Sunday, May 24

The Quad: Popular UCLA majors do not always correlate to high employment rates

Popped champagne and glittery graduation photos aside, what lies ahead for our graduating seniors may be anything but smooth and picturesque. The real world, as they say, is a tough place to be. Students artfully craft four-year plans to improve their job prospects, no doubt changing their major once or twice along the way. But exactly how tough it is to land a job post-graduation has always been a difficult discussion, crowded with references to connections, internships and majors.

For a more quantifiable perspective, the Quad gathered unemployment rates nationwide for 20 majors and applied them to UCLA. Ten of these majors hold positions for the highest number of degrees issued at UCLA while the remaining 10 have only issued one degree, all based on reports from 2015-2016. Unemployment rates are broken up into three distinct categories: recent college graduate, experienced college graduate and graduate degree holder. This is necessary, as the number of degrees issued by UCLA correlates not only with a bachelor’s degree, but also with academic master’s, professional master’s, doctorate, professional practice and total graduate degrees.

Overall, the data shows that the popularity of a major at UCLA does not correlate with employment rates. Just because a major has a higher number of graduates, it does not mean those graduates have more job prospects.

Those planning to pursue a particular major for the sake of its numbers might want to take these graphs as a warning against the temptation of following the crowd. For those planning to graduate as the sole degree holder in a major, take this graphic with relief. Strength doesn’t always come in numbers. What can truly distinguish an applicant in the eyes of an employer is not always their major, but rather relevant job experience, a stellar educational background and the right attitude.

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