The Most Common College Majors

December 15, 2022
By AdmissionSight

The Most Common College Majors

What are the majors in college?

What are the majors in college? What is a major? A two- or four-year degree has a major as its area of concentration. Undergraduates select a major to focus their degree on a specific field. Undergraduates must complete coursework related to their major in order to graduate, whether they are majoring in business, biology, or one of the other most common college majors.

However, your college schedule is not entirely dictated by your major. 120 credits are typically needed for a bachelor’s degree. For most majors, 30-36 credits of coursework are needed. The remaining credits are used for general education requirements, minor requirements, and electives. Additionally, some students decide to double major or get degrees in two distinct departments.

100 or more different majors are frequently offered by large institutions. There are a few dozen options offered by many modest liberal arts universities.

Choosing a major

Many institutions do not require new students to declare their majors. As unregistered students, they attend classes instead.

Before students may declare a major, departments often designate prerequisite courses that they must pass. For instance, aspiring psychology majors enroll in introductory-level psychology courses. Undergraduates can use these prerequisites to learn more about a field and determine whether it’s a suitable fit.

Male student typing in his laptop.

Many institutions offer distinctive majors that stand out on a resume, even though the majority of undergraduates go for one of the most well-liked fields of study. Not all universities offer uncommon majors like paper science or fashion consulting. Instead, they offer specialized instruction in a niche industry.

Additionally, a lot of universities allow students to create their own interdisciplinary majors. Undergraduates can enroll in courses from many disciplines as part of a general studies or liberal arts major, for instance.

Additionally, students can change their majors. A third of undergraduate students who want to acquire a bachelor’s degree change their major, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. One in every ten students switches majors more than once.

What are the most common college majors?

What are the most common college majors? AdmissionSight has listed the Top 25 most common college majors.

1. Business

What are the most common college majors? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, institutions have given more bachelor’s degrees in business since the 1980s than in any other discipline, making it one of the most popular college majors (NCES). In the academic year 2019–2020, universities conferred 387,851 business bachelor’s degrees.

2. Nursing

Nursing is a popular undergraduate degree program in the healthcare industry and one of the most popular degrees in 2022. For the 2018–2019 school year, 139,952 bachelor’s degrees in registered nursing were given out by colleges in the U.S., according to the NCES.

a nurse wearing her uniform smiling to the cmaera

3. Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical sciences is one of the top college degrees for the future as technological innovation transforms healthcare. According to the NCES, the 4,818 undergraduate degrees in general biomedical science given from 2018 to 2019 indicate a 173% growth over the 1,633 degrees awarded ten years earlier.

4. Biology

For many students who desire to: Biology and the biological sciences are most common college majors.

  • enroll in a medical school.
  • Turn into a pharmacist.
  • Take up physical therapy.
  • Biological research is done.

5. Psychology

An undergraduate background in psychology could be your first step toward a job as a psychologist or counselor, according to the American Psychological Association. It can also lead to roles in business, marketing, communications, and criminal justice.

A female student is being counseled by a female psychologist

6. History

Compared to ten years ago, fewer students are majoring in history in college. In comparison to 34,441 in 2007–2008, the NCES reported that 23,169 undergraduate degrees were granted in 2018–2019.

Even so, in 2022, history is still a well-liked major. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay for professionals in the history field was $63,940, while the median annual pay for those employed by the federal government was $101,910.

7. Engineering

Engineering, whose overall median compensation was $79,840 according to the BLS, is one of the college majors with the best return on investment. Engineering is the practice of creating answers to various problems using mathematical and scientific ideas. In this discipline, critical thinking abilities are essential!

8. Communications

you’re wondering which college majors are best, consider communications, which is one of the most successful college majors. Every subject, whether technical, artistic, philosophical, or practical, can benefit from this soft ability.

9. Criminal Justice

Studies in safety, law enforcement administration, police science, and corrections are all included in the field of criminal justice. According to the NCES, almost 50,000 degrees in these fields of criminal justice study were granted overall by American universities.

An unidentified male wearing a black suit sitting at a table holding a pen and paper with a gavel in front of him

10. Computer Science

Consider majoring in computer science if you’ve ever wanted to build artificial intelligence systems, make video games and software applications, or develop computer security solutions.

Those are the first ten most common college majors. Continue reading to learn more.

