17 Most Useless College Degrees Employers Don't Want Today

If you’re thinking of going to college, there are some degrees that may not be as useful as others.
Updated April 11, 2024
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College can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re getting a useful education for the money you’re putting down or borrowing.

However, some degrees are better than others when it comes to landing a job when you get out of school. After all, you don’t want to be looking for ways to pay off debt on a degree that doesn’t pan out.

Here are some degrees that might not give you the best bang for your buck as you consider a particular career after graduation.

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Creative writing

Viktoriia/Adobe young woman writer in library

Pursuing a creative degree may not make you much money after college, and that’s particularly true of creative writing.

The publishing field isn’t lucrative for many writers (unless you’re a big name), so you may be stuck with a degree that won’t help you get a sustainable job after graduation.


VideoFlow/Adobe businesswoman speaks over the phone and social network hologram

One issue with a communications degree is that it could be too broad depending on the program and the classes required for the degree. Instead, focus on a specific type of communication like journalism, marketing, or public relations.

Fashion design

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe male fashion designer sketching

Fashion design has become more popular, and more competitive, with social media and reality competition shows looking for new designers. The market may be oversaturated and it could be difficult to stand out.

If you enjoy fashion, consider other positions in the industry, including writing for fashion publications or working as a buyer or stylist, which may help you earn more money.

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Kalim/Adobe receptionists at work

Travel habits have changed in recent years due to the pandemic, and have affected places like hotels. Events planners and hospitality management have also taken a hit. But you may still have options if you want to pursue a career in hospitality.

For example, consider getting a business degree that may be more useful when finding a job after college. You could still use it to get a job in hospitality or have the flexibility to find a position outside of hospitality that would require a business degree.


Gorodenkoff/Adobe enthusiastic teacher giving a lesson in elementary school

Teachers are amazing resources for students across the country. Despite a nationwide teacher shortage, salaries often do not reflect their importance in society. Plus, nearly 50% of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.

If you feel the strong desire to be a teacher, it would be wise to have a backup plan in case you need to leave the profession.

Computer science

DC Studio/Adobe software company employee in video call conference

There’s been an emphasis in recent years on computer science careers, but that focus has led to an oversaturation of computer science graduates compared to the number of jobs available.

If you still want to get a computer science degree, find ways to make yourself stand out among other applicants such as internships and training or certification in specialized skills.

Culinary arts

Syda Productions/Adobe happy friends and male chef cooking in kitchen

If you want to work in a restaurant or get a job as a personal chef, a culinary arts degree might not give you the experience and education you need to cook or bake for a living.

Instead, ask around to local restaurants you like or talk to chefs in your area to see if it's possible to get a job working with food without a degree.


Mediteraneo/Adobe guitar teacher teaching the girl at home

Music may be a wonderful thing to participate in, but it could be difficult to make enough money with a music career to cover the cost of getting a music degree. Instead, get a degree in a field that may be more lucrative and use your free time to practice music.

You may even be able to use your music to make money with a side hustle while earning a salary that can pay your bills another way.

Film, video, and photographic arts

Monkey Business/Adobe teacher with male and female drama students

This is another degree that can be tempting if you have a passion for the arts. However, the result of success in the fields of videography and photography often comes without a college degree.

You may be able to just use your natural talent to become a filmmaker and develop your skills by using online resources. You could get a job as a photographer or videographer in fields such as marketing or the service industry, serve as an independent contractor, and even open your own business, all the while without needing a student loan.

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Performing arts

Iftikhar alam/Adobe singer performing in concert hall

If you want to be an actor, it may be better to act than to go to school for it. You don’t need to enroll in a college or university to take acting classes.

Practice, auditions, and real-world experience can also be more helpful than sitting in a classroom or lecture hall. Try landing your next best role instead of spending cash on a degree.

Criminal justice

Natee Meepian/Adobe gavel with Justice lawyer

If you’re interested in a job in law enforcement, a criminal justice degree may not be as helpful as other options. You might want to apply for a job directly and go through training that may be paid for by a police department or sheriff’s department.

If you want to get a degree that could be used as a stepping stone for law school, find out which degrees your favorite school may prefer. You might be surprised that they want your undergraduate degree to be in a different field.


Prostock-studio/Adobe German teacher explaining foreign language rules

There may be few opportunities for foreign-language majors once they leave college or a university, which may make it a less-than-desirable degree.

Instead, consider getting a minor in a language you’re interested in and major in something else you’re interested in. For example, you could get a business degree and work internationally.

Anthropology and Archeology

Microgen/Adobe hands dusting off dinosaur bones in archeological excavation

You may be someone who loves history and dreams of excavation sites, but be ready to spend years as an underpaid intern or research assistant. The truth is unless you go for the fancy Ph.D., which will take a lot of time and money, most degrees in this career path don't offer much. 

Religious studies

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

You may be interested in studying the spiritual side of life, but it might not help you financially. A religious studies degree could lead to a low-paying job in exchange for a high debt load from your degree.

Instead, consider training that may be paid for by a local religious organization, or major in something else and minor in religious studies.

Exercise science

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe woman doing a fitness test

Exercise is a good component of a healthy life, and you may want to help others follow a plan for a healthy life as an exercise science major. But majors in this field may not make enough to cover college debt or everyday expenses when they graduate.

Instead, look into certification programs that may be more affordable or find out how you can become a trainer or instructor without a college degree.


Astarot/Adobe female tourist walking outdoor with map

The pandemic proved that the tourism industry can change dramatically at any time, for better or for worst. COVID-19 kept tourists at home for so long, which resulted in high prices post-pandemic. Now many people are choosing staycations to avoid the high costs driven by the current market. 

If you want to stay in the tourism industry, it may be a good idea to save extra cash in an emergency fund to weather the ups and downs of the industry.


MIND AND I/Adobe advertising designer creative start-up team discussing ideas

Working for an ad agency today could be difficult if you’re trying to create interesting ads that pull in a viewer. Instead, ads are usually targeted based on the interest of particular internet users who may not interact with ads the way they once did.

If you still want to pursue an advertising degree, consider taking classes about social media or online advertising. That may make you stand out more as a job candidate and help you earn some extra cash.

Bottom line

baranq/Adobe freelancer looking at computer

Before you commit to a degree, sit down and find out what kind of careers that degree could be useful for. You also may want to find more affordable options to take some general classes or summer classes to get the degree you want at a lower cost so you won't find yourself barely scraping by financially

And remember that in the end, it’s important to be happy with whatever major you pursue. You may be able to find a way to make any degree work for you.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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