Top 10 Useless College Degrees & Classes


Some may argue that there’s no such thing as a useless degree – any education is a good education including many degrees from online schools and universities. However, these seemingly pointless studies may be an exception to that rule. Pay attention as we list the top 10 most useless college degrees.

10. David Beckham studies – Staffordshire University, UK

Image result for david beckham

It might sound like a joke, but the squeaky-voiced soccer star actually has a degree course dedicated to him. The course, which is technically classed as “Football Culture”, has been defended by its founder, who argues that degree courses must keep with the times. Celeb-style degrees can also be found in the US, with Madonna studies injected into the Gender course at Harvard (no less) and Oprah Winfrey studies at Illinois.

9. Parapsychology – various colleges

This degree is perfect for starting a career with Ghostbusters. Oh wait, Ghostbusters are fictional – that’s four years wasted. Nevertheless, this course dedicated to the study of the paranormal (Slimer and haunted houses included) is popping up in universities and colleges worldwide. Coventry, Edinburgh, Northampton and Liverpool in the UK, plus Belford and Flamel in the US all offer the course, which makes you wonder if people are watching too many Most Haunted episodes.

8. Doctorate of Philosophy in Ufology – Melbourne University

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In August this year, Aussie Martin Plowman became the first student to become a real Dr Who after passing his studies of unidentified flying objects. After his major in culture and communications, he decided he wanted to do something a bit different, so he chose little green men. However, despite his new status, he remains open-minded about things: “When I meet someone who says they’ve seen something strange, that’s fair enough, because maybe they have. I don’t know what it is, though,”

7. The Phallus – Occidental College

Image result for The Phallus - Occidental College

It’s difficult to get to grips with the exact nature of this course – if you’ll pardon the pun. It’s cited as studies  “between the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism” but is actually a survey offered by this distinguished college’s department of critical theory and social justice.

6. Surfing Studies – Plymouth / Melbourne

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Gone are the days of dumb surfer dudes riding the waves without a care. Now, surfing means business. With Plymouth Uni in the UK offering a BSc (Hons) in Surf Science and Technology and Southern Cross University in Australia offering Surf and Sport Management, is seems the seaside slackers want to be taken seriously. What next? Wrestling degrees?

5. Philosophy – various colleges

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Philosophy, like sociology and psychology, is one of those degrees that people do when they’re not quite sure what vocation they want to follow . It’s a fun-time four years, open to stoners, egocentrics and those that love the sound of their own voice, who will finish the course even more confused at what they want to do in life and probably end up working at a convenience store.

4. Queer Musicology – UCLA

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Due to seemingly popular demand, the UCLA have actually combined queer theory – the study of gender, feminism and gayness – with the science of music, to produce a very open-minded course within their Herb Alpert School of Music. The LA Times reported that the course will introduce debates like: “the idea that if you’re gay, then music by gay composers such as Benjamin Britten will sound different to you than it would if you were straight.”

3. Star Trek – Georgetown University in Washington

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It’s a degree, Jim, but not as we know it. The Georgetown faculty of Philosophy argues that “Star Trek is very philosophical. What better way, then, to learn philosophy, than to watch Star Trek, read philosophy, and hash it all out in class?” The Trekkies have also landed at Indiana University, who curiously combine their Star Trek Studies with religion. If only there were more vacancies for professional dorks…

2. Golf Management – University of Birmingham / Florida Gulf Coast University

Here’s another useless sport degree spreading through Universities across the world, but this one lands the number two position because it’s not even fun. There’s nothing much duller than playing golf apart from studying golf, so why these two Universities have offered courses covering the psychology of golf; equipment technology; financial performance and coach education, is a mystery.

1. Art History – various colleges

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What career would you ever get with a degree in art history? Maybe an art gallery curator, but how many of those does the world actually need? Most art history courses consist of a selection of well-to-do teenagers and arty-hippy types deliberating over the same Dali and Magritte paintings for four, even five years straight. It’s time to move on!

Honorable Mentions:

The Science of Harry Potter – Frostburg University

Maryland’s Frostburg University provides this honors seminar, which is really  a physics class that investigates the supposed magic of Harry Potter. Seems like an excuse to watch the Harry Potter movies.

Learning from YouTube – Pitzer College

California’s Pitzer College has added a class named, Learning from YouTube. TechCrunch reports that “the class consists of students watching YouTube videos and then discussing them. They also leave comments on the videos themselves.”

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  1. Wan Azizi Nasution on

    The Datuk Seri Najib Razak university, just outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, claims to be a world first in Bumiputera studies, relating to the arts and private parts therapies(Depan Rasa). They’ve also reinvented the motor car, they claim !

  2. Regarding the argument about whether or not philosophy is a useless degree, I have to agree with the article, as it is largely useless, not to mention extremely dangerous.

    A lot of the philosophers who existed since the Enlightenment period (maybe late Renaissance) published works that were detrimental to Christians and other religious people, not to mention pretty much everyone nearby. Don’t forget, it was the likes of Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montiescqueau, and Sade who were responsible for the French Revolution and Reign of Terror, which was, until the various deaths under Communism during the 20th Century, the most violent act that ever occurred (heck, it was also the first time genocide occurred within Europe since Carthage was salted. I’m talking about Vendee.). Even later scholars such as Immanuel Kant, despite his theories on peace, fully supported the violence and bloodbath of the French Revolution. Oh, and speaking of Communism, that was founded by philosophers such as Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, not to mention nihilism being founded by Frederick Nietzsche, which made things even worse. Baudrilliard and others also contributed to the violent rhetoric, some of their works even being responsible for the Matrix trilogy, which promoted Marxism and anarcho-nihilism. Heck, Sartre, aside from being a Soviet plant, also was responsible for the communist takeover of Cambodia just by his teachings, alongside other philosophers. Most of these philosophers, in other words, were psychopaths.

    Although the Greek philosophers back then did not cause a violent riot or anything like that, they nonetheless were proven to be utterly foolish, such as Aristotle and Plato, whose theories were proven to be completely utterly wrong, such as lighter objects falling down.

    And as other people mentioned earlier, mathematics and science were started long before philosophy and in different countries (China, Egypt, and the like).

    And before you claim that I’m just spouting nonsense and haven’t actually taken a course, while I never actually took a course in Philosophy (aside from Ethics), I have done extensive research on various philosophers to come up with this realization, and besides which, I personally know a student at the college I’m going to who is undergoing a philosophy major (took an Education class together, my major being American Studies). I should point out that the student in question is an extremely stupid, drunk-on-the-Kool-Aid leftist liberal (heck, if you ever met with him and talked with him, you’d deduce immediately this much). For starters, he indicated that the GOP during 2012 trying to make English the sole language was somehow a bad thing comparable to the attempts to suppress any languages and cultures in the mid 20th-century schooling system. Also, he also basically terrified his cousin/niece (not sure which one, but definitely one of the two) who was attending a Catholic school by commenting on the extent of the Spanish Inquisition and how horrific it was. When I tried to point out that the French Revolution was far worse in terms of body count and horrors, he pretty much stated that it wouldn’t matter what they do to him after they kill him. He also implied that Communism was a Christian ideal, despite the Manifesto making it very clear that they intended to usher in atheism and exterminate all religion, Christianity especially. He also indicated that Noam Chomsky was somehow a good teacher when he was an utter rube in actuality. Oh, and he also alluded to some book by Zinn about China that indicated that Christopher Columbus deliberately tried to sabotage his voyage to India and commit genocide. Honestly, and you tell me that Philosophy is a good major to go for? Or that it actually makes you smart and grants you critical thinking? Think again!

    • Well done my friend. Couldn’t have said it better myself. BTW, Chelsea Clinton has her degree in philosophy. She clearly plans to follow in mom’s footsteps as this helps her know best what’s good for us all.

  3. You may laugh at surfing school or golf management but, it translates to a real job. Philosophers could be a lot more intelligent and may eventually have more upside. With the economy we are in and have been in, training and education in industries that translate to real jobs. I hold an arts degree but, I always encourage people to consider plumbing, electrical, manufacturing, agriculture, nursing, etc. We don’t have the luxury now to go to school for our passions or to become more enlightened. We need to put bread on the table!

  4. I’d like to point out, that this forum and the people arguing their points and trying to convince others to agree with them- English is being used, and the thought process is in effect (philosophy= critical thinking)

  5. philliosophy is a degree for drifters, who don’t know what they want to do however it should not be on this list as it is a much respected subject as are many great philosophers hat have lived

  6. A couple of universities here in Sweden have similar useless but fun classes like the Linnaeus University class called “Harry Potter and his worlds”, but at least over here it’s free to attend university.

    • It’s free for the student attending classes perhaps. But costs other people their hard earned money to provide what amounts to worthless forms of “entertainment” for the students. Besides, they’ll learn how worthless it is later on when they are looking for work and how much it costs when they actually find work and start paying taxes. NOTHING is for free.

      Useless courses and degrees like this are precisely why I am dead set against the idea of “free college” tuition. College is NOT a right. It’s a privilege that needs to be earned. I’m all for worthy students having various avenues made available at their desposal to attend college and earn a degree. But the idea that they should get it at someone else’s cost is unjustifiable in a moral sense.

      This position I support by pointing to the fact that about half of students who start college never finish. While for some this is because of lack of money, or because they have changed their mind for trade school, more often than not it’s due to lack of discipline, motivation, or some other psychological reasoning. WAY too often even those who graduate do so with mediocre degrees, having spent most of their time partying. I do not expect to be stuck paying the bill for someone’s party time. I have three college degrees; an associates, a bachelors, and a masters, as well as several masters certifications, along with various professional certifications. I’m 59 years old and STILL pursue various educational opportunities in order to keep myself relevant. I do NOT want to be one of those people who are pushed off to pasture prematurely and have to retire early on a minimum income. I’ve paid my way through all of my degrees, less 40% tuition for my masters, which was covered by my G.I. bill.

  7. Don’t you know what Ph.D stands for? Doctor of Philosophy. That’s right — every Ph.D. degree is, technically, a degree in Philosophy. Why? Because every subject is a speciesvof Philosophy, which is the study of truth and knowledge.

  8. Philosophy is pretty useless. It might have given us many things in the PAST, but it’s not needed anymore. Why would you want to waste your time taking about trivial things?

    • JB, philosophers most definitely do not think about “trivial” things. If you think the following questions are trivial, then you must live a really boring life.

      Is there a God? What is the nature of the universe? Do we have free will? What is mind? How ought we live our lives? What is the nature of morality? What is science? Does all science have to be falsifiable? What distinguishes good science from bad science? Is abortion justified? Is homosexuality wrong? Do animals deserve the same moral consideration as humans? Are all human lives equally valuable? Is death always bad? Should we fear death? What is law? What is knowledge? What is the ideal form of government? Should there even be government? What are good forms of reasoning? What are bad forms of reasoning? What is personal identity? What is time? What is beauty? What is the meaning of life? Are moral motivations always self interested? Do we always act in accordance with our desires? How is knowledge achieved?

      This is just scratching the surface.

  9. Well, you can add civil engineering to that list. This degree has gotten me absolutely nowhere except for a full time convenience store job I already had. I also work in construction which is why by logical choice I chose this field of study. In my opinion, all degrees are a waste of time except maybe for medicine, law and some business degrees. When it comes to engineering, most engineers work as technicians, estimators and planners. Few are the ones who will make decisions or who will design a revolutionary new way of doing things. A simple worker makes more than if not double what an engineer makes a year. A college education is nice but nowadays college is just for prestige. Its time parents realize that university doesn’t guarantee success. Technical schools are far a better choice.

  10. Philosophy and in particular political philosophy has influenced everything from economics to geopolitics. It has shaped the whole way nations define themselves and how they relate themselves to others. To dismiss this as a useless degree is not only outstandingly ignorant about the value of the discipline and the power of ideas to influence man but also extremely narrow minded.

    Art History also has its place as a very long an established degree. Art is a medium in which all societies through the ages has expressed themselves. Therefore art it is an invaluable primary source for understanding history and the evolution of humanity to the present day.

  11. The responses to this article are more interesting than the article and in general appear to come from ill educated people who find no context to the world in which they live.

    Philosophy is the “mother subject” of almost (if not all) subjects. Even today, those studying the so called “useful” degree subjects will have to learn some philosophy relevant to their subject.

    It was not until Descartes, that philosophy and Science seperated. This seperation was not as result of a belief that philosophy was “useless”. It was caused by philosophers’ who understood the difference between scientific and philosophic inquiry.

    So what is the difference, well philosophy (and yes still many of those “useless” ancient thoughts) is mainly theoretical. Science looks at the small detail (physical/material universe) and tests the theory in the world.

    So theory is philosophy and philosophy is about critically evaluating the theory for flaws whilst science endeavours in its progress to apply the theory using experiment of which their are two types – mathematical and labratory.

    Oh and just a word of warning to the “sceptic” (see what I did there) science is today still studying the ancient philosophy of Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus, as well as the Stoic thought in an attempt to better understand how their results explain the universe we live in.

    And the philosophy student? requires a very broad educational background including, Art (aesthetics), Law (political, ethical, social policy), Physics (philosophy of science), medicine (ethics of medicine) and maths (logic).

    The list is not exhaustive but meant for emphasis.

    Sadly, more philosophy students have been shown to suffer with mental illness than any other subject, and why? Mental health practitioners (who also have to partially study philosophy) have put the problem down to unhealthy high levels of critical thinking?

    “Stoners”? that is very 1960’s thinking. And some of those “stoners” are now leading intellectuals in their field (including science and politics)!!

    But the real question raised, is the study of philosophy useful for the purposes of getting a good career? The answer would probably depend more on the graduate than on the subject.

    Oh and some of those philosophy grads who now work in low paid employment did so out of choice rather than a lack of choice.

    A degree in any subject is largely superficial but not superfluous. The aim is afterall to give you the basic requirements of a good education and to facilitate the needs of the workplace.

    A degree – ability to research, critically evaluate and relay that information in a intelligent manner. All degrees have this fundamental aim even vocational degrees.

    Expert? – when you get to phd and beyond.

  12. Reading this from the philospers has inspired me. They are totally right, and I will take it up one day! 🙂

  13. Philosophy has the top score on GRE verbal reasoning and writing ahead of English majors, 15th in quantitative reasoning (higher than all other humanities), outdid everyone except mathematics and economics on the LSAT, outperformed business majors on GMAT by 15% and everyone else but math, physics and several engineering studies.

  14. People do some research. Philosophy majors score higher on all Grad school tests than every major except math, economics, and engineering. Philosophy majors beat business student scores on the GMAT. The median mid career salary for philosophy majors is higher than that of business majors. In general business majors have a higher beginning salary than liberal arts students but later on the liberal arts students make more money than the business majors because they know how to actually think.

    Numbers from WSJ

  15. I feel Top 10 most useless college degrees should be a separate list from classes. I notice that people mainly commented about the degrees that were posted and ignored the courses that were mentioned too. I would be more interested in seeing a list that just focused on degrees. Either way, I enjoyed your sense of humor and your ability to spark debate.

  16. Word from the wise on

    “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

    Every degree has it’s uses. Those who get a degree in a fine art such as philosophy or art history and under-utilize their talents by working a dead-end job have nobody to blame but themselves. The onus is on the student to perfect his/her field of study, not society to provide a place for the student. One does not choose to obtain a degree in a fine art for the purpose of making money. Let’s not get that confused. To some, money is the ultimate power. To others, that power is derived from knowledge.

    Knowledge reigns supreme in nearly every situation.

  17. The Engineer on

    Many engineers end up doing something completely different from their field.

  18. The Golf Management course doesn’t seem useless at all. Golf is a very popular sport generally played by middle class and upper middle class individuals with a lot of money. If you can manage to run your own golf course and country club, you could make a lot of money.

  19. Why does philosphy die so hard? Usually people think that philosophy speaks about non-sense even philosphiers themselves know that philosophy is stupid. There is only one reason: students take it because they can get easy and good scores because philosphiers are easy takers.

  20. I am currently attending college, working to double major in Art History and English, and I have to say Art History is the greatest discipline I’ve ever encountered. You’re expected to know about history, philosophy, and to be always aware of what is happening in the art world today. People seem to think that there aren’t any more artists or philosophers out there today, well YOU’RE WRONG! Yes, these degrees focus a lot in the teachings of the past, but they are still relevant today. And most importantly, they help you think critically, think for yourself and not just follow whatever you’re told like most dormant, ‘practical’ folks do. Philosophy has shaped our society in ways most people don’t understand.Our government, economy, even our system of ‘morality’ was all influenced by some philosopher. It saddens me to see how little value education has now, I’m 21 and I’m disgusted seeing that only medicine or business are valid choices for my future in the eyes of many.

      • Oh how marvelous, now I understand how such juvenile writing can spring forth from your keyboard.

        • You are wrong again. This was not written by me. And why is my joke childish, but your insult to the site fair and not juvenile. Take a look in the mirror before hurling insults. Many people work very hard on this site and I take offense when readers casually insult the work of the writers. Don’t make anonymous insults if you can’t handle a little poke back. Sheesh.

        • The mirror is in front of you, telling you your skin is so thin that you much police your own site and dole out your perception of retribution for “insults.” hah…

        • You considered my comment retribution? And I have the thin skin? You no not of what you speak. You have no idea the comments that are given on this site (over 24,000) and you think none of those are insults or “insults”. Hardly. I am picking on your lowest common denominator reply (other than saying “this sucks” or “fail”) that is the first refuge of people who don’t have the brain power to manage a thoughtful critical reply.

  21. I’m pretty sure Art History is not useless. At least in my high school we are going over art during the Renaissance and going over realism, impressionists, romanticism, socialism, realists in History class. My aunt who is a professor for Art History helped me a lot understanding it better. It’s not useless and it helps the younger generations with some historic culture.

  22. A degree in and of itself is not particularly useful. It is the time spent earning it and how you grew intellectually while earning it that matters. I feel like any article that claims a given major to be useless should back it up with some sort of evidence. It would not be incredibly difficult to run various regressions to show correlation between a particular undergraduate degree and low median mid-career salaries or high unemployment rates. By the way, I would highly recommend doing this to anyone who thinks so lowly of philosophy/art history.

  23. I would say that number 10 is the most useless. David Beckham, really? As for surfing studies, I imagine it would have a lot to do with the physics of waves and if you like surfing, who are we to argue?

  24. Philosophy is the foundation stone of every science that has ever come in to existence and for 2 thousand years Aristotle’s work was untouched as the authority on over 100 different areas of science. This is possibly the stupidest article I’ve ever read. Normally a degree in philosophy leads in to a journalism or law conversion course as the unique way of thinking around normal problems is incredibly attractive to employers. The editor of the guardian has a degree in philosophy what did you get a degree in that allowed you to create such a rip roaringly crass piece of toilet journalism that is the oh so popular and wittily named Top Tenz. I’d learn how to spell, write properly and do your research before you consider giving out advice on education.

  25. Love this article.

    Had a good chuckle over some of these degrees and was surprised how the country of my current residence, Australia offered so many pointless degrees. I guess you can see it in the people.

    I personally think any liberal arts based degree is, well not ‘useless’ but rather ‘unsuited’ to tertiary/university education. Many of these courses such as ‘Art History’ and ‘Philosophy’ and I would include ‘Political Science’ are outdated and irrelevant to today’s modern society where primarily the population are occupied within the retail/business sectors and services sector.

    Maybe if they moved these degrees to a separate institutionalised education system away from the main hub of learning?

  26. I would argue that Philosophy as a degree is fairly useless, except in that it can be used to teach the subject. It is possible that since we could all stand to take a class or two in the subject (maybe) that alone makes perpetuating the cycle worthwhile. However, philosophy students who argue that philosophy teaches you to “think critically” are deluding themselves. Most subjects teach that in a sense. Furthermore, all subjects or almost all subjects are really just an evolved applied philosophy. That being said, take a course or two if you feel it necessary, but there are a lot less uses for people with a degree in philosophy than there are people with a degree in philosophy.

    As for business majors arguing about how useful your degree is… Save your breath. There are too many business majors, and generally it is well known that they tend to be the laziest students around, and not particularly good thinkers. If you want to work in business, or understand how to make money, study economics, and don’t skimp on your math courses in the process. A recent poll of top CEOs placed engineering and then economics as the top two degrees CEOs like to see. While this might be more of an argument for engineering than economics, engineering really does require an interest in how things work and or are manufactured, whereas understanding resources, firms, money, and maximizing returns are better covered in economics.

  27. Sally,
    I believe social work is a great field. I wouldn’t be with my girl if I thought otherwise.
    Although, your statement about my being bitter is utterly false. I am bitter toward my father,
    psychoanalysis may help who knows? But, I am quite happy with my career.


  28. I have a Bachelors Degree in History of Art from Yale University. I could have been like my father, Law School and Stressed. My father was a Superior Court Judge for twenty years. He was miserable. I work at an Art Gallery and I am happy. Plus, I write fiction novels and I am published. My girl has a Masters in Social Work she currently works for the State. She is always stressed. For all of you ” useful majors”, I hope you enjoy cardiac episodes at the age of Forty.

    • I am currently majoring in a “useful” major. I have a great life, traveling the world, and learning about ways to make easy money. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Also enjoy art and writing on my free time.

      Anyway, a degree in Social Work is not considered to be a “useful” degree. Therefore your only reference point that “useful” majors (aside from your father’s) cause undo stress is crap.

      Have fun being bitter~

  29. Actually, there is no “useless” degree. Art, Philosophy, Gen. Ed., and History degrees are good for management in most companies. Ask any company. They value CREATIVITY…Plus, you don’t need to go to college to become a leader. Leadership skills cannot be taught. As for technology degrees, THEY are just as worthless. You can’t get a job in computers until you have specific certifications…at least A+.

  30. Philosophy is definitely worth studying, it might not be the most marketable degree in and of itself, but it works wonders as a double-major. Sure, it’s not a great career to go into, but you can certainly get something personal (and professional, so long as you double-major in something more marketable) out of studying the subject matter.

  31. I love how everyone thinks that you actually have to get your Bachelor’s in something useful. It’s called graduate school, people!

    • Whoa whoa whoa! Are you imply it is a good idea to pursue an undergraduate degree that prepares you for graduate study in a field you are interested in? You are far too reasonable for this forum.

  32. Obviously philosophy is the most useless because it does not make money. If you want to go to college, you need to get a business degree so you can learn how to scam people and make a bunch of money.

    Back in my day, people went to university because they actually wanted to enhance their intelligence. But that’s bullshit now, of course. Get with the times. ALL HAIL BIG BUSINESS!

  33. If your talking about real useless degrees their should have been a category that included any of the ethnic/cultural centered programs including women’s studies. Those programs deserve nothing more than a broom closet to hold their classes in. How those programs came to be is beyond rational.

  34. Surely, as long as people are doing what they want and are enjoying it, the course of their choice doesn’t really need to be slated by people using this as a platfom to show off their own intelligence? Just a thought…

  35. I’m a fourteen-year-old and I don’t think philosophy, art history, and any other college programs are useless. Maybe they are just less visible in modern society but they’re there and they’re very helpful. It depends on each person’s way of thinking. To those who believe these are useless, please be open-minded and try to understand that they love learning and it’s not your business to tell them what to do or what to think or what norms should they follow. And to those who are, if not majors in these programs, supporters of people who took these programs, you know that you cannot change a person’s thinking, so no matter how much explanation fed onto them will not change a thing.

