T Nation

How Much Does Your Major Matter?

Just curious about this one. Does it matter?

I have a Bachelor of Music (guitar). I start school for my Masters (music, guitar again) next week. I’m fairly convinced there’s a 50% chance I won’t work in music at all, but grad school is free so I said, “Why not?!”

Who works in a field unrelated to what they studied?

you can major in guitar? lol

there’s no clear cut answer here. The fact that someone can graduate college with a meaningful degree even if unrelated shows that person has work ethic and can follow through.

Now if it comes down to you and a few other candidates who have a degree in that field they’ll get the edge unless you can wow the interviewer.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
you can major in guitar? lol

there’s no clear cut answer here. The fact that someone can graduate college with a meaningful degree even if unrelated shows that person has work ethic and can follow through.

Now if it comes down to you and a few other candidates who have a degree in that field they’ll get the edge unless you can wow the interviewer.
[/quote]

You can major in performance.
For example you can major in performance for violin and then bands or orchestras hire you. You can do that for any instrument.

I agree with jehovasfitness, all degrees show good work ethic. However, in the end all that matters is what job you try to take up.

Also, i bet i’m the only one who knows that your sig (thread starter) is the circle of fifths :P.

I’m just a senior in college but I have a great idea of why I chose my major, which is Classics. I absolutely love to learn archaeology and other nerdy ancient things, but I also love working with numbers. Classics is far and large the smallest major at my school, with less than 75 students in a population of 3000 being a part of it. I plan on going to law school and becoming some sort of lawyer in the financial sector, most likely never touching upon the Classics field again (except in my free time).

Depending upon your major, it can show your well-roundedness and will also make you stand out while applying for school or jobs. My professors have said to me that job interviewers like a change of pace once in a while, and one with an uncommon major can do the trick. As an example, my uncle was a History major, ended up going to med school, and now is a doctor at Mass General. Go figure.

What I’m trying to get at is that you definitely don’t need to do work in your field of specialty, but you must surely love it if you have stuck it out for this long. Why not try it for a year or two after you graduate?

I have seen a few people with specialised majors,mechanical eng. for one infact, that never was able to get jobs in there fields of study.

like one guy that was wanting me to hire him at my auto shop was an arizona state university grad.
graduated in 99 with a major in mechanical eng. and he works on cars at jiffy lube ya he is the ast. manager now but he had to work up from being a chassis guy.
while I have working knowledge and an AA degree in auto/deisel tech and I own my own bussiness and i am holding out for a job making 35 an hour just waiting for the guy to retire.

then again I know a guy that went to universial tech institute got the same degree I did which means nothing outside the immediate industry.he started out as an aide untill he got his teaching cert but once he got that he is now a freshman teacher for the special kids at a local high school.been doing that 11 years

a degree dosent mean you know what you are doing and a degree sometimes is not worth the paper its written on.
its all in how you use your education.

me personally when I get back working for someone else again,which is a personal choice because med ins is cheaper and they pay for my education,I am going to go back to school for bussiness admin.
that is something that no mater where you go I think you can take it with you no mater if you work as a manager at mcdonalds or wherever.
speaking of which I have a buddy of mine from years ago his first job was mcdonalds,he got into the stock purchase plan,had them pay for bussiness school he now manages 3 different resturants and he is pulling in like 80g a year.

and not to mention his stock is worth in the hundreds of thousands.

[quote]blazindave wrote:

Also, i bet i’m the only one who knows that your sig (thread starter) is the circle of fifths :P.[/quote]

I’ll bet you’re not :wink:

I think it means very little.

I have a degree in Architecture from 1992 and never worked a day in my life in the field. My career path led me to sales, and I now work as a Project Consultant for a Design/Build Firm. I sell our services and our designers perform the dirty work.

I also make MUCH more money than what I would have had I followed my Degree.

Most employers will take work ethic, heart, and drive given the choice. Start somewhere and bust your ass.

Results get noticed much more than a piece of paper.

The girl I’m dating double majored in History and philosophy [she also graduated in three years] and just started her final year of law school. I worked at a restaurant a few years ago where my manager graduated with his Masters in Psychology, realized he didn’t want to be in the field, got the job as a manager at an upscale sushi joint and now makes a shade under a 100k a year. I guess it really all depends on what your major is and what you want to do with your degree.

Short answer: very very little.

It depends on what you want to do. If you want to be a doctor you better go to med school. If you want a middle management job you can major in guitar.

If you want to be a rockstar your majoring in guitar probably won’t get you the job.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
It depends on what you want to do. If you want to be a doctor you better go to med school. If you want a middle management job you can major in guitar.

If you want to be a rockstar your majoring in guitar probably won’t get you the job.[/quote]

All true, if you want a specialized job, get a specialized degree.

Many management types have general degree’s, but they won’t even look at you for engineering without an engineering degree.

What if I major in PAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTTYYYYYING!? Whooooooo! Man, we went to the frat party on Saturday… Man I got SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOOOOO! There were like 100 chicks there! They were all SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOO! I got laid like 100 times man! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

So, I guess college is pretty much useless right? According to everyone on the internet at least. Everyone else tells me that college is an investment in your future. I wonder who I should believe?

