Top 10 Worst College Majors

Jul 18, 2014

by Suada Kolovic

With recent college graduates facing an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent and substantially lower starting salaries, we have to ask: What path should students take in order to flourish after graduation? And while there isn't one direct route that translates into post-collegiate success, H&R Block has compiled the top 10 majors with the highest unemployment rates for recent college graduates:

  1. Anthropology & Archaeology – 10.5%
  2. Film/Video & Photographic Arts – 12.9%
  3. Fine Arts – 12.6%
  4. Philosophy & Religious Studies – 10.8%
  5. Liberal Arts – 9.2%
  6. Music – 9.2%
  7. Physical Fitness – 8.3%
  8. Commercial Art & Graphic Design – 11.8%
  9. History – 10.2%
  10. English Language & Literature – 9.2%

What are your thoughts on the majors that made the list? Do you agree with the sentiment that these majors that aren't in high demand should be avoided or should students be encouraged to pursue their passion regardless of potentially high unemployment rates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. For more information on how to choose a major,the most popular college majors and 10 things to consider before choosing your major, head over to Scholarships.com’s College Prep section.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Discuss

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Comments (23)

Jamie S  on  10/26/2014 8:12:31 AM commented:

Liberal Arts is such a broad term, though.

Samantha S  on  10/24/2014 3:06:12 PM commented:

I have always believed that people should do what they love, but I can see how and why these majors are considered "the worst" while other majors like math or science are considered "better". For one thing, all of these majors listed above seem to be competitive. It's like you have to be known or popular in order to make a profit so that you can sell your products. If your work was known to only a few, you wouldn't make much of a profit, and I think that is where most of the problem starts. Another thing is that the people do not necessarily NEED art or filming and the like. It is considered a luxary to have. However, medicine and sciene never seem to deteriorate because people need health care and need new research to further benefit society. I feel like it is all a "societal mentality" kind of thing. When was the last time on national news you heard about a succeeding artist that has created something magnificent and noteworthy? Yet we always see the scientists creating amazing new (and sometimes useless) inventions that might influence kids to become a scientist. It's all about perspective, to me. I find all majors beautiful, especially the ones I'm horrible at because the people who do that major leave me astounded at their work.

Jeremiah T  on  10/23/2014 4:07:43 AM commented:

I think the problem would be that people just expect after they get their degree to instantly be put in a job which requires their degree. Being a History major myself, it doesn't matter what I go into, I plan to use it to support my knowledge of how the institution works, and how we even percieve history. In regards to all 10 of these though, if you have done it for a while, are good at it, and love it, then eventually your extensive knowledge of it will lead you into a career in it. It's giving up and getting frustrated with what you've done that kills it.

Dylan O  on  10/22/2014 7:29:33 PM commented:

You missed Women's Studies. Useless degree.

Sarah K  on  10/21/2014 8:09:45 PM commented:

The title itself is pretty offensive if I were to be honest. I was considering an art major for a long while because guess what, I love to draw and paint! These aren't the "Top 10 Worst College Majors" These are just Majors that are hard to get into. But that doesn't make them bad majors. How about instead of demeaning these majors and telling people to not go for something they really want to do and discourage them, you tell them how they can make the best out of that major, or alternatives that can actually help them with doing something in that field. My Academic Adviser helped ME out when I was stuck between a Business Major and Art Major and said to combine them and maybe start an Animation Production Company, or possibly and Art Studio. Why not do that? Rather than tell people to just give up and go where the money is at and tell them their Major choice is bad. Thank you, and goodnight.

Josh C  on  10/21/2014 4:07:10 PM commented:

Colleges are good at teaching music to students, but they absolutely suck at teaching music majors how to get a job. Sad but true.

William B  on  10/21/2014 2:48:09 PM commented:

You can choose what ever program that you want, but the reality is that companies just aren't looking for these degrees. Too many people choose to do them, and the industry responds by generally not hiring those with that degree. Even in the military, certain "jobs" advance quicker than others due to manning. So, you can either face reality and pick a field that's bound to be successful, or roll the dice and take a risk with something that you and everyone else "enjoys". That's life.

Anakin M  on  9/3/2014 6:03:55 AM commented:

Frankly, I'm a little bit annoyed by the fact we get told to follow our dreams all the time and then get told "but only if it makes money." I don't know about other people, but I'd rather be poor and doing something I love then rich and doing something I absolutely can't stand.

Brittany H  on  7/26/2014 5:01:18 PM commented:

I'm SO tired of constant posts putting History, along with others, as the "worst majors to have". We support all the free spirits in the world, telling them that they don't need to college and that it's just as okay to travel and do other things, most importantly DO WHAT THEY LOVE, yet when someone does go to college, not that going or not going is better than the other, but when they do go, they major in something they care about and they are scrutinized? I am so sorry that I am horrible at math, along with the fact that I hate it, I could never put myself through a STEM major because I don't have the mindsets for those, I would hate the time I would spend on it, I would be miserable, not to mention probably failing. There is nothing wrong with majoring in something you are passionate about, regardless of if it makes less than a STEM major. Personally, I don't give two rats about how much money I make with my History major, I care about my future and having a family and being happy there. Sometimes the money itself isn't the biggest push to taking a certain major, so we shouldn't scrutinize anyone for choosing to go that path.

Kathy T  on  7/25/2014 2:52:46 PM commented:

I think a major in Special Education is one of the worst majors. It is a field in which you quickly burn-out because of so few supports.

