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Psych majors challenge Jeb Bush's Chick-fil-A remark

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush earned a lot of attention for his "warm kiss" remark during last night's debate. But he's also getting attention for a comment made earlier in the week about the limits of a psychology degree.

The Washington Examiner reports at a South Carolina appearance Saturday, Bush said:

“Universities ought to have skin in the game. When a student shows up, they ought to say ‘Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that’s great, it’s important to have liberal arts … but realize, you’re going to be working [at] a Chick-fil-A.’ ”

As you might imagine, that comment has not sat well with psych majors who mounted a #ThisPsychMajor Twitter campaign to defend the value of their degree and their work. (No word yet from philosophy majors, one of whom is my oldest son. Perhaps, they're still contemplating.)

We spend a lot of time discussing the best college majors despite evidence college grads often end up in fields outside their areas of study and do fine.

I've had mechanics who were journalism majors -- I'm partial to them -- and doctors who studied art history. I have many friends in computer-related jobs who studied urban planning or sociology.

Every college publishes a pep talk about choosing a major on its website. I like the advice to students on the Yale site:

Your major does not dictate your career direction, you do. Choose a major that interests you. Study a subject in which you excel, knowing that your major may or may not lead to a specific career outcome, but will give you a valuable set of transferrable skills that can be applied in a variety of career settings.

We encourage you to pursue a major that you’re passionate about, focusing on subjects that you will enjoy studying and have a genuine engagement with. Through your extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and internship experiences you can explore the applications of the skills and knowledge you’re gaining through your liberal arts curriculum, and try out the diverse range of careers where you can apply your skills and knowledge.

Several of you have asked what psych majors earn so I pulled this chart from

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.