When you attend a university in the United States, what will you study? Your subject choice (called your “major”) is an important decision that can help shape your university experience and your future career. Universities and colleges offer many options for majors, but there are a few that are far more popular than others. Here are the most common majors at U.S. universities, according to CNBC.
Most Common Majors at U.S. Universities
About 19% of all students in the United States are business majors. Why is this major so common? An education in business is practical because business can be applied to many jobs and industries. There is always a high demand for business majors, and starting salaries can be quite high. There is also the opportunity to pursue an MBA to specialize in a particular field (and potentially make more money).
The term “business” is quite broad: business majors can choose to specialize in an aspect related to business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, or human resources. If you do not know what career path you want to take, a business major is a wise choice. As you learn more about business, you may find the field that fits your personality and goals, then select your specialization based on your needs. Of course, there is always the potential to start your own business!
#2: Health sciences
Majors related to health (like nursing) are the fastest growing in the United States. About 11% of students are a health sciences major.
Why is this degree so popular? Like a business degree, a degree in health sciences can prepare you for many different jobs. It’s an excellent choice if you are interested in health but not sure exactly what you want to do after you graduate.
Also, as with business, a health science degree can be very specialized: health science majors can work for public and private companies, non-profits, and in public health administration. You can specialize in health technology, in research, or in public service.
#3: Social sciences/history
Social sciences and history majors are 9% of the U.S. college student population. Social sciences include studies about the institutions of a society and how they shape human behavior. Social sciences are broad and include subjects such as anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, women’s studies, and communications.
As with business and health sciences, a social science degree offers a variety of career options. Non-profit administrators, teachers, writers, journalists, politicians, social workers, historians, and surveyors often choose this major as part of their career path.
Psychology majors make up 4% of the U.S. student population. Like the other majors on this list, psychology is a broad term that has many specializations. Psychology majors can choose in-depth study that prepares them for careers in clinical psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, and even sports psychology. The career paths are broad: psychologists can work in private practice, in public health, in education, and even work for businesses and organizations to help strengthen employee morale and wellbeing.
Another excellent reason to be a psychology major is that it helps you understand yourself. Psychology is the study of the mind, how it reacts to situations, and how to cope with these situations and challenges. When studying psychology, you are also learning a little more about yourself.
#5: Biological sciences
Biology focuses on the study of living organisms. A biological sciences degree can include specializations in molecular biology, environmental sciences, microbiology, and chemical biology. This can lead to careers in research and teaching in both the public and private sectors.
A biological sciences degree can also encompass biomedical sciences, which can include biochemistry, neuroscience, anatomy, genetics, physiology, pathology, and chemistry. The career options are wide for this degree, which perhaps is why about 5% of all majors are in the biological and biomedical sciences.
Engineering majors are 5% of the population. Students can choose general engineering degrees or specialize in certain types of engineering, such as aerospace and aeronautical engineering, industrial engineering, biomedical engineering, or civil engineering. Depending on your specialization, your career path will change, but one thing is certain with all degrees in engineering: your starting salary will likely be high, and you will have options when it comes to your career. The demand for engineers is projected to increase by about 9% in the coming years.
Before going to university, check out our posts that will help you with vocabulary related to university life: