Twenty-something urban woman

What not to study: The 20 university degrees with the highest unemployment rates

Elizabeth Bromstein|

What’s your university degree in? I just ended that sentence with a preposition, so you might be able to guess that I don’t have one. If I did, it might be in English literature, but I dropped out, which is just as well, since people used to joke that Concordia’s English lit. department has its graduation ceremony in the unemployment office. (I later went back and studied history and musicology at U of T, but I didn’t get those degrees either. Maybe one day.)

English is one of the more proverbially useless degrees, but it’s not the most useless, not today and not in terms of unemployment rates, anyway. No, that honour goes to clinical psychology. This is according to The Wall Street Journal, which recently looked at how 173 college majors fare on the job market in terms of employment and pay, based on 2010 US census data.

Psychology in general is a pretty terrible idea, as are visual, performing and fine arts – pretty much any art, really. You probably could have guessed that. But some of the others surprised me. I guess I assumed, for example, that a degree in neuroscience, would be specialized enough to give you a good chance at a job. I assumed wrong. On the other hand, education of just about any kind is a pretty sure bet.

Obviously, your choice of degree affects your employability. There are other factors to consider, such as the popularity of the degree and the earning potential – all of which you can view here. But for a simple look, below are the 20 highest and lowest unemployment rates by degree. See where yours fits in. Or, if you’re thinking of getting (another) one, perhaps this will influence your choice of discipline.

20 HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES BY DEGREE:

      1. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY – 19.5%
      2. MISCELLANEOUS FINE ARTS – 16.2%

3. UNITED STATES HISTORY – 15.1%

4. LIBRARY SCIENCE – 15.0%

5. EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY & MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES, TIE – 10.9%

6. ARCHITECTURE – 10.6%

7. INDUSTRIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY – 10.4%

8. MISCELLANEOUS PSYCHOLOGY – 10.3%

9. LINGUISTICS AND COMPARATIVE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE – 10.2%

10. COMPUTER ADMINISTRATION MANAGEMENT AND SECURITY – 9.5%

11.   VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS & ENGINEERING AND INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT, TIE – 9.2%

12.   SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY – 8.8%

13. INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS – 8.5%

14. HUMANITIES & ELECTRICAL AND MECHANIC REPAIRS AND TECHNOLOGIES, TIE – 8.4%

15. GENERAL SOCIAL SCIENCES – 8.2%

16. COMMERCIAL ART AND GRAPHIC DESIGN – 8.1%

17. STUDIO ARTS – 8.0%

18. PRE-LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES – 7.9%

19. MATERIALS ENGINEERING AND MATERIALS SCIENCE & COMPOSITION AND SPEECH, TIE – 7.7%

20. LIBERAL ARTS – 7.6%

20 LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES BY DEGREE:

      1. ACTUARIAL SCIENCE & PHARMACOLOGY & EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION & SCHOOL STUDENT COUNSELING & GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL ENGINEERING & ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS, TIE – 0.0%

2. TEACHER EDUCATION: MULTIPLE LEVELS – 1.1%

3.   AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS – 1.3%

4.   MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES TECHNICIANS – 1.4%

5. ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND METEOROLOGY – 1.6%

6. NAVAL ARCHITECTURE AND MARINE ENGINEERING – 1.7%

7. ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING & NURSING & PUBLIC POLICY & NUCLEAR INDUSTRIAL RADIOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL TECHNOLOGIES, TIE – 2.2%

8. PHYSICAL SCIENCES – 2.5%

9. TREATMENT THERAPY PROFESSIONS – 2.6%

10 PLANT SCIENCE AND AGRONOMY – 2.7%

11. MEDICAL ASSISTING SERVICES – 2.9%

12. SOCIAL SCIENCE OR HISTORY TEACHER EDUCATION & AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT & GENERAL AGRICULTURE, TIE – 3.0%

13. FORESTRY & INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES, TIE – 3.1%

14. PHARMACY PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES AND ADMINISTRATION & GEOSCIENCES, TIE – 3.2%

15. COMMUNICATION DISORDERS SCIENCES AND SERVICES & OCEANOGRAPHY & MISCELLANEOUS HEALTH MEDICAL PROFESSIONS, TIE – 3.3%

16. MATHEMATICS TEACHER EDUCATION – 3.4%

17. MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE – 3.5%

18. ELEMENTARY EDUCATION & AEROSPACE ENGINEERING & SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION, TIE  – 3.6%

19. MISCELLANEOUS EDUCATION & MISCELLANEOUS AGRICULTURE, TIE – 3.7%

20. SECONDARY TEACHER EDUCATION & MECHANICAL ENGINEERING & CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, TIE – 3.8%


Category: Industry News & Insights,
 
  • alexloveshockey@gmail.com

    hello

  • Chel

    This doesn’t take into account the volumes of people with said degree. For example, lots of people take a psychology degree but the number of people with the degree and the number of jobs available for people with said degree don’t match up and there are people left over.

  • whyohwhy

    what on earth is MISCELLANEOUS FINE ARTS? everything not on the list?

    • Blondesareeasy Fullname

      That’s topless waitress that doubles as a dish washer.

  • yucaistudent

    What about hospitality management?