Last Updated: January 2, 2018, 7:27 pm

Students fight back against useless degree stigma


Students enrolled at Dixie State University are doing their part to dispel the myth surrounding apparent “useless degrees” by speaking out on the subject.

A “useless degree” is a degree researchers found has little growth in its field, small potential salary and few online job postings.

The most mentioned “useless majors” are English, philosophy, education, psychology and exercise sciences according to Business Insider.

“People have told me ‘never get a degree in art or chromatics,’ and they told me ‘don’t do elementary education, don’t do philosophy [or] psychology,” said Bailey Evans, a sophomore elementary education major from Vernal. “‘There’s nothing there. You just study people and you don’t go anywhere with it.’”

Evans said the most interesting aspects for her are in the fields a lot of people call “useless.” The most difficult part in choosing a major is deciding whether students want to make a lot of money or do what they enjoy because finding a career that has both is rare, Evans said.

“I chose elementary education because you have a lot of opportunities to influence people,” Evans said.

Evans said her past teachers are the ones who set her on the path to shaping the minds and hearts of children every day of her life. She said she believes majors are considered “useless” because of the superior-career status of mathematicians and scientists.

“I don’t think [being a scientist] is what success is,” Evans said. “I think success is doing what you love every day.”

Alexander Easson, a sophomore pre-physical therapist assistant major from St. George, said people call majors useless when there is no immediate application in the professional world. The most apparent “useless majors,” Easson said, are the arts.

“I feel like all degrees have merit because you put in the work for it and there’s something you can do,” Easson said.

Easson said people who work toward any degree gain knowledge and experiences they can use in the professional world, no matter the field they go into.

“Enough people are interested in [a useless degree] to make it a degree so obviously it’s not useless,” said Landen Goodrich, a freshman psychology major from Roosevelt.

Goodrich is looking into switching majors to sports medicine or physical exercise. When looking into making the switch, Goodrich said he was driven by both economic and personal interest.

“[In] psychology you need a master’s [degree] to do anything with [the degree], and even then you don’t make a lot of money,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich said many students might find some degrees useless before of the higher degree requirement. He said most people see “useless degrees” as inferior because of their smaller salaries.

Cheri Crenshaw, English department chair and associate professor, said so-called “useless degrees” can offer as many skills are opposed “practical degrees.”

“I think we need every sort of major,” Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw said everyone should encourage people to go into a field of study that complements their skill set and interests because that is where people will succeed.

“If they’re doing something they hate, they’re not going to do well,” Crenshaw said.