It seems that the most popular majors sought by college students hasn’t changed much through the years. This list was complied in 2014, yet in 2017, these majors are still in the top ten.
The following list is comprised of the most popular college majors in the U.S. Nearly all of them are broad majors that give students many options upon graduating while at the same time teaching them critical skills necessary in the workforce.
This article is written with data sourced from College Factual, with salary data provided by PayScale.
Students who enroll as history majors know that studying the past can help them make wise decisions in the present. Students learn valuable critical thinking and research skills through analyzing past events and drawing connections to pressing issues of today.
History is a broad major, but students can choose to specialize in a specific era or location. This major prepares students for a wide variety of career options including research, teaching, politics, law, marketing and communications. The average starting salary of history majors with only bachelor’s degrees is $36,900, and average mid-career salaries are about $65,500.
9. ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
English is often scoffed at as an impractical major, however it remains one of the ten most popular degrees for good reason. The study of English teaches students to become great writers, thinkers and communicators – skills that are in-demand at many work places.
English majors generally have a wide array of options when it comes to where they want to work, and many graduates go into education, writing, marketing, advertising or public relations. English majors with only bachelor’s degrees report average starting salaries of $36,200 and mid-career salaries of $63,500.
8. LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES, GENERAL STUDIES AND HUMANITIES
A general Liberal Arts and Sciences major allows students to study many different subjects of interest to them, including biology, environmental science, political theory, math, art, communications and more. This purpose of this major is to give students a broad understanding of many different subjects and teach them to make connections and draw conclusions through research and study.
Graduates will have to forge their own career path, and they can end up in many different fields, including business, law, education, journalism, and entrepreneurship. The average starting salary for a Liberal Arts & Sciences grad is $36,500, and average mid-career salaries are $61,300.
Accounting is an excellent major for students who enjoy math and statistics. Students will study business finance, accounting technology and tax law. This prepares them for a career as an accountant in a variety of large or small business, as well as public institutions. Graduates can also work independently as a private accountant.
In order to practice accounting, most will have to become certified in their state. Graduates may also choose to continue their education with a master’s degree or work in other related fields of business, finance or entrepreneurship. The average starting salary for an accounting graduate is $44,500 and the average mid-career salary is $75,100
6. CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONS
Criminal Justice and Corrections is an obvious choice for students with an interest in the law and the American justice system. This major can be the gateway to a career as a police officer, law enforcement agent or private detective, as well as the stepping stone to a graduate degree in law, criminal justice, public administration or psychology.
The average starting salary of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is $35,300, and the average mid-career salary is $59,200
5. TEACHER EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SPECIFIC LEVELS AND METHODS
Those who pursue a major in Teacher Education and Professional Development usually choose to concentrate on a specific level such as elementary, secondary, special education or adult education. These students are trained to be teachers and take classes in education theory and philosophy, child psychology and development, as well as classes related to the subject they have an interest in. To complete their degrees, most students will also gain first-hand experience by working in a classroom as a student-teacher. Some states require teachers to also achieve a master’s degree.
College Factual is not able to report salary information on this specific major. The type of salary teachers make can vary depending on the subject and grade level they choose to specialize in, as well as what area of the country they end up teaching in. Students who graduate with the related major of general education report average starting salaries of $33,800. Unfortunately, education is one of the lower paying majors.
4. GENERAL BIOLOGY
Biology is a fascinating area of study that has long been a favorite for college students. This major allows students to study the building blocks of life as they take classes in biochemistry, evolution, genetics, microbiology, plant anatomy and zoology.
Biology is an excellent major to prepare graduates for advanced study. Many biology majors end up achieving a master’s or Ph.D. in order to become medical doctors, physician’s assistants, veterinarians, educators or researchers. Options for those with a bachelor’s in biology are quite broad, and many graduates pursue careers as lab technicians, teachers, research assistants, and technical writers, or they could work in marketing or sales for pharmaceutical companies or food science industries.
Graduates who majored in biology report average starting salaries of $37,500 and mid-career salaries of $68,700.
Many students flock to a nursing major as it prepares students for a practical and in-demand career. Students are able to learn about fascinating topics in human health and medicine as well as prepare for a job in which they can have direct influence on others by caring for their health and physical needs. This area of study involves many classes in science, anatomy, and public health, as well as a certain amount of hours spent gaining first-hand experience in the field.
Nursing is one of the top paying bachelor’s degrees with graduates reporting average starting salaries of $53,300 and mid-career salaries of $70,100. Those who wish to expand their options in this field can also pursue a master’s degree.
2. GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology involves the scientific study of the human mind, as well as human behavior. Students take classes in subjects like personality, learning, cognition, behavior, development, abnormal psychology and more. This is another broad major that can be a foundation for many careers as well as further areas of study. Those who desire to become a licensed counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist will need to pursue advanced degrees.
Options for those with a bachelor’s degree are quite broad, and psychology majors often find themselves in careers in education, research, advertising or marketing, public health, politics or business. The average starting salary for those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology is $34,700, with average mid-career salaries of $60,200.
1.BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT
Thousands of students enroll as business majors every year in order to learn how to effectively run and manage a business. Students take classes in business administration, purchasing and logistics, marketing, accounting, finance and human resources. Their coursework also helps them to develop crucial skills such as decision making, leadership and management.
A major in business prepares graduates for a variety of different careers in management, marketing, sales, advertising, financial analysis or entrepreneurship. Some students also choose to continue their education with a Master’s in Business Administration. Those with just a bachelor’s degree report average starting salaries of $41,200 and mid-career salaries of $70,700.
Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)