    I must admit that I love learning things that are normally not explored by most people. I cannot say which one I love better – Arts or Science. I know how to play the piano and the flute, I’m good at designing clothes and I love color schemes. But I love astronomy, I garnered multiple awards by competing in Science contests, local & international, and I like statistics.

    I respect everyone and their comments, first because you are older than me and second, we are all people and we have different thinking. We have different point of views. So what I’m only saying is that all of this is pointless, if only all of us try to understand each other. But ironically, I’m also telling you how to act so maybe I contradict myself, huh?

  36. These same people who major in those fields that don’t have high job prospects whine about how it’s not fair that they’re in all of this debt and that taxpayers should have to pay for their education. Why should other taxpayers be forced to pay for your way in life? You can major in whatever you want but it’s perfectly fair to expect to have to pay your own way just like the rest of us have had to do.

  37. My god you are ALL idiots in one form or another. From the science majors, philosophy majors, business majors, etc. I am all for intelligent discussions, but damn…Here I will make it incredibly simple: to the science majors–Good for you, you work hard making life more efficient, and apparently have shallow opinions and feel more entitled. To the philosophy majors–Good for you, this world needs ethics and any critical abstract thinkers because who knows what is to come. To the psychology majors–seriously, I hope you are the ones who see how idiotic this debate is. Oh, and art majors rock on, without you we lose culture.

    I hate how this world has people who seem to endlessly talk past each other. I am sad I stumbled onto this site and was reminded about how far we have to go towards empathy.

  38. In defense of philosophy (as it is in fact my chosen field of study) there seems to be a general misunderstanding of the field as a whole. Philosophy, in the modern sense, is primarily concerned with the idea of applied knowledge. Epistemological studies especially are becoming increasingly important in the field, as in order to apply knowledge it is implied that we must first be able to determine what contitutes knowledge and what is in fact knowable. This typically falls under the category of applied philosophy, philosophy of science etc. Outside of this, applied ethics and normative ethics are probably the most rapidly growing fields in philosophy, and these disciplines inform many comtemporary debates in a HIGHLY effective and real sense. Philosophers hold a wide range of positions on various kinds of ethics advisory panels in medical ethics, bioethics, environmental ethics and developmental ethics. Philosophy… real philosophy… is nothing like mere postulation of unresolvable conjecture. Philosophy demands that you be able to reasonably demonstrate clear and concise reasons for any assertion you would ever seek to make, and in the post-modern world, most times you are required to support claims with air tight logic and empirical data. Philosophical work, as a general rule, works outside the boundaries of other academic fields, forming the questions that have yet to be asked, and trying to find ways to answer them. It helps to have the shoulders of other intelligent men to stand on, and that’s why we study through the lens of other thinkers as well as our own. It seems crazy that one should have to defend an academic tradition held in such esteem for so long a period… but it is what it is. And to the claim that “Aristotle has been proven wrong by modern science” or whatever the claim was… I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. Aristotle is concerned primarily with virtue based ethics and political philosophy, only sort of dabbling in metaphysics and the like. So, this claim fails to pass muster on many levels.

  39. The article confuse college with vocational education. They’re not the same, although many colleges are happy to offer b.s. majors like sports management to entice clueless youngsters whose parents don’t understand that upper-middle-class and upper-class people, like the ones who run sports teams, don’t send their children to college to study sports management. No, their kids study things like philosophy and go on to live lovely upper-middle-class and upper-class lives while the guy with the sports management degree remains at the bottom of the career ladder. Of course, there are not enough wealthy people to go around, so colleges lie to potential students and tell them, one, that college is vocational training and that if you come here you are guaranteed to get a job and, two, that vocational education is the same as a college education in the liberal arts and sciences. If you want to be a credentialed and working class, by all means choose sports management over philosophy or history or English. The ones with the diplomas in the liberal arts and sciences will be very polite to you as they are promoted above you. They might even suggest something for you to read to help you understand your lot in life, but odds are you won’t understand it.

  40. I am sorry, but that list is ridiculous. But i am assuming you ranked these from somewhat useless (nr. 10) to completely useless (nr. 1) WHICH MEANS YOU THINK ART HISTORY IS THE MOST USELESS DEGREE???
    are you joking? How can you say that, out of all the ridiculous subjects in the world to rank art history nr.1??Some of the subjects like star trek or phallus studies i can understand. Even philosophy i can comprehend the everlasting debate, but ART HISTORY?? I don’t know if you grew up in some small Hick’ville but you obviously don’t seem to understand the significance of art in our current society, or atleast in big metropolitan cities.

    The study of art history initself is intense and often helps people in completely other fields (as youcan see if you read some comments) help broaden their minds and pay attention to that.
    Apart from that teh world of art is grand! There are so many things that one can do with an art history degree, especially in big metropolitan cities.

  41. Surely you cannot be serious when you say “Maybe an art gallery curator, but how many of those does the world actually need?”. Producing art is what separates human beings from other animals. It reflects our ability to question and abstractly “think”. People like you who cannot understand the arts, and actually argue that it has no place in society, are actually part of the reason why we are in a cultural dearth currently. Nevermind that the study of Art History has been part of a cultural catalyst spanning back centuries. The day you “take away” Art History is the day that we stop understanding ourselves as human beings. Art History serves as a “mirror” to humanity’s actions, and one of numerous platforms to generate new ideas and theories, much like philosophy. I am truly saddened that you feel there is no place for this in society. I weep for our future.

    • Of course art isn’t useless, but you don’t need a degree to prove yourself as an artist.

      Just because a degree in art is useless doesn’t mean that art is.

      Useful degrees are meant to prove that someone is qualified to perform a certain job that could really screw people over if it is not performed correctly. This is why engineering, business, crazy science degrees etc are more highly sought after…the degree is proof that someone *should* be able to perform the job.

      The reason people *typically* spend *lots* of money on a degree is because they want to obtain a good job — good *typically* meaning high paying.

      Nobody needs to spend thousands of dollars on an art degree to prove they can do art.

      Obviously there are people who think that a degree in art is worth thousands of dollars. Maybe it is TO THEM, but when taking the *standard* meaning of a “useful” degree (which means thus the *standard* result people seek from obtaining that degree), art is not going to be regarded as useful.

  42. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, I hope it lands on a philosophy professor.
    Sorry I just always thought that was funny, These classes do seem pointless but every once in a while you might want to take a class that is just total BS even if it doesn’t fit in with your major but you have to really chose a major that is practical and going to get you a job that pays well enough to justify you spending the ridiculous amount of money at college. I know some people say that college is really just a place to “find yourself” or something but what college is really supposed to be is job training. Even though it seems in the last few years to have become just a four year long day-care center for young adults. Now I spent 7 years in college getting a BA, MA, and PHD and I can tell you I found myself much easier when I was in the Army. The problem is that we have become such an entitled, gimme-gimme society that we have people spending $100,000 of their money (or usually more correctly their parents money) on 4+ years of basically partying and they are ill prepared to become a functioning self sufficient adult when they leave .

    • Why didn’t you just stay in the army then if you found yourself? Justify spending money on your ba, ma, and phd? If your answer is the army made me discover that I wanted to pursue my ba, ma and phd, then the army was a chance you took- that was a stepping stone to discovering what you want. The same goes for foundational courses in university, such as english, philsophy, psychology, art history, etc.

  43. This is silly. Sure, some of these are pointless. But philosophy and art history have an intrinsic value. And guess what? People who major in those areas are NOT limited to those professions. Many of them end up teaching, doing research or going on to law school.

  44. While I agree with those that say all degrees are useful if they’re applied the right way, I have to add my own two cents (read: bitchin’ and moanin’) because I’m actually quite surprised that psychology is considered a “party” degree. At my university (McMaster, in Canada) Psychology is pretty much treated as a science. A main chunk of what we have to learn is the biology of the brain and how it connects to human behaviour, and it’s definitely no walk in the park.

    I understand that the article was meant to be in jest, but like everyone above, I felt the urge to defend my future degree 😛

  45. Realistic possibilities for Art History Graduates –

    Arts administrator – provides support for arts and cultural organisations such as theaters, galleries, museums, arts festivals, arts centres, arts councils, regional arts boards, dance companies, community arts organisations, disability arts organisations and local authorities.

    Museum education officer – responsible for realising the potential of museum collections as learning resources for visitors and the wider community. They develop learning opportunities, which can be either informal or curriculum based. Picture researcher/editor – finds images for a range of print and electronic publications, including books, magazines, newspapers, television, multimedia products and internet websites.

    Other employers include book publishers, multimedia firms, magazines, newspapers, TV and video production companies, advertising and design companies, art galleries and museums.

    Higher education lecturer – facilitates learning and carries out research activities in universities and some colleges of further education (FE). They teach academic or vocational subjects to undergraduate and postgraduate students aged 18 upwards, which may be in the form of lectures, seminars, practical laboratory demonstrations, or field work. See also Further education lecturer.

    Art/antiques dealer – buys and sells art and antiques, usually specialising in one or more of the following areas: ceramics; glass; paintings; sculpture; clocks; books.

    People commonly enter the business as a second career, having acquired the necessary expertise and financial backing. Marketing executive – involved in aspects of marketing, including: planning; advertising; promotion; public/media relations; product development; distribution; sponsorship; and research. Remember Art History is historically an academic degree taught at Oxford and Cambridge. Business is not an academic degree.

    As many organisations have marketing departments, marketing executives can be found in both the private and public sectors. Your understanding of visual culture, the way it is consumed and its impact, together with your research skills, not only mean that advertising and marketing would be suitable careers but also a range of roles in the media (including Television production assistant or Programme researcher, broadcasting/film/video).

    An Art Historian’s ability to analyse and interpret information sources and present reasoned arguments would also suit a career in law.

  46. However, I must say, i did love formal logic…a philosophy course, but it felt a lot like math (NO excessive talking!! lol)…I guess I just like rules and squiggly lines? eh. Speaking of squiggly lines, i was once duped into a philosophy class in the guise of a ‘science’ elective…my God…Latour’s ‘diagrams’ made me want to gouge out my own eyes, lmao.

  47. That’s funny… Well, I’m not going to analyze anyone’s comments, nor will I try to teach anyone by quoting a famous philosopher. Instead, I will say this:

    I have a major in philosophy. I am in the final year of medical school. How? Well, this course teaches analytic skills, highly valued in the field of medicine. So I guess when I look at my paychecks… I guess it would be appropriate to laugh.

    When supplemented with an ambitious path, a philosophy major can take you a long way.

  48. These degrees make me laugh. I was an art major at one time but realized that one does not need a degree to be an artist and developed my skills without the help of professors. Besides skilled trade programs, nursing, medicine, etc. most liberal arts degrees are a waste of time and money.

  49. LOL I saw that statue at the first art history class I ever entered…it’s LAOCOON!!

  50. B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle. Good luck getting a job with that rag on your wall.

  51. Art history is not at all useless. It’s as important as any study of history. Why do studies have to purely lead to “jobs.”

    • This list is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I graduated with a degree in Communication Arts and Design and have a wonderful education and have had a great career in Art.

  52. What about taking classes because you want to learn something, not just get a passport to a high-paying job?

  53. How are David Beckham studies more “useful” than an art history degree? Or is this list unordered?

  54. I have been studying Information Management a business program at a well respected university in Europe. I chose it because it creates promising work prospects.

    The lecturers say that 89% of graduates find a job in the first half of the year after finishing this degree, but I have quit studying.

    I did so because I started understanding that life and youth is too short to waste on something that you don’t like doing, and I am about to enroll an art school and study ART HISTORY,just because it is interesting for me, I have read all the comments on this page and I found out that maybe this degree is “useless” in terms of finding a job, but in my opinion you have to satisfy the needs of your soul but not the material needs. You live only once, use your life purposefully. If you feel that your need for money is bigger than the need to spend your years while enjoying living, then try going for business engineering or whatever is not “useless”.

  55. Art History is a Well respected study and there are many Jobs that can be the result of an Art History Degree, Art history is not only the study of visual art and sculpture but the study of fashion, and culture. What kind of degrees do you think Art Directors have? Art direction and all of the backstage jobs for major studios, theatres, and advertising companies, such as make up costuming, set dressing, research, layout. They all have some sort of Art Degree, many would have had to take an Art History class. Those who think it is the Top Useless Degree is just another ignorant person, who doesn’t recognize the behind the scenes people who make those in the forefront look good. Another person who doesn’t recognize the brilliant people behind the work!

  56. haha philosophy is such a joke have fun thinking about stuff when your’e homeless haha. I majored in Golf Management though and it turned out to be a really useful degree. Anybody criticising golf management is jealous that they didn’t pick a real major that teaches critical thinking skills. Golf management majors are usually the smartest people on campus and get recruited right out of graduation

  57. I agree with the type of people who pursue philosophy though. Every stereotype the author listed is pretty true.

  58. Parapsychology is certainly NOT useless. If you want to make 6, sometimes even 7 figures a year in a paranormal career, that’s not useless at all. I have paranormal activity in my own house every day. Door openings, knocking on windows, dogs stareing at nothing and growling…

  59. There’s no useless knowledge.

    Life is very short, I rather enjoy it learning about my deepest interests than working all day long on a big company without knowing why…

    Intolerance and “jerkness” is always a characteristic of non arty-critical people.

    History is important, but Art… Art is vital !!!!!!!

    Just a real artists and intelectuals understand why life is a blessing and why death is sacred.

    • Art is great, but art history sounds amazingly boring (of course, I try to avoid all social studies, lol)

  60. This page is ridiculous. I will be studying philosophy,politics and economics at oxford in October. I currently study all of them separately at A level along with maths and I have no hesitation in saying I find philosophy to be the most challenging. It is an amazingly difficult subject and is respected in the same way a History/Classics/English/Law etc. degree is by all major employers. Practically every single member of the British parliament has a combined degree containing philosophy or even a straight philosophy degree. There is a reason only the top universities(oxbridge,durham,bristol,warwick and so on) offer philosophy! Infact, the absolute lowest entry requirment to do degree level Philosophy in the UK at any university is A,A,A,B. I agree arts degrees do not offer such concrete job prospects as a purely career focussed or vocational qualification but that is for the individual to consider when choosing a degree, not you. Personally I love the open ended natue of a Philosophy degree. If I decided to branch out after my 3 years and do a masters degree in law for example, a philosophy degree enables me to do that. As for ending up working in a convenience store… I know two people with philosophy/philosophy combined degrees. One is working for the BBC and the other works in local authority. They are both earning over 100k. You can slander this degree all you want but I couldn’t be more confident about my decision to take such an interesting,challenging and respected course. Peace. 🙂

  61. Philosophy is useful in a few ways: It holds intrinsic value. It may not be directly related to a specific career but it can offer an immense amount of personal satisfaction. For example one plays guitar not to become a rockstar, but instead, because it is intrinsically valuable; similarly, one may study philosophy not to be a millionaire but rather, for the sake of personal satisfaction.

    This last point may suggest that intrinsic value is the only valuable thing about phil, and that would be false. Philosophy enhances oral and written skills as well as an amazing ability to persuade. Philosophers are among the most reasonable and persuasive people ( the good ones at least) around.

    Ethics. It is the most important aspect of human existence and is studied in depth by Philosophers. Everything you do in your life comes back to ethics. The study of ethics is extremely important.

    Philosophy, like any other undergraduate degree, is a stepping stone. Few people studying phil in their undergraduate will actually go on to be an Academic Philosoper. Some will work at the corner store, this is not because they studied philosophy, but because they are stupid and they would have worked at the corner store no matter what they studied. Many will go on into law, buisness, medicicine, education, public service, etc.

    There is more I could say about the value of philosophy but it is important that I accept some of the problems with philosophy. It is worth noting that the above mentioned benefits of studying phil are POTENTIAL benefits. Many students studying phil will not obtain the value and usefulness of the subject because they are stupid, arrogant, ignorant people.

    To say that philosophy is a useless subject could only come from a useless person. But also, to say that philosophy is always useful would be unrealisitic and a little naive.

  62. Philosophy, math, science, art, and all other subjects have their own contributions in their own way either to all of society, the one gained knowlege, or both. Either way neither subject (when put to use.) is perfect, but yet rewarding to one’s life as a new knowlege, an accomplishment, a requirement, or anything either way. We have many possibilities in life that seem impossible, but possible and therefore which is why we those type of things for us to learn and use, despite of how that “use” is seen or measured. Without them, how will we live right now compared to ‘right now’? Regardless, our education is what made things new and endless, despite what subject [law, philosophy, psychology, health…ANYTHING]. Without such subjects, nothing ‘new’ will be reality. All in all, we have a life to live, each and everyone of us, don’t we not?

  63. i know 6,543,541 philoshopy majors worldwide. i’ve recorded their annual salary and that figure ranges from $354,000-780,000 USD. they work in a vast range of fields including but not exclusively-retailing, technology, education, politics, finance, criminal justice, professors, computer programing, national defence, medical, and even gaming. you may wonder how can they get into so professions, well each paid money and went back to university to get the degree needed for those jobs. LOL

  64. Why are philosophy majors so long winded? Could it be they’re so in love with themselves that they can’t stop blabbing? Or is it because they can’t think clearly? Either way, it’s hard to take them seriously.

    • “Either way, it’s hard to take them seriously.”

      Ahem… the question, “Does a mime make a sound when hit hard enough?”, is a question of high intellectual endeavor. Some people just don’t understand…

      “Or is it because they can’t think clearly?”

      “The Einsteinian constant is not a constant, is not a center. It is the very concept of variability-it is, finally, the concept of the game. In other words, it is not the concept of something—of a center starting from which an observer could master the field—but the very concept of the game which, after all, I was trying to elaborate.” – Jacques Derrida

      ^You are telling me you cannot understand that?

      Sarcasm. =P

    • Long winded, think they are always right, LOVE to hear thier own voices, and talk in circles. Never…ending…circles…

  65. Yes you should be allowed to pursue an interest, I agree. But why should the public pay for this? If you are prepared to finance the degree yourself – fair enough!

  66. @Nathan Also religion, the nature of philosophy is rooted in the idea of questioning ones surroundings.

    A philosophy degree can help in areas like journalism and business where critical thinking and debate are just as necessary as fact memorizing (as in the second case). The article makes the assumption that the degree is useless in said field. In that sense I do semi-agree on the previous arguments, as there are not many people working in the field of philosophy. However the fulfillment and flexibility of the degree makes it a valuable degree, as the skills learned never become moot.

    Sidenote: psychology isn’t useless at it can lead to and assist in fields like business, psychiatry or neuroscience where real good can be made.

  67. When your subject invents something as significant as;
    – University
    – The Scientific Method
    – Atheism/Agnosticism

    You can insult Philosophy. Till then, it’s better than anything you you do.

  68. A degree for YouTubing????? on

    What a way to further degenerate today’s already foul-brained youth.

    “With a degree in YouTube, I now know how to comment videos using elaborate bigotry and get 100 thumbs up!”

  69. I’m a Philosophy major and I’m offended by the stupidity of many of the people arguing for what would be “my side” of the argument.

    But it’s true. A philosophy degree by itself is somewhat “useless”. We’re doomed to live with that consequence and it’s the choice we make. Philosophy itself is extremely important to daily life, humanity, the foundations of the sciences and mathematics (the list goes on), but that’s not what was being put forward by most of the (intelligent) people here. Like many standalone degrees (especially those in the arts: Art, English, History, etc.), an undergraduate degree in philosophy won’t give you any immediately applicable knowledge. It gives you a great ability to think and reason clearly and analytically, but of course, most degrees in traditionally “academic” subjects will give you that.

    I wouldn’t say that a philosophy degree is completely “useless” though. It does equip you to go into many sectors that other graduates will enter (for example business, but of course you will need to be trained on the job, whereas business/economics majors will probably have most of the required knowledge).

    I hate the bashing of Philosophy that’s take place in this forum, but most of it has come from morons who give no justification. Most of the intelligent people that are studying/have studied mathematics/sciences/engineering recognise the importance of Philosophy but fail to see the utility of a degree in it (it never claimed to be a vocational degree, however, whereas engineering clearly is). Even more than this, I hate how some people have defended subjects such as art and philosophy by attempting to bash sciences/engineering etc.

    I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I graduate until I realised how great philosophy degrees are for graduate-entry law (law being something which I’ve been interested in for a long time now).

    Basically, most of us intelligent philosophy majors (I understand that sounds arrogant but the sample on here so far hasn’t exactly shown a high level of intellect, which appalls me) know what we’re getting ourselves into. We understand that a degree in our subject might not be immediately useful, but we are highly analytical (just like, for example, science majors) even though we might not possess the more tangible knowledge of science/engineering majors. I’d like to think that a love of our subject means we can overcome that, as well as making us able to overcome the obvious jokes about us, such as the one in the Top 10 List. Plus, loads of us go onto graduate study (e.g. LAW) 😛

    • “We are highly analytical” …so just major in a science instead of non-stop gum flapping…Yes, philosophy was needed to develop math, science etc…and we have those things now, so what’s the point? It’s like studying the wheel.

  70. The simple truth is that the majority of the “top 10 useless college classes or degrees” you listed are either well respected institutions with histories that span centuries of study or degrees which have multiple applications within our world today. While the use of a course in the philosophy of star trek is rather debatable, courses like that help develop critical thinking skills and are a way to add something fun to a sometimes dreary and dull schedule. Fun article, but check your facts next time and don’t be so hasty to judge degrees based on your personal opinion.

  71. Joseph Hogan Wilks on

    I think it is hard enough to get a good education, why waste it on a useless degree. But at the same time, many people out there pursue what they are passionate about, and who is anyone to say that they shouldn’t do that. There is something very commendable in loving what you do, even if others take it as useless. If your idea of success is being a billionaire, then go for it. Some people don’t live idealistic like that and would feel better being something like a philosopher and educate the minds of many rather than filling their own pockets with wealth.

  72. Love the straw man pouring from your arguments, it’s kinda pathetic really, trying to justify your degree. There is off course a level of contribution but in no way do I see how someone simply with a philosophy degree and nothing else has actually contributed to society. A philosophy major is definitely down there with art history major. It’s quite a waste of space in my opinion. Of course, you might have philosophy majors who went on to grad school and studied law or something else but I can’t specifically see how a philosopher, as a profession, actually contributes to the wider scheme of things except in academic circles.

    • And by the way, I can’t see ANY logical connection between the ethical problems I mentioned and your reply that “we have lawyers to deal with those problems.” Lawyers can decide what’s ethical and what’s not? Wake up to reality, sir. How do we make our laws? On what basis?.Simply by just voting into effect anything the population likes? That’s one of the reasons we got Hitler supported in the 1930s. We need philosophical justifications on what’s right and what’s wrong, and hence what’s legal and what’s not.