11. Political Science

Political science students learn about: political theory; the American government system; foreign relations; and the global political economy. To the uninformed, politics may seem like an incomprehensible game.

12. Economics

The study of economics involves more than just money. According to U.S. News & World Report, economics is instead concerned with the analysis of all forms of resource-related human decision-making.

13. Social Sciences

The social sciences combine scientific curiosity with social world concerns.  Societies and social structures are studied using scientific concepts in the social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology.

14. Art

Thousands of students in the United States graduate with four-year degrees in art each year, despite the stereotype of the starving artist. Schools provide degrees in fine and studio arts in creative visual media like drawing, painting, ceramic arts, sculpture, and weaving.

a female student painting

15. Environmental Science

If information is power, then understanding environmental science offers you the ability to influence how environmental protection is practiced in the future. According to the NCES, 6,697, college students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in environmental science during the 2018–2019 academic year.

16. Information Technology

Information technology (IT), which focuses on using computers to address the requirements and issues of businesses and organizations, differs from other computer-focused disciplines in this way.

17. The Study of Religion

According to the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans who responded to surveys in 2020 indicated that they belonged to a particular religion. By majoring in religious studies, you can learn more about religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

18. Music

Years of practice are required to master an instrument. You can decide to pursue a Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Arts in music if you put an emphasis on the arts in college. In general music, 7,292 degrees were granted in 2018–2019, according to the NCES.

19. Physics

Physics is a discipline of science that involves a lot of arithmetic and studies the elements of matter, forces, and laws that make up the universe. According to the NCES, 7, 380 college students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in physics during the 2018–2019 academic year.

20. Education

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of teachers because they mold the knowledge of future generations. According to the NCES, colleges awarded 83,946 bachelor’s degrees in the field of education overall in 2018–2019, making it one of the most common college majors.

a group of communications major students studying together

Those are the next set of the most common college majors. Continue reading to learn more.

21. English

Reading and writing enthusiasts are still enthusiastic despite the false belief that an English degree is useless for obtaining a living. From 2018 to 2019, American students earned 39, 335 degrees in English language and literature, according to the NCES.

22. Legal Studies

Anyone who wishes to work in the legal field, whether as a paralegal, probation or law enforcement officer, attorney, or judge, may find a degree in legal studies to be appealing. A bachelor’s degree in legal studies gives students a strong background in both civil and criminal law and helps them learn how to do legal research and write.

23. Architecture

The field of architecture is concerned with the aesthetically pleasing and practical design of buildings and other structures. The fifth year of study is necessary for Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree programs since students spend so much time in the design studio “learning by doing.” They also research how the environment, structure, and building systems influence architectural design.

24. Culinary Arts

Foodies thrive in culinary arts programs that teach them the techniques for creating healthy and delectable meals. Although associate’s degree programs in culinary arts are more prevalent (and well-liked) than bachelor’s degree programs, earning an undergraduate degree in the field is especially beneficial if you wish to work as a head chef or in a restaurant.

25. Pharmacological Sciences

After receiving an undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences, you won’t be eligible to become a licensed pharmacist, but if you decide to pursue Ph.D. training, that is one route to go. Graduates in pharmaceutical sciences frequently work in the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development division.

Highest paying college majors

You might be interested in discovering the highest-paying college majors aside from knowing the most common college majors.

1. Miscellaneous Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $60,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $85,000
  • Rate of unemployment: 4.3%
  • Rate of underemployment: 29.4%
  • 1% of those with graduate degrees

Other engineering majors that are not categorized by the National Center for Education Statistics fall under the umbrella category of miscellaneous engineering. Engineering in the field of renewable energy is one example of such a major. Regardless of the exact field, engineering students will acquire significant analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities that may be applied in a range of work environments. For statistics on more specialized engineering degrees, keep reading.

2. Civil Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $60,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $90,000.
  • Rate of unemployment: 1.9%
  • Rate of underemployment: 17.5%
  • 7% of those with graduate degrees

The most frequent connections between civil engineering and public works include sewage, water, and transportation systems. Students who pursue a civil engineering bachelor’s degree can acquire the mathematical and scientific ideas necessary for planning, implementing, and sustaining public infrastructure projects from our civil engineering teachers. Only 1.9 percent of people who work in civil engineering are unemployed.

