My Useless Education is Quite Useful

The 13 Most Useless Majors” is a truly unique list worthy of discussion given the amount and significance of conversation surrounding reforming higher education.

To create the list, the authors narrowed the field of possible majors using “new research (PDF) from Georgetown University” then applying “data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, equally weighing the following categories to determine current and future employment and earnings potential for our final ranking:

  • Recent graduate employment
  • Experienced graduate employment
  • Recent graduate earnings
  • Experienced graduate earnings
  • Projected growth in total number of jobs, 2010–2020″

The list includes:

  • #1 – Fine Arts
  • #2 – Drama and Theater Arts
  • #6 – Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • #7 – English Literature and Language
  • #11 – Music
  • #12 – History
  • #13 – Political Science and Government

So What?

According to this list, my wife and I have chosen paths that lead to uselessness.  Between the two of us, five of our six earned degrees fall within those listed above (and the one that manages to miss the list also fares poorly in most long term assessments related to job growth and likely employment rates for new graduates).

Fortunately my worldview embraces the usefulness and meaningfulness of the career paths most often chosen by those who major in fields the list labels as useless.  In my formal educational endeavors I learned how to learn (see #6 above).  I also learned that what matters can never be fully measured by economic impact or employment forecasting.

What do you understand the role of a college or university education to be?  How is that perspective shaped by your faith?  Given your perspective, what factors contribute to making a specific college major useful?


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