    • Of course, I love the ad hominem in your own posts. You haven’t actually

      answered my questions:
      1. How can we measure what is a “useful contribution to society?”
      2. Do we need to “contribute to society” in the way you believe?
      3. Why should someone whose talents are in philosophy be condemned

      as “useless” if he decides to become a philosopher?
      Saying my attempt is “pathetic”, of course, isn’t an argument at all.
      I firmly believe that all my “strawmen” are relevant to the matter:
      4. If you think philosophers contribute nothing, then shouldn’t your assessment also apply to

      bankers, accountants, journalists, consultants, anyone who doesn’t

      contribute as much to the seemingly high and noble professions (in your

      view) of doctors and lawyers?
      5. Should everyone then aspire to these “highest” professions, the most

      “useful” degrees?
      Answer my questions to prove that you’re as intelligent as a philosophy

      major (not that I’m one, though).

  73. And in response to your last paragraph, I’m quite sure I’m not in a dreamworld. Most people majoring in philosophy, women’s studies, history or whatever “useless” field are much more passionate about their studies than a lot of people who do engineering/medicine simply because their parents or circumstances pressured them to.

  74. “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

    Now I know this may sound terribly unoriginal and to be frank – quite cheesy but there are people on here that say “Philosophy is a good degree because it was – in theory – the foundation of modern science” and “Philosophy was the foundation of maths and thus the key components to effective engineering in the modern world”. I agree with this BUT, and this is a major BUT, are the people who came from philosophy degrees actually going to contribute more to society than someone who has a degree in engineering, think about it, or are they just going to sit by with a smug look on there faces and just boast all day long about how the subject they studied INDIRECTLY contributed to society? Are philosophy majors actually going to be designing roads, bridges, cars, etc..? I think not. Neither am I and I freely say this as a physics & maths major.

    • You’re presupposing that “designing roads, bridges, cars” are the highest forms of contribution one can make to society…that is very questionable. A bunch of people who study engineering merely do it in order to get the financial gain mainly (of course there is some slight interest in the subject as well; however, it’s not as strong as a philosophy major usually). I wonder how such people who work in order to get money to secure their’s and their family’s futures truly make contributions to society through their engineering…

      • I’m not saying that engineering is the “highest forms of contribution one can make to society” at all but a person with an engineering degree would certainly contribute more to society than someone with a degree in philosophy (in terms of actually using their education). There are of course many other branches of education that contribute hugely to society, namely people with medical degrees, trained nurses, trained counselors with degrees in psychology, etc.. Nurses and sometimes counselors don’t earn a huge amount of money yet they are still making a very big contribution to society. One could say that people with science degrees don’t earn a huge amount of money either but they’re still making a positive contribution to society, especially people who work in the field of biomedical science and pharmaceuticals.

        The point is society NEEDS engineers, not so much people with philosophy degrees. To say something like, “…it’s not as strong as a philosophy major usually” is probably one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read on this page so far. Please wake up to reality sir.

        • Even if you didn’t specifically say that engineering is the “highest form of contribution to society”, there is still the lingering problem: how do you measure whether a profession contributes more or less to a society? What criteria? Tell me. Is it merely a question of how much society “needs” the professions? But even if so, what is “need”? Do we need doctors more than bankers? Hence are doctors making a higher contribution to society? But you might say that bankers are more important, since they’re contributing financially. So is finance more important than health? How about education, teachers? Is education important? If so, how important compared to finance and health? Should everyone become doctors then? Would that be your ideal society?
          Overall, your concept of “contributing to society” is weird, since the viewpoint of this article in the first place was the individual, personal, namely in terms of financial gain. It’s questionable whether someone has a duty to contribute to society in the best way possible. Especially since your definition of the good ways to contribute to society is questionable and unclear.
          Which is why you cannot merely say that society doesn’t need people with philosophy degrees. What is your justification for that? Philosophers can’t build bridges, but they can influence society, they can teach other people how to think critically, they can make people start thinking about the meaning of life. They can go on to apply their skills to many different areas, limited only to their own individual capacities and fantasies. Philosophy affects us everyday: especially in the field of ethics: abortion debates, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research – on what basis is everyone debating these sensitive issues? On ethics which were laid down by many philosophers over the years. The influence is there, although it might not be noticed. Ever heard of people saying “homosexuality is unnatural?” That has connection to natural law ethics. I don’t think engineers are always the best choice to resolve these issues. Perhaps a philosopher could be called upon to guide, or at least be consulted upon, in dealing these issues: an expert in bioethics.

          I am baffled about your concept of “contributing to society”. Since kindergarten I’ve been taught that it is best to make a career in an area in which I am talented and proficient at. That way I will make the best use of my natural talents and potential, and thus in a certain way “contribute to society”, or at least I’ll make my life easier in not having to struggle learning subjects in which I’m horrible at. If for a person that subject in which he is best in is philosophy, why should he be forced to become a doctor or engineer? WHY?

          In response to your last paragraph, I’m quite sure I’m not in a dreamworld. Most people majoring in philosophy, women’s studies, history or whatever “useless” field are much more passionate about their studies than a lot of people who do engineering/medicine simply because their parents pressured them to. My own mother took engineering, graduated successfully, said she never regretted taking engineering, but she still maintains that she has never liked the subject at all.

        • “Even if you didn’t specifically say that engineering is the “highest form of contribution to society”, there is still the lingering problem: how do you measure whether a profession contributes more or less to a society?”

          He probably meant material contribution, i.e. building bridges, giving aid to people; in proportion to what was learned while earning one’s degree. In a way that advances society of course.

          “Do we need doctors more than bankers? Hence are doctors making a higher contribution to society? But you might say that bankers are more important, since they’re contributing financially. So is finance more important than health? How about education, teachers? Is education important? If so, how important compared to finance and health? Should everyone become doctors then? Would that be your ideal society?”

          Many can ask and answer those questions without the help of someone with a degree in philosophy. What if an endless cycle of answering and asking questions leads to nothing getting done? Common sense applies to some questions as well.

          “Which is why you cannot merely say that society doesn’t need people with philosophy degrees. What is your justification for that? Philosophers can’t build bridges, but they can influence society, they can teach other people how to think critically, they can make people start thinking about the meaning of life.”

          The study of philosophy is what people are saying is useless, not the implicit act thereof. What about an engineer who can think well enough to render a philosopher useless (presuming the engineer acquired these skills through an engineering degree alone)? This can be said for many areas. A naive, but passionate, person can influence society as well.

          “The influence is there, although it might not be noticed. Ever heard of people saying “homosexuality is unnatural?” That has connection to natural law ethics. I don’t think engineers are always the best choice to resolve these issues. Perhaps a philosopher could be called upon to guide, or at least be consulted upon, in dealing these issues: an expert in bioethics.”

          People saying homosexuality is unnatural comes from intolerable people, usually religious. Many issues that you stated prior to the excerpt I quoted are from a public who is ignorant of how nature works and from people who are religious (the willingly ignorant ones) as well. Consulting a philosopher to decide the morality of something is analogous to hiring someone to hire someone to think for you even if they think differently. Anyway, it is clear that homosexuality is biological.

        • You cannot merely say that society doesn’t need people with philosophy degrees. What is your justification for that? Philosophers can’t build bridges, but they can influence society, they can teach other people how to think critically, they can make people start thinking about the meaning of life. They can go on to apply their skills to many different areas, limited only to their own individual capacities and fantasies. Philosophy affects us everyday: especially in the field of ethics: abortion debates, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research – on what basis is everyone debating these sensitive issues? On ethics which were laid down by many philosophers over the years. The influence is there, although it might not be noticed. Ever heard of people saying “homosexuality is unnatural?” That has connection to natural law ethics. I don’t think engineers are always the best choice to resolve these issues. Perhaps a philosopher could be called upon to guide, or at least be consulted upon, in dealing these issues: an expert in bioethics.

        • I am baffled about your concept of “contributing to society”. Since kindergarten I’ve been taught that it is best to make a career in an area in which I am talented and proficient at. That way I will make the best use of my natural talents and potential, and thus in a certain way “contribute to society”, or at least I’ll make my life easier in not having to struggle learning subjects in which I’m horrible at. If for a person that subject in which he is best in is philosophy, why should he be forced to become a doctor or engineer? WHY?

        • No, we have lawyers to deal with those problems not specifically a person specifically with a philosophy degree. Everyone has their own philosophy, a philosophy major isn’t going to dictate the way I think.

  75. Christian Scholarships on

    A degree is a degree and that is one of the key components employers look at when you are applying for jobs.

  76. interested_philosopher on

    What Degree did the person who wrote this study? I personally think it’s great that there are so many different types of degree courses available now.

    As for Philosophy being useless, that is just simply ridiculous. Go out and buy a book called Sophie’s world, and then decide if it is. Philosophy is the original subject. When the first University started in ancient Greece the only subject studied was philosophy. It is the most basic fundamental part of a search for knowledge, without which we would not have people in academic institutions studying modern science, maths, or even business studies (which owes it’s basic principles to philosophers like Locke and Rawls.)

    I am a Philosophy graduate and i have had plenty of Job offers!

    … the above comment by ‘wakeup’ is very interesting.. ‘it shows how much you know… and that is nothing’ That is exactly the point of philosophy, ‘the only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing’ which is a saying attributed to Socrates.

    • It’s Plato’s fault that “Academy” is a synonym for “enemy of the people.”

      How much ancient history did you learn as a philosopher? You may have to go back and find you got it backwards. Philosophy owes its existence to every other science and art—it didn’t come first.

      Experimental science gave birth to metaphysics, by giving something to theorize about. Curiosity about the world does not require approval from a professional! Moreover, ancient philosophers had far more empirical beginnings than you imagine (this we now know thanks to archaeology contradicting tradition.)

      And philosophy was far from the “original subject”, that’s make-believe history. Mathematics far predates philosophy as the sign of erudition. (Plato would admit that readily, even though he misuses mathematics.) Nor did the world begin in the 4th c BCE. Foreigners came to Greece to study its various constitutions (laws), long before there was an Academy. And Greece was the new kid on the block. Plato and Aristotle had little influence on the world for centuries after their deaths, because of their lost works and mediocre successors. If philosophy is necessary to getting anywhere, explain that.

      Philosophic axioms are the latest things discovered, when a subject is already mature. If Philosophy departments had much to offer, they’d get handsome consulting fees.

  77. Wow, this article was quite interesting until I saw option 5, philosophy. First, it’s kind of questionable that people who have nothing better to do take philosophy as a major. In my experience those kind of people would take a “party major” like psychology, communications, business, film studies, or something like that. Philosophy isn’t usually viewed as the hardest major, but neither is it viewed as one of the easiest. Secondly, it is obviously true that philosophy majors will have a harder time finding a job than engineers or accountants, but I fail to see how harder it will be for them compared to any other arts degree – say history, classics, or English, which are all not on the list. In fact, philosophy should do better than these subjects, since it’s more general minded and skills-based, compared to knowledge-based. A job will be easy to come by if you can present yourself well.
    Lastly, the author of this article seems to have some contempt for philosophy as a subject in any form. Well, to look at it one way, philosophy is useless, but it is unavoidable. The moment we say philosophy is useless we are already philosophizing. So why not take another step forward and apply logical rigor to it? And after all, philosophy has always proven to influence culture in many crucial ways, often ways which MOST PEOPLE DO NOT REALIZE IT THEMSELVES. Like post-modernism, its influence can be felt even to your hairdresser and teenage friends. Things like communism, Nazism, Christianity, secular humanism, atheism – all of these ideas were all cooked in universities, in philosophy faculties, by people pondering how they should be applied, until a few decades later, they become the impetus for a major revolutionary movement which can affect all layers of society directly. Marx developed Marxism in the mid-19th century, and communism only caused the deaths of tens of millions of people almost a hundred years later. It is indeed a “useless” subject.

    • The problem with taking philosophy is precisely the lack of rigor in a typical study, in which almost anything goes for premises, and catastrophe follows. Rigor means testing for conformance with the real world (it’s not just coherence.) Most philosophical writing is deliberately obscure, and a logical house of cards.

      Whatever is being taught, it’s not thinking skills. It’s more like an endless conversation in which you buy into (N-1) of the errors of the philosopher before you, in an effort to join the game and please your teachers (who are looking for any excuse to keep you out of the limited profession.) You will be sneered at if you choose to resist any really fundamental errors. And all in order to reach the cutting edge of the field, which is where you come up with a notion more ridiculous than any that has gone before in order to get published. And so we arrive at post-modernism, a contribution just as adept at devaluing humanity as the other major bloodbaths you identify as philosophy’s gift to the world. Useless is not the word for it—it’s become the enemy.

      For other liberal arts fields, the more contact with facts and history, the better suited they make you for applying yourself in some profession. Philosophy is most likely to offer you an easy skate around these hard things. (And, you have to read some terrible prose.)

      • physphilmusic on

        You’re probably thinking about continental philosophy, a la Derrida and Habermas, which is indeed very close to what you said. But the situation is very different with analytical philosophy – which is VERY rigorous and logical, much more than anything in history, English, sociology, psychology, etc. Of course that makes analytical philosophy quite boring and not very relevant to societal issues, but I think studying analytical philosophy has benefits similar to studying mathematics or even science.

      • Physphilmusic is correct, you’re talking about continental philosophy, which isn’t what is studied in America, Britain, or Australia, where analytic philosophy is based. Continental philosophy is more found around France and Spain.

  78. I don't think any degree is useless as long as you use it wisely. I'm just annoyed by some who claim that Philosophy is the only major that allows one to develop critical thinking skills and logic. It shows how much you know… and that is nothing. So get off your high horses.

  79. Ahem Gentleman on

    Excuse me ladies and gentlemen.

    No need for arguing.

    The important thing is that we all found a way to be superior to one another.

    Good day.

  80. Maybe the gist of this debate is that education is increasingly irrelevant to life-success, whatever you study. I know lots of people with humanities degrees who are massively underemployed in routine white collar jobs. However, a lot of scientists don't earn much, at least in Britain (biomed scientists earn c. £12k a year). Other factors like birth-class are at least as important as education, anyway. I suspect that liberal arts people who 'get on' tend to be of high social class. It has been shown that working class people's education is worth much less to them than a middle class person's education.

  81. Argument Ended on

    I'm 99% confident enough to say that all Engineering majors can earn a Philosophy major, but not vice versa.

    Here's my top ten of what is useless:

    1-10. Life

    • So you mean to say that life is useless?

      That everything in this world which is teeming with life has no purpose or value?
      what is useless? why did you say life is useless?

      Is your life useless?

      If your confident enough to say that all engineering students can earn a philosophy major then you don't have any idea what philosophy is all about.

    • I totally agree. If you think about it, life is kind of useless … it doesn't really serve any purpose at all. People like to imagine it differently … but it's so true, it's so meaningless. There's no point in arguing about college degrees, etc., 'cause we're all going to die someday and our credentials won't really matter when we're six feet under. Anyway, why should we think about the obvious all the time. We need delusion so we can live out our daily lives and distance ourselves for thoughts of our inevitable oblivion.

  82. I am going to preface this by admitting that I am a double major in Art History and Philosophy, and as such I certainly understand that those degree's qualify me for little more than the ability to go to graduate school in those disciplines. That being said, this discussion of useless-ness is absolutely absurd.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing is useless, even if you don't value the effect of its use, and contrastingly, show me a genuine and undiluted manifestation of useful-ness, I challenge anyone to do so.

    Why would you waste your time negatively qualifying entire schools of thought?

    Next, I can only imagine an entire series of postings that dissect the useful ness of Latin as a language (and in english no less! haha)

  83. I will admit, there are some howlers on there, most notably the David Beckham and Star Trek ones. I’ll freely admit that I’d love to do the Star Trek one for fun but I wouldn’t delude myself into believing that it would open any doors. They wouldn’t.

    On the other hand, some of the subjects listed can, have been and will continue to be a sensible choice that will open doors. A degree is often what you make of it and not everyone who studies for a degree is doing so for the same reason. It’s not always purely focused towards a career.

    • When is the last time you met a self made millionaire or inventor (or innovator etc) that had a degree in Art History or Philosophy? The only thing I have seen "innovative" out of those folks at my school was when the fiscal year ended and their theatrical job justification performance began (ALMOST worth the money, but not quite) or the mental gymnastics required to defend such a life choice.

      I thank whatever deity in the sky I had the sense to pursue a finance degree and not a mental masturbation degree (like Phil or Art His). I also chuckle to myself when I see the same people I went to undergrad with STILL in school for this or that Master's degree. In days gone by, people graduating from school with >50,000 in debt were called Lawyers and (Medical) Doctors.

  84. cornellmeche on

    people wonder why some majors are labeled easy or hard. It correlates to utility >.9 (95% confidence int). Engineers have to learn a lot of insane stuff, sciences have to learn the same stuff, but not as much of it, and many other majors teach stuff that is not really different than studying celebrity lives or stuff that you shouldn't have to take a class to know. Some humanities like econ are respectable, but most are not. BTW, I average around C grades in science and engineering, but have a 4.0 in humanity classes despite putting in nil effort next to engineering stuff.

  85. How about Medicine? not really lol.

    A funny one is a degree in comedy at Southampton Solent University!!!

  86. i recently graduated from high school and dream of becoming a psychologist. And to read your blog is like making fun of what i aspire to be. It is not that i am confused and that is why i am taking up this course. It is because i studied the subject for 2 years and ended up forming an interest for it.

    And the very reason that i stumbled over this stupid and entirely useless blog is because i was looking up good colleges providing a psychology department.

    • I own this blog, but didn't write the post. This post was made in jest. No degree is useless if you use it wisely. I was an art major and my daughter is a Psychology major.

  87. It really annoys me that peole say that a Psychology degree is useless and only taken by people who don't know what to take. Don't you tihnk it is actually possible for people to be interested in Psychology? Not everyone is interested in the high paying degrees such as Medicine or Engineering. So many people refer to it as a 'soft' subject but I would like to see how the world would be getting on without having people studying the workings of the brain and effects of illnesses on it. I bet whoever wrote this list just had the image of someone asking a patient how they're feeling today while they sit on a sofa.

    Perhaps if certain graduates stopped acting so superior they could find out what a Psychology degree and jobs entail? I'm not supporting the other degrees on this page though, for example Football Culture, but I do not think Psychology should be referred to at all when they're are much more useless degrees you could take.

  88. Carrie Brown on

    Philosophy and Art History degrees are not useless. In fact, Fine Art majors are usually urged by their academic advisors to minor in Art History to make themselves more marketable in the long run.

    Philosophy majors score next to the highest on the LSAT.


    Philosophy majors are about as marketable as other liberal arts degrees. This is simply because the most obvious path for these degree-holders is teaching.

    What most people do not realize is that philosophy does have application. Many people think Philosophy degrees are like Literature degrees–they think the only thing students do is read philosophical works by ancient philosophers. But this is not true.

    Philosophy majors are actually masters of logic, argument, and reasoning. The world needs people to question the way we think about things, the nature of reality, and what is ethnical and what is not.

    Science explains. Philosophy questions.

    Einstein was a philosopher of science before he was a scientist.

    Philosophers can specialize in a subcategory in philosophy. They can be logicians. They can be philosphers of science–questioning, crticizing, or justifying scientific theories.


    An example of a philosophical conclusion that has helped the field of science:

    Confirmation Bias – which is the philosophy that if someone is looking to confirm a result, they will find "evidence" for it even if it is not truly evidence.

  89. The only thing I'm going to say is that everyone saying philosophy is useless is very wrong…. As a philosophy major I personally have seen the statistics that out of All law schools and medical schools Philosophy majors hold the highest acceptance rates of all other majors including BUSINESS. Also I know from other stats that philosophy majors are much sought after because of their abilities in critical thinking. Business's who want to be successful don't only just want people who know the business in and out but they want creative minds who think outside the normal form of work. The people who get move to the highest positions aren't always people with business degrees. Most of the time they don't even have degrees period but once again stats show that philo majors move up to high positions just as much as a finance degree holder would in a corporate setting.. so please hold the judgment for the Lord…

  90. The 'author' seems to have a very narrow mind, perhaps just a simple provocatuer. Please oh arbiter of reality explain to us neophytes what light is [particle or wave]? Or better yet, how galaxies have been found by HST? Look forward to learning of your deep, non-demeaning, contributions to the herd.

  91. @ Everyone!

    Ok, I think I finally understand the meaning of 'Liberal Arts' (I'm from Ireland and I'm getting confused with 'Arts & Humanities'). According to wikipedia (if one can trust it), the following is the definition of Liberal Arts:

    "The term liberal arts denotes a curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities, unlike the professional, vocational, technical curricula emphasizing specialization. The contemporary liberal arts comprise studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. In classical antiquity, the liberal arts denoted the education proper to a free man (Latin: liberus, “free”), unlike the education proper to a slave. In the 5th century AD, Martianus Capella academically defined the seven Liberal Arts as: grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music. In the medieval Western university, the seven liberal arts were, "the Trivium" or grammar, rhetoric and logic and "the Quadrivium" or geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy."

    When I hear the phrase "Liberal Arts" or "Arts and Humanities", I think of English, philosophy, languages, music, etc.. However, now I've learned that when one says liberal arts that it also suggest maths and science. Basically a degree that is more of an education than a definite career path. If this is correct, then it looks like I'm actually a Liberal Arts major myself (studying math/ physics). Therefore, a majority of people who go to university are in fact Liberal Arts majors (with accordance to the traditional definition of liberal arts) and are gaining a broader education and knowledge of a subject rather than the applications of that subject. My future is just as clear therefore as someone with a philosophy degree.

    My conclusion is that the arguments on this page are more about 'certainty or security' versus 'uncertainty or insecurity', or 'what degree is better geared towards a specific career' versus 'what degree is better geared towards a greater degree of knowledge about a subject'. So, I'm wondering why the hell I'm arguing on the side of engineering or business majors, lol. I was viewing the argument more in the fashion of 'what degree is harder to obtain that another degree'.

    I think I said this before on this page: "Do what you want to do, what you're good at, and f*ck all the rest" (excuse my French). There's no point on going into engineering or business just for the money and the job security if you're going to be unhappy with your job and also a bad engineer/ entrepreneur/ accountant. (Of course, there probably are people out there who really enjoy engineering and business and are great engineers or entrepreneurs (I'm not attacking the disciplines at all)).



  92. @ Matt;

    "Max is upset because I apparently didn’t rebut his claim that the hard sciences are beginning to expand their curricula horizons. I feel that I offered a clear, succinct rebuttal showing WHY it is that they are taking this approach (at least at UBC). Impartial people (not Max, Barb, or YW) are likely to agree that I did this adequately – even if they don’t agree with any of the points I’ve been making."

    Wow, you just called everyone here who disagreed with your argument as biased. Congrads. The fact is when you make such comments as the following;

    "If you study, say, chemistry, it is pretty unlikely you’ll have transferable skills that could apply to anything outside of the sciences. You won’t have developed basic logic, reasoning, writing, or speaking skills which could be applied to a much broader range of jobs that exist in the real word. A chem student will likely work for $20 mixing chemicals in a lab, (if they’re lucky enough to land a job.) Hence, “much more limiting in what you can eventually do.”

    "This is likely to lead to work that doesn’t involve mixing chemicals, making graphs on excel, and crunching numbers. In other words, a much more fulfilling and bearable work environment."

    "Have fun being mediocre."

