Least Lucrative Majors

When it comes to expected post-graduate income, there are several types of college majors.

First, there are the self-evidently lucrative ones: engineering of all varieties or financial mathematics. Then there are liberal arts degrees that prepare students for lucrative graduate studies: human biology (feeding into medical school), economics (which leads to finance or consulting work and then business school) and then reading and writing intensive like history (which leads to law school . . . the department rumor is that more than 70% of history majors go on to a J.D. program).

Then there are these majors. As compiled by Payscale.com and reported by the NYDaily News, here are the least lucrative college majors as of mid-career salary. (For the most part, Stanford students couldn’t even major in these subjects if they wanted to . . . because we don’t offer them:)

  1. Social work – $44,900  – As the article points out, nobody goes into this line of business to make money. Rather, they want to, um, help people. [But that won’t pay my Upper East side rent!]
  2. Athletic training – $45,700
  3. Tie –  Recreation and leisure / Art – $54,800 – Honestly, *a “recreation and leisure” major is just asking for a low salary. *
  4. Interior Design – $56,600 – *A labor love. Get good enough and you can have your Home and Garden Network show.
  1. Religious studies – $54,400
  2. Hortoculture – $50,800
  3. Education –  $54,900 – *Then again, there is the tenure . . . Do education graduate degrees like STEP lead to more money than undergraduate education programs?
  1. Culinary arts – $50,600
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