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Many college students subscribe to a do-or-die mentality when it comes to picking a major in college: Biology or Economics will land you a job, Philosophy or Russian Literature will not. Whether this belief rings true is up to interpretation and heated debate.

It all boils down to this: do we view college as a dark tunnel of number-crunching and stat analyses at the end of which there is a promising light in the form of a high-paying job? Or, do we regard those “best four years of your life” as a time for academic exploration, as a break from all the professional hoopla that comes later with the responsibilities of a full-time career? Must we study market trends in order to ensure that we ourselves will hold prominent places in that market?

In other words, does it pay in the long run to know philosopher Epicurus’s ideas, and if it doesn’t, do we care?


 (Image via Epicurus Info)

The answers to these questions are of course subjective, and we aren’t here to tell you which is the better path (though we have provided some insight into choosing a major before). Rather, we’re offering you a quickie look at some of today’s top majors. Again, there isn’t always agreement among sources, but the trends are surely there, loud and clear.

The U.S. World and News Report’s (here) and Forbes’ (here) top five most useful majors overlap considerably. Guess what? The words “science,” “engineering,” “bio,” and/or “computer” are included in every one of them. How are you feeling right now, Creative Writing majors? Don’t worry, we feel your pain.

So, what ranks at the top of the money-makin’ majors list? Forensic science, biomedical engineering, biometrics, computer game design, petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, business analytics, software engineering…the list goes on and yes, they all sound impossibly similar to one another.

While some indeed love numbers, data, and graphs (check the smile on the woman in the white lab coat, below), others would much rather stick to this kind of science and call it a day. Jokes aside, many feel inexpressibly intimidated by the ever-expanding nature of technology. Moreover, guides like the ones featured above, which advise young people about today’s most valuable and useful majors, do very little to quell the worries of those among us with more artistic souls. We have a feeling that somewhere in upstate New York there is a liberal arts student exclaiming, “Why isn’t Studio Art the most useful major in America?!” at this very moment.

data science

(Image via U.S. News and World Report)

What’s your major?