Darren M  on  7/25/2014 10:33:29 AM commented:

I completely agree with where you were trying to go with this article. I really tried to,stress that to my former classmates and graduates(class of 2K14 WOOHOO!) that you should really go after majors where you are guaranteed to land a job right after College rather than go after a passion of yours that may lead you to low income or no income entirely.

Christina W  on  7/23/2014 6:22:57 PM commented:

I just read another article at salary.com that put English and graph design majors in the top 8 ted greens to consider. They have good ROIs. So I find this list highly suspect.

Alysha T  on  7/23/2014 6:14:10 PM commented:

I believe that shouldn't stop you from fulfilling your dreams but instead push you to go further and do more just because. You never know what may happen in the future. I don't believe that English/Literature, Commercial Art & Graphic Design, and Film/Video & Photographic Arts are the majors that aren't in high demand. And that's what I'll continue to believe, something could turn around in the near future.

Derek M  on  7/23/2014 3:10:55 PM commented:

Fine by me. Haha, my mind is bright enough that I am good at math and science, so I enjoy it, so I'm taking that path :)

Jesse E  on  7/23/2014 11:53:56 AM commented:

Nothing is worthless when you put the work into it. Devin graham went to BYU to study film and now he is a youtube star making amazing videos. It`s only worthless if you`re not passionate about it.

Jade F  on  7/23/2014 11:31:57 AM commented:

Considering most of these majors are majors I'm around every day, I doubt this list highly. I don't think any of these majors are "the worst;" I think they might be challenging, but it depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to get a job teaching English/Lit or History, good luck. If you want to actually become a writer, there are entire databases of information you can go to. STEM careers aren't the only careers making big money; you can live nicely on degrees like this without a teaching job.

Alexandra E  on  7/23/2014 8:42:57 AM commented:

Interesting list, particularly Film/video ...that stuff is all digital now, so if you're going into that field you need to be able to do the work digitally to get a job. If you're getting a degree, definitely make sure it's something that has opportunities so it will pay for itself. It would be nice if granting/loan agencies gave preference to students who were getting a degree in something marketable (STEM, emerging technologies, etc.). Now everybody has to pay loan fees for most government loans, whether your degree choice has a future or not.,

Caitlin K  on  7/23/2014 3:03:58 AM commented:

I'm an art major and I have to say, I've never seen more opportunities for employment in my life. Fine arts is a growing field, especially with the advent of technology to give animation and new forms of 2D rendering. While it's hard to get started as an art major, it's well worth it because literally hundreds of paths open up after you receive your degree. I find it interesting that there are no fine arts scholarships linked when there are also hundreds of fine arts scholarships to be found in many capacities.

 on  7/22/2014 9:56:01 PM commented:

I happen to be an English major, so I am predisposed to want to defend my place on the list. However, it is unrealistic to expect any major to be ratable by "worst" or "best", and this is especially true when it comes to employment rates. Things change unpredictably. Things can't be predicted this far ahead on the road. Rates change, trends change, and I'm sure next year there will be another list on it in much the same way. There are things that have changed our lives as we knew them, like social networking for instance. Technology is rapidly changing, social movements are changing, and the world will likely keep spinning. New things pop up and old things die out. That's life. No one could major in anything but crystal ball reading if we relied solely on employment expectations. Now virtually everything has a Facebook page, so naturally there are new possibilities with that as far as networking and jobs go. We couldn't have predicted that when my parents' generation was choosing their majors. It depends on what one is good at and loves to work at, not on whatever is popular right now. Eventually, this list will change. Follow your dreams!

Victoria H  on  7/22/2014 9:53:25 PM commented:

First of all what about the cinema/new media major that some colleges offer that combine video with mass communications, writing, and music? Is that safer? Also, what about equine and/or animal science. I have heard that it is hard to get a job with those majors too....

Abigail R  on  7/22/2014 9:43:42 PM commented:

I feel as though students should be able to choose whatever major they want. However, their major should focus on what will help them get an actual job in the future and they could minor in something that really is not going to help them get a career.

Darien S  on  7/22/2014 9:30:12 PM commented:

It depends on how you use them. Lady Gaga has a master degree in music. musicians really need one or an equivalent in study because without the study of music theory, you cant express yourself as easily in music. The music degree, however, can serve as a good title...but you dont really need it if you find the right books. I'm not sure if you can just look for music books at a university store and buy them to read on your own. However, teachers can help alot. There is a movie called the Librarian. the main character had like a lot of "useless" degrees but it all came in handy in his adventures. If you want to support, redefine, change, take down relgion, you do need to have a religion--related degree about the religion you are targeting. Knowing and proving yourself are both important. or for example, if you want to be a baby sitter, you dont have to just be a baby sitter. there may be someone out there that likes the idea of a babysitter being a teacher at the same time.. or a bodygaurd.. or a physical fitness trainer... or even a historian. They are still qualities that put you a step or more up when it comes to certain jobs. so it depends on how yo will use it...

Mary D  on  7/22/2014 2:55:19 PM commented:

I think an important thing to remember when reading these kinds of statistics is that just because the employment rate is low in the field that you love DOESN'T MEAN that you should DROP IT. Not everyone is made for STEM careers. If you work hard, you can be in the 9.2% or whatever % of your field that DOES get jobs. I'm probably going to major either in music, liberal arts, or English, some of the "do not enter" degrees. But I believe that if I work hard, I will succeed. Yeah, it might be more competitive, but I love those fields, so I'm motivated to succeed.