Most Popular College Majors

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: February 21, 2022  •  8 min read  •  College
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When it’s time to go off to college, it’s a good idea to know the most popular college majors. If you’re not sure what you want to do, a popular major might be for you. Often, the most popular majors are based on the potential of a job and high salary after graduation.

Before you choose your college major, consider what it will lead to. There are plenty of jobs out there, but which sectors are they found in and what degree do you need? Let’s look at some of the most popular college majors to help you choose your major.

Popular College Majors

10 Most Popular College Majors to Consider

1. Business

College majors found within the business sector are the most popular. These majors tend to top the list of the most popular college majors regularly. The high median annual salary, the steady job growth rate, and the many things you can do with a business degree make it one of the top college majors.

Within business, you can major in many different things including:

All of these specializations are offered under the business major. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2018 to 2019, nearly 20% of the degrees earned were business majors.

If you choose to major in business, you can enjoy a median annual salary of more than $72K per year. This area has an expected growth rate of about 8% over the next ten years, as well.

2. Healthcare

Another hugely popular college major is anything found in healthcare. This type of college major has a high median annual salary of nearly $70K and a much higher than average job growth rate of about 16%.

With an aging population, there is a huge need for many professionals in the healthcare field. There are many different specializations to choose from including:

You can choose any of these specific fields and earn a nice starting salary. Programs, such as a nurse practitioner program, may also require clinical practice within this field. Most healthcare programs will cover basic anatomy, physiology, wellness, and other health topics.

3. Engineering

One of the most popular college majors is engineering. There are several specializations in this field. You can earn a very high median annual salary of more than $83K per year with this major. This high salary is for architecture and engineering jobs, which are also expected to grow by about 6% over the next ten years.

Some of the most common specializations within the engineering major include:

All of these specialties offer nice salaries for entry-level positions. They also provide the right skills to go into a very solid career.

4. Psychology

Another popular college major with a very high median annual salary is Psychology. This major comes with an average salary of more than $82K per year. It has a decent job growth rate, too, at about 8%.

Around 6% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2018 – 2019 were in Psychology. The coursework will teach you about statistical analysis, research methods, and cognitive processes. You will also need to complete a graduate degree program with supervised clinical experiences. Generally, you will need a doctorate to go into psychology.

Some of the common specializations include:

Once you complete your degree program, you can go into several different psychology careers. Most students will choose the area they prefer to go into as they enter their graduate program.

5. Computer and Information Sciences

The highest median salary on the list of the most popular college degrees is found with this major. You can earn a salary of around $91K in one of these specializations. This popular major also has an expected job growth rate of about 13% over the next ten years.

Common specializations found in this college major include:

All of these majors offer a great option for those looking to go into technology. You can learn programming languages, information theory, operating system fundamentals, data structures, and more, within these majors.

6. Social Sciences and History

While the median annual salary isn’t as high as some of the other popular college degrees, it’s still nearly $70k for this major. Social Sciences and History is a very popular major. About one in ten students will earn a degree in this major.

Some of the common specializations include:

All of these specializations are very popular and offer great options. Most social science programs are found in a liberal arts college.

7. Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Another very popular college major with a very high salary, biological and biomedical sciences are very popular. If you become a biochemist or biophysicist, you can earn an average salary of about $94K per year. Those going into other biological science fields still have a median annual salary of about $85K per year.

These degrees have increased by about 35% since 2010-2011. Undergraduate biology programs cover ecology, cell biology, and genetics in many of the undergraduate programs. Some of the popular specialties for this major include:

You can go into any of these majors and earn a very nice salary after graduation.

8. Communication

This popular college major has been popular for a very long time. Communication covers a ton of areas including journalism. The median annual salary is about $61K and there is a pretty high job growth rate at about 14%.

Within this major, there are several specializations including:

These majors offer students plenty of opportunities with a communication degree.

9. Education

Of course, education is a popular college major. It has been for decades since there is always a need for teachers. The median annual salary in education is just over $52K. This major offers many specialties including:

Within these programs, you will learn how to design a curriculum, support your students, and manage classrooms. It’s necessary to complete a teaching degree and a year of student teaching before you can work as a teacher.

The salary you earn will depend on the type of teaching you go into. If you go into preschool, you will earn a lower salary compared to middle school and high school teachers. The highest salaries for teachers are paid to college professors.

10. Visual and Performing Arts

The lowest median annual salary for the ten most popular college majors is found in visual and performing arts. You can still earn a salary of nearly $50K with this major, however. It has an average job growth rate just below that of all occupations.

While it’s not necessarily the best major for getting a job right after graduation, visual and performing arts is still rather popular. About 89,700 students earned bachelor’s degrees in this area of study in 2018-2019.

The most common specialties within this college major include:

There are many very popular majors found within this category.

Why Choose One of the Most Popular College Majors?

Many students might wonder why they should choose one of the most popular college majors? There are many reasons to choose one of these majors, but they aren’t for every student. Some of these majors won’t do much for you unless you go on to graduate school, while others will.

Choosing a popular college major usually means you will have a better chance of landing a higher-paying job after college. Popular majors often become popular due to a need in the job market. This isn’t always the case, but more often than not, the most popular college majors reflect the needs in the job market.

For example, healthcare majors are very popular right now. This is due to the rising need for healthcare professionals. An aging population requires more workers in this field, but it might not last forever.

You shouldn’t choose one of the most popular college majors just because it’s popular, though. It’s important to consider all the factors and what you really want to do with your life. Don’t go into a field because it’s popular or because of the promise of a high-paying job. Instead, choose a college major that will lead you to a career you will enjoy.

However, if the major you truly want happens to be one of the most popular options, it can be helpful. You’ll likely earn a higher salary and find a job faster/easier after graduation.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.