What makes a college degree program “easy”? Is an easy degree one that requires little in the way of mathematics skills? Is it one that won’t have you spending hours upon hours in a laboratory, painstakingly measuring variables and drafting lab reports? How about a degree that doesn’t require a whole lot of memorization, writing or outside-the-box thinking?
To different people who have different strengths, which degrees really are “easiest” can vary quite a bit. If you’re naturally great with numbers, it may be a blank page or an assignment to sketch out a design, rather than a complicated math formula, that makes your stomach clench. However, to many students, the majors that require a great deal of scientific and mathematic equations or high-tech computer knowledge are among the most difficult. Degree programs that require less science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge are often viewed as easier programs of study.
To identify the easiest bachelor’s degrees, this article takes into account everything from flexibility of curriculum to graduating students’ GPAs. No major is completely easy, which is why students should also be aware of the hardest parts of their programs of study. Of course, when choosing a college degree to pursue, students need to consider the whole picture – including their own interests, career aspirations and strengths and weaknesses.
1. Liberal Arts
A liberal arts or liberal studies major equips students with a generalist education. When you study liberal arts, you’re cultivating a breadth of knowledge, rather than studying a single subject in great depth. Students in a liberal studies degree program will take courses in a variety of fields, including the humanities, history, communications, composition, social science, physical and life sciences and mathematics, according to U.S. News & World Report. However, they won’t spend the bulk of their college education studying complex and high-level scientific theories and mathematical formulas. Some liberal arts courses are interdisciplinary, which means that they combine components of multiple fields of study. As a liberal arts major, you might take classes such as perspectives on social institutions, development of scientific ideas, fundamentals of speech, religious and ethical values, advanced composition, transformative leadership, world views and values and perspectives on the humanities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Throughout your studies in various disciplines, you will strengthen your skills in critical thinking, communications, problem-solving and sound decision-making. These versatile skills, plus your general college-level knowledge of a variety of subjects, can prepare you for countless possible careers or fields of advanced study.
Liberal arts is one of the easiest online bachelor’s degrees you can attain because its generalist focus means that you won’t need to delve into the complexities of specialized knowledge in any one field. You will likely have to take at least some basic math and science courses, but you won’t have to study these subjects at the advanced – and most difficult – levels. In fact, because the courses you take in a liberal arts degree program are so general, your curriculum is likely to be much more flexible than many other degree programs. That means you have more freedom to choose your classes, and you don’t have to worry so much about sticking to a strict schedule to fit all of your required courses into four years of full-time study. However, even a flexible liberal arts degree program still poses challenges. Most liberal studies degrees offered online require students to commit to a major or concentration of some kind, so you will still need to learn more than just the fundamentals of at least one subject. Because your curriculum requires you to cultivate a breadth of knowledge, you need to be well-rounded. You can’t simply avoid the subjects that you are weakest in by studying your strongest subjects exclusively. Additionally, you’re likely to find the frequent “What are you going to do with a liberal arts degree?” question frustrating – even though this generalist program is versatile enough to prepare you for many different opportunities.
What Makes It Easy: Flexible curriculum and generalist focus
The Hardest Part: Performing well in every subject, developing strong “soft” skills, encountering a bias against liberal arts degrees
Career Opportunities: Scientist, sociologist, historian, economist, librarian, lawyer, real estate agent – and many more
If you want to share the gift of knowledge, then you might consider studying education. Students who major in education learn effective techniques for conveying academic information to audiences of different age groups as well as the strategies needed to manage a classroom. Typically, education majors have to choose an age group to focus on, such as early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education. You might also choose to study special education, which would prepare you for a career in teaching students who have developmental or learning disabilities of some kind. In an early childhood education degree program, you will study subjects such as typical and atypical child development, language development and learning through play, according to U.S. News & World Report. You will need to learn how to begin teaching very young children – like preschoolers – about the early stages of reading and writing as well as introducing them to subjects like science. Majoring in elementary education means learning how to teach students in kindergarten through fifth grade. You will take courses in classroom management, educational psychology and instructional strategies for teaching subjects like science, math, English and social studies at the elementary level. In a secondary education degree program, you will learn more about adolescent development and how to teach more advanced subject matter that will prepare students for life after graduation, whether that means college or a career. All education majors have to gain hands-on student teaching work as part of their degree requirements.
Both CBS News and The Huffington Post have listed education as one of the easiest college degrees you can earn. One factor they consider is grades. The easier the degree, the more likely a student is to attain good grades – or at least, that’s the idea behind the methodology. Education majors have the highest grades, with an average 3.36 GPA, while chemistry majors struggle more and earn an average GPA of just 2.78, according to CBS News. However, it’s possible that, rather than the subject matter being easier, students who major in teaching and learning happen to be good at the assignments and exams used to assess knowledge at the college level. Regardless, there’s certainly a general bias that taking courses such as learning through play and creative activities for young children means that the curriculum is simply not as rigorous as other degree programs. Students who major in other subjects often enviously give their peers who study education some grief over the time they spend creating classroom decorations or reading and reporting on children’s books. Of course, it’s not all fun and games. The student teaching requirement means you’ll basically spend a semester working full-time for free. At many schools, you’ll have to double major in another subject besides education, like science, math, history or English. That means meeting all of the demands of both programs of study. There are also tests you need to take to attain a teaching license – and once you finally do get started in your career, you’ll find that teaching a classroom full of high-energy children can be a demanding job.
What Makes It Easy: High grades on average, fun courses, creative projects
The Hardest Part: Hands-on student-teaching experience requirements, dual major requirements
Career Opportunities: Preschool teacher, kindergarten teacher, elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher or special education teacher
3. English Literature
When you major in English, you’re going to do a lot of reading and writing. English degree programs typically include studies in the composition of different kinds of written texts, the rhetoric used in crafting these texts, grammar and editing and the analysis of literature, according to U.S. News & World Report. You’re likely to spend time reading, analyzing and writing about English literature ranging from ancient texts to modern bestsellers. You will study different kinds of writing, including creative, persuasive