    "Drones study business and accounting.. and conformists who want to memorize and recite facts study the sciences. Those who follow the status quo and study the sciences and business justify their commitment to mediocrity by criticizing those who study what they want."

    … points that are not at all based on facts and are strongly biased in themselves. Don't you, in some way, expect a taste of your own medicine? In fact, most of the people who replied to you were far more impartial than you yourself were and backed their claims up with evidence, either from their own experiences or other data.



  93. From my observations, the creatives are many times born intellectuals who make stupid decisions.

    I'm extremely creative and a gifted artist, musician, cook, and writer (although I'm just scribbling this out so >_>) among many other things, however, I am majoring in boring ol' business. I'm doing this not simply because I want to start my own companies, but also because it teaches me to make smart choices.

    On another note, let's be honest here: If you think the liberal arts are DIFFICULT, chances are you are just not cut out for them — Unless you are a highly motivated individual, get out while you can! I say this because the people who make good money off an art degree are typically:

    a) extremely gifted

    and (90% of the time)/or(10% of the time)

    b) have connections in the field, or wealthy parents or whatnot to help advocate them.

    If you don't fit a) or b), then chances are you are making money off something unrelated to what you majored in OR you just happen to be a highly motivated person who would become successful regardless of the degree (or lack of).

    College teaches a lot of things, but you won't use most of what you learn. In the end, a degree exists for credibility and to open up more opportunities at being hired.

    A college degree can only do so much for a person, although I definitely think it is beneficial to at least learn a little about everything you can — you never know when that information will come in handy! Learn a sport, instrument, a bit about art, computer programming, travel the world and learn new languages and cultures. This in itself is fun, but also opens up sooo many opportunities since you will find out about things that other people do not know and you will be able to advocate for yourself to all different types of people.

    So yea, if you know you will become successful, then you will. Doing something is better than nothing. Although it may be difficult to become wealthy off an art history or psychology degree as easily as a business or engineering degree, if you have the drive you will make it SOMEHOW — it might be in a field completely unrelated to your major, but you will make it! If you don't try, you won't get anywhere. Getting a degree (no matter how worthless it is considered) is better than sitting around waiting for things to happen.

  94. Stumbled across this blog while I was bored preparing for my final exams, and just Absolutely

    had to comment on one person's idiotic comments. Heck somebody has to set the record straight.

    This is exactly the attitude that I absolutely hate in so many (not all) of you liberal arts majors. You think you're some enlightened soul who by getting that degree is making a statement about not conforming yourself. And to top it off you bash the physical sciences like they're some sort of robotic droning computation of numbers. This is just unforgivable. Speaking from personal experience, as an engineer, the sciences and the maths are far from "a bunch of equations". You think they're that easy? I invite you to engage in the derivation of Maxwell's equations from basic principles. I also invite you to try to take a experimental result (even one found in an undergraduate textbook) in chemistry and physics and reproduce it in a lab. You think its something like 1+2=3? If you're lucky, 5 or 6 variables are involved (temperature, pressure, voltage, etc.) It takes ENORMOUS creativity to study a hard science, especially when research is involved. And in terms of conformity, a lot of people who choose to study the sciences do it only for the love of it, knowing full well that some degrees (like theoretical physics and maybe biology) don't pay well. Einstein was flat broke before he came up with relativity. Tesla (the inventor of ac power) died flat broke. If we are to believe you, apparently all these people are conformists and 'mediocre'.

    As for my own view towards the liberal arts, I think that they are a necessary part of the world we live in. It is the study of liberal arts that provides culture, so these people are needed. I am an engineering major, and at our school we're required to study a few credits from humanities and the soft sciences in order to gain an appreciation of what others do. I would never bash liberal arts or any other discipline because I understand each one plays a role. I don't just go around like our friend Matt and make overarching assumptions about disciplines he a). knows nothing about and b). has provided him with the basic tools (laptop, washing machine, etc) that he needs to carry on his pathetic existence. Mediocrity? You, my friend, are the very definition of it.

      • John R. Neal on

        I disagree entirely. What kind of original thought stems from the undergraduate study of chemistry? None. You could write a computer algorithm to solve your textbook equations. You are redundant.

        However despite my belief that the liberal arts are superior to the arrogant, insecure, and redundant science-undergrad, I am relatively uninspired by my peers. Most, especially in a communications class that I am enrolled in, have no passion for education, nor have any sort of knowledge of the great scholars in the field.

        • @ John R. Neal;

          I'm in 4th year of a Math/Physics degree and only now am I starting to use computer algorithms practically. The only reason I have to use them is because if I were to solve a problem numerically with pen and paper, it would likely take a few hours, sometimes a day, so computer programmes help cut the time. We don't however use computers in order to formulate a problem (like come up with a unique formula/ expression for a given system) and this kinda does require a bit of thought (and it's not always as simple as going to a textbook and looking up an equation). All the computer does is solve the expression that we imput given a set of parameters. Not really sure how the guys do it down in chemistry though, but I'd say it's alone the same lines. I guess chemists researching ways of creating a new drug would have to be kinda creative.

          Essentially, the computer algorithms just save time.

        • Rofl. For real. I take it the last time you studied chemistry was in, say, high school? Man you are quite honestly a perfect example of a pretentious arts w**ker. The limit of YOUR knowledge is NOT the limit of available knowledge. Think on that.

  95. Philosophy is a well respected study, and has been for centuries. More than teaching you the history of philosophers, it is about learning how to think critically. Knowing HOW to learn is more important than learning itself.

    I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing.

  96. Waw, art history…useless?

    I'm guessing you didn't know that the business of art (galleries….museums….) is one of the biggest businesses in Britain, having a massive turnover. Britain depends on that area of tourism. Most art history degrees are only in the major universities in the UK, such as Oxford, Camebridge, UCL and the Courtauld, and most art history students are very clever.

    I graduated with an art history degree, and I don't work in a gallery, but I believe I work in the world of art. I am now working in advertising, in one of the top London agencies, and got the job without question, and my degree favored that, as I developed analytical and critical skills…which are essential in the world of advertising. I love my job, and I must brag, but I earn a lot of money, a lot.

    Obviously you do not know anything about the degree and you don't realise that Art will never disappear, it will always be here, constantly changing and developing, which means that there will always be jobs.

    My friend is now a curator, and earning more than some lawyers.

  97. To be honest, there are plenty of degrees that aren't going to get you anywhere and it's not just restricted to liberal arts or philosophy. Many science degrees are useless. Take a degree in biology for instance; most biology graduates aspire to go to med school however a degree in biology on its own is absolutely worthless. You'll probably end up working as a pathetic lab technician and lucky to scrape a salary of around $25,000 a year. Even if you were to go on and get a Ph.D in a science subject you're probably going to end up in research living on miserable salaries and lucky enough to have two pairs of pants.

    Even take a degree in physics. It's absolute theoretical bullsh*te and the chances of getting a job in the physics field with only a B.Sc/ B.S. are far less than your chances of getting a job with a degree in art history. Not only that, it's probably one of the hardest majors. So not only is it hard but you'll get nothing out of it when you graduate which makes it doubly pointless. If you really want to work in something science related yet have a decent salary, go for engineering, that's what I'm doing and I'm so happy that I'm not going to have such a pitiful life such as the life a science major will have. Anyway, the country needs more engineers, not completely unproductive scientists and physicists who have no understand of the needs of society.

    If you want to be productive and have a good salary, go for something in the medical field, engineering, business or computer science and to hell with the other majors who are a waste of time and money. Doesn’t the truth hurt (rhetorical)!

  98. In Berkeley they offered a course for the PC game Starcraft. Of course, I think this course is totally legitamite, because one its only a course and not a degree and also it teaches you various methods of war strategy and also is very fun to take. I wish I was at Berkeley to take this course.

  99. I'm a philosophy major and I'm going to go to law school after my undergrad. My pre-law adviser actually recommended it because if you take a lot of analytical philosophy you'll ace the LSAT and BAR. And besides, all law really is, is the philosophy of law.

  100. I understand the claim of how these majors might not make a person get a good job or might get them a high paying job (golf) or just for self enrichment. But every major has some merit.

    Now thinking outside the box (philosphy). Is earning money the bottom line? Take money out of the equation and what would you study?

    On the other hand, Studying about Oprah Winfrey. Is the bottom line a famous person?

    every person is unique, Because we are ignorant or informed, on whatever subject and experience.

    But the bottom line to all of us humans on earth is surviving and the pursuit understanding of everything (sentient). With that I would like you to visit the zeitgeist movement web page.

    • I have to agree with you there

      I want to be an Art and T.V. major–But I understand can be jobless for a long time, I'm not even sure how I am compared to the rest of the competition, and don't know how creatively I can work under serious pressure. I fear that I will get so stressed, that I will no longer look the job the same way. Naive as it may sound, I mostly want to have fun. Anyone would want to get get a job doing something they love doing, and better yet, for their favorite hobby.

  101. I would have to disagree with the surfing studies…

    Despite stereotypes, some of the surfers I know are interested in environmentalism and pretty good in science, including an old science professor.

    Most of them are so laid back and know how to appreciate the simple things in life. Seems like a nice way to view life as opposed to that whole, rush rush rush, money makes the world go round, kind of environment.

  102. Would't philosophy be good for someone that was in pursue of a carrier like Keanu Reeves character in Sweet November?

    Hes job was to come up with ideas for commercials for the clients of the company he worked.

    It would require him to know how people would react by seeing his idea.

    I think Philosophy would help.

  103. has it occured to any of the readers that art history and philosophy were placed in this list in order to start an argument about their educational value? i mean, nobody will disagree with any conviction that surfing studies etc. have no value, personal,educational or otherwise, but the debate about the humanities is still alive and well, even if these feilds themselves are ailing.

    on a somewhat simpler note, i'm sure that some of you know that "philosophy" is more than a simple four-year introduction. many issues are relevant to political, social and scientific areas in the modern world. there is much more to do with philosophy in almost any given field.

    as for art history, many works of art are actually cornerstones of human thought and culture. if critical thinking is the key concept, i see no reason why knowing more of this aspect of human history should damage anybody's life. on the contrary, they contribute much.

  104. FYI: Golf Management is actually an extremely legitimate degree to one who actually intends on using it. There are a surprising number of high-paying, laid-back, country club jobs around this country, and who do you think will get them? Not to mention giving lessons at those country clubs and occasionally even tips.

  105. Shan,

    About your example when the potential employer selects the Philosophy major's resume over other business majors:

    This example would be much more convincing if it had any relation to reality. Please name me some of the Fortune 500 exec's with Philosophy degrees. Hint: this is a very short list.

    And for all of the people saying that Philosophy graduates do well in law school, that's great. Just what we need, more lawyers. Whatever would we do if people stopped suing eachother for slipping on sidewalks? The horror…

  106. Business majors are the ones that give back to society. Sure they can make a lot of money, but they are paid because of the services and goods they provide in order for society to receive a higher standard of living. I would love to see shan work for a company like IBM and try to understand intrinsic value and the time value of money in just 2 months. It takes more than just 2 months to understand economics in practice buddy. Business school has opened up my mind in many different ways. I feel bad for a friend of mine who graduated with a 3.8 from UCLA in Philosophy and works at Pizza Hut. Is that what you mean by thinking outside the box shan?

    • Eyeless Dog Pawless Dog Loveless Dog on

      “Business majors are the ones that give back to society”

      Yes! brainwashing and crap

  107. Art,art, art. I moved from California (Berkeley) a few yaers ago to New York City. I went to a local college in the Bay Area. I studied photography,ceramic art and painting. I was looking forward to making a career in this field work for me in this city

    . Many of my jobs aree through employment agencies, contracted through the city. The compitition here is fierce. The average pay depending on the assignment, is sometimes $8.00-$12.00 per hour. If anyone tells you they are making it big in New York as an aartist they are telling a "BIG LIE.". I am 36 years old and I am competing with young artists, 25-30 years old with more than 10 or more years with experience. Many of them grew up in New York and have many connections. Another thing,if you're an artist, getting an apartment on your own is not the norm here. If you want a decent place, you are looking at $2,000.00 for a 1 bedroom, plus,utilities,food,tec… And if you drive, your insurance rates could be 1/3 of your rent.. So, many of us have no other choice but find someone you can share rent.

    The Arts, as we know it is changing. Most all the schools have cut out art, music,home-economics,and PE. Why? The computer age and satilite television.if you want to paint, there are hundreds of programs that can teach you.. The same as with music, home economics( Look at the cooking shows on satelite television) PE, hey we have a choice that is endless. Next, Photographers, like tellers that used to fllod the banks. People are their own photographers. The cell phone, downloading phots from the Inter-Ne,(copy,paste,and print). So if there is anyone out there telling folks back home that they are making it big here in New York. The are truly" BIG APPLE LIERS!!!! Oh, by the way. Looks do matter. If your are a small petite white woma or a woman of color,you have a better chance than I do. I an 6'5 at 325 pounds and 36 years old.

  108. Liberal Arts degrees are for pompous self-righteous douche-bags who fail at life. Enjoy your $100,000 debt, LOL. Next time take Engineering

    • Pompous Douchebag on

      Lol, yeah, because engineering is so easy you self-righteous hypocrite–just kidding. Anyway, funny person–Liberal Arts is good for its core credits which can be transferred to pursure various degrees–good for those who don't know what their talents are yet and can graduate with a Liberal Arts and may return to continue. The degree advertises, and does not lie about making well-rounded students, although of course…If you want to get a degree such as engineering, than you will have to get smart on the math and tinkering and still add on a load more of classes–unfornately, not all of us have the talents to pursue such a career, that goes without needing to say. I myself, fail at Math and had to forget about my dreams of being an astronaut, scientist, doctor, and, yeah, an engineer. I had Liberal Arts as a major for a while until I finally chose Fine Arts. My dream is to get a job in television—I want to work the cameras, I want to do the costumes, everything…But it kicks my pride to learn that most, including me again, only have the time and money to get educated on one thing at a time, hah. I choose Fine Arts because people in my dream field often have a college background in Arts of some sort, also it's broad enough for various jobs. But, one thing about artists is that many also got the jobs without an education–and it figures they can– one may only need to go to a store, buy a computer animating program, practice and practice, make a portfolio and start job-hunting. A college education in Art does teach discipline and provides knowledge for people who never had enough personal time to self-teach–but yes, I still do fear wasting my time and money indeed–I fear that I may not be able to apply myself creatively enough for a career, there may be skills that I will learn and may not use or will be outdated, and I might not find a job period! Strangely too, I fantasize often about a job with wildlife, being an animal doctor, designing amusement park rides, and computer animation. Maybe I should be a zoologist, then buy a computer program…Lmao… So basically, I would love to be a caretaker at SeaWorld or Busch Gardens, design the rides there, and document it for the Travel Channel, and design a logo for it. Wtf, I'm lost. If I could, I would have 15 careers. Anyway, where were we? Ah yea, Liberal Arts is okay

    • I posted this below but I realised no one would ever read it beccause they wouldn't bother trawling through so many comments…

      It really annoys me that peole say that a Psychology degree is useless and only taken by people who don’t know what to take. Don’t you tihnk it is actually possible for people to be interested in Psychology? Not everyone is interested in the high paying degrees such as Medicine or Engineering. So many people refer to it as a ’soft’ subject but I would like to see how the world would be getting on without having people studying the workings of the brain and effects of illnesses on it. I bet whoever wrote this list just had the image of someone asking a patient how they’re feeling today while they sit on a sofa.

      I get so many class mates saying, "take Engineering or Physics, Psychology is useless!" but I am not even interested in those subjects and half of the people taking them don't like them either, they are only interested in the money or think it is the 'correct' degree to take because people shun Psyc. graduates because of the herd mentality involved in thinking it is pointless and easy. Besides, I doubt many of you even know the career options available with a Psychology degree. Do some research, then make your Useless College Degree list.

  109. A university near here(Methodist University) has a degree in golf management. Some of their graduates do quite well if they get hired by one of the country clubs or privately owned courses around here. At the job fairs I have been to, the largest group looking for jobs are business/communications majors.

    I remember when Andy Katzenmoyer was at Ohio State and said he wasn't interested in an education and should be allowed to major in football. There were actually people in powerful positions saying he was right and colleges should have a degree in football for athletes that didn't want an academic degree.

  110. Some of you folks need to calm down. The author wrote that the list was not to be taken seriously! So don't take it so seriously!

    I am one of those conformists(according to a previous poster) as I have degrees in chemistry and math. Anyone that has studied sciences or math to any degree knows they are far more than memorizing facts. Doing scientific research requires thinking "outside the box" and thinking analytically.

    The school where I obtained my undergrad degree also required all students to take a course in music appreciation, philosophy, ancient literature and many other diverse subjects. All were interesting to me and useful as they exposed me to things I found I enjoyed.

    If someone wants a degree in those things, fine, but get off the high horse and stop pretending that with a degree in philosophy you are thinking on a higher plane than someone with a degree in physics or math. If you pursue a degree simply for the joy of learning the subject, there's nothing wrong with that.

    Here are some totally useless degrees. Women's studies(Should be called a BS in I hate men)

    Ethnic studies(Should be called white people are to blame for everything)

    Any degree related to being gay or lesbian(Should be called Agree with me or you're a bigot).

  111. a lot of people who study philosophy go on to study law. art history would correspond with working in most museums or galleries and golf course management would be an extremely lucrative career in a lot of locales. um, whose definition of "useless" are we using? i'm assuming the genius who wrote this list was a communications major.

  112. I agree that most of the classes and degrees are silly, but so is this article. Philosophy majors tend to do better on the LSAT and in law school than most other majors (even pre-law majors).

  113. Philosophy, psychology, and art history are not useless areas of study! You're measure of a "useful" degree seems to be one that will enable you to get a job so that you can attain material things like money and gadgets etc. However, I believe in a deeper meaning of the word "useful" in this context. By taking these "useless" courses (your words, not mine) you gain insight into life itself and understand human life at a deeper level, and you will feel more fulfilled than if you got a degree in, say, accounting and sat all day in an office living a mundane life full of trivialities and tedious tasks.

    Also, psychology, philosophy, and sociology are not degrees that people get just because they don't know what to do. I'm majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy, and I know precisely what I want to do with my degree, career wise, in my future.

    I think you should major in what you're passionate about. If you make a living by doing what you love, you will be much happier than if you had a career in which you made more money but hated.

  114. Luke Sargent on


    I'm just glad that you didn't bash my major… History. The stuff bashing philosophy was ok, but I think most B.A. degrees are for people who don't really know what they want to do. It's just an education. In the end, these degrees just get their holders into an interview or something.

    By the way, going back for my M.A. in history now. Go me.

  115. The only reason Business majors and economics majors say Philosophy degrees are a joke is because they werent smart enough to realize that before they got their utterly useless business degree. Most potential employers prefer a person who thinks outside the box. Philosphy majors are known for this. Picture this: a successful business executive is bored shuffling through the thousands of nameless and surprisingly clone like Business degree resumes and then stumbles upon a person with a beatifully written cover letter and a BA in Philosophy and says, hey at least they know how to communicate. What you learn in 'business' school is some of the most useless and ubiquitous stuff that can be taught over a 2 month training working at any run of the mill business. A philosophy degree proves the person has dedicated to themsleves to life-long learning not for mere monetary gain but in attaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

    I think that is why a philospohy degree has been coined as being 'essentially useless' because in the individualistic money making business world we all reside in, philosophy doesnt fit but fact is studying philosophy is one of the wisest, most calcualted decisions a person can make. It will not only enrich their personal lives but create a more well rounded, multidisciplinary, multi facted individual and employee…

    • I don’t think critiquing economics is right. Economics is possibly one of the most important things to understand in society, be it communist, capitalist, totalitarian or otherwise. Predicting the future of our country is the only way of stopping major problems, or at least putting a pillow in the way of the punch. Economics I’d say is similar to philosophy, however more detailed politically and financially.

      I’d agree that you can’t actually LEARN business from a book, just like you can’t become a golfer by reading books on golf.

  116. I know this is supposed to be a humorous article, but there is some truth in it. I have a degree in Art and i must say it's quite useless. But what people don't see is the difference between the domain of study and the degree itself. While Art or Philosophy might be important, the degree obtained by studying (a small part of them) in college is absolutely useless. One can read all the books he wishes and he can visit art galleries therefore gaining a deep understanding of culture and human society, but i don't see the necessity of having a piece of paper to confirm that. It's just in our modern society when a diploma seems more important than the actual knowledge it's supposed to represent. School system is only a reference point for the average, and if somebody takes pride in an art or philosophy degree, he missed the point of all things that he learned.

    (excuse my English)

    • Ah, I am still going in circles trying to decide which degree to take. My interests are too varied and I am someone who will just learn what interests me at a particular point. If I want to learn a language, I do it. Nothing should hold you back from educating yourself.

      There is so much pressure now to specialize in one field or to tick the "uni" box by getting a degree. If you are relying on your degree to get you your dream job, forget it. Sometimes I think it's worth spending those three or four years on self study, confidence building, charm, speech and networking. Most things you learn on the job anyway (apart from medicine, law etc).

  117. Devourer of Penises on

    Philosophy has been a crucial part of human history. To say it's pointless is pure ignorance. Medical and Law schools after consider a degree in Philosophy to be a sound basis for continued study in nearly everything. Those silly people who think it's a waste of time can laugh to themselves and tomorrow morning go work at Burger King.

  118. A degree in philosophy teaches one how to analyze, debate, read critically, write and communicate effectively.

    "According to a study reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, philosophy majors score: 8.7% better on the LSAT, 11% better on the GMAT, 17% better on the verbal section of the GRE, and 4.6% better on the quantitative section of the GRE, than other majors do. (Philosophy, biology, chemistry, and mathematics are the only majors who score above the average on all four tests.) Philosophy majors have among the highest employment rates after graduation: 98.9%"

    Like other humanities subjects, philosophy is important not just to memorize and repeat facts, but to teach one how to think. Majors like advertising, business, management, etc. don't educate and train your mind in the same way studying philosophy does. Getting an education is about far more than memorizing and repeating facts to get that 9-5 cubical job.

    • Great answer! It’s true, people like to flaunt their business or other degrees only to be sitting in a cubicle for the rest of their life. This is why don’t choose a career because it might make you a lot of money, study subjects you enjoy and the right career path or ideas will come your way.

  119. Aya – None of these are useless. There is knowledge to be gained from every course, in some degree (no pun intended). This is a top 10 list not to be taken seriously. It is all done in good fun.

    Okay, maybe David Beckham studies is useless. 😉

  120. HA! Brilliant post, if not for the absolute comic value then for the brilliance in attracting dozens of people including some (self described) professionals to defend their courses.

    I personally don't think any of the subjects mentioned are useless, because there are billions of people in the world that are probably interested and at least one who is driven enough to create the course.

    A lot of these seem to be selective subjects within a course so aren't a big deal. I think the larger picture is – should universities be associated with these subjects.

    Traditional university studies remain:

    Engineering, maths, science,

    Modern additions are:

    Philosophy, social science, business, arts,

    Arguing that philosophy isn't useless because it gave us the computer etc etc seems a bit like searching desperately and defensively for credibility. Philosophy sparked science which then (post religious persecution) invented the computer:

    2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10 are all niche business/social areas. They have credible markets and in the sport cases (golf, surfing, football) likeliness of a job. Surf schools rake it in during the tourist seasons. lol @ sexiest course -that works in their favour too.

