The Most Popular Majors Among College Students: Why They’re Trending

Source: stacker.com

In the 2020-21 academic year, 3.1 million students received undergraduate degrees in the United States. This included 1 million associate’s degrees and 2.1 million bachelor’s degrees.

Furthermore, female students received the majority of these degrees.

Niche analyzed responses from 935,830 students graduating from high school in 2022 or 2023, providing an update on intended college majors.

These findings highlight the attractiveness of certain fields for students seeking higher education.

In this article, let us explore all the different major subjects that trended in the last few years and why.

Popular Major Subjects That College Students Select

Popular Major Subjects That College Students Select

Given below are some of the most popular major subjects selected by college students over the previous few years.

1. Business

Business is one of the most popular college majors in the U.S. The country awarded nearly 1 in 5 bachelor’s degrees in business in the academic year 2020-21.

Moreover, business major programs focus on fundamental business principles and practices. Therefore, it enables students to start their firms instead of finding a service job.

However, students often study multidisciplinary concepts to develop the following strengths:

Moreover, many pursue an online MBA after a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

The median annual salary is $76,850, and the job growth rate is 5.5%.

Common specializations in business majors include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business administration
  • Business intelligence
  • International business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business management

2. Health And Care

Source: floridacareercollege.edu

Nursing became one of the most popular health profession majors in the post-pandemic world. However, the number of students applying to these courses nearly doubled in the last decade.

Other popular majors in the nursing and healthcare sector include the following:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech pathology
  • Public health
  • Music therapy

Health majors, such as nursing, public health, and health science, are also popular for undergrads.

While many high-paying jobs in health care require credentials beyond a bachelor’s degree, a bachelor’s degree can start a career in health.

Entry-level jobs after graduating with one of these degrees include the following:

  • Registered nurses
  • Health care administrators
  • Nutritionists
  • Public health researchers
  • Clinical lab technicians
  • Exercise physiologists

3. History And Social Sciences

The number of degree-seekers in social sciences has remained consistent over the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

These interdisciplinary majors study the following niches:

  • Societal systems
  • Construction of societies and cultures
  • Operation and interaction between different cultures

These students get an education through subjects like:

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Environmental studies
  • Political science
  • Sociology

Moreover, with social sciences, paper submissions and thesis writing also play a major role. Therefore, students often get help from essay writing service to find success in these fields.

The entry-level social science and history jobs include:

  • Public policy analyst
  • Legal assistant
  • Community health worker
  • Economic analyst
  • Market researcher

The field of social sciences confers degrees to 7.9% of graduates, who earn a median salary of $64,000. However, graduates with degrees in life, physical, and social sciences earn a median annual salary of $74,330.

In 2020-21, colleges awarded 160,800 social sciences and history degrees. Furthermore, almost 1 in 10 students in the country majored in this field.

Social sciences programs offer a liberal arts education, developing analytical, communication, and leadership skills while preparing students for various career paths.

4. Engineering

Source: kaplan.com

The median annual salary for architecture and engineering jobs in May 2022 was $83,700, with a job growth rate of 6% from 2022-32.

Common specializations in this field include the following:

  • Chemical
  • Electronics
  • Industrial
  • Civil
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Nuclear science
  • Aerospace
  • Biomedical
  • Materials science
  • Petroleum or fuel engineering

According to speculations, the demand for engineers will rise due to the expansion of renewable energy markets.

In 2020-21, around 126,000 students earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, with programs focusing on the following soft skills:

  • Project management expertise
  • Graphical communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Math models

In 2022, almost three times as many American teens opted to major in engineering as 50 years ago.

The number of engineering degrees awarded by U.S. colleges has risen annually since the turn of the millennium.

5. Psychology

Source: online-psychology-degrees.org

Psychology is a popular major among American college students, with 119,968 bachelor’s degrees conferred.

While advanced degrees are required for counselors and psychologists, many graduates pursue alternative careers in the following fields:

  • Sales
  • Business
  • Healthcare
  • Management

Psychology is a social science. However, it is a standalone category that is worth considering. Its programs nurture transferable skills, broadening career possibilities.

Many psychology students pursue a master’s degree or more to become psychologists or psychiatrists.

Entry-level jobs with a psychology degree include the following:

  • Case manager
  • Counselor
  • Human resources coordinator
  • Market researcher
  • Research Assistant

The social sciences category ranks second overall on this list.

6. Computer Science

Source: clarkson.edu

In 2020-21, 104,874 bachelor’s degrees in computer and information sciences were awarded by colleges and universities.

These programs cover topics like:

  • Information theory
  • Operating system fundamentals
  • Programming
  • Data structures

The popularity of computer and information sciences saw an 8.7% year-over-year growth, making it the highest-demand major among employers.

The median salary for computer science majors is $85,000. The major’s growth could be related to employer demand, as it sits just behind the business as the most in-demand major among employers.

Entry-level computer science jobs include:

  • Software developer
  • Computer support specialist
  • Information security analyst
  • Web developer

The median salary for computer and information science majors is $85,000. Therefore, the popularity of this major has continued to grow over the past several years, owing to the high pay.

7. Journalism

Source: aikenhouse.com

The field of journalism has evolved significantly with the rise of the internet and social media, but the number of students pursuing journalism degrees has yet to.

Moreover, for over two decades, a significant number of young people have earned the following degrees in this field:

  • Journalism
  • Communications
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • The median salary for these degrees is $54,000

Moreover, communication majors focus on information sharing. However, it shares common areas of study, such as general communications, journalism, and mass media.

Last Note

Deciding on your major subject early on can help you get a head start. You can prepare for the rigorous coursework and specialized training that these majors require.

Some schools allow internal transfers as students progress through their collegiate careers.

However, most students are “undecided” upon entering college, as exploring coursework in various disciplines will help them make a clearer choice.

Major trends represent changing student preferences and priorities, and college administrators should consider looking for related programs on the rise to reach students who would be a good fit.

Therefore, to prepare for 2024, consider our list and your interest. Take the steps that will suit your future the best!