Make no mistake: An undergraduate degree can improve your employment prospects and paycheck size. A high school graduate earns 40% less than someone with a bachelor’s degree and is more than twice as likely to be unemployed. But not all college majors are created equal. In fact, grads with certain majors sometimes fare worse in the labor force than workers who stopped studying after high school.
Considering the time and expense that goes into earning a college degree, knowing whether your course of study is a career-killer is powerful knowledge indeed. That's why we analyzed the jobless rates and salaries for graduates with the 100 most popular majors to come up with our list of the ten worst values in college majors.
[More from Kiplinger: 10 Best Jobs You Can Get Without a College Degree]
Using data from Payscale.com and Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, we looked for majors whose graduates—both recent grads (within the past five years) and those well into their careers—face a brutal combination of low compensation and high unemployment. We also worked with Payscale to determine the likelihood that recent graduates from each major would end up working in retail, where a college degree isn't always required, rather than in their field of study. A ratio of 1.0 is the norm; a ratio of 2.0 means a graduate of that major is twice as likely to work in retail as the average college grad.