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College Majors and Unemployment

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 114 Editor
Wondering which college majors have high unemployment rates for new grads? This study investigates. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/college-majors-and-unemployment/

Replies to: College Majors and Unemployment

  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 12,627 Senior Member
    what study?
    I'm still having problems reading articles just because I use firefox.
  • CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 114 Editor
    Sorry about the tech issues @menloparkmom - we're still trying to figure out the Firefox issue. In the meantime, I sent you the study. Cheers!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,213 Senior Member
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    It appears that they used Public Access Microdata Sample from the American Community Survey, which is in turn a representative subsample of the U.S. population conducted by the Census Bureau, so that's good.

    But given that most of these majors are majors that are uncommonly offered at the undergraduate level, I'm betting that the reason for the high percentages isn't because it's necessarily more difficult to get jobs with a major in those fields (I mean, it could be, it's hard to tell) but because when you have an already small sample, each person weights more.

    Library science is very uncommon as an undergraduate major, and most librarians need at least a master's degree to find work. So a person who only got a bachelor's in library science expecting to be a librarian would be disappointed. (I also will say that the commentary Zippia has written on this is dumb - you don't have to physically go to a library post-college for a library to be important. First of all, college librarians are a thing; second of all, community public libraries provide all kinds of social services.)

    Metallurgical, nuclear, and geophysical engineering are also uncommon majors at the undergraduate level. So is industrial production technologies.

    Majors like "general social sciences" and "interdisciplinary social sciences" tend not to be offered very often, and when they are, tend to be offered by large for-profit universities that allow students to cobble together a BA by taking a bunch of unconnected courses (or getting credit for life experience). So I am also not surprised at the high unemployment rate there. (Also, an unemployment rate in the 6%-ish range doesn't really seem that high for college graduates in the 22-25-year-old range. Unemployment for that group is always higher than unemployment for college graduates in general; it's one of the reasons why the Census Bureau reports unemployment rates for workers 25 and older.)
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 1,944 Senior Member
    Metallurgical engineering/materials science is offered as an undergraduate major at Case Western, Berkeley, U of Michigan, GaTech, Stanford, MIT, Purdue, UIUC, UF Gainesville, Arizona State, UW Seattle, Colorado School of Mines and many other schools across the USA.

    The problem with materials science as an undergraduate major ,is that it usually requires a lot of specialization so choosing polymer science, metallurgy, ceramics, or biomaterials, as each field is quite different from the others, and often jobs are in the shrinking manufacturing sector !

    I agree with the article that metallurgical engineering (materials science) as being a tough major to keep a career in, and I don't recommend this major. I ended up in the semiconductor industry, then in the soldering industry, (surface mount technology) then in quality engineering for electronics for a disk drive manufacturer, then tried patent law work and became a US Patent Examiner. So I had variety but hard to keep going in some of those sectors, in particular semiconductor manufacturing largely moved to the island of Taiwan with over 300 factories built there over the last 30 years. . I know masters level materials scientists who sell real estate, teach high school, went back to school to learn software engineering or design engineering, and got MBAs to move away from metallurgy.

    Even though metals are important, and used in the automotive industry, the aerospace industry, and to build bridges and other infrastructure, its much better and more flexible for a career, to major in mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering, than in materials science/metallurgy. The reason is that mechanical and electrical engineers study DESIGN, as well as manufacturing, and metallurgists study processes and manufacturing, primarily.

    Some metallurgists end up in Montana working in mining, and thats not a very well paying job, and its in the middle of no where, too. Biomaterials or polymer science is better than metallurgy for a major.
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