    1 – Not a cornerstone subject but an old one all the same. Specialisation is everything. If you can know everything about the most minor subject – people will seek you out for it: Pop culture – Dan Browns Protagonist in Da Vinci code dealt with pictograms etc – there are people that make a good living from it.

    5 – More difficult: Personally i think that a philosophy 'degree' is pointless. But philosophy is not. Learning to learn refers to developing your own best way of understanding, comprehending and developing thought. Philosophy 'i thought' was all about learning.

    I don't think the degree should exist as a straight course as science has replaced the practical purpose for philosophy. Most subjects include vast amounts of practical or not theory. Theory is the result of philosophical development by proffessionals of a particulary field.

    I just realised two things: I've gone on way too long and the philosophy (as is described in these posts) should be: Philosophic history – more in line with arts history.

    A quick alternative to expanding your mind for those who don't want to rack up a uni bill is marijuana or acid…. it'll work for a bit….

    Thanks everyone for the fun distraction!

    • Lanolin – Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Of course this list is for fun and every course or degree has some merit to someone. I'm glad you enjoyed it and took it in the spirit it was written.

  121. Uh, what do you think the branch of philosophy called "applied ethics" deals with? Seriously, I sort of understand the "tongue and cheek" nature of this list, but its amazing to me how many want to offer their expert opinions on what the subject of philosophy addresses without any exposure to the field. Thats like me claiming that Architectural Engineers have it easy because they get to punch a calculator all day. You're oversimplifying something you know nothing about. Its is amazing how quickly people's feathers get ruffled when the importance of the subject of philosophy comes is mentioned (including my own). People who's knowledge of philosophy obviously amounts to no more than a vulgar understanding bash it with no abandon, while others (again myself included) jump in to try to address these people's claims. One thing philosophy DID teach me (in Law School now, by the way- not exactly a dead end job at a Blockbuster): don't make overarching claims about something you know nothing about!

  122. I think culture is pretty much useless.

    Philosophy would be better if it was focused on its application instead of being a course in of itself.

    • “Philosophy would be better if it was focused on its application instead of being a course in of itself.”

      Best point made in this whole discussion, and this(myself) is coming from a non-liberal arts major. The anti-philosophy crowd in here seems to assume that philosophy is garbage in general, or if you ONLY seek a degree in it, and they have a point with the latter. I think the “philosophy is bs in general” argument is simply coming from those with no education or interest in it. However, what they are incapable of getting though their heads is that most people get a degree in philosophy AS WELL as in another practical field where the two combined will have results that can analyse relevant matters, even in engineering, business economics, and mathematics. I’ll even defend philosophy and art without hesitance. I don’t buy into the whole “art and aesthetics is useless” claim because often times people seek a higher education in studio art, not because they have to or because they think its the only thing that will get them a paycheck, but because they enjoy it and desire to seek positions where they can teach these things to others with an interest in art. Art and philosophy(a class I decided to take on the side and enjoyed even though I was almost brain dead on both subjects) combined can (1) give studio art students a better understanding of what they can do to better assert themselves as artists, (2) allow those in art education, who plan on becoming art teachers at any level of education, to have a better idea on how to better teach students to focus on whatever strengths they have, and (3) to better justify the presence of art and WHY people enjoy it. I can tell you that after taking it, I had less criticisms of art(and philosophy) because I was better educated on them, beyond just name-dropping philosophers and its necessity.

      Some of you will have to realize that art exists and it always will, and that there will always be a healthy number of young people who want to learn more about it being something that they enjoy, EVEN IF IT MEANS NEVER GETTING THE SAME SALARY AS THOSE IN OTHER FIELDS. I have so much sympathy for people who believe that being as wealthy as possible is more important than living a happy life(talk to Jack Whittaker and the dozens of people who’ve succumbed to drugs and can’t determine who really is their friend from the lottery money they’ve won), or that it’s an indicator of its usefulness. Athletes and celebrities almost negate education altogether and make far more than your average mathematician or engineer, so is the NFL or are Kardashians doing anything constructive to society? Fact of the matter is, if anti-art or anti-philosophy types really want to stick it to the “snobby, pseudo-intellectual and pretentious artsy hipster” types, they need to give up wasting their time convincing, and be actively trying to end liberal arts programs instead of whining about them over the internet, because the arts won’t be dying off anytime soon. If you can’t effectively convince people why they shouldn’t be artists or enjoy art and philosophy, and if you are incapable of gathering enough people with the same sentiments as yourself in effort to end liberal arts programs and actively attempt to do so, just give up and take more time doing things YOU actually enjoy instead of raining on someone else’s parade.

  123. Learning is essential for every person. every bit of information could be of great use. none of these degrees are worthless as they provide an opportunity to learn about something. i think a person should appreciate every thing that is part of his life and these courses would provide an opportunity to students learn the things that they desire.

    live life like there is no tommorow……..

    and learn what you like the most

    there is no shame in this

  124. Seriously? There are such courses like these? I don't think Philosophy is a useless college degree but then again, we have our own different opinions

  125. As I'm sure many of you who agree are probably business and science majors, (or more likely, didn't graduate high school at all), I'll offer my rebuttal. Despite what people are telling you – as I'm sure you are all unable to think for yourselves – philosophy students do fine after graduation. Good university programs don't directly correlate to specific jobs. Many of the world's brightest minds studied the so-called "impractical" subjects like philosophy and are doing better than your 9-5 cubicle job (or pouring cement).

    Drones study business and accounting.. and conformists who want to memorize and recite facts study the sciences. Those who follow the status quo and study the sciences and business justify their commitment to mediocrity by criticizing those who study what they want.

    Sciences are much more limiting in what you can eventually do with your degree. Students of these programs are fairly well rounded and can apply the knowledge they learned at school on the job. Technology and the nature of business are changing all the time. Learning business skills now that will be obsolete in 5 years seems like a waste of time to me.

    • "Drones study business and accounting.. and conformists who want to memorize and recite facts study the sciences. Those who follow the status quo and study the sciences and business justify their commitment to mediocrity by criticizing those who study what they want.

      Sciences are much more limiting in what you can eventually do with your degree."

      I really hope your joking, no one can be this stupid.

      • I wrote that over a year ago when I was young and naive. However, with more experience I believe that I was bang on with that analysis. I will defend this if you come back with something other than "You must be joking."

        It's unlikely you'll be able to think of anything, so I'll give other, more capable people, the gist of why I believe it.

        If you study, say, chemistry, it is pretty unlikely you'll have transferable skills that could apply to anything outside of the sciences. You won't have developed basic logic, reasoning, writing, or speaking skills which could be applied to a much broader range of jobs that exist in the real word. A chem student will likely work for $20 mixing chemicals in a lab, (if they're lucky enough to land a job.) Hence, "much more limiting in what you can eventually do."

        A business student would have many more options than a science major, but is likley to be someone incapable of having the creative capabilities necessary to make something of themselves. They are likely to work under those who went to school, realized they had a good idea (or that they didn't need to go to school) and started their own business. These students (at least at my school-UBC) have trouble thinking critically and communicating ideas coherently enough to persuade any prospective clients. At best, a business major will be mediocre, collecting six-figures per year, and wondering what else the world has to offer besides pie-charts and bar-graphs.

        Accounting speaks for itself, lots of jobs, pretty good money, crunching numbers for a living. Limiting to the max….

        I never really argued that philosophy students, art history majors, or David Beckham classes would do better financially than these other degrees (althogh in many cases they do). I argued that those who study what they want will have had a much more stimulating post-secondary experience. This is likely to lead to work that doesn't involve mixing chemicals, making graphs on excel, and crunching numbers. In other words, a much more fulfilling and bearable work environment.

        Have fun being mediocre.

        By the way, I know I'm just a dumb Arts students, but it's "you're" not "your".

        • "If you study, say, chemistry, it is pretty unlikely you’ll have transferable skills that could apply to anything outside of the sciences. You won’t have developed basic logic, reasoning, writing, or speaking skills which could be applied to a much broader range of jobs that exist in the real word."

          I am going to approach this in a way that refers to all the major sciences and not just chemisty. Let's take physics for instance, it is full of mathematics and its very origins as a subject sprouted from a desire to understand the universe and all its misteries. That, indeed, requires the most instense logic and reasoning. Physics used to be called, at least in the time of Isaac Newton as I am aware, 'Natural Philosophy', or the philosophy of nature. 'Natural Philosophy' as it was known back them was also a precursor to modern chemistry. Physics is not at all based on remembering facts upon facts upon facts, it is about understanding, the byproduct of which, at least on the part of the student, would a firm ability to reason and to form logical answers to problems. Physics and chemistry major would also obtain the skills to scrutinize evidence and statistics. All of the above are skill that people who have studied physics, chemistry or maths have learned through their studies. In terms of writing skills, obviously an Arts student would prevail in that, science students don't have to write 1500 word essays every fortnight but an Arts student would rank considerably lower on the other skills obtained by science students – skills, may I add, that are much harder to obtain. Many students who studied physics or maths work in the finance industry, as financial analysts, quants., even investment bankers and earning a decent salary. A friend of mine got a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics and now works with Bloomberg as a financial trader.

          "I never really argued that philosophy students, art history majors, or David Beckham classes would do better financially than these other degrees (althogh in many cases they do)."

          I don't want to be hiting out on Arts students because I do have a respect for certain areas of the Arts & Humanities (like art, music, history, etc.,) but people who have degrees in those sort of subjects are a little more limited in terms of jobs than people who have studied science. Actually, there is proof to this. Just go to and compare the salaries obtained by people who have a BA in an Arts discipline to people who have a BSc in a science discipline, it's quite interesting.

          "I argued that those who study what they want will have had a much more stimulating post-secondary experience."

          Well, I would 100% agree with you in that statement. If someone wants to delve into the misteries of science and observe the natural world then let them, it's what interests them and stimulates them. If someone wants to delve into the wonders of the Arts and culture then let them, it's what stimulates and interests them. I'd say to what you want to do, be what you want to be and f*** all the rest.

          "Have fun being mediocre"

          Well funny you mention mediocre actually, the majority of people (at least in the university I'm in) who are studying Arts, is far greater than people who are studying business, science or law. Maybe it is you who should look at yourself and see that you actually might be part of the mediocracy.

          "This is likely to lead to work that doesn’t involve mixing chemicals"

          That's a very ignorant view of chemistry. Maybe you should have a little bit more respect for the scientists who are making medicine and helping to save lives.

          " … it’s “you’re” not “your”."

          It's 'world' not 'word'.



        • Thank you for the history lesson Barb,

          Your half-baked analysis has changed my mind completely. You are absolutely right, people who study the sciences MUST have better logic and reasoning skills. After all, "scientists" thousands of years ago were looking for answers to questions that at the time were unanswerable. (They were also trying to turn lead into gold.)

          I'm pretty sure you're just redefining words here. Tell me again how math and science didn't spawn from philosophy, and not the other way around? Actually, you did. You called it "natural philosophy" as if that makes it not philosophy. Philosophy was the precursor to everything we have now, and mixing chemicals and reciting formulae emerged out of it.

          Since you are so empirically rigorous in your argument, open your eyes and have a look at what's going on in the labs and math classrooms at your school. Not much mystery solving there. There IS, however, TONS of chemical mixing and formula regurgitation. You can whine all day about how these fields are rooted in whatever you want them to be, in reality, however, a degree nowadays in these fields is fundamentally formula memorization and mixing substances in petri dishes.

          Uhhh, why did you basically restate what I wrote in my rebuttal to the moron above? I've already agreed that these majors do better financially. Actually, you noted that I noted that. In no way does that give them a broader range of career choices. Again, you redefine the word "broad" to mean "salary". This isn't overly surprising, after all, you are defending math and science…..

          My school is not at all like yours. Business is a massive faculty, the science departments are enormous. Funding is cut primarily to arts classes and those with low-enrolment. (I'm not really against this, research funding goes to the sciences, and that's what people want to study nowadays.)

          Who said mixing chemicals is a bad thing? I think it's great that people actually want to hang out in science labs and make the drugs I consume.

          Not sure where you're from, but most of the english speaking world spells it 'mystery', not 'mistery'. 😛



        • "I’m pretty sure you’re just redefining words here. Tell me again how math and science didn’t spawn from philosophy, and not the other way around?"

          I'm not saying that it's the other way around. Most matieral sciences such as physics and maths did arise from philosophy. However, the study of maths and physics is really a much more rigorous form of philosophy that broke away from the Arts around the 15th/16th century to become a science.

          "Since you are so empirically rigorous in your argument, open your eyes and have a look at what’s going on in the labs and math classrooms at your school. Not much mystery solving there."

          Of course in labs as an undergraduate you're not expected to go off and discover the mysteries of the universe by yourself. You are expected to understand what humanity already knows so you can understand what humanity needs to know. At this stage you are merely being trained to question things around you and to think logically about things like a true scientist should.

          "There IS, however, TONS of chemical mixing and formula regurgitation. You can whine all day about how these fields are rooted in whatever you want them to be, in reality, however, a degree nowadays in these fields is fundamentally formula memorization and mixing substances in petri dishes."

          Well obviously you do not study science. In fact, let's say physics, you are expected to derived formulas yourself for a given system using principles that you know and understand. These principles cannot merely be learned off by heart, you must understand them in order to derive equations. We are not simply given equation and expected to learn them off by heart, it is of paramount importance that their origins are understood. As a joint math and physics major myself, I would say that there is very little regurgitation in the subjects I'm taking, it mostly about understanding.

          You have a very narrow minded view of the sciences. I certainly don't have such a narrow minded view of the Arts, I thoroughly respect them. However, you portray an overly simplified view of science; passing it off as though it was merely robotic in nature (quote "Mixing chemicals" "Formula regurgitation"), and disregard the innovation and investigative nature of science.


          Barb Dwyer.

        • MAtt:

          Your basic error is rationalism. You think you proved the answer before you even look at the world.

          All those remarks about professions you’ve never bothered to study? Been observing the lazy undergraduates and think you know the real world outside? Think chemists just “mix chemicals?” Ever tried to learn what’s in paints of every past civilization, or wonder why there’s an endless procession of new art materials? Would you be capable of appreciating that, having skipped chemistry?

          It’s clear you’ve never struggled to complete a chem lab report. If you were faced with completing an error analysis on an unproductive three hour experiment, and did not exert your powers of logic and reasoning, you wouldn’t be university material.

          Philosophy did not create the sciences; it was invented after scientific discoveries were made. Plato and Aristotle come late, after a tradition of physical techne we are only just documenting. Most modern philosophers wrote in reaction to the changing state of scientific knowledge. It comes down to: people made observations and reasoned before there were philosophers. You are just dead wrong here. As for the drugs reference, well, you just made yourself a sophomore again.

          By the way: you go, Barb.

        • Hey man, I just happen to go to UBC, and I'm studying the hard sciences. You know, we're actually required to take a few credits of arts courses to appreciate the arts. After reading everything you wrote, I just want to say I'm so glad you're not in the sciences. You'd be destroyed your first week in. "mixing chemicals, making graphs on excel, crunching numbers". You make it sound so damn easy. Heck I'd be coasting through undergrad science. And no, the trend in the sciences is that people are becoming more well rounded. Its a competitive job market. Almost everyone in my faculty understands we need social, reading, writing, speaking, and logic skills + technical skills learned in science. Its pretty clear who's mediocre now, failure.

        • Hey Max,

          I'm surprised you were able to read all [500 words] of that text. I think your over-simplification of my argument has in many ways proved my point. You would have to be a complete ignoramus to think that I actually believe that the sciences are a breeze. They aren't, and in no way have I argued that they are. I was defending those who study what they want from the false criticisms made by those in the sciences and business who deem their hard work "useless".

          As a scientist you should be able to infer that UBC is full of people who have GREAT difficulty communicating effectively in the English language. You would also likely conclude that the fact that you "are required to take courses in the arts" is not so that you can appreciate them, but so that UBC can graduate students who have the ability to speak and write coherently. People become more well rounded (something your peers are apparently seeking) through studying the arts, which as you probably don't know, convey the importance of general knowledge which develops rational thought and intellectual capabilities. UBC adopted these policies because the administration recognized a flaw in the type of students who study the sciences, which emphasize highly specialized skill-sets. They also realized that less-expensive institutions like BCIT (where people are trained, not educated) graduate students with similar ability.

          On a more personal note, I find it comical how upset people get when given a taste of their own medicine. "Hey! That's not what science is!"

        • "I think your over-simplification of my argument has in many ways proved my point."

          Its a shame that you try to defend yet discipline yet aren't even versed in the methods required by it, specifically, the ability to provide evidence for your arguments. You instead choose to say something vague and go on to base your entire rebuttal on it. You bring shame to your colleagues.

        • Wow, I can't believe you would actually take the time to check back on somebody's reply. But yea typically those of you in the arts seem to have a lot of free time. I'll admit it, I'm actually supposed to be studying now but I find this a great exercise to debate this with people like you.

          First of all, you have no need to tell me all those things. Please don't find the need to educate me on something I'm already well aware of. For your information, I have done my dues on language skills. I took IB in high school and did English Lit as well as History. So please don't think that everyone doing science is a drone or a mediocre idiot crunching through numbers. I just feel the need to be able to have something solid in my education that leads to Practical use in the future. You gain many transferable skills through a science education. Further more I'm studying applied science (I'm an engineer).

          I have a solid respect for the arts that I gained through high school and have continued to hold through university. I think the study of philosophy is interesting and beneficial to the human race. However, I disagree with the way that you are misrepresenting science just to make your major sound better (or harder, more complicated, more enlightened, whatever it is you believe it is).

          As engineers we're required to familiarize ourselves not only with technical skills, but also ethics and a code of conduct in which to operate. I'm right now doing a course that requires us to write essay after essay about sustainability and the engineer's responsibility to society.

          I do understand your argument. But its flawed because its not based on facts. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole process of arguing a position requires that you base it on tangible facts. So far I've only seen you used implied insults, which to be honest, doesn't say much about your skill level at all. I would have actually done some research into what people in the sciences really do instead of assuming facts through stereotypes.

          Next time you think sciences is just rote application of concepts, spend just an hour in your friend's (if you have any) chemistry/physics lab. You'll find that just to get an experiment to work, 20 different things can go wrong (I'm exaggerating a bit, but many things can go wrong).

          So the final say on the matter is this. Philosophy is important and has contributions to many fields. However your personal grasp of the subject is arguably even less than mine. Yes, you have developed a handle(only a handle) on the English language. Congratulations, I applaud you on that. But so have I, and all my colleagues. But even that I seriously doubt. The more knowledge I gained, the more I realize how little I actually know. So for you to just come out and imply that you're a master at English just shows me how little you've actually mastered it.

          Understand that the only reason why I didn't feel the need to write so much before was that I didn't feel like explaining things so much to someone obviously so biased as you. It was really a waste of time in my opinion. However, I do love the sciences and will defend it if somebody makes conclusions about it based on untrue facts.

          Next time you try to teach someone a lesson, do your homework. I'm doing you a favor here. Learn from this. I absolutely love my life.

        • Alright. Hmm, where do I start?

          First of all. No, BCIT does not graduate people with similar ability. Two things to consider here. First, the name of the institution does matter. Second, BCIT people are the very definition of what you said before, ie number crunching. They solve problems that have already been solved before; scientists, mathematicians and engineers solve new problems. It's a whole other playing field.

          And no, I'm not annoyed in the way that "hey! that's not what science is". I'm just annoyed that you, as a philosophy major, don't understand the value of using tangible facts to support an argument. And I also don't really have the time or the patience to explain everything to you. You seem to think you know everything about what goes on at UBC. Sadly my friend, you are too wrong.

          The way I see it, I don't really see the difference between my writing ability and yours. What do you think we do? Just sit around and calculate stuff all day? And by the way, I took IB history and English lit in high school, so I actually came to university WITH these skills. And I have to tell you many of my peers have them too. So much for your stereotypical view of the scientist crunching numbers all day. Next time please don't presume to assume, but instead keep quiet and listen (or read). Its a very valuable skill.

          And if you want to discuss philosophy, give me your msn and we can talk the entire day about Plato, Socrates, the Socratic method, the history and development of the sciences. Looks like I just punched a huge hole through your argument, my friend.

        • Ok I don't really know where my last two comments went to. This blog site isn't letting me put up my essays (they are essays, there's so much I want to say) about what you just said.

          Scroll down to the last of the comments by a guy called YW. That in a nutshell, is what I want to say.

        • 1. Please don't presume to assume that I don't have skills in writing, speaking, and listening to English. I developed these in high school. I did IB english lit and history.

          2. Yes, I do believe that you (at least before) thought the sciences were a breeze. And then you figured out that this wasn't the case, and are instead attempting to attack scientists on the grounds that they don't have communication skills.

          3. BCIT are technicians. They solve problems that have already been solved. Scientists tackle new problems. Its a whole other playing field.

          4. if you're going to defend your position, please base it on tangible evidence. The things that you said about science are mostly, if not all, incorrect and biased. You should know better.

          5. Please don't try to tell me something about a school I'm almost graduating from. I know way more about this institution that you do.

          6. I hang out with a variety of people from different faculties. I have a decent social life, and I am greatly interested in history and literature. Well rounded enough for you?

          7. Looks like I just beat you at your own game (isn't this something you're supposed to be good at?)

        • One last thing. Quit saying things like "your oversimplification of my argument has in many ways proved my point." What the hell is this? How? In what way? Evidence please? And yet here you are trying to teach me about grasping the English language.

          "However, with more experience I believe that I was bang on with that analysis. I will defend this if you come back with something other than “You must be joking.” "

          Again, you are so vague. You make a statement without even backing it up, and then proceed to argue your position based on that statement. This is a fundamental rule that even I, the literarily handicapped scientist, am aware of.

          Try talking to people for a change. I'm telling you this for your own good. You'll find that many scientists are really down to earth, well rounded individuals.

        • By the way, your arguments are fundamentally flawed. You're basing your positions on a claim that hasn't even been properly found to be true.

          "However, with more experience I believe that I was bang on with that analysis."

          What experience? Examples?

          If you're going to defend your field, please at least be competent in methods that people in your field are supposed to be well acquainted with.

        • Its a shame that you claim to be defending your discipline yet don't even have the necessary skills of research and argument, as well as holding a position.

          "I think your over-simplification of my argument has in many ways proved my point."

          You don't provide any evidence yet you base your entire rebuttal on that. You bring shame to your colleagues.

        • You beat me at my own game? What's my game again? I don't remember arguing I had one. Simply listing sentences in point form does not give your points any more legitimacy or objective truth, Max. Actually, most of your points are opinion and personal experience.

          I got the previous two comments that didn't show up on the board. (For those who care, there was absolutely nothing relevant or constructive to the debate.) It is fine that you all think I'm an idiot, but using that as your main point in an argument shows extreme weakness. As I wrote above, I don't think that the sciences or business are easy subjects to study.

