Is Journalism a Useless Degree?

A large number of potential journalists wonder whether the journalism degree they are pursuing is useless or not. Is a journalism major worthwhile or is it just a waste of time?

This article has been written to clear your doubts and answer possible questions you may have about your degree and the overall future of the journalism industry.

Is Journalism a Useless Degree?

Journalism is not a useless degree at all. Journalism is a liberal arts degree and it helps develop essential analytical and communication skills. Journalism is sometimes referred to as a useless degree because the entire focus of a journalism degree is not getting a job as soon as you graduate from university.

If you are assuming that the whole and sole purpose of an undergraduate journalism degree is guaranteeing a job the minute you graduate then you are clearly mistaken.

Moreover, you will also face stiff competition in the job market for journalists from English Language, English Literature, Communication, and Media Studies majors. A journalism degree will only facilitate your path to a journalism career but not guarantee it. A journalism degree is not necessary for pursuing any specific career which is why it is sometimes called a useless degree.

This example will help you get a better idea of how useful a journalism degree really is. Complex electrical work requires an electrical engineer. Other types of engineers will probably not be able to do that work. However, a liberal arts degree provides a lot more flexibility. English Language, Literature, Communications, History and journalism degree holders can all apply for an editors job and succeed at it.

The main purpose of a liberal arts education is to cultivate critical thinking, innovative research, open-mindedness, self-expression and improve a student’s analytical and communication skills. A journalism degree focuses on nurturing these very skills.

Do I need to study Journalism to be a Journalist?

If you want to pursue a career as a journalist then a journalism degree is a fantastic way of getting the writing expertise, research skills, training, and experience to become a successful journalist. However, you do not need to study journalism to be a journalist.

In spite of that, a journalism degree or any other liberal arts degree is not solely sufficient, you will also need to devote time and effort towards promoting and networking yourself, gaining relevant experience and constantly upgrading your skills.

Is Studying Journalism a Waste of Time?

Studying journalism is not a waste of time. Studying journalism will teach you how to learn and think for yourself. A journalism major is extremely flexible in terms of finding employment. A journalism degree does not guarantee a career in journalism but it does improve your chance of finding a job.

A journalism degree is definitely worth it, as it will enable you to find a decent paying job. You will not be able to compete with high paying stem majors most of the times. However, your reputation as a journalist is extremely important; if you manage to get a good reputation you can expect much higher salaries.

The issue with a journalism degree is that it only prepares you halfway for a career in journalism. Engineering majors, for example, do not need to go to a great extent to market and promote themselves; their degree and a bit of relevant experience is sufficient to get the job they want.

Journalism is a softer field and requires fewer technical skills. Due to these reasons, you need to bring a number of things to the table apart from your degree. Moreover, you will also face competition from other liberal arts majors.

However, by studying journalism you will be employable in a plethora of fields which suggests that journalism is not a waste of time in the slightest.

These are the kinds of jobs you can get with a journalism degree:

  1. Journalist
  2. Freelance Writer
  3. Copy Writer
  4. Content Manager
  5. Product Marketing Manager
  6. Digital Strategist
  7. Communications Specialist
  8. Public Relations Specialist
  9. News Editor
  10. Communications Manager
  11. Social Media Planner
  12. News Producer
  13. Staff Writer
  14. Editor
  15. Content Writer
  16. Teacher
  17. Academic Researcher

How Hard is Journalism?

A journalism degree is not particularly hard. Getting into the journalism industry is hard but pursuing a career in journalism is more difficult. Journalism is a performance-based industry and you will have to consistently provide results.

You will have to create a name for yourself in the journalism industry in order to be really successful. There will be a considerable amount of pressure to retain your job. Moreover, journalism is a field that is constantly evolving and becoming increasingly digitalized. This is what makes the Journalism field a relatively tough one.

On the flip side if you are a competent journalist you can expect several job offers from various companies.

A journalism degree is about as hard as any other liberal arts degree. Liberal arts majors are generally easier than STEM majors so this can give you a relative idea of the difficulty involved in a journalism major.


If you are willing to treat journalism as a liberal arts degree and be open with your job options then journalism is an excellent major to pursue. However, a journalism degree is not a necessity and you can easily pursue journalism by studying other majors.