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Are Liberal Arts Majors Really Useless?

When we posted our list of ‘13 Most Useless College Majors’ yesterday, quite a few of you wanted to add your two cents. Here are 13 of them.

04.24.12 4:24 PM ET

I get that article, though I may not agree with it. I'm a current Anthropology major, and although becoming an archaeologist may not be the most "practical" career option, Anthropological concepts and knowledge can be applied to any field at all. It's simple the study of people; how we live and how we got here. It's the most interesting subject I could study, and I've learned countless invaluable things since I've started. It's a great way to look at the world, because people are really amazing.


[A]s an anthropologist who now works for an advertising agency, i completely agree with hannahlouwhoo! imho, the real issue is that most schools don't give students the context and perspective they need to understand how they might leverage their "useless" majors in IRL professions ... when i was in school ('07), none of my professors ever mentioned that anthropologists are highly valued in advertising and marketing. i was just lucky enough to figure it out on my own (and a little by accident).


“I know I’m going to get a lot of hate for this comment, but it was actually best described by my History Professor (I’m a double major of chemistry and history): Sciences are the movers and shakers of the majors, the rest enrich lives. Science cures illness, creates indoor plumbing, creates safer buildings, and keeps us from eating poisons. Sciences will never go to war, they may argue, but it is quickly solved by an experiment (ex./ “water has 2 hydrogens” “no it doesn’t!” “you want to bet!” “yeah!” “to the lab!” problem solved) where as other disciplines will be constantly warring. Science creates a safer life, it’s the rest of the disciplines that make it bearable. So yes, in some ways science is the most useful discipline, but it doesn’t mean that the others are unimportant. Just unnecessary for survival.”
Inward Thoughts


I've started to think about degrees the way some people think about marriages: You do the first one for love, but the second one for money...  :)



“I don’t know. I’m still young and heaven knows I’m not employed yet, but I wouldn’t call my degree useless. I learned a lot from it, and it did better me as a person. Even if it never helps me get a job, it wasn’t a waste of my time.”
tiny bee


Personally, majoring in something I loved [Sociology] and not in something that made money made the most sense. Love is the greatest fortune I could ever "make" or "receive."


To be fair, I make more money than most of my college graduate friends and I never even finished. So it's less about the degree and more about ambition and drive.
Mildy Amused


“I hate what capitalism has done to university, and all inevitable “privileged white princess” accusations aside, I refuse to content myself with the fact that it’s become all about the marketability of degrees as opposed to the simple joy in learning and gaining expertise in a field you love. Ambitious, passionate young people deserve so much better than this.”
The Lady Byron


“A college degree is only as useful as you make it. I work with incredibly rich and creative folks who majored in a lot of the ones on this list. Their ambition and passion made them a success, not a string of characters on a piece of paper.”
Jenn Schiffer


“I probably sound like a chump, but I really think the main “problem” with these areas of study is that lots of graduates don’t know how to sell themselves. I usually play up my ability to deal with (big, insufferable) egos and my ability to critically think and work independently. Not big things, but they’ve worked for me thus far.”


Don’t f---ing tell me that the arts are useless. In such a visual, media-oriented society, design, creativity, and ART are everywhere. When you go home at night, you don’t read the latest science journals about finding the largest prime number, YOU WATCH F---ING TV, WHICH IS MADE BY WRITERS, ACTORS, DIRECTORS, AND ARTISTS. Seriously. do. not. f---ing. TELL ME that the arts are unimportant. Just because it’s not in a museum or a literary journal does not mean it’s not art.


“I majored in #11 and then a version of #13 in undergrad and ended up with a Masters in #8. Looking down this list, it seems these are the majors that make you happy instead of making you rich. They also seem to be degrees that prepare someone to contribute thoughtful or beautiful things to the world. I think we need a new definition of useless.”


“Watch me make money, Newsweek. WATCH ME.”
Mermaid and the Drunks