3. General Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $60,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $88,000
  • 0% unemployment rate
  • Rate of underemployment: 23.5%
  • 2% of those with graduate degrees

It is possible to major in general engineering, while the majority of students who pursue engineering pick a specialty like mechanical engineering or computer engineering. Students who enroll in a general engineering degree learn scientific and mathematical concepts that can be applied to resolve technical issues in a variety of industries, including technology, building, public works, and business. The early career median wage of $60,000 is $60,000 more than the early career median wage for all bachelor’s degree holders. Apart from this being one of the most common college majors, it is also highly paid.

4. Computer Science

  • Early career median salary: $62,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $95,000
  • Rate of unemployment: 4.7%
  • Rate of underemployment: 23.5%
  • 3% of those with graduate degrees

A female computer science student working in front of her laptop Computer science, as its name suggests, is the study of computer logic and programming. Students in this subject concentrate mostly on software theory and development. Students majoring in computer science (we have the greatest tutors) frequently land jobs as network administrators, software developers, and programmers.

5. Mechanical Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $63,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $98,000
  • Rate of unemployment: 4.3%
  • Rate of underemployment: 21.0%
  • 0% of those with graduate degrees

Mechanical engineering, the most common engineering major, teaches engineering, physics, arithmetic, and materials science fundamentals for the creation, use, and upkeep of machines. Students in mechanical engineering gain knowledge of how energy-using equipment like HVAC, typical home appliances, and elevators operate as well as energy-producing equipment like generators, internal combustion engines, and turbines. Students who major in this field have a good chance of becoming mechanical engineers, nuclear engineers, or materials engineers (interested in hiring a mechanical engineering tutor?).

6. Industrial Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $64,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $87,000
  • 4% unemployment rate
  • Rate of underemployment: 17.3%
  • 7% of those with graduate degrees

Industrial engineering involves several different disciplines. Advanced mathematics and science are used in this major to develop systems and procedures that will increase the integration and efficiency of people, materials, natural resources, information, and energy. Applied mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, engineering, systems design, and computer science are typically included in the curriculum. A career as a quality engineer, operations analyst, or industrial engineer is possible with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

7. Aerospace Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $64,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $100,000
  • Rate of unemployment: 4.1%
  • Rate of underemployment: 26.8%
  • 9% of those with graduate degrees.

The principal discipline for the design and manufacture of airplanes and spacecraft is aerospace engineering. To comprehend the mechanics of flight and the process of managing air and spacecraft, students in this field are likely to take a variety of science courses, including chemistry, physics, arithmetic, and computer programming. Typically, this major prepares students for professions in aerospace engineering or spaceship design. This makes it one of the most common college majors.

8. Electrical Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $65,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $100,000
  • Rate of unemployment: 4.6%
  • Rate of underemployment: 22.3%
  • 8% of those with graduate degrees

two electrical engineers working together

Students in electrical engineering learn how to create and transport energy by using electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. Students who study this field frequently end up as electrical engineers who are capable of performing electrical work on a large or small scale. Microchips and electrical power generation systems are two examples of the types of systems that electrical engineers can work on.

9. Computer Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $65,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $106,000
  • 5% unemployment rate
  • Rate of underemployment: 20.1%
  • 9% of those with graduate degrees

Computer engineering is best described as the meeting point of computer science and electrical engineering, whereas computer science is mainly concerned with data storage and processing. Students in this major learn how to create computer hardware and software systems, from tiny microprocessors to massive supercomputers. The major of computer engineering has the highest mid-career median pay on this list, coming in at $106,000.

10. Chemical Engineering

  • Early career median salary: $68,000
  • Mid-career median salary: $103,000
  • 6% unemployment rate
  • Rate of underemployment: 21.6%
  • 8% of those with graduate degrees

Chemical engineering has the highest median early career income at $68,000. Chemical engineering programs teach undergraduates how to effectively create, alter, and transport chemicals, materials, and energy using the principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology. High-level technical ideas on chemical reactors, kinetic systems, energy conservation procedures, heat and mass transfer systems, and fluid mechanics will be covered in the chemical engineering major’s coursework.

We can assist if you are certain of the college major you want to enroll in, even though it’s part of the most common college majors, but unsure of how to go about doing so. With more than a decade of experience assisting kids like you in getting into the institutions of their dreams, AdmissionSight is a top college entry specialist.

We concentrate on providing a variety of services that are all designed to assist students in polishing their applications so that admissions personnel will take notice of them. To arrange a free consultation to find out more about what we provide, get in touch with us right away.






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