[quote]Malevolence wrote:
blazindave wrote:

Also, i bet i’m the only one who knows that your sig (thread starter) is the circle of fifths :P.

I’ll bet you’re not ;-)[/quote]

Ditto.

I majored in Letters (yeah yeah, I know all the enginerds learned their letters in elementary school), which is basically code for “marry a rich man or go to law school.” It was equal parts history, philosophy, literature, Latin (ancient lang), and Spanish (modern lang). I loved it.

If you’re planning on getting a “job” secondary degree (e.g., law or med), your undergrad major is pretty irrelevant. If you are willing to learn your job on the job, and they are willing to train you, your undergrad major is irrelevant.

My sister-in-law has an undergrad in animal science and is a paralegal. My sister has an undergrad in communications and sells insurance. My other sister has an undergrad in biology and is a money manager. One brother has an engineering degree and is a hippie.

The other brother (also engineering) and myself (law) are the only ones who have jobs remotely related to our undergrad degrees.

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
What if I major in PAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTTYYYYYING!? Whooooooo! Man, we went to the frat party on Saturday… Man I got SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOOOOO! There were like 100 chicks there! They were all SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOO! I got laid like 100 times man! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

So, I guess college is pretty much useless right? According to everyone on the internet at least. Everyone else tells me that college is an investment in your future. I wonder who I should believe?[/quote]

What? No one here is saying college is useless. As a determinant of your future earnings it is more vital than ever. Whether your major matters or not is an entirely different question.

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
skaz05 wrote:
What if I major in PAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTTYYYYYING!? Whooooooo! Man, we went to the frat party on Saturday… Man I got SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOOOOO! There were like 100 chicks there! They were all SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOO! I got laid like 100 times man! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

So, I guess college is pretty much useless right? According to everyone on the internet at least. Everyone else tells me that college is an investment in your future. I wonder who I should believe?

What? No one here is saying college is useless. As a determinant of your future earnings it is more vital than ever. Whether your major matters or not is an entirely different question.[/quote]

Alright. Sorry about that then. But I do see a lot of “college is useless” arguments on teh intertubez. I think the people that argue that college is useless are people who either never went, or found out that it is a lot of work and dropped out.

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
What if I major in PAAAAAARRRRRRTTTTTYYYYYING!? Whooooooo! Man, we went to the frat party on Saturday… Man I got SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOOOOO! There were like 100 chicks there! They were all SO WASTED! WHOOOOOOO! I got laid like 100 times man! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

So, I guess college is pretty much useless right? According to everyone on the internet at least. Everyone else tells me that college is an investment in your future. I wonder who I should believe?[/quote]

Getting a degree is important if you want to work in government or big corporations because they have very rigid requirements for many positions.

If you want to run your own business or work for many small companies you do not need a degree. That depends on your field of course.

Most of college is not book learning. It is not necessarily wasted time but it can be. Like anything else in life it is what you make of it.

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
… I think the people that argue that college is useless are people who either never went, or found out that it is a lot of work and dropped out.[/quote]

Or people that went, got degrees and then found out that 99% of what was taught in class had no application to their chosen field.

[quote]Malevolence wrote:
blazindave wrote:

Also, i bet i’m the only one who knows that your sig (thread starter) is the circle of fifths :P.

I’ll bet you’re not ;-)[/quote]

You win.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Most of college is not book learning. It is not necessarily wasted time but it can be. Like anything else in life it is what you make of it.
[/quote]

That very much depends on your field of study also. Some majors are almost entirely book learning. Some require the use of a lab and special equipment. For those, it will be very hard to get the learning experience without going to college. For those that don’t use any specialized equipment, there is no reason why one can’t learn just as much on their own if they put the time into it, saving themselves $20k or so while they’re at it.

[quote]Nich wrote:
I have seen a few people with specialised majors,mechanical eng. for one infact, that never was able to get jobs in there fields of study.

like one guy that was wanting me to hire him at my auto shop was an arizona state university grad.
graduated in 99 with a major in mechanical eng. and he works on cars at jiffy lube ya he is the ast. manager now but he had to work up from being a chassis guy.
while I have working knowledge and an AA degree in auto/deisel tech and I own my own bussiness and i am holding out for a job making 35 an hour just waiting for the guy to retire.

then again I know a guy that went to universial tech institute got the same degree I did which means nothing outside the immediate industry.he started out as an aide untill he got his teaching cert but once he got that he is now a freshman teacher for the special kids at a local high school.been doing that 11 years

a degree dosent mean you know what you are doing and a degree sometimes is not worth the paper its written on.
its all in how you use your education.

me personally when I get back working for someone else again,which is a personal choice because med ins is cheaper and they pay for my education,I am going to go back to school for bussiness admin.
that is something that no mater where you go I think you can take it with you no mater if you work as a manager at mcdonalds or wherever.
speaking of which I have a buddy of mine from years ago his first job was mcdonalds,he got into the stock purchase plan,had them pay for bussiness school he now manages 3 different resturants and he is pulling in like 80g a year.

and not to mention his stock is worth in the hundreds of thousands.
[/quote]

Mechanical Engineering isn’t a very specialized degree. If he can’t find a job in it right now, he’s doing something wrong. The market is wide open.

Although most engineers end up (through promotions) in managerial positions which is outside of the field of study.