When it comes to college majors, a student has many, many options. There are thousands of individual majors out there, and with all those choices it’s hard to know where to go. So how do you choose? Well, it could be that students are following their passions; however, practicality and demand are definitely factors in choosing a major. So which majors do students prefer? Here is a list of the most popular college majors and fields of study.

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice is the study of criminology–crime and criminals. Criminal justice majors learn about criminological theory, criminal psychology, and the criminal justice system. Some Criminal Justice topics included in this major are Public Safety and Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Social Work.

Average Salary in Criminal Justice: $29/Hour, $59.8K/Year

Popular Careers in Criminal Justice:

  • Lawyer
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Corrections

Best Colleges for Criminal Justice:

  1. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  2. Liberty University
  3. University of California – Irvine
  4. Florida State University
  5. Northeastern University

Anthropology and Sociology

Anthropology is the study of human beings and our development of society and culture. Anthropology majors focus on the histories of our societies and the roots of our cultural traditions and functions. Degree topics include Archaeology, Social/Cultural Anthropology, Biological/Physical Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology.

Average Anthropology Major Salary: $31/Hour, $63.7K/Year

Popular Careers in Anthropology:

  • Attorney
  • Diversity Officer
  • Foreign Language Teacher
  • Foreign Science Officer
  • Human Resources Representative

Sociology is the study of our social lives as humans. They seek to understand the impact the social world has on our behavior and the impact our behavior has on the social world, considering and investigating problems and circumstances in our social world. Sociologists can study health, marriage, sexuality, education, social inequalities, and much more.

Average Salary for Sociology Majors: $40.10/Hour, $83.4K/Year

Popular Careers in Sociology:

  • Education
  • Social Work
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Business
  • Politics / Public Relations

Best Colleges for Anthropology and Sociology:

  • Yale University
  • Harvard University
  • Columbia University
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Pomona College

Finance & Accounting

Finance & Accounting majors focus on financial planning, investment decisions, financial reporting, and more. Finance & Accounting majors will learn about different parts of the financial world, like predicting future financial performance. Fields include Sports Accounting, Forensic Accounting, Corporate Finance, Personal Financial Planning, and Auditing Information Technology

Average Salary in Finance & Accounting: $24.18/Hour, $63.9K/Year

Popular Careers in Finance & Accounting:

  • Accounting
  • Finance Analysis
  • Investment Management
  • Investment Banking
  • Business

Best Colleges for Finance & Accounting:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Georgetown University
  3. University of Notre Dame
  4. Washington University in St. Louis
  5. Boston College

Communications

Communications majors study techniques and methods of best communicating information. These majors learn how to research and interpret information, using what they’ve learned to communicate said information most effectively. Communications majors might go into Interpersonal Communication, Film Studies, or Strategic Communication, to name a few.

Average Salary in Communications: $30/Hour, $62.4K/Year

Popular Careers in Communications:

  • Journalism
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Digital Broadcasting
  • Customer Service

Best Colleges for Communications:

  1. Northwestern University
  2. University of Southern California
  3. Stanford University
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. Pomona College

Education

Education majors study teaching, in theory and practice. Education majors learn to help their students understand their chosen subjects through techniques and engagement. Education majors can go on to teach K-12, vocational training, foreign language, and so on.

Average Salary in Education: $17.11/Hour, $52.5K/Year (with a Bachelor in Education)

Popular Careers in Education:

  • High School Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • College Education Administration
  • Teacher’s Assistant
  • Vocation Education Teacher

Best Colleges for Education:

  1. Vanderbilt University
  2. Brown University
  3. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  4. Boston College
  5. Brigham Young University

Engineering

Engineering majors focus on how things work, and how to make them work better. This major studies real-world problem solving and the improvement of our world. Engineering is another extensive field, with interesting options like Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering

Average Salary in Engineering: $42.01/Hour, $87.4K/Year

Popular Careers in Engineering:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering

Best Colleges for Engineering:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  2. Stanford University
  3. California Institute of Technology
  4. Rice University
  5. Princeton University

Biology

Biology is the scientific study of living organisms, like you and I. These majors seek to understand how these organisms function, what their role is, and what characteristics they have. Biology majors who are more interested in animals can study specifications include Zoology (the study of animal life), Botany (the study of plant life), Marine Biology (the study of marine life, and Ecology (environmental studies). 

Average Salary in Biology: $32/Hour, $65.9K/Year

Popular Careers in Biology:

  • Microbiology
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Healthcare
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Biology Teacher / Professor

Top Colleges for Biology:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Yale University
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  5. Duke University

Psychology

Psychology majors study human behavior and the inner working of the mind. These majors strive to understand why people think and behave the way they do, and how internal and external factors affect this. The field of psychology is broad, giving these majors plenty of options, like clinical psychology, child and family psychology, and counseling.

Average Salary in Psychology: $19.6/Hour, $40.8K/Year

Popular Careers in Psychology:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology Technician

Best Colleges for Psychology:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Yale University
  3. Harvard University
  4. Vanderbilt University
  5. Rice University

Nursing

Nursing majors study healthcare and the practical use of medical knowledge. The majors learn how to navigate healthcare settings, interact with patients, and assess and react to the situations they might encounter. A nursing degree can create options like Registered Nursing, Administration, and Health Departments.

Average Salary in Nursing: $37.24/Hour, $77.5K/Year

Popular Careers in Nursing:

  • Registered Nursing
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Nursing Assisting
  • Progressive Care Nursing
  • Human Resources

Top Colleges for Nursing:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • University of Rochester

Business & Management

Business & Management majors study the components of management and business operations. These majors are taught the aspects of business and management, preparing them for critical thinking and decision making. Business and management majors will come to understand accounting, economics, business ethics, and other areas of business.

Average Salary in Business & Management: $28/Hour, $58.3K/Year

Popular Careers in Business & Management

  • Sales Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Financial Analysis
  • Business Analysis
  • Personal Banking

Top Colleges for Business:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Sources

  1. Trachta, Ali. “The Most Popular College Majors.” Niche. Niche.com Inc, 2019. Web. 18 June, 2019.
  2. Franek, Rob. “Top 10 College Majors.” The Princeton Review. TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC, 2020. Web.
  3. Popular College Degrees and Programs.” MatchCollege. MatchCollege.com, 2020. Web.
  4. Grudo, Gideon. “The 10 Best College Degrees to Get a Job.” Debt.com. Debt.com, LLC., 2020. Web.

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