Laughable Degrees

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Bobby Cole, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    Colleges and universities around the U.S. (and world) offer a myriad of degrees from Art to Math but there are some degrees that are offered that to me, are laughable.

    As an example, as if having a liberal arts degree isn't bad enough, sometime in the mid 70's UCLA at Berkley
    offered a minor in "Protesting" to those studying communications, which, is a semi-laughable degree as opposed to a full blown belly laugh degree.

    One major that is almost universally offered are various degrees in Philosophy.
    Now, do understand that I have a huge affinity for ancient philosophy but is it really useful as a career builder?
    What position in any company could a degree in philosophy be a fully functional addition to a resume'? Perhaps, when applying for a waiter's job there might be some sort of ......naw, not even that.

    The thing is; it really isn't a bad thing to study or research any piece of knowledge but in a college setting, one has to pay thousands of dollars to achieve nothing other than uh.....knowledge. Only specific knowledge will put bread on the table while other types are befitting those who wish to emulate Cliff Clavin, the mailman who still lived with his mother on the TV series, "Cheers".

    Okay, your turn. What other degrees do you find somewhat "laughable"?
     
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  2. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Supreme Member
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    Most of them ! :p
    I think philosophy is good though - can't do any harm in todays society
     
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  3. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Veteran Member
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    Surprisingly, quite a few. Most companies prefer someone with any college degree over someone without a degree. Considering that philosophy teaches someone how to think for themselves, plus how to analyze and communicate ideas clearly and logically. It actually lays the groundwork for several job options. It should be no surprise that tech companies are on a hiring binge of those with this type of degree and are paid higher than those with business and chemistry majors.

    The highest paying out of college are computer sciences, and the engineering... electrical, mechanical, chemical and industrial.

    The lowest seem to be Pyschology, Sociology, health care administration, social work and Biology.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    There was a time when philosophers could earn a living, of sorts, entertaining bored, wealthy clients, who fancied themselves as intellectuals. The philosopher would be away from his family for much of the year, traveling the country, or whatever circuit he used, earning free meals and invitations to stay over with one client after another, and occasionally even gaining financial investments.
     
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  5. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    Philosophy degrees can get you into law school or med school, if you also have the other prereqs. Jay Leno once said he had a degree in philosophy and he has done pretty well. Gender studies would be useless on the surface, but may get you work in politics. I'm sure the protesting minor would also work in politics. A number of schools around the country now have other useless majors, although some that have little use at the baccalaureate level are useful when grad school is added.
     
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  6. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Supreme Member
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    I think if you have a degree in philosophy, they think - you 'think'
    Can't be bad ............
     
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  7. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    Any college degree does open a lot of doors because it does show some amount of initiative to perform. It will not only open some employment opportunities but will also open the door for specific colleges that demand a baccalaureate is "something" just to hand in an application.
    For instance, I wished to attend seminary but I had to have a degree in order to attend. I had a business degree which kind of fit in to the pastoral curriculum and the rest is history.

    All that said, there are some people who spend tons of money to earn degrees that they will never use for any great financial gain or a degree in something that is so overcrowded or phasing out that the likelihood of getting on with a good company is slim and none. Example: tool and die making is almost an art nowadays rather than a career move due to technological innovations.
     
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  8. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Supreme Member
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    There was a time when one could get an education for education's sake. Those days are long over for most. A degree is necessary to get you an interview most places. Take electrical utility companies. Electrical degrees are a strong fit. Yet,a survey of these utilities will find a Madrid of degrees in their management. The same is true of many companies. People with speciality degrees can't often manage. History is a good management degree. Managers come from all over the field.
     
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  9. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Veteran Member
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    @Bobby Cole

    I would agree that some degrees are useless, but generally speaking... the school awarding the degree is very important. The range for mechanical engineers can vary by $30K right out of the gate. (That's the ones getting job offers). It's the Podunk U. that has graduates flipping burgers.

    Quite frequently prospective students look at the average salary of a field, then assume they are somehow exceptional and then shop for the cheapest school.

    You get what you pay for.
     
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  10. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    I agree you usually get a better education at a higher-priced school, but not always. Some schools trade on their status, which does not always apply to every degree. For example, while a business degree from University of Pennsylvania or Harvard may be the best in the country, that may not apply to their Chemistry degrees or Engineering even though you may pay more for an Engineering degree from Harvard, the degree from Cal Tech or Colorado School of Mines may be cheaper and carry more weight Cal Tech may be more difficult to get into than even Harvard, however, especially if you have a Harvard alum in your background. Generally, however, I agree with your premise, but I have seen exceptions to the rule even among my own children. I have 2 Biologists, an Historian, an Engineer, a Management degree, and a diesel mechanic who attended a state-related technical school; at the moment, the one with the least expensive education (the mechanic) is making the most money. The engineer could make significantly more, but he wants to stay in Alaska. The management guy probably has the greatest potential, but he is considering moving to a less-remunerative field, as he thinks it will be more enjoyable. Nothing is set in stone. The children (adults) who attended the private schools (colleges) generally got a better education, but that doesn't seem to necessarily transfer to a higher salary. My son the business major claims that post-secondary schools in the U.S. have been dumbed-down significantly as they have to compensate for the public school attendees who can barely write an essay.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    One of my brothers has two daughters and two sons. The three oldest all have degrees, although I don't know what the subject matter was. All of them have had, and are having pretty good lives financially, but the one who has done by far the better is his youngest son, who graduated from Hamburger U.

    He took a job with McDonald's to pay some of his expenses while in college, and they offered to send him to their training facility. He quit college and went to work full-time for McDonald's, which is not what most people think about when it comes to a career move. However, he was first put in charge of six McDonald's restaurants, and later became a regional manager covering its Midwest region. He raised a family and retired in his 40s with a nice retirement plan, while his older degreed siblings are still at work.

    A degree can get you into a job but, once hired, what you earn has more to do with what you do with that education, I think.
     
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  12. Jim Nash

    Jim Nash Veteran Member
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    In Britain, Universities have invented courses to survive. Students receive a grant that they pay back when earning a substantial sum. Many of the degrees result in graduates stacking supermarket shelves and other low paid jobs, with no hope of improvement. This means they never pay back the loans. Some even keep their earnings below the threshold to ensure they never pay the loan. This means that the tax payer foots the bill; money that would help students studying subjects valuable to society.
     
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  13. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Veteran Member
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    It seems to me that one needs to think about how generalisable an example is that one refers to. There may be some useless degrees, but aren't those just extreme examples? As @Bobby Cole said above, almost any degree opens doors and graduates are usually better off than those without a degree. There are always exceptions to the rule, though.

    My experience is, whenever there is a crisis, those without a degree, and I'd include skilled worker's certificates was well, - as a rule - have to leave a company first. If a graduate gets fired, they usually get a new job faster than those without a degree.

    As far as repaying a loan is concerned it would also depend on the person themselves. A tiny minority of graduates has decided to adopt a lifestyle below the threshold of having to repay it. Yet, in most cases, that's their decision. The vast majority, however, does repay the grant received.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    There was a time when, except for some fields, it didn't matter so much what someone had a degree in. When I worked in the paper bag industry, we had a plant manager whose degree was in psychology.
     
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  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Supreme Member
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