          Max is upset because I apparently didn't rebut his claim that the hard sciences are beginning to expand their curricula horizons. I feel that I offered a clear, succinct rebuttal showing WHY it is that they are taking this approach (at least at UBC). Impartial people (not Max, Barb, or YW) are likely to agree that I did this adequately – even if they don’t agree with any of the points I’ve been making.

          The UBC website for degree requirements states: “Excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills are expected of graduates of the B.Sc. program. Skills will develop from critical reading of the literature in a variety of disciplines; from summarizing and synthesizing the information; and from comparing, contrasting, and defending ideas orally and in writing. The ability to express ideas clearly, succinctly, and with authority, especially in writing, forms the basis of most assessments of learning.”

          This emphasizes the broader point I’ve been making about the importance of communication, reasoning, logic, and argument (all provided by taking courses outside of the sciences). It also shows how the main goal of the administration is to develop people who have the ability to communicate effectively. It appears the fine people at UBC would agree with at least some of the points I’ve been making… In other words, taking high school lit classes and reading Nelson Mandella's biography don't cut it.

          Of course some scientists (Einstein, Tesla, Kepler, Newton etc. ) will be pushing the limits of human understanding while they create the things I use everyday, but they are – almost by definition – the extreme minority. Despite what Max thinks, he will be competing with many of the graduates from BCIT that we’ve both mentioned. Max accuses me of not doing the necessary research while he defers his argument to YW. As for Max “knowing way more than me” I’m not so sure about that. We are both attending the same school, and from his naive view that his degree requirements prove that scientists care about a well-rounded education I would argue the contrary. After all, I had to explain to him why this is the case.

        • On a absolute final note, its really hilarious how a philosophy major is telling me the inside scoop on my own field (job prospects, competition, skills needed etc.) You know, I really should have gone into philosophy when I entered university. Then I'd be qualified to talk about everyone's professions like I know everything about them while not actually performing them! How sweet is that?

          I think anyone who comes across this discussion will agree with my view.

        • I’ll begin by asking you to read over all 1000? or more words of my comment.

          You’re a philosophy major, are you not? Or some major in the liberal arts. And you’re basically trying to say that scientists are not well rounded and need to develop the “much needed” reading and writing skills that people like you apparently have. This is what I mean by “your game”. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m telling you that people like us do already have these skills. Its very obvious by the way I write that I’m not a literary handicapped idiot like you so obviously think I am.

          “In other words, taking high school lit classes and reading Nelson Mandella’s biography don’t cut it. ”
          Again, do your research. High school lit is different from IB. IB introduced me to concepts like existentialism, critique, and reflection and analysis on key pieces of literature that developed my skills. Right now I read Nelson Mandela’s biography in my free time. It’s an easy read but very interesting. I gave it as an example. You want evidence of a more rigorous reading regimen? Would you like me to list them?

          “and from his naive view that his degree requirements prove that scientists care about a well-rounded education I would argue the contrary.”
          Here you go again. This is near the conclusion, is it not? But here you introduce a new argument without any new evidence. This is what I mean by beating you at your own game – you don’t even have the necessary understanding to realize that introducing a new argument in the last sentences of your writing, without any evidence, is an absolute no-no.

          I’m sure you think you have an excellent grasp of the English language, but to be honest I don’t think I write any less succinctly than you do. Again I would advise you to go around campus and actually talk to individuals instead of sitting in class with your narrow minded ideas about how the world works.

          “Actually, most of your points are opinion and personal experience.”
          Yes, they are. But these have been supported by various other people, mainly other peers who work in my field. While on the other hand, your points are based entirely on opinion and no one in the field has corroborated them. See the difference?

          “Max is upset because I apparently didn’t rebut his claim that the hard sciences are beginning to expand their curricula horizons.”
          No, I’m not upset because of that you ignoramus (this is the correct context to use that term). I’m annoyed because even though you’re an arts major you apparently don’t have the ability to research and find accurate information before you make claims. I noticed that in your first comment way above and in many of the subsequent comments, especially in regards to scientists, you make overarching assumptions and generalizations. And then when people try to point out your mistakes, you refuse to admit them and instead attack them on other grounds.

          “Simply listing sentences in point form does not give your points any more legitimacy or objective truth, Max.”
          I was doing that to save time because I wasn’t sure if the blog site would let me post my essays. Also, I’ve learned in life that being concise is a virtue.

          “Of course some scientists (Einstein, Tesla, Kepler, Newton etc. ) will be pushing the limits of human understanding while they create the things I use everyday, but they are – almost by definition – the extreme minority. Despite what Max thinks, he will be competing with many of the graduates from BCIT that we’ve both mentioned. Max accuses me of not doing the necessary research while he defers his argument to YW. As for Max “knowing way more than me” I’m not so sure about that.”

          You fail to understand the point of YW’s writing. He is saying that, contrary to your previous comment about the majority of scientists being conformists, many of them simply do it for the love of the game without expecting good renumeration. And I have to say many people in the sciences do have this mindset. So no, they are not part of the extreme minority, they are actually prevalent. By doing so he pointed out a huge hole in your argument. I pointed you to his comment because I think he did a great job in rebutting your argument; something I could do but wanted to save time on. It seems like you have forced me to write my own rebuttal.

          And yes, I do know way more than you. I’m a senior here. Have some respect for those who are senior to you (and who possess more knowledge than you). Unless if you’re a senior as well, which really wouldn’t make sense based on your undeveloped style of writing.

          “Despite what Max thinks, he will be competing with many of the graduates from BCIT that we’ve both mentioned.” Think for a minute. Here you go making overarching assumptions again. It almost seems like you want to take people with careers in science and paint them as useless coming out of university. This is absolutely hilarious. Here’s what you’re doing – because you’re not in this major, you try to take the achievements of others and trivialize them. According to you then, most of the people who graduate with science degrees from UBC will end up flat broke, competing with BCIT grads who are really the ones who have it good (damn, why didn’t I go to BCIT?). Even you can see, and I would really ask you, does that make any sort of sense? Why do people even bother going to university for an education then? Why not all just go to a technical college and develop the same skills? I know of many people who just graduated from BCIT and can’t find a job. Its sad, but its the truth. They go in to acquire your said (same skills) in a field like “aerospace engineering” but nobody wants to hire them because technicians are very replaceable. They are the very definition of number crunching that you talked about earlier. This information is from personal stories told by many of my friends (not in the sciences, or in UBC).

          Admitting your mistakes is a very important part of life, whether it be your failure at choosing a major, or your failure in making an argument. Don’t start something if you know you can’t end it (ie. you can’t win). I can’t believe I’m actually giving you advice that will help you.

          “After all, I had to explain to him why this is the case.”
          There you go again. Anyone who reads this exchange will see that I am not really the one who needs explaining to. Let me put it this way. It is clear that you and I both love writing and listening to each other speak. However, I actually write with a structure and support any claims that I make.

          And I have to say I really enjoy this. In between studying for my final exams and explaining how the world works to people like you, its really very gratifying. This is my last comment post. Please don’t bother to respond again, as I have exams to study for and labs to write, as well as actual friends (especially female) to hang out with. If you wonder why I went through all this trouble to bash you, its just that I simply can’t stand someone who disguises their own weakness by pointing out the (supposed) weaknesses of others.

          It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought wise than to open it and be revealed a fool.

        • Isn’t saying that Sciences have a foundation in Philosophy the same as saying that you are superior because you studied elementary school Arithmetic which is a foundation of Algebra and Calculus?

        • No it is not the same. Perhaps you’ve misunderstood the various discussions in reply to this article. I can not speak for everyone but it seems as though most are not trying to say that they are superior because they study philosophy (which is the founder of science); but instead, that because of its foundational nature its usefulness should not be over- looked nor should it be disrespected by being considered one of the top ten most useless degrees.

        • It’s EXACTLY like saying that, I can’t believe the garbage these pretentious philosophy tools are swirling around – clearly they’re desperate to justify their wasted existences.

          And just FYI (for other readers), in the capitalist world of today success IS based highly upon your job, and salary. Get with the times. Don’t be bitter and bag on scientists and engineers just because YOU have no skills worth contributing to society.

    • "However, with more experience I believe that I was bang on with that analysis."

      You take this and base your entire argument on it. But you didn't use any credible examples, and all the things that you talked about many others working directly in the field have refuted.

      It's a shame that people like you try to defend your discipline but yet aren't even versed in basic argument and research skills. I know this is a blog, but still.

      • Not that it matters, but I'm not a philosophy major. 😛


        I think it's safe to say that this debate is over. I've tried to offer a more nuanced version of my original argument but it obviously isn't gaining any supporters. I will admit that I used hyperbole with my original comments, as Barb points out, but all I was really doing was expressing a view contrary to what everybody (and this board) will have you believe. Despite what some have argued, I think it's necessary that we approach claims supporting any type of hierarchy where one degree is considered "better" – or at least less "useless" – than

        another with scepticism (myself included).

        The "tangible" evidence for my claims were made through inference, which even Barb acknowledged as having elements of truth (see submission: April 9, 2010 @ 1:36 pm).

        Max obviously cares deeply about defending his major and that is admirable. This fervent defence does make me wonder if my supposedly absurd claims may contain a hint of truth.

        I'm not sure why, but Max wrote the same criticisms about 7 times. He is either a) mentally challenged or b) has become obsessed with this board.

        Yours Always,


        • Yes, I would say that this debate is over. Evidence:

          "On a absolute final note, its really hilarious how a philosophy major is telling me the inside scoop on my own field (job prospects, competition, skills needed etc.) You know, I really should have gone into philosophy when I entered university. Then I’d be qualified to talk about everyone’s professions like I know everything about them while not actually performing them! How sweet is that?

          I think anyone who comes across this discussion will agree with my view."

          And ok, so you're not a philosophy major. You're still an arts major at UBC. You should know better than to attack other people's disciplines. Makes you look like an idiot, and gives our school a bad name as well.

          Inference? What kind of inference? You inferred that chemistry and physics are just number crunching? You inferred since there is a some rote application of arithmetic, that people in these fields have no social skills? You just like to use words like "infer" and other words you learned in your arts courses to wow others into submission, without paying attention to logic.

          And yes, I can get obsessive sometimes, but its only when I talk to idiots like you. It really feels good to give people like you what's been coming to them.

        • Reuven Shiloah on

          A liberal education, whether it be in Philosophy, Political Science, or in English is designed to expose the student to a variety of competing ideas, and teach the student to synthesize these said ideas and create their own analysis. The skill that is taught is not crunching numbers, being a corporate whore, or building a bridge, its rational thought. The fruition of a liberal education is not a specific skill, but the ability to think critically.

          Liberal arts graduates are the ones who run the country, protect it from threats external and domestic, educate the next generation, and resolve disputes our courts. They are not corporate yes-men who are destined to spend their careers in the shadow of a great entrepreneur. Nor are they those who spend their life developing a skillset of how to design and build things.

          Here is an interesting anecdote. In the summer of 2009, I, a student of the liberal arts was able to secure employment that was relevant to my career, yet my engineering technologist room mate was unemployed because all construction projects in the city were stalled. My other room mate, a computer-science student, was unable to find his IT serf dreamjob because budget cuts forced companies to downsize that ever redundant department.

        • "is designed to expose the student to a variety of competing ideas, and teach the student to synthesize these said ideas and create their own analysis."

          With that, you have just described almost every main major offered in university, including science and engineering.

          "Liberal arts graduates are the ones who run the country, protect it from threats external and domestic, educate the next generation, and resolve disputes our courts. They are not corporate yes-men who are destined to spend their careers in the shadow of a great entrepreneur. Nor are they those who spend their life developing a skillset of how to design and build things."

          Liberal arts has always contributed to society. Nobody's denying that. Just don't downplay the other disciplines.

          Anecdote back at you. Many 'corporate yes-men' go on to liberal arts jobs. My friend in commerce, for example. Same with those in the sciences. The truth is, the skills these individuals gain in their respective fields are very valued in the liberal arts.

          "yet my engineering technologist room mate was unemployed because all construction projects in the city were stalled. My other room mate, a computer-science student, was unable to find his IT serf dreamjob because budget cuts forced companies to downsize that ever redundant department."

          Nobody resigns himself to a hard technical degree just to end up in this state. I know from experience that many engineering majors go on to undertake extremely successful careers in liberal arts fields.

        • I wrote the same thing 7 times because I wasn't seeing my comments being posted after submitting them. Only afterwards did I realize that it takes a long time but they actually do end up on the board.

          Admit it, bozo. Nobody here supports your claims, so quit defending them. Just so everyone can take a look at your stupidity, here are all of them:

          "If you study, say, chemistry, it is pretty unlikely you’ll have transferable skills that could apply to anything outside of the sciences. You won’t have developed basic logic, reasoning, writing, or speaking skills which could be applied to a much broader range of jobs that exist in the real word. A chem student will likely work for $20 mixing chemicals in a lab, (if they’re lucky enough to land a job.) Hence, “much more limiting in what you can eventually do.” "

          "At best, a business major will be mediocre, collecting six-figures per year, and wondering what else the world has to offer besides pie-charts and bar-graphs."

          "Drones study business and accounting.. and conformists who want to memorize and recite facts study the sciences. Those who follow the status quo and study the sciences and business justify their commitment to mediocrity by criticizing those who study what they want."

          "Sciences are much more limiting in what you can eventually do with your degree. Students of these programs are fairly well rounded and can apply the knowledge they learned at school on the job. Technology and the nature of business are changing all the time. Learning business skills now that will be obsolete in 5 years seems like a waste of time to me."

          "I wrote that over a year ago when I was young and naive. However, with more experience I believe that I was bang on with that analysis."

          I'm just gonna stop arguing. I'll let your stupidity speak for itself.

        • Max, (and everyone), Sometimes comments get caught by the spam filter for whatever reason. Give me a day to check and un-spam your comments. As long as you aren't being rude or using foul language I let it go through. It will also save me time trying to figure out which comments are are repeated because the author thought it didn't go through. Hopefully I have removed the repetition, let me know if I have not.

        • "I’ve tried to offer a more nuanced version of my original argument but it obviously isn’t gaining any supporters. "

          Very good! What does that usually mean in any argument? It means that nobody supports your points. In a nutshell, you've lost the debate.

        • Max, let it go.

          You’re letting this forum take over your life. You posted 12 straight comments about nothing. It’s laughable how you think any of that could have changed my mind. The fact that I couldn't persuade a bunch of science students who believe they're going to change the world is far from me losing anything. And besides, it’s exam season!! You have stuff to memorize…………

        • Funny how you tell me to let go but you're the one writing follow-up comments. Also funny how every time someone gets you on an argument, you shift it to another topic, thereby avoiding having to admit they got you.

          How hard is it for you to admit that your ideas, even this year (not your original post) are naive? Are you that proud?

        • For future reference, just because you're good at writing doesn't give you a free pass to take advantage of other people through words. I was very passionate about replying to you because I know that's what you're doing. Your type (not everybody in arts) loves to use big words and ideas out of context in order to impress people and wow them to submission. I'm just trying to teach you the lesson that you can't do that, and I dare say I did quite a good job of it too. Yes the English language is fluid but arguing a point still requires building it around good evidence, instead of shifting the subject to a new topic every chance you get.

          So there you have it. A science major (who would have thought?) just beat you at your own game. That's what I mean by "beating you at your own game". I really hope you aren't idiotic enough to reply back, because I've got a lot of studying to do and therefore quite a few breaks in between to reply to any rebuttals. We can do this all year.

        • And well, I admit I do get a little obsessive. But that's ok. Because that's the kind of obsessive nature that's needed in order to get a project done or a new discovery made. You my friend in arts, wouldn't know the least bit about it.

          And well I have to admit I'm flattered that you call me mentally challenged. Do you know there's often a thin line between madness and genius? But then again, I'm saying all this to someone who barely passes as educated.

        • I am letting it go. The truth is that you lost the debate. And I'm going back to studying for finals, hanging out with friends, and having an all-around well rounded life.

        • "Anyone who reads this exchange will see that I am not really the one who needs explaining to." If you really believe that, lets let others have a chance to weigh in (like Reuven Shiloah above). No more spamming the wall with ad hominem attacks and redundancies. Give it time….write your finals….. cool off a bit.

          We can get back into it later if you really want to.

        • Well well well, looks like you still haven't had enough. Ok, an ad hominem argument is not exactly an fallacy, and therefore not invalid. In my case, this doesn't even qualify as an ad hominem argument because I did not attack you as a person (though I did throw in a few implied insults for fun), but I attacked the grounds on which you made your argument (ie. your evidence). Again, keyword here is evidence.

          Just another example of how you just love to take those big words and use them ou tof context.

          And no, you've had more than enough chances to weigh in. Which is why its time that you understand that your points are not valid.

    • Philosophy majors memorize and recite the words of people they’ve never met, just to prove how much more ‘intelligent’ they are than everyone else.

  126. Jobs are not the only reason to study knowledge. Knowledge should be valued as an end in itself, not just something for getting a job.

  127. Looks like all the Philosophy majors are coming out of the woodwork! You guys seem to have a lot of time on your hands…

  128. I agree with Art History being pointless. Don't really see many jobs that are looking for art history majors. I would also include musical therapy and dance to that list.

    • Art history majors can work in museums, do restoration, archivists, writers, researchers, art teachers, professors, auctioneer experts, art trade, field work which can be associated with archaeology, and art therapy.

      Many lawyers have undergraduate degrees because of the intense research and writing requirements help prepare them. I'd say art history is misunderstood not useless.

  129. You have some serious issues ms. Katherine Watt, and first of all, golf management happens to be a big deal, especially in southwest florida. There are over 170 courses in 3 counties alone down here. So, to say it is useless just because YOU think it is boring doesn't mean it is useless. So, you are telling me that a head pro at an exclusive country club making six figures a year doesn't need a degree in Professional Golf Management? Good, point, very useful (NOT).

    Also, philosophy? Are you kidding me, look at all of the philosophers around the world there are. Alot of famous authors had philosophy as a major.

    And Art History is another one that caught my eye. Uh, an artist maybe useful for that.

    • I agree completely… I’m surprised by the large number of existing mediocre articles/writers.

      Take some philosophy classes, Ms. Watt. It’ll get your head out of the hole where the sun don’t shine.

  130. "Philosophy, like sociology and psychology, is one of those degrees that people do when they’re not quite sure what vocation they want to follow."

    A graduate degree in psychology can lead to licensure in mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy and psychology ( course requirements meet educational requirements among other requirements ). Psychology degrees are useful in the field of criminal justice, human resources, forensics, gerontology…ect. A person with a graduate degree in psychology can teach psychology online and on-campus. It is a versatile degree.

  131. I coordinate the Sport Management (Surfing Studies) course at Southern Cross University. This course is business and management based and graduates typically work in the multi-billion dollar surfing industry.

    Apart from writing essays and reports, the students also get to surf occasionally.

    As a footnote, this course was rated the sexiest university course in the world!!

  132. I majored in Art History in 1973 – the Chairman of the Department escaped from a Nazi POW camp in WW II, made his way to the Vatican and studied and restored art for the duration – a brilliant guy! Now I'm a lawyer, make a lot of money, travel the world and still enjoy art. Life could be worse.

    • theres money, but that doesn't mean you will be successful in studying it. Tiger woods didn't have that degree.

  133. Lunkhead: It`s the logic that drives the operating systems. You don`t have to have philosophy to be an IT-developer, but no matter how you see it; the logic is one of the fundamental philosophical diciplines. I just wanted to point out something useful that philosophy has contributed to.

    Eoj Trahnier: Since you did not get the irony of TopTenz Master, it`s to much to expect that you would understand philosophy And thansk for making my point about lack of argumentation obvious. Creep back in your mental cave 🙂

    If you`re still not convinced of the relevance of philosophy, check out what George Soros reads.

  134. Over 60% of my class is Law school had Philosophy degrees. A lot of them were drama students also.

  135. Fredrik reckons that computers could not have been invented without Philosophy degrees. So how many IT developers have them? Just because all doctorates are called PhD does not mean philosophy is studied in many of them.

    Can we include Brabidge in the list of all-time great philosophers? And how about Gates?

    • Why, oh why, do people with no understanding feel the need to express an opinion and thereby cause others to expose their claims as bollocks? Since you obviously never studied philosophy I will mention Gotlob Frege, inventor of first-order predicate calculus, the basis of computational theory.

      And who on earth is "Brabidge"? Do you mean the mathematician & philosopher Charles Babbage, the guy without whom you would not be able to express your ignorance on a global scale?

      I did my degree / master's in Philosophy, specialised in logic / phil of mind and, upon graduation, immediately secured a role teaching computers. The logic element meant that I found computer languages trivial to learn and I consequently went to work for an ISP as a developer. Since code did not daunt me, I then went into IT security, hired by Blue Chip organisations to analyse and trace malicious code. This required the ability to think outside the box, which is precisely what Philosophy taught me.

      It also taught me ethics: *why* principles mattered and how to be a better human being. Then there was rhetoric and oratory: how to see through persuasive and emotive fluff and understand what a speaker's intentions are.

      Most importantly it taught me how little I, and everyone else, knows, how overused and abused the word "know" is.

      15 years down the line, would I change my degree for any other? Not a chance!!

      Oh, as a minor point, I will also mention that this degree has got me more interviews than I can count: I almost *always* get invited for an interview for any job I apply for as people often see "philosophy" mentioned and are intrigued. As my last employer commented: "We had 4 mainstream candidates all with the "right" qualifications. Then we saw your CV and thought, "Let's invite a wildcard, see what we get."

      I doubt that would have happened had I taken a science degree.

  136. Having an arts degree I can sympathize with Art History being on that list (having studied it for two years)- however why not then make all history useless? Art, design, fashion, architecture, even mathematical principles derived from such, all hold a governing place over culture, current events and our very landscape/cityscape. If we do not study historical artistic endeavors/artists we are sentenced to repeat the mistakes of the past. And nobody wants plaid bellbottoms back.

    Secondly, mine and my friends' colleges had courses in quilting, basketweaving, beers of the world, foods of the world, wines of the world, the simpsons, and numerous other "useless" classes/degrees. Fun, interesting, even drunk and delicious, but not much use to contributing to the financial market.

  137. What about underwater basketweaving? That was all the rage as far as useless degrees go when I went to college in the 80's. Is that no longer considered cool?

  138. I think that as far as philosophy being a worthless degree, you all have pretty much proved the authsr's point! Well done, you over-educated dumbells.

  139. Ignorance is bliss, obviously. For instance: You would not have computers, if it were not for philosophy. It is based on logic (all the calculations), and the development of logic begins with Aristotle.

    And the fact that every major scientific discovery has it`s root in philosophical questions and considerations.

    Every field of study stems from philosophical considerations. Everytime you try to do analyze something in a systematic way, you are in one way or another doing philosophy.

    Philosophy is all about asking the right questions, not to belive a claim unless it is supported by arguments and be critical of dogmas and aware of fallacies. Bush could not have happend in a philosophical society.

    And for the practical part: I have a p.hd in philosophy and work as a consultant – even for some Fortune 500 company.

    And even as a fan of Becks, I realise that the Beckham studies might be a bit too much 🙂

    • Dude , we have computers thanks to MATHS!

      Not because some dude learned Freud’s views on life!

