Back in 2019, Rishi Sunak vowed that if he became the next prime minister, he would scrap low-earning degrees in post-16 education in a revolutionary reform of university education. In other words he wanted to get rid of the most useless degrees in the UK to make way for high-earners.

It’s important to remember that university degrees should not necessarily be considered useless just because they’re not money-driven. Degrees may be useful for enhancing life skills, enjoyment, expanding the mind and so on. But if you are looking to translate your time at university into lots of money later on, it’s worth knowing which degrees normally lead to employment afterwards. Using the most recent data from HESA, we’ve compiled a list of the most useless degrees ranked by graduate employment status. You might be as surprised as us to find out which degrees are the least useful for employment!

1. Geography, earth and environmental studies (social sciences)

most useless degrees

The social science approach to studying geography, earth and environmental studies is different from the natural sciences. It focuses on aspects such as politics, sociology, economy and how these impact human interactions. While seemingly very important in developing skills that may be able to solve world problems, it wasn’t the best for employment. According to graduate outcomes, this the most useless – or least useful – degree for employment after uni.

2. Design, creative and performing arts

performing arts least useful degree

Thousands of students go to university in the hopes of becoming actors and actresses, fashion designers and more. However, they’re unfortunately the second most useless degree subjects in generating post-studying employment. The fashion and performing arts industries are an important part of the global economy, and there are many successful and thriving businesses in this field. Pursuing a degree in these areas can also open up opportunities, however it’s often about your portfolio of work and contacts. So make the most of experience and start networking.

3. Media, journalism and communications

most useless degrees

This is another useless degree for employment, but it’s most likely due to the fierce competition. Lots of people study journalism and media at university and go on to have incredible careers. However, it’s arguably a good idea to do internships, work experience and other ways of achieving hands-on experience. Even if you start with writing a blog and reaching out to publications.

4. Combined and general studies

general studies

While all-encompassing, general studies tend not to lead directly to employment. This is probably because there are too many career paths that require specialisation, so you might need further studying.

5. Education and teaching

most useless degrees

This was perhaps one of the most surprising most useless degrees of the list! It’s an in-demand job with a direct career route. However, graduates of education and teaching are still among the lowest groups for employment. Teacher burnout is definitely a thing, so perhaps it’s a case of graduates looking for the right working environment.

This list uses statistics on graduate employment outcomes categorised by degree subject. However, don’t let the most useless degrees list put you off. Most graduate are able to obtain employment, and it’s a great step to your dream career.

Just graduated and looking for a job? Why not check out our list of the best recruitment agencies for students!