What Are the Most Common College Majors in the U.S.?

It might seem like there are as many college majors available as there are universities and colleges to choose from. Keep reading to get some help with choosing a major, and learn about the most popular college majors in the United States.

Popular U.S. College Majors

If you're applying to bachelor's degree programs and haven't picked a major yet, you're not alone. According to CollegeBoard.com, many undergraduates enter college and even start their schooling as undeclared, which means they haven't chosen a major. Nearly all majors require completion of general education and prerequisite courses, which you can take during your freshman and sophomore years.

If you haven't decided on your college major, you might consider some of the common college majors. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, www.nces.ed.gov), in the 2011-2012 school year, the top bachelor's degree majors were in order as follows:

  • Business (367,000 out of 1,791,000)
  • Social sciences and history (179,000 out of 1,791,000)
  • Health professions and related programs (163,000 out of 1,791,000)
  • Education (106,000 out of 1,791,000)

Let's take a look at three of these categories - business, healthcare and education.

Important Facts About the Most Common College Majors

Common Courses Finance, accounting, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, education psychology, classroom management
Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent; SAT or ACT scores
Online Availability Fully available
Continuing Education Master's and doctoral degrees available

Business

According to the NCES, 20.5% of all U.S. undergraduates majored in business during the 2011-2012 academic year. If you choose to study business, you can specialize in a number of fields, including accounting, management, marketing, economics, finance, real estate or entrepreneurship. CollegeBoard.com anticipated that accounting, auditing, construction management and market research analyst jobs would be among the most available in the 2008-2018 decade.

Healthcare

The NCES reported that almost 9% of undergraduate students in the U.S. chose a major in a healthcare field during the 2011-2012 year. According to the American Nurses Association, the shortage of nurses in the U.S. should reach its highest point in 2022, with approximately 1.1 million available job openings (www.nursingworld.org). Similarly, the American Medical Association estimated a shortfall of 91,500 doctors by 2020 (www.ama-assn.org).

Bachelor's degree programs can help you pursue careers in community health, clinical research, healthcare management and psychology.

Education

According to the NCES, about 5.9% of all U.S. undergraduates declared an education major in the 2011-2012 school year. CollegeBoard.com estimated that there would be 597,000 openings for elementary school teachers, 251,000 openings for middle school teachers and 412,000 openings for secondary school teachers between 2008 and 2018.

Since you need to be familiar with the subject you plan to teach, many schools offer combined programs that include a major area of study with teacher training. You also have the option of earning a bachelor's degree in your chosen subject, which will usually add a fifth year to your schooling.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Georgetown University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Loyola University New Orleans

    Loyola University New Orleans responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Loyola University New Orleans:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master
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  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Seton Hall University

    Seton Hall University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Seton Hall University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Widener University

    Widener University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Widener University:

    • Master
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  • University of Saint Mary

    University of Saint Mary responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Saint Mary:

    • Master
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    Online Programs Available

  • Saint John's University

    Saint John's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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