UNF majors and unemployment rates

Ronnesha Rodgers

Photo by Ronnesha Rodgers.

UNF offers an array of majors for its thousands of students. Some of these majors were included in a MSN Money article about high and low unemployment rates within college majors.

Majors with the highest unemployment rates included fine arts, social psychology, psychology and applied mathematics.

The majors with low unemployment rates were in engineering mechanics, physics, statistics, and elementary education.

Each major has its own unique set of classes, but what do these majors actually do outside of the classroom? And more importantly, are there enough jobs to go around?

For fine arts majors, which had a high unemployment rate, UNF offers five different concentrations within the major: ceramics, sculpture, photography, graphic design and visual media, and painting/drawing/printmaking.

Many UNF alumni with fine arts degrees are currently in the local workforce, according to their former professor.  

“We have sculpture students working at MOSH and the Jacksonville Zoo. A number of our [graphic design and digital media] graduates work in advertising, PR and Design firms,” Debra Murphy said, a UNF art history professor.

Dr. Debra Murphy, chair of the Art and Design Department. Photo courtesy of Dr. Murphy.

Along with that there are also a number of UNF graduates from the fine arts program that work for marketing companies or have their own businesses, according to Murphy. 

MSN Money stated that there was a 11.7 percent unemployment rate for the miscellaneous fine arts degree holders, while the national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Artist have to be creative, not only with their art work, but also in other areas  if they want to make a living off it. With the lack of job opportunities in the field it can make it hard for graduates to find work.

Nofa Dixon, associate professor of painting/drawing. Photo courtesy of Professor Dixon.

“The problem is that we have [many] more art students graduating than there are job opportunities,” Nofa Dixon said, a UNF painting/drawing professor. “Artists have to be creative at making their art, at marketing and promoting their art and making a living at the same time.”

Another degree listed as high unemployment was social and miscellaneous psychology with a 7.6 percent unemployment rate, while miscellaneous psychology had a 5.7 percent unemployment rate.

UNF does not offer a specific social psychology degree but does offer both a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology with a concentration in child psychology.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology opens up many doors for possible career opportunities for graduates. UNF’s psychology department feels that the MSN article does not represent their department accurately.  

“Since I’ve become a chair I feel like I’m constantly having to write responses to say ‘no, this actually isn’t true.’ Students do well and they get jobs,” Lori Lange said, the chair of UNF’s psychology department.

The vast field of psychology has a wide variety of career options.

“Recent bachelor’s level graduates have won positions with local hospitals, mental health agencies, [the] Department of Children and Families, the military , school districts and businesses or corporations,” Gabriel Ybarra said, a UNF psychology professor and  licensed psychologist.

Dr. Katrina Hall, professor of childhood education. Photo courtesy of Dr. Hall.

Elementary education was on the list for having one of the lowest unemployment rates at 1.9 percent. People in this field can choose teaching options or other professions with this degree.  

“[There are] positions in non-profits to working with children in [and] out of school settings such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs,” Katrina Hall said, a UNF professor in the college of education and human services. 

The struggle to find a job is not specific to any one major. While a college degree has become a key role in the hiring process across multiple professions, every major can face trouble when trying to find a job.

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