’t that used to be called just mechanical engineering, or is that another major altogether?) To be sure, there are serious limitations to the methodology, which (this being the United States of Kiss My A$$) is all about the Benjamins:
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 Labor 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.
Of course, this list of the worst majors will change when the United States finally commits the resources it should to the responsible production of food (as opposed to commodities), acknowledges and pays for the real value of early childhood education, and revises its free-trade laws to return factories from China, Mexico, and the Honduras. (And then the rapture will surely be nigh!)
Oh well. At least those of us who were constantly asked in college “What are you going to do with that? Teach???” with derisive contempt can have the last laugh. For now. Enjoy, all of you Political Scientists, Economists, Sociologists, Anthropologists, Philosophers, Historians, Foreign Language majors, and scientists other than chemists or psychologists! We’re not number one! We’re not number one!
32 Responses to “History: practical, sensible, and likely to be in the curriculum in another 50 years”