10 College Majors With The Highest Unemployment Rates [Infographic]

college degree jobs

In this era of high unemployment, many parents and students wonder which college degrees pay off -- and which don't.

A recent study by Georgetown University Center on Education looked at earnings and unemployment rates among recent and seasoned degree holders as well as those with graduate degrees and found dramatic differences, depending on their majors.

So which degrees ranked among the worst for recent grads looking for a job?

Jobless rates are typically highest among degree holders in non-technical fields, such as the arts (11.1 percent), humanities and liberal arts (9.4 percent), social sciences (8.9 percent) and law and public policy (8.1 percent), the study found.

In the wake of the recent burst in the real estate bubble, however, it's architecture that is one of the least attractive degrees to hold these days.

A whopping 13.9 percent of recent graduates with a degree in architecture are out of work, according to the study (via CNBC). And when they do find a job, the pay isn't stellar -- just $36,000 annually.

Georgetown, which pulled its data from 2009 and 2010 Census Bureau surveys, notes that graduates who majored in education, health care, business and professional services have experienced the most stable employment. But some degrees offer more opportunities than others.

Degree holders in health care and education, with an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, are much more likely to land a job than graduates with degrees in computers and math, whose jobless rate is nearly 3 percentage points higher.

So which degrees are the least likely to guarantee a job in 2012? According to Georgetown, here are the bottom 10, based on unemployment rates for recent graduates, cited in the study.

10. Economics
Unemployment rate: 9.4 percent
Starting pay: $48,000
9. Area Ethnic and Civilization Studies
Unemployment rate: 10.1 percent
Starting pay: $35,000
8. History
Unemployment rate: 10.2 percent
Starting pay: $32,000
7. Anthropology
Unemployment rate: 10.5 percent
Starting pay: $28,000
6. Philosophy and Religious Studies
Unemployment rate: 10.8 percent
Starting pay: $30,000
5. Information Systems
Unemployment rate: 11.7 percent
Starting pay: $43,000
4. Commercial Art and Graphic Design
Unemployment rate: 11.8 percent
Starting pay: $32,000
3. Fine Arts
Unemployment rate: 12.6 percent
Starting pay: $30,000
2. Film, Video and Photographic Arts
Unemployment rate: 12.9 percent
Starting pay: $30,000
1. Architecture
Unemployment rate: 13.9 percent Starting pay: $36,000

For more on the college degrees that are least likely to land you a job interview, check out the infographic below from Best Degree Programs.

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Im sorry but ur trying to tell me information systems and economics is amongst the worst majors?

July 17 2013 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

here's an informative data visualization that highlights jobs with the highest rate of unemployment and those with the lowest rates of employment: http://www.bestcounselingdegrees.com/employment/

August 29 2012 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kambria McMullin

Am I missing something here, huh? Hoyas... Physical Sciences majors hover around 1.5 to 3.0 percent unemployment. Just do some research. Not only that but general agriculture is a 3.0 rate! What's going on, did this just all of a sudden increase in 5 months time?

May 23 2012 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andie Allison

LOL at all the arrogant, elitist idiots who think that the Arts have no influence or impact on our daily lives, and that being a physics or engineering major is the only way you'll ever get a job. And don't even get me started on majors. Majoring in the arts is NOT easy. If you even tried to be what so few dare to take on as fine arts majors, I guarantee you wouldn't know what hit you. Juggling three large ensembles with over 10 pieces of repertoire and juries on top of one on one rigorous studio lessons, chamber ensemble rehearsals, theory, sight-singing and dictation, piano, methods, music theory and criticism etc. Who are you trying to kid? What we did is harder than being able to use a calculator. Theory is like a foreign language AND math trying to explain the almost intangible beauty of music. We are expected to be the best of the best every single minute, because we are judged for our performance AND our intelligence. Try stepping out in front of 2,000 people to play a Mozart concerto on an instrument with more keys than you have fingers. Try perfecting an art that ultimately is impossible to perfect. Be judged on something else than a formulaic conversation. Try explaining one of the most unexplainable and illogical phenomenons of humanity.

For being so 'intelligent' you certainly are some of the most narrow minded and ill-versed people to speak on the matter.

May 16 2012 at 9:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It seems to me that there may be some flaws in this study. First, it assumes that the purpose of a college degree is to become employed by another person or entity. And, to a large extent, this is not the truth for many of those that have chosen the professions listed in the article. I remember a friend of mine that became employed as an attorney a year after graduating from Law School and becoming a member of the Bar. He wasn't in a hurry and, in fact, only lasted in that job two years. His goal when he was going to law school was never to get a job at a law firm. His goal was to band together with some of his classmates and graduates from other universities and start their own private law practice. And He did.
Often the persons that study the professions mentioned in the article see themselves as members of a generation of entrepreneurs, ready to start a non-profit, a small business or a research institution. Some archeologists, for example, work at museums but others work for themselves and depend for their living on support from grants. The hardest part of their work is to write grant proposals but their actual research work is what others consider "unemployment" because they are not receiving a regular paycheck. If these occupations and aspirations were to be taken into account in this study half of the so called unemployed would have to be removed from the list of unemployed and we could possibly obtain a more realistic picture of what's going on.
Colleges and universities exist for the production of productive members of society. But being productive and receiving a periodic paycheck from an institution are not the same thing. Some productive members of society receive a periodic paycheck but others don't. Others toil at odd hours and in odd places to give society that which "employed" individuals can't give it. The production of new knowledge, the creation of new artifacts and tools and pushing society to take steps to new levels of enlightenment is also the work of some of those that go to college and graduate in order not to join a corporation and become a part of its machine but to become better armed to live in the frontier of civilization.

May 16 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So instead of whining and protesting about being out of work, maybe the OWS crowd shouldn't have picked such easy and low paying liberal arts degrees!

May 16 2012 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Architecture jobs can be found at FDA. Film, Video and Photographic Arts is one the films that you have to know someone in that field get connected. I know this because I got my foot in the door. My cousin knows this director and I worked on his films. Anthropology that is useless

May 16 2012 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This world of jobs is ....uped!

May 16 2012 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL..I notice that they didn't even bother to list English or Psychology......

May 16 2012 at 5:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I never attended college and therefore do not owe anything for student loans. I worked my way up out in the field getting dirty and greasy. I travelled throughout the country wherever the work was and learned my education in the real world. I worked on oil rigs and even sailed on fishing boats throughout the northern atlantic as a fisherman. I learned all the skills I needed on my own. I speak 8 languages and am more knowledgeable regarding history and foreign affairs than anyone I know who have degrees from Ivy league universities. I work with people who have their masters from Yale and Harvard. I have a GED. I am a navy veteran. I make over 6 figures now on a trade floor in a nice air conditioned office building. What these college grads don't understand is that the peice of paper will help you, but not until you DO YOUR TIME and work your way up from the bottom.

May 16 2012 at 5:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HWM's comment

things have changed now but I see your point. my family is traditionally from rural arkansas. woods and farms type. but a lot of my family moved to california before I was born and the contrast between my rough neck family and some of the people out here is startling. it happens, you aren't born with callus on the palms of your hands, you make them yourself. lots of blood, sweat, tears, and icy hot. but it happens. my major is architecture and I start in on the heavy stuff come fall, it's gonna absolutely destroy me but ah well. Will prob end up in a side job waitressing or truck driving but ah well, girls gotta do what a girls gotta do right?

May 16 2012 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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