      • I’ve come to the conclusion – philosophy haters are just quite lacking in intelligence. The guy clearly was claiming that logic and maths can be traced back to Aristotle, who was clearly a philosopher. Nobody mentioned Freud.

        And by the way, the factories, research funds, raw materials for the computers – all of these were not possible were it not for a certain structure of government in the nations, which came about as a result of philosophizing.

        • philosophy haters are just quite lacking in intelligence. The guy clearly was claiming that logic and maths can be traced back to Aristotle, who was clearly a philosopher.

          mathematics are far older then Aristotle, the Egyptians the incans even the Sumerians (oldest known civilization on earth) Used math don’t talk like these Greek philosophers invented it they weren’t even as good at it as other societies who were far more adept at mathematics (the Chinese). As for making the assumption that people are lacking intelligence, well intelligence is a subjective term and used more by Philosophers and Educators and every one who like to over exaggerate the loftiness of their useless degrees. in short people who cant argue with the facts like to call people stupid. Your arguments seem like well organized clever rebuttals but are clearly BULLSHIT to anyone with a lick of sense. Philosophy like to say “since we ask the questions what if?, how? and why? then we are the source of all thought process and you must all bow down to us.” Gos sell your bridge somewhere else buddy you will probably need the money since your degree is less useful then the toilet paper in my bathroom.

        • “in short people who cant argue with the facts like to call people stupid. Your arguments seem like well organized clever rebuttals but are clearly BULLSHIT to anyone with a lick of sense.”

          Did you reread this before you posted? You immediately contradicted yourself. “Anyone who can’t argue with the facts like to call people stupid, you dumbass!”

  140. I teach in a Department of Psychology. Occasionally someone comes along and asks us, "Why don't you teach parapsychology?" I realize that it's an uphill task to explain that parapsychology is not valid.

    We're not in the porcine laundry business, and we're not in the habit of providing hogwash!

  141. As somebody who's taken UCLA's Queer Musicology seminar, I can set the record straight on a few things:

    1. Queer musicology isn't something UCLA invented. It's a growing sub-field with its own conferences, books, etc. It's not even a particularly new sub-field; it's been around for two decades.

    2. That class was a graduate seminar for people working on PhDs in musicology. Since queer musicology is an increasingly important sector of our field, it makes sense for graduate students to be familiar with it, no?

    3. The LA Times piece you mention was an op-ed written by a conservative columnist in order to rail against the scourge of tolerance in modern academia. It really ought to be taken with a grain of salt, since the author's agenda is pretty clear (and pretty extreme).

    4. The quoted idea isn't actually all that crazy, if you think about it for a second. People hear music differently. This is because they have different backgrounds, which causes them to notice certain things in music and ignore others. The music a composer writes will be influenced by the composer's background. So is it so hard to believe that a queer composer's music will contain queer elements? And is it crazy to think that people with a similar background to the composer (queer people) will pick up on these elements, and straight people (who don't have that shared experience) might not?

    The fundamental problem is that there's more to being queer than sex. Queer musicology isn't so much concerned with finding evidence of Teh Buttsex in music; it's more about acknowledging things like secret shame, or the closet, or the awareness that you're hated by your neighbors, or lots of other things that are common experiences for LGBTQ people.

    In the end, queer musicology is about understanding music better. I don't think that's ever useless.


      hahahahahhhaahahahahhaha loser u had better hope that scientists (useful members of society unlike u)) invent a time machine so that u can go back in time and actually study at scool so u can get into a real degree at university!!! haha u r such a loser i love it

      • Thanks for your comment. I don’t really need to come up with a response; your comment speaks for itself. Thanks for saving me the effort!

        • Thanks for setting the record straight. I’ve performed and attended Britten works and curious now if there is a real subject in this. Maybe I’ll read further.

          BTW, your point #1 doesn’t make the idea seem less crazy.

  142. Hooray! More useless lists!

    Philosophy and Art History are not useless studies. True, they may not directly translate into a related job like, say, a business major translates into "Hey, you, work harder. Time is money. Chop chop!", but then again, this probably has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the lapsing education standards in this country.

    There was a time when college was a place for a person to get an education. Now it has become this symbiotic institution of payments for the chance of getting more money back in the long run. Or because it's expected. I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of a good education, and with the price of one consistently going up, I think a lot more will. The cynicism is understandable, and a lot of "Sports studies" really are fodder classes meant to attract money, not increase overall intelligence.

    Besides, having a degree, any degree, is still a world apart from not having one. You can have a doctorate in Dog Shit Studies, but as long as you can put that doctorate on a resume, you're much more free to pursue different roles than, say, your average GED student.

  143. Of course this list was written with tongue in cheek. A degree is only useless if you don't use the knowledge. I was a graphic design major and took many art history classes and enjoyed them and they helped me in my early design career and fostered an appreciation of art.

    But as the owner of I can also appreciate the humor in this list.

    To all of those defending the Philosophy major I would love a top ten list focusing on something philosophical, so use that degree and send me a top ten list based in philosophy. If it is good, I'll publish it and you can be a shining beacon for other philosophy majors.

  144. Where's the Women's Studies inanity?

    Having Women's Studies is no different than offering a "Play the Race Card" degree for whatever minority is in vogue at the time.

    • Women's studies has been offered due to the lack of women in the history of any discipline. Women were not allowed to attend universities until well after men of different races were. They were not included in any medical, psychological, or sociological research. Until recently women's contribution to history has been practically unknown. It was scholars studying women who dug deep into journals, notes, memoirs, and receipts to uncover women of importance who were previously unknown. I don't think it is a matter of playing a "card" but to surpass the notion that women are unimportant to history or today's society just merely overlooked or suppressed. Before you claim women are not discriminated against, today they make 80 cents to every man's dollar and are a small percentage of high paying jobs and upper management.

      • Disillusioned Feminist on

        Whilst I agree that women’s studies are worthy of academic research, and women obviously have made significant contributions throughout human history and remain discriminated against, womens studies remain useless for the definitional purposes of the article.

        There are very few occupations for women’s studies degrees specifically, and the ones that do are limited and probably require Phds. For women interested in reducing gender inequality, a law degree or commerce degree that acts as a pathway into highly paid and respected professions (legislators, corporate executives, senior judges) etc would be far more practical.

        Thus whilst women’s studies degrees are of intrinsic value in providing a more nuanced level of analysis into today’s gender dynamics, in terms of getting a well paid job that allows one to pay off their student debts and achieve a good quality of life they sadly fall far short.

      • Yes, historically women were largely excluded from most disciplines, but what has this got to do with “women’s studies” as a degree course? It clearly is a useless degree because it teaches nothing useful, and women’s studies faculties produce no interesting research.
        You could walk into the research laboratories of any science or engineering faculty at any leading university, and you could witness new, ground-breaking things being researched. New technologies which will, someday, have immense economic importance, in addition to contributing to the well-being of people as a whole. This research is published in science journals which are read by other researches, because the research contains useful information and is worth reading.
        Women’s studies faculties do not produce anything important, they do not research anything which will have any economic or medical importance. The so-called “research” papers produced by women’s studies faculties are never read by anyone else, because they’re useless. Not forgetting the fact that these “research” papers always take the side of women, which shows the bigotry of these university departments. This sort of bigotry is unacceptable and should not exist in any university.
        And lastly, the figure you quoted- “80 cents to the male dollar” does not take account of the differences in hours worked between men and women. In the United States, the world’s most important economy, women are the majority of the workforce, and hold most managerial positions. If you think women are discriminated against, then I suggest you try living in the real world instead of reading books and watching TV shows from the 1960s.

        • You my friend just hit that ugly nail right on the head. This notion that women makes 80 cents for the same dollar earned by a man has been shot full of holes years ago. But the media and most feminists organizations keep throwing it around because they have nothing else to bring to the table. Women’s studies, cultural studies useful to those who are interested in those topics but to the rest of the free world utterly useless. I doubt when I’m taking my last breath that I’ll be uttering words such as: if only there had been more women graduating from women studies programs that I may have been spared this dreadful disease.

      • “today they make 80 cents to every man’s dollar and are a small percentage of high paying jobs and upper management.” – As “8733LB” and “The Borg” have stated this is completely false. Read the book “Why Men Earn More” by Warren Farrell. He was one of the first male feminist who wore the 59 cent pin. 59 cents being how much a woman made for every dollar a man made, and in that book he explains in detail why men earn more than women. It’s not because women are being discriminated against; that just because she’s a woman that she is getting paid less is complete bull.

        As for the small percentage of high paying jobs and upper management…. Why only the high jobs? Why not talk about all the important jobs near the bottom. Like Janitor, plumbing, coal mining etc… How come no one ever complains that women aren’t being kept from getting in these jobs? I will tell you why. It’s because women don’t want to do these jobs… Same reason why guys aren’t the leading number of beauticians. It’s because guys don’t go into that kind of field. Same thing with this high paying jobs and upper management; these jobs aren’t jobs that a lot of women go into. The problem is most women choose not to go into these jobs. Men, on the other hand, do. If 100 men and 10 women are going for an engineering job and there are only 20 open positions. Then the best 20 should be getting the job. This is what happens; when there are only 20 open positions and there are 10 times more men applying than women, then the percentage of men getting the job is more than likely going to be higher than the percentage of women.

        A lot of people who complain about the small percentage are arguing about equal outcome; which is completely ridiculous. It should be about equal opportunity and not equal outcome. Equal outcome would have 10 women hired and 10 men hired for the engineering job, while equal opportunity means all 110 people have the opportunity to get the job but only 20 can actually get it. There’s a good chance that all 10 of those women are better than 75% of the men that applied, and at the same time only 2 of those women are better than the top 20% of men. What does this mean? It means that 18 men are qualified for the job while only 2 women are. Thus creating an extremely small percentage of women in this career choice. This small percentage is not created by discrimination but by choice. If more women decided to choose to go into these fields, then there is a greater chance of them representing a higher number of percentage that makes up said field.

  145. paula griffiths on

    I am not that involved in the art business, but history of art, includes architecture, a knowledge of how art is created, who did it. There are so many jobs related to this. Valuers, art gallery owners, museum workers, artists. I cannot believe it has no value.

    As for sports management, these degrees are very important, golf and surfing involve big money. I don't laugh at people earning the income they do for working in these areas.

    Perhaps these were entered tongue in cheek. I do see the humour.

  146. Golf puts me to sleep too, but really folks — it's a big business. There are over 100 golf courses in the Phoenix area, where I live, and every one of them requires some knowledge of the business, from marketing (why pay $250 to golf *here* rather than *there*?) to maintenance (how'd you like to mow THAT lawn?). I've known a few people in that business, and — even if doesn't turn me on — having a degree in it is far from useless.

  147. I hope it was sarcasm, because if you actually believe Art History is a useless degree, I’m embarrassed for you. Enjoy working a cubicle for the rest of your life.

  148. Just an FYI, Arizona State University has a Golf management degree program as well on the east campus. We had a good lol on that a few years ago when my friends and I found out. I actually met a frat guy in the program.

  149. I completely disagree with the fact that philosophy or art degrees are useless.

    Without them, we probably would still be living in some sort of middle age society… internet and technologies arent all (and im a software/web developer…), wake up and go to read a bit of philosophy or to see some art exhibitions once in a while, it will open your mind and feed your senses.

    Although I agree with the beckham course. pure joke! :p

  150. Here are some real jobs you can get with these degrees:
    10. David Beckham’s personal butler.
    9. Start a business called GhostKickers, there are a lot of people out there who think the squirrel in their attic is a blood crazed death demon from hell who is trying to get into their room to torture them to death, or that when a cereal box they left barely balancing on the cabinet falls, it’s definitely the evil spirit of a demented little girl who was slaughtered to death and is trying to make them go insane and get the inhabitants to murder each other.

    Someone’s gotta tell them “You’re just stupid, ghosts are a hella lot stronger then that.”

    8. Perhaps useless until a strange blue police box actually flies in front of your telescope before the world is briefly attacked by aliens.

    Plus, with this degree you may be unwillingly thrown into a job with the government *Cough* Nasa *Cough* Dreamland *Cough*.

    If it weren’t for paranoid conspiracy theorists, George W. Bush wouldn’t have gotten arrested for crimes against humanity a year from now, people would actually trust the government, and we’d all be wind-up soldier reproducers. *Cough* 50% of the world *Cough.

  151. 7. Comon, some douchebag is going to own Microsoft (again) some day, and will think it's absolutely hilarious to have a guy with a PH.D in the Phallus standing buy his side, as he looks for sleeping workers and slaps paper penises on their backs.

    6. If you're really, really into surfing, you can become world-class with your "Surfing" degree.

    5. I think we can all agree people with philosophy degrees only are never going to get jobs.

    Who wants to employ a guy who is going to correct everything the employer says and make them look stupid?

    4. ………………….I cannot think of any possible use for this degree.

    3. Start your own Church of Picard, and ask for donations. Trust me, it works.

    2. Ok what the hell…If there is anything possibly more useless then this degree I will shove a fork in my knee.

    1. OWW MY KNEE!

    • 3. Start your own Church of Picard, and ask for donations. Trust me, it works.

      Not if they prefer Kirk.

  152. "Philosophy is a well respected study, and has been for centuries. More than teaching you the history of philosophers, it is about learning how to think critically. Knowing HOW to learn is more important than learning itself."

    How do you learn how to learn? It's like reading how to read. If you didn't know how to learn, how did you learn to learn that your learning needs improvement and you need to learn how to learn?

    I'm going to go read a book on how to read, and then watch a video that tells you how to see.

    (Yes, I know, you mean how to learn better, I just had to make that joke, no offense intended)

    • LOL at philosophy on

      Do you think those philosopher could maybe learn how to learn that philosophy is useless, that is after that learn how to learn

      but how do they learn how to learn in first place.. im confused

      wish i was an philosopher then i would have no problems

      • That’s a really great argument right there. Really grounded in philosophy. Thanks for reminding me that Ad hominem logic really gets your point across!

  153. My Art History degree and I are deeply offended. Oh, what the hell. I work at Home Depot. You guys are right.

  154. They offer a course on The Simpsons and American Culture at FDU. Watching cartoons and getting credit for it? Sounds good to me.

  155. It is embarrassing that philosophy majors believe they will be able to get a job in that field. It's fine if they want to study it simply because they enjoy it, but to defend it as a carreer choice is foolish. It is also embarrassing to pretend that reading Russell and Wittgenstein is some esoteric thing that only those foolish enough to be philosophy majors could understand. I would say that you should show some intelligence, but if you had it you would have chosen a more respectable major.

    • OKAY .. FIRST OFF .. i was a criminal justice major and switched to philosophy to become a COLLEGE PROFESSOR IN THE ART .. more then you can ever say you will do with your life .. and the whole intelligence thing .. DO YOU even begin to COMPREHEND a word that Leonardo, Russell .. or for matters sake Nostradamus had to say?! wait dont answer that .. i will for you .. NO because obviously you are too little minded to think out side the box of a lousy business degree .. so what? you can be bored for the rest of your life? hate your job? umm .. no thank you .. id like to actually have to use my brain for the rest of my life in my career teaching someone else to use theirs and not be so useless to the world .. we need more thinking in the world .. maybe we wouldnt be in the war predicament that we are now if there were .. and dont even think about sayin anything to me about that either .. because i was in the Marine Corps .. and my husband still is !! we did our time .. so you want to insult my intelligence some more while we are savin your butt?!?!?!

      • With all due respect, you did a poor job of defending your intelligence. Perhaps your education would be better spent on learning to spell?

      • Just because someone is a Business major doesn't mean they will be "bored the rest of their life", nor "hate their job." I am hyper creative (meaning I am extremely right-brained), however, I am majoring in Business Marketing/minoring in Advertising and plan to eventually work in an Advertising firm, whilst starting my own company. I would not call this boring, but rather an easier route to success.

        With that said, anyone with enough drive, luck, and basic knowledge of business can make it. You don't have to be a business, science, or engineering major to do well — it just makes it easier to obtain a well-paying job.

        As a Philosophy major, you should know that whether these degrees are useless or not is dependent on the number of good, well-paying jobs offered in contrast to the number of people seeking that job, as well as human nature. It is easier to land a high-paying job with certain jobs, but if you major in the arts and put your all in, you can also become successful — the only issue with this matter is that you will most likely have to pursue starting your own business. With this, it will be more difficult to round-up money/get funding, with a more-or-less laughable degree. It is, however, possible.

        Knowledge of philosophers, artists, writers, and their works will hardly take you anywhere in real life unless you rightfully apply it.

        If you want to do better than most people, but also want to obtain a degree in the arts, you WILL have to deal with the business world. Make sure you do internships, and work yourself up outside of school, as well as in the classroom.

        I might be a Business major, but I was trained in Classical and Jazz guitar, am highly-skilled in art/cooking, and am on my way to becoming a polyglot.

        I think with any major, it is important to maintain yourself as a well-rounded individual and be open-minded to all aspects of life — whether it be arts or statistics that is your main passion, knowledge of both will always carry you further in life than simply ignoring one side. Just like a two-sided story, you can't just ignore one side.

        I hope that everyone concerned with being happy and successful in whichever field they choose keep in mind that a degree is merely a stepping stone to something greater, and the sky can be as high as you set it. The higher you set your goals, the less you will eventually stumble.

        Although I am still completing my general education, I learned a term through one of my Business-oriented societies that I think anyone with drive should keep in mind: Falling Forward. Set a goal, and even if you flub up and fall down, you are still moving forward. With each failure, you bring yourself closer to success.

        And, of course, everyone should know this one: If people give you lemons, turn them into lemonade. Don't let people get to you, and thank you to you and your husband for serving our country! 🙂

        • I think I can safely say that almost all people on this page arguing their points are only after money in life. Your formula for life is go to college-choose a degree that will get you a job- graduate- work. You guys are all after money basically?
          Some people study liberal arts because they enjoy it and it stimulates their minds.
          Many people choose to study psychology then maybe do a one year post- graduate diploma in human resources or business etc. The initial subject psychology provides a base that can be applied anywhere, such as with philosophy it is a base course. Its not necessary for all psychology majors to be psychologists, same with economics majors- some end up in finance or banking they are not all economists.
          Its pretty stupid to call someone stupid for studying a program in university. Many programs can be base courses for another program or careers.
          Especially in the U.S people are really judgmental about liberal arts and I have no idea why. Perhaps this is why the U.S is in the condition that it is in. The people there are so close minded.
          There are so many people who don’t even choose to go to college or drop out and make millions, -taking a risk, investing money, and starting up a company. In my opinion that could be seen as stupid, why risk your time and money? for something that may be successful or may not? But that’s the whole point, taking a risk, study things you enjoy, do things in life you enjoy and it can all lead to a career you actually want to be in. Rather than being a robot to society and to the economy stuck in a job you hate for the rest of your life.
          By the way I am a philosophy major and absolutely love it. Yes, the world is becoming more modern– but that doesn’t mean foundational courses are not worth studying. They are what opened the door to other topics of study.
          And for those who are going to argue that you have to study practical subjects in order to get a job, are you truly happy with your career right now? Is this how you imagined yourself when you were a child?
          Ps. to all you business majors– I can safely assume some of you are starting up small businesses and probably are struggling or scared because your business may not be economy proof- lets face it people appreciate bigger, reliable brand names.
          And I can also safely assume that perhaps some of you are working in big companies as a mere worker aka. robot in a company that was someone else’s dream. So you are contributing to someone’s dream rather than creating your own.

      • LOL at philosophy on

        I noticed you said you changed to philosophy so you coulde become a professor.. So basically you studied a useless subject with no future so that you could teach other people about that useless subject?.. Does that sound right.. Surely there are already enough philosophy teaches and as i can;t see any other jobs available the competition for philosophy professors must be tough.. All in all it's a major that wastes peoples time and money(as most lazy students do it so they can bludge of youth allowance and smoke weed) i.e scum of society, along with Bachelor of arts.. How many people making crappy things they call art do we need..

      • Philosophy is a fantastic subject, one within which we would all do well to dabble. If it does not lead to career opportunities that merely illustrates what foolish, close-minded sorts you business majors are.

        And let's not kid, here. Business is one of the easier degrees one can acquire. I'd hardly flaunt it. Perhaps right now you have a chance at earning a decent income, but in time, with the economy being what it is, all that useless chaff (ie YOU) will be cut.

        Personally, I got my degree in engineering. Philosophy on the side.

      • You switched to Philosophy so you could become a “COLLEGE PROFESSOR IN THE ART.” There is little to no actual application of these studies, it’s only good to teach others who also intend to never leave academia upon graduation making this degree completely useless outside of its own encapsulated life cycle.

        I’m pretty sure your DI didn’t want to hear your extrapolations of Leonardo, Russell or Nostradamus while he was chewing your ear out in boot camp. And I doubt it was useful to anyone besides you as a marine in the field.

        As field of study, it’s very interesting. As a useful degree that adds to the production of society – completely useless. None of the great philosophers were simply philosophers. They were great minds that contributed to society in many ways: mathematics, architecture, theology, science – you notice none of them were ever JUST philosophers.

        All philosophy as a degree program accomplishes is it explores the philosophical teachings of the great thinkers, but never brings the students beyond mere intellectualization of the subject matter and into real world application.

        • I agree with almost all of what you said; however, with all due respect, I would like to comment on this:

          “… As a useful degree that adds to the production of society – completely useless. None of the great philosophers were simply philosophers. They were great minds that contributed to society in many ways: mathematics, architecture, theology, science – you notice none of them were ever JUST philosophers.”

          All sciences, social or natural, came from a philosophical concept. The concept of Evolution, the dynamics in politics, the string theory, and mathematics came from a philosophical question (e.g. “what if…?).

          Moreover, there are SOME great philosophers who are also JUST philosophers on the account that they began the sciences that we know exist today. Philosophy also contributed to society in the cultural/religious aspect. The question of whether God exists, alone, has a major impact on society and how society lives their lives.

          One reason why people study philosophy is to study which view of life is right and which view of life is wrong. Another reason is that in a society that is controlled by complexities of life (politics, media, economics); philosophy becomes a… how should I say this… a “spice” (?) to the “major” fields of study that becomes essential if the people who are in these major fields want to survive in this harsh world.

          It may not be applied directly, but the one that governs in the shadows are the philosophical theories that people sometimes overlook.

          PERSONALLY, I think that the study of philosophy should not only be subjected to the exploration of the philosophical doctrines of great thinkers; a good study of philosophy involves the critical application of the mind… study Logic, Rational Psychology, Metaphysics, these are the applicable philosophical categories that can be applied in real life problems. Ethics, too, to be more humane (since some logical analysis may lead to inhumane solutions). Aesthetics, on the other hand, is a complete waste of time (psht, who needs art anyway?).

          By the way, I am studying philosophy, plans to take a masteral in behavioral science and psychology and hope that I may be able to do so. If you find any grammatical mistakes, or mispellings, forgive me, English is just my secondary language… (just saying for the grammar nazis out there).

        • Well, you spoke in circles there. You stated you agreed with most of what I said, but disagreed with my underlying point and then went on to prove that I was correct in the first place.

          Your entire argument hinges on the notion that Philosophy does not stand alone, but works to complement or edify other disciplines – which was my point. AS A DEGREE, it is completely useless, which you apparently agree with since you are using it as a platform to study behavioral sciences and psychology.

