12 Most Useless College Classes You Didn’t Really Need

Sure, a class can be both fun and popular, but is it worth the time and money?
Last updated Nov. 28, 2022 | By Kate Puentes | Edited By Michael Kurko
professor holding lecture to a multi ethnic group of students

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No college class is truly useless. No matter how obscure or niche they may be, they all teach you something. But the fact of the matter is that many courses aren’t going to give you a huge return on investment.

There are many reasons for this: Your career is in a different field, it’s hard to land a job that utilizes the material, or perhaps the skills you learn aren’t practical in this economy.

That being said, let’s take a look at some college classes you can honestly skip taking.

Dead languages

crisfotolux/Adobe Latin ancient language and classical education

Sorry, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit aficionados, but you really don’t need to take these courses in college.

Okay, if you want to be a professor you do, but there are few other scenarios in which being proficient at a dead language is going to help you get a raise at work.

Consider taking languages that are still spoken around the world instead — such as Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese — which can be super helpful in a variety of professions.

Statistics

Seventyfour/Adobe bearded business coach giving presentation for audience

Yes, that statistics class you have to take to fulfill the math requirement is a waste of time. If you’re in school to study Spanish or history, why do they make you learn about stats?

Chances are the class pulled your GPA down too, especially if you’re afraid of math — which can have a negative impact for years to come.

English literature

Johnstocker/Adobe woman reading book at cafe

Reading any kind of literature can develop your mind and make you fall in love with books. However, studying English literature is so niche that only one job will utilize this knowledge: English professor.

Mastering the finer points of Jane Austen and Shakespeare isn’t something you’ll need on your resume. So you can probably skip this one.

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Art history

guruXOX/Adobe man in modern art exhibition gallery hall contemplating artwork

One could argue that art is the highest form of human expression. However, unless you plan on becoming a gallerist or professor, you don’t need to take art history.

Since you can go to museums and appreciate art on your own, there’s no point in spending money studying it.

Art is such a subjective thing anyway, so you’re better off studying a more concrete subject.

Advanced math courses

Who is Danny/Adobe modern classroom with math formulas

STEM is one of the hottest fields of study out there, and for good reason: These courses can help you land high-paying jobs in engineering and computer science.

However, forcing students who don’t plan to work in those fields to take these courses isn’t serving them well — rather, it’s useless.

In fact, studies have shown that making advanced math a requirement can cause students to drop out.

Poetry

finwal89/Adobe vintage book of poetry outdoors

Just as art is a beautiful thing, so too is poetry, which can nourish the soul. Unfortunately, knowing how to recite in iambic pentameter isn’t exactly at the top of every employer’s wish list.

Aspiring rappers and singers may benefit from learning about poetry, but the chances that you’ll become as famous as Kendrick Lamar or Bob Dylan are slim to none. So save your money and skip this course.

Musicology

Zvenislava/Adobe piano sheet music learning table

Music is enriching and vitally important to the happiness of almost all of us. But musicology courses are pretty much useless unless you’re going into this very niche – and competitive – academic profession.

Instead, you’re better off taking band or choir classes in which you perform, which can boost your well-being.

Physical education

Drazen/Adobe female physical education teacher at school gym

There’s no question that getting regular exercise is important as science has shown us over and over again. But why on earth do you need to take a college course in which you play sports and games you can just as easily do on your own?

We’re not talking about health education here, as that’s useful. But playing badminton and paying for it? Not worth your time.

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Archeology

Microgen/Adobe ancient burial site- archaeological excavations

Plenty of us spent our childhoods fascinated by ancient Egypt and dreamed of becoming a famous archaeologist who unearths the treasures of the past. But the reality of actually being an archeologist is not exactly what it looks like in an Indiana Jones movie.

This discipline is also competitive, so unless you’re set on becoming an archeologist, this course will be useless for you.

World religion

pureradiancecmp/Adobe Person writing on notebook while open bible on the side

Few things are more important to people than their spirituality, and fewer disciplines are more fascinating than world religion.

However, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to take this course just because you’re religious. It may actually hinder you if you can’t be objective.

Plus, like archeology, it’s hard to get a good job in this field after graduation. To that end, most students can skip this course.

Philosophy

Viktoriia/Adobe woman wearing glasses sitting at desk studying on laptop

Philosophy is arguably the cornerstone of civilization, and taking a course in it can help you develop your thinking skills.

But let’s be honest: When was the last time you saw a call for a robust background in the discipline on a job application?

Since critical thinking is something that’s developed in many classes, don’t spend your money waxing about the merits of existentialism in college. Save it for the cafe.

Theater

Restuccia Giancarlo/Adobe empty red armchairs of a theater ready for a show

Who among us hasn’t wished that they could be a famous actor who stars in Hollywood movies? At the same time, most of us know we’ll probably never be Will Smith or Meryl Streep. That’s why it’s likely useless to take that theater class, even if you love acting.

Plenty of Hollywood actors never took theater classes either, so chances are this course will be a waste of time for you.

Bottom line

Syda Productions/Adobe students and teacher with tablet pc at lecture

College is expensive, so it’s important to take classes that will help you eliminate money stress about your investment.

To that end, there are plenty of classes that you don’t need to take as they’re not practical for you for one reason or another.

But once in a while, it can be good for you to bite the bullet and sign up for that class you love. You might regret missing out on studying what you’re truly passionate about.

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Author Details

Kate Puentes Kate Puentes is a writer and editor residing in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. She is the senior lead editor of a home and garden website.