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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Which is the more marketable major: English or Psychology?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7877points) January 23rd, 2014

I’ve always heard that both are “useless” but I don’t view education as useless. I think even a Liberal Arts degree would have value, but I don’t know if most employers see it that way.

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17 Answers

pleiades's avatar

in this economy neither.

Especially at the Bachelors level.

I’m not trying to be offensive. I have known 3 psych majors at the B.S. level and 2 English Majors at the B.A. level. The English major now works at a graphic designing company doing like file work under some fancy name and I think the other girl is considering her masters, she works part time at some clothing store.

rojo's avatar

Psych. About all you can do with an English degree, in my opinion, is go on and get a teaching certificate and then you can actually get a job teaching. So, why not just go ahead and get a degree in secondary education or something to begin with?

JLeslie's avatar

Both are sort of useless, because you need postgraduate degrees to really do anything with them. But, I agree no education is useless, and getting a degree shows you stick with things and persevere, and being able to speak and write well in English is a good skill. Psych can be a good background for a variety of careers, but if you want to work in counseling or psych in the US you need at least a masters, unless maybe a handful of states have easier laws.

@rojo Secondary education? You mean the OP should teach grade 6–12? I’m confused.

rojo's avatar

or primary or any degree that include education. I only picked that one because I have a niece who went that route so was familiar with it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I don’t know anything about English degrees, but I have a Psychology degree so I’ll put in my two cents about that. To work in the field of Psychology making decent money, you’ll need a graduate or post-graduate degree. However, having a degree in the first place makes you more marketable than someone without one. Psychology teaches you a lot about human behavior and thought, which can be helpful in a wide range of professions. Psychology is a degree, like many, in which you may need to “start at the bottom” once you graduate but you’ll advance quicker than you would without it.

I minored in criminal justice and ended up getting a job in the law field with a very decent starting salary, so I have no regrets about my education. Without it, I wouldn’t have this job because I had no experience working at a law firm and they wanted either experience or education. Could I have gotten in with an English degree? Yep. Any degree is better than no degree.

I can’t stand when people say a degree is “useless.” Yeah, there are people with psychology degrees flipping burgers, but there are also those, like me, with a great job that I really enjoy. Your degree is what you make it out to be; none are inherently useless. I worked my butt off to earn a high GPA, did a couple of internships, and used my communication skills to impress the pants off of the first firm I interviewed with and, just like that, I had a job secured before I even graduated. People like to blame their degree for their unsatisfactory professional lives so they don’t have to take any responsibility for skating through college more focused on partying than studying and not doing anything to build their resume, expecting a great job to be handed to them in four years. It’s not the degree’s fault you’re a loser, it’s yours (“you” in a general sense, of course).

I say people should study what they’re interested in, whether it’s “marketable” or not.

janbb's avatar

You would have to go to grad school to do anything in psychology. English is potentially marketable in communications fields but either is tough. However, a college degree is useful for oneself and pretty much a prerequisite for any job at all.

cookieman's avatar

Since you’re already approaching this from a vocational perspective (as opposed to pursuing an education for the sake of an education), why not research what you’d like to eventually do for a living and work backwards?

Judi's avatar

There are some jobs that require a degree (any degree) just to get an interview. Many of them are in government.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@cookieman That’s a good idea. Pretty much the opposite of what I did, but the same general idea. I knew that I wanted to study psychology because I was really interested in the subject. So, I looked to see what types of jobs I could get with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. I knew I wouldn’t stick to the field, as I had no interest in being a counselor or psychologist, but I saw a lot of criminal justice and social work types of positions, so I picked up a CJ minor on a whim, and ended up loving it (maybe more than psychology in the end – those classes got boring after awhile). I’m actually working in education law, so not directly related to criminal justice, but close enough. I’m finding that I did learn a lot in college that I can now apply here at work – legal terminology, mostly.

pleiades's avatar

Oh to add. another one of my friends graduated UCSD with a psych degree and now works at Apple as a fixer to the Genius Bar

One of my more recent friends who graduated with psychology said most people with B.S. in psych mainly work very basic entry level jobs if anything related to psych because psychologist mainly get paid by their own practices and it takes a lot more knowledge to open a reputable practice

zenvelo's avatar

Degrees in and of them selves are not marketable; people can make themselves marketable.

It’s possible, though to get a job with a bachelor’s degree in either. English majors can seek jobs as writers (technical, advertising). Psych majors can seek jobs where knowledge of human behavior is useful, – marketing or advertising. Both would serve someone working at a magazine.

There are not a lot of jobs that one starts right after getting out of school without a lot of training. Most businesses require a few years of grunt time. One thing about The Devil Wears Prada is that it points how much work it takes before one can start making real recommendations, let alone decisions, in a business.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Both are right up there with Art History and Music Appreciation.

Psych is more likely to earn a higher salary.

gailcalled's avatar

Don’t forget a B.A. in philosophy, one of my closest relative’s degree.

cookieman's avatar

@livelaughlove21: Sure, that’s how it goes. My wife majored in criminal justice, ended up working in social work and then probation. Later, after law school, she ended up in education. Now she’s a dean.

Funny thing happened on the way to your dream.

LornaLove's avatar


Developmental and Child Assessment
Educational Field
Sports Psychologist
Business Strategist
Model Design and Implementation for Sales and Growth
Social Welfare
Clinical Psych, Research Psych, Counselling Psych
Entry Level Law
Criminal Reform
Criminal Assessment
Political Science
Universal Frame Work for Anthropological Studies and Research.


Proof Reader
Speech Writer
(Sorry can’t think of anymore I suck at English!)

ibstubro's avatar

I’m going to mirror image @janbb‘s answer:
You would have to go to grad school to do anything in English. Psychology is potentially marketable in mental health fields but either is tough. However, a college degree is useful for oneself and pretty much a prerequisite for any job at all.


SeikoShibata's avatar

I would prefer Psychology. However, it’s just my preference. An the scope of use is much wider.

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