          I never said that philosophy as a discipline was useless- and neither did the article – the comment was directed specifically to philosophy as a stand alone degree. Other than to teach philosophy and keep the cycle going, the degree is useless. Further, I’ll add that no one needs a degree in philosophy to achieve or understand any of what you mentioned – it’s akin to getting a degree in Pondering and Comprehension.

        • What an embarrassment. “Who needs art?” If you dare say that then be ready to throw philosophy out of the window as well. Art makes us human, it explores things which we cannot yet express in science, language or philosophy. Are you a cultural philistine or something? When you fully appreciate a wonderful work of art like Beethoven’s Eroica or da Vinci’s Last Judgment, you will understand that such wonderful things are too wonderful and beautiful to be declared as useless; the very beauty of such objects are enough justification to make us direct our efforts towards studying them, preserving them, and using them to make new art.

        • okay, so first off, I have been reading this with much enjoyment. I’m not even in college yet, and i can see that Most of the people on here that bash Philosophy are completely out of whack. To the people that have backed up philosophy, Congrats for taking it. obviously you guys have made a smart choice, and know a lot more about life than these whack-jobs who claim that Philosophy is useless. On another note, @ Qwerty, saying that ” Who needs Art anyway” is completely ignorant as well as arrogant. without Art, people wouldnt be able to see creatively, nor would they know about the wonder of imagination. i personally am an avid artist and can’t stand people that bash on art as a whole. It is also impossible to have anybody not criticize the art that is made. (this why we ave art critics*) Anyway, for anyone who thinks they have a grasp on life, and think that Philosophy and Art is useless, They need to go back through ALL years of school and start over again; Actually pay attention to everything in those subjects. Everything Revolves around these two subjects. Businesses use art to promote advertising, Science uses philosophy to try and reason why there is nature, Math uses philosophy to solve problems, History, Even shows that philosophy has been used for Thousands of years with Government, and politics. that is the reason why we have these things. without them. We wouldnt understand Any real aspect of life.

          The largest problem with claiming that one is going to study philosophy to become a philosophy professor is that one it trying to become a philosophy professor. It is a job that does not exist anymore- as the sheer quantity of desperate phds usher in the end of tenure-track jobs.
          Personally, I cracked up when someone said this. They clearly had not read Thomas H. Benton’s articles on the reality of the humanities. The world must know that saying they want to be a humanities professor is about akin to saying ‘I want to be a football star, but I intend to spend 10 years not getting paid, followed by 10 years publishing and not getting paid enough to live on, in hopes that by this time I would be sufficiently established to attain a full-time job in the field’. Oh, did I mention this is generally only open to Ivy Leaguers and Oxbridge types? Yah, I don’t think they offer criminal justice at those universities.

        • So, you read an article and you know what the field looks like now? Amazing. Thank you for your concern. However, those of us who are in the field, connected with the job makers and decision makers will take their word. Being a “football star” is only akin to being a “philosophy star.” Perhaps Benton is referencing the publishing, superstar philosopher. While there is a great increase of candidates per job, there are still a great number of workhorse teaching positions that are available and have nothing to do with Ivy League and OxFORD types. Those guys get the best jobs (research jobs), not teaching jobs. The teaching jobs exist and it is competitive. So what? You think any field out there is not competitive? Welcome to the real world.

        • Yes, the vast majority of them were JUST philosophers. Please read a philosophy work. It will help you in the “looking stupid” department.

          Ideas make the world go round. Philosophy is the science of ideas. Philosophers change the world. As someone noted, the peons (read ‘businessmen’) of the world are indebted, if not enslaved, to some person’s philosophy. The small-mindedness of the peons is to be expected. Without peons, philosophers wouldn’t be able to change the world as easily as they do.

          But I will explain for the peons here. Philosophers influence thinkers, policy makers, leaders, non-peons who read, and many influencers in other theoretical disciplines. Those leaders influence their circle, etc. etc. down to the peon. This is not debatable, it’s an historical datum. Therefore, philosophers, and idea people, are the most influential individuals in civilization.

    • anyone who can read can understand and appreciate the quirks and theories of philosophers. sorry to burst your pseudo-intelligence bubble!

    • It's embarrassing that people like you think they want to be professional philosophers…….

      • Studying philosophy is very important. It opens your minds and enlightens. It helps people discover their own truths and needs in life. It exercises your mind in ways that math and science never could. It is much more abstract and difficult that a business course ever could be. Some people actually follow their hearts and study what they believe is most important in life, as apposed to succumbing to society’s ideals of what is necessary in the “real world”.

        It is so, incredibly ignorant of you to say “show some intelligence, but if you had it you would have chosen a more respectable major.”

        If you had studied philosophy you might have learned that “respectable” is a completely subjective description. And it’s a shame that society has tricked you into believing what they want you to believe is “respectable”. EVERY and ANY major is respectable.
        Some people prefer to study what they love as apposed to what will pay them enough to have two Ferraris in their three car garage.

        Open your mind! Philosophy would have taught you that.

        • Wow you entire first paragraph manages to say nothing at all except for clever arranging of words to appear to say something good your missing a real main idea its just a mindless ramble that seems to support your platform of nothingness

        • If youre going to insult her paragraph at least extrapolate a sentence or two from it and form a concrete argument justifying your vapid argument against her choice of rhetoric.

        • Zach Gillette on

          “It opens your mind and enlightens.” That means nothing. “It exercises your mind in ways that math and science never could.” False, try studying number theory. “succumbing to society’s ideals of what is necessary in the “real world”.” The “real world” is what college is supposed to prepare you for.

  156. What about puppeteering? Although a mildly useful skill, no employer (except a creepy puppet master) will take you seriously if that's the degree you've got.

  157. Philosophy is not a useless subject! I work so hard for it and hate it when people call it a doss subject. I'd like to see them try and read (or even understand) some Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein and so on.

    Also I know someone at Plymouth doing surf studies! It sounds funny but he has to do a fair bit of science as well… degrees aren't all about getting a job at the end it should be primarily about pursuing an interest.

    • Philosophy is definitely useless. Just because the work is hard does not mean it is not useless. Philosophy is actually one of the most useless subjects out there. I agree that degrees are not only about getting a job. In fact this is why many losers such as yourself attend college. You clearly aspire to get a job waiting tables. Luckily I do not have to read Russell’s works because I chose a real major.

      • Wow, I am surprised by the high volume of idiots here who proclaim that philosophy is useless, yet they are philosophizing at the same time they are saying it is useless. What does “useless” mean? What is your definition? What makes your definition valid?

        “I agree that degrees are not only about getting a job. In fact this is why many losers such as yourself attend college.”
        What is a loser? And what’s the link between the first and second sentence? Since you agree with the first statement, it seems that you, yourself, are a “loser”, whatever that means, since you agree that degrees are not only about getting a job, and you seem to imply that people who believe that statement are LOSERS. Hi, loser!

        “Luckily I do not have to read Russellâ??s works because I chose a real major.”
        What is a real major? Looks like you picked up one of Russell’s, couldn’t understand a shit out of it, and instead of being resolute to learn more, you decided to take the easy way out and say it’s bullshit. This is what makes me want to kill a lot of people with “marketable” majors: In many ways, they are technically skillful and smart, but they’re often ignorant and arrogant, demeaning other people. Look, we know you went against your passions and chose a major for the money. You don’t need to demean people who chose to stay doing what they really liked. You like money, money, money, while others might like to contribute in whatever subject they truly love and enjoy. So please stop embarrassing yourself with elementary-schoolish philosophizing like the above.

        • Philosophy itself is not useless, but I can’t say that love to study it. Don’t how philosophy education works in your country, in mine its not just because its boring, its because its completely stupid and YES “useless”, they theorize everything that doesn’t really need to be theorized, to be honest I didn’t learn anything from it and I can’t believe most who studied actually learned something useful. Its stupid, philosophy shouldn’t be used as an educational tool for all, only for those who care, frankly because everyone has their own philosophy, you don’t need to be a genius to question and wanting to learn more, why would you need someone to teach you such in a very complicated matter?

        • Philosophy teaches you how to use your head and think critically. It teaches us to become more open minded so we can view life in different perspectives. Now the act of doing this is though for many because we are in a society where everyone is pretty much programed to think a certain way. I studied philosophy and I agree some of the issue we discussed were pointless. But its not the actually subject matter you should focus on, but how you are able to interpret it.

        • You dont need to study philosophy in college as a major in order to “think” critically.. Thats stupid — is your point that before philosophy people were unable to think critically? Instead of studying a “useless” (not many career possibilities) major, pick something that will get you a job. If you want to study philosophy, study on your own time – nothing is stopping you and you dont need a teacher, the internet has enough resources.

        • Well this is a dumb comment. The poster you replied to never said that Philosophy was a necessary pre-requisite to thinking critically, he just said it helps you to think critically.

          Philosophy (from a “usefulness” point of view, at least) is not about what you learn. Instead, it’s about the abilities you gain while learning, namely, the ability to recognise that for every position, there may well be an equally justified counter-position. While graduates from the natural sciences might recognise this verbally, there is a tendency towards arrogance on their part, showing that they haven’t really properly recognised this fact. In the corporate world, it is essential this fact is recognised, or you’ll look like even more of a dumbass than you do right now.

        • physphilmusic, since you do not seem to have a good grasp of the English language, let me elucidate my point. A loser is someone who is going nowhere in life. Since you did not know what it meant, why were you using it so frequently? What I meant by the first statement that you quoted was that people who do not go to college to increase their human capital are wasting money and are losers. A “real” major is a major that is applicable to the “real” world such as biology, physics, computer science, engineering, law, etc. and has a good earning potential. Moving on, I would never even dream of picking up one of Russell’s books because I do not want to waste my time pondering over questions that have no answers (which is what philosophy majors primarily do). Your homicidal tendencies towards ignorant people are quite ironic because you are ignorant. You never even considered that some people actually like their marketable jobs. Believe it or not, some people actually like biology, chemistry, and physics. The money is simply an added bonus for choosing a useful major. I do not need to demean “losers” but I want to (even if I “embarrass myself”). Enjoy whatever useless major you chose.

        • Any law school or law advisor will tell you that philosophy is an essential pre-requisite to law school…

        • physphilmusic on

          I’m still finding difficulty to understand your concept of a “loser.” If it’s someone who “goes nowhere in life”, I wonder what it means to “go somewhere in life”? It’s a pretty meaningless sentence. I go to the supermarket everyday, is that “going somewhere in life”? I get promoted to CEO with $2 million dollar annual salary but am unable to communicate with my family properly, is that “going somewhere in life”? “Going somewhere in life” seems to be your subjective opinion of what one should do in life. For some people, that’s making more money. Fine. For others, it’s thinking about the questions in life. Why should the former get more precedence in society?

          I’m not a philosophy major. I’m a physics major, and I love physics (though I think that in terms of “usefulness”, string theory is on the level of philosophy). But the reason that I respect philosophy is that it’s inevitable. A society without any philosophy would be akin to Sparta. Philosophy helps to keep us from being brainwashed by theocratic or totalitarian leaders. It’s true that as people in society, we often need to skip over all that philosophical slog and make a definite decision. But before we do that, philosophy will have helped us sharpen our reasons for the decision.

          It’s in the very nature of philosophy to never have definite answers. Why? Because of its free, inquiring nature. Everything is repeatedly questioned. But I think that’s the very reason we need philosophy. Other subjects should always look to it and question their own assumptions when the time comes.

        • Nate the problem with what you’re saying is the assumption that “use” = job oppurtunities. Despite this being false (when I worked in an insurance company before going to university they told me philosophy degrees really stood out in business job applications) it is just wrong in itself. People learn things at university because they want to learn about them. Some people learn ancient languages not for a job, but out of their interest and out of the fact that they want to research more knowledge.

          And if you’re talking about things applicable to the real world then why are you leaving philosophy behind? Heard of the enlightenment? That was philosophy, heard about political theories? That’s philosophy, heard about ethics and laws effected by ethics? (Kant in german law) that was philosophy, heard of the philosophy of logic? I could go on forever….

          It is the equivivlent of saying “all science is useless”

          “I would never even dream of picking up one of Russell’s books because I do not want to waste my time pondering over questions that have no answers”

          Again this shows that you only know the typical ancient-philosophy method, ironically, Russell was a believer in Science and Logic and he thought himself that philosophy should never meet unfounded conclusions, he believed that philosophy can help us understand life, like science can.

          Your view of philosophy is like someone criticising all music because it sounds like beethoven

        • Sure thinking critically and asking questions is useful. However, I find it decidedly useless to pay $80,000 to read books by Hume, Spinoza, Locke and so on. Although reading their works is not useless in and of itself, it is more important to extrapolate from your own observations and reach your own conclusions about our world. You don’t need a degree in philosophy to question the world around us or to think critically.

        • physphilmusic on

          Well, it is entirely your right to feel that paying $80,000 for a philosophy degree is useless. I’m not trying to persuade people to take philosophy as a major. But some people do think it’s worth it (though I would strongly advise one against it if he/she’s poor or quickly needs a job). Why? Because a good philosophy class teaches much more than what you can get by say, reading Hume, Spinoza and Locke on your own. I wonder whether you really have tried taking a university-level course in philosophy. It’s much more than blabbering about the meaning of life and so on which you can, yes, think for yourself. A philosophy class nowadays teaches you the methods of what is called “analytic philosophy”, which has a style of argumentation which resembles more like math rather than English literature. For some people, they are want to learn these methods and perhaps apply them to other areas as they see fit.

          Imagine if a person never took a science class. Would he/she be able to figure out scientific truths herself by simply “extrapolating from her own observations”? The same holds of philosophy. Hume, Spinoza and Locke aren’t studied just because some establishment forced professors to put them into the curriculum. They’re studied because their own “conclusions about our world” have been found much more insightful than thousands of others, and perhaps by studying them with a properly trained professor, your own “thinking about the world” can be of a higher quality. You’d probably be less prone to regurgitating banalities.

          In the end everyone has to think for herself. But *how* one does so, that is the area of concern for a philosophy major. And I think it is unjustified to call them stupid. They may be impractical and financially irresponsible, but they certainly have other good reasons to help counterbalance that.

        • It all depends HOW you apply philosophy. In medical school, I am more than sure I was admitted in part because of my philosophy minor. Why? Philosophy stands out in admissions and teaches you analytic skills.

          My philosophy course taught me so many ways to view and judge a situation, just like medical emergencies where this progression in skill is highly valued.

          On a side note, I did have a lot of fun talking to other people about the questions of humanity, life, the universe, and so on.

          You obviously don’t appreciate philosophy, but I implore you to not bust my chops (or anyone else’s for that matter) by way of hard, short-sighted criticism.

      • Here, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of a person who will become nothing. Philosophy is directly relevant to every subject, it’s in the same vein as math. In the end, you’ll probably end up with a meaningless manual labour job while other people are actually doing something with their lives.

        By the way, how do you think every science, political stance etc. has been created? Oh right, philosophy.

        I’m not even a philosophy major or minor, but it’s quite funny how incredibly stupid people like you are – you must be the type of person who cries in philosophy class because you can’t understand simple theorems.

        • I do think it is bit ridiculous that people would talk bad about philosophy. The main reason anyone would say anything bad about a particular study is because they don’t know anything about it.
          PhD actually stands for Philosophy Doctorate. That means everyone who ever gets a PhD in anything, Medicine, Psychology etc, gets it in Philosophy.
          Before there was science there was philosophy.
          Keep an open mind and learn that the way YOU think is not necessarily objective. There is always an argument against anything but there tends to be arguments that are more valid than others and I’m afraid most of the arguments here against philosophy are invalid.
          Good luck deciding on a career path when you don’t think of the ethics and your beliefs involved since that stems from philosophy. Good luck doing anything if you deny a crucial premise to what made the world what it is today and thus made YOU the way you are today.

        • A lot of people these days disregarded psychology, philosophy, and the like. Personally i feel that this level of arrogance is exactly why these subjects need to exist at degree level.

          These courses offer people the chance to be well rounded and to have an open mind. I don’t know, maybe scientific subjects are more highly regarded maybe they’re not. But you would have to be an idiot to deny that they have their place in this world, as it is these kinds of subjects (i cannot speak for sociology degree courses) that give meaning to modern day society and its wonderful diversity.

          I am sixteen years of age, i have wanted to be a psychologist for as long as i can remember. I want to understand people, i want to know what makes them tick. Criminal psychology in particular takes my interest or being on the front lines in Afghanastan shoulder to shoulder with British troops helping moral.

          You, the reader, have every right to disgard this. For my spelling and grammar may not be 100% and i am only sixteen, i am a child. But i tell you now i will never ever give up on my dream and i don’t care what people think of the degree course. If you don’t like it then fine, you are entitled to your opinion. But i ask that you do not diminish mine.

          I do accept that in the majority of cases people taking these degrees often end up doing manual labour or something similar. But that is not going to be me, and there are people out there that value this course because it means something to them just as there are people who think that biology/chemistry/physics/law has some meaning to them.

          As i say, you are entitled to your opinion but you do not have to shove it in my face.

        • Directly relevant, yes. Mathematics is directly relevant to engineering, but at some point I have to stop writing equations and design a bridge.

          Other than schools with philosophy departments, who hires philosophers? Can those same jobs be filled by non-philosophers?

          And it’s quite amusing to see philosophers trying to defend their position by endlessly asking questions about accepted cultural definitions.

          In answer: Yes, I would like fries with that.

        • This is really funny. Who hires theoretical physicists other than physics departments? Yet without theoretical physicists, engineers wouldn’t have a job. So your argument is nonsense. The fact that there are fields that are only hireable by academic institutions has no relevance to whether the field itself is useful.

  158. Philosophy is a well respected study, and has been for centuries. More than teaching you the history of philosophers, it is about learning how to think critically. Knowing HOW to learn is more important than learning itself.

    • Got to agree, and same for Art History. There is a degree now in ‘lady gaga sociology’ – which caused a aprt of me to die inside. I get the feeling the author behind this list just doesn’t like arty people.

      • I agree with both of you. Philosophy and Art History are respectable courses which have been around for a very long time. They require deep back round knowledge, which can expand into other branches of study and are not useless. They allow one to think critically and develop a new way of looking at things.

        • Not really, I think the sciences enable more critical thinking and new perspectives… Philosophy I can sort of see where that would be applicable but Art History? Really?

        • Art history is another form of history. You must understand the artist’s times and influences. It’s greatly concerned with the architecture in the world around us and what your culture has accomplished or left behind. Today when hardly anybody has a sense of chronology in history, you belittle this as just so much idle chatter. Minoring in history (half art history) was a fruitful component of my engineering studies.

          Philosophy has a terrible reputation because most of its practitioners are not studying reality. That goes for “analytic” philosophy too.

          College would be a better part of our world if we did not expect it to be a prerequisite for every job, or a holding tank for unready youth, and instead reserved it for the top 10% of secondary graduates, so less scholarly folks could instead learn a trade.

          If you subsidize universities massively, they will fill the void with something of less quality.

        • Actually, critical thinking is maintained and improved at liberal arts colleges that focus on many areas of study (including Philosophy and Art History) more so than at universities and schools that value the natural sciences more than the arts. The type of creative thinking fostered by the arts has been shown to be a more important skill for securing CEO-level jobs than numerical reasoning or scientific knowledge. Visual analysis and a knowledge of art history is useful for jobs in libraries, schools, advertising and architecture firms, and much more than just galleries and museums. Finally, art history is an essential way to understand other cultures. Want to know about the religious beliefs, folk tales, socio-economic interactions, gender and class standards, or ethnic makeup of a region? Study its art.

          (Also, I’m an art history major, and I in no way come from a well-to-do family. Before going to college, I’d only set foot in a single small, regional art museum in my life. Perhaps the author of this article should be a little more careful not to be so offensive, and maybe a little more educated.)

        • They may be respectable courses. I have a computer science degree and took some Art and History classes. I am glad I took them, and I did enjoy them. But as far as my need for them in my life, well….. they are useless.

        • physic dribble…art history…what s that about….counting paintings in museums or galleries…why do people waste money to get a degree
          in something that is not going to put $$$$ in their pockets….dumb
          and dumber…so many in Canada going to teacher’s college with no jobs….schools closing down…older population….less students..
          wasting 6 years of their lives…to make mummy and daddy happy…
          wasting parents $$…amazes me when 1 talk to immigrant families in our bldg….think their daughter or son will get big paying jobs…know
          nobody…kids no jobs…no references….so going back to their home
          lands without their parents…nothing to lose….no futures here….
          heard that NA companies have scanning device for resumes, names are not NA ….applicants are not NA….shredded…no chance go home

    • Philosophy is outdated and useless. a lot of it proven to just be the thoughts of smart but insane men with their heads up their asses. ancient philosophy shouldn’t even be taught since a lot of it has been disproved by science and they have no clue what they are talking about, they just talk with no facts or backing its ridiculous.

      • Please consider taking some philosophy classes before you claim it’s useless (it’ll also change your life if your professor is great, trust me). Chances are, you don’t know what “philosophy” is. Hardly anyone does, and that’s the problem with the world.

        By the way, philosophers are all about using logic and rationalizing, so I assume you have no clue as to what you’re talking about. You may be referring to pre-Socratic philosophers when you mentioned “ancient philosophy.”

        • You’re making a lot of assumptions for someone allegedly schooled in philosophy. He could be an outright troll trying to provoke you.

          He could be observing that Aristotle, for example, held thought over experiment and was wrong.

          He could be referencing Thoreau’s Axe, and Thoreau fell for a similar trap to Aristotle, despite a couple of millennia of alleged learning in between.

          Or he could just be a fool.

      • To those attacking the value of the study of philosophy:

        Every human endeavor has at its foundation, explicitly known or implicitly assumed, the answer to a philosophical question. Without understanding or pursuing philosophy, you have no idea whether your answer is sensible or stupid. Therefore you have not idea whether your endeavors are valuable or meaningless.

        I studied philosophy, and it changed my life. And in case you think something more “practical” would have been better, let me add that I make ALOT more money than you do.

        Maybe you should consider what John Maynard Keynes said:

        â??The ideas of … philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.â??

      • You sir are woefully misinformed and basking in the glow of ignorance. Most of your highly esteemed scientific minds were either ardent readers of philosophy, or strongly influenced by the questions set forth by the great philosophers of the past. This includes Einstein who was influenced by Hume and Kant. In addition to the aforementioned fallacies which you have arrogantly spewed forth as fact, it should be mentioned that science only demonstrates the how but never addresses the why? This fact alone should give an educated society cause to be wary of a world only based upon science.

    • Zach Gillette on

      If you have to learn how to learn, you won’t be able to. Philosophied!

      • First, the post you replied to is over a year old.

        Second, I do not have a degree in Philosophy, nor would I ever recommend it as a sole major. I believe It does have a place as a minor or second major if you are really interested in the subject.

        Third, if you can obtain a graduate degree in Philosophy, you can then teach it at a university. I think that is one of the coolest jobs imaginable, but the work, money and risk are too high to attract many serious students.

        I hope that clarifies my original post. Have a good day.

    • Donald G Schoield on

      Philosophy is merely one person’s opion….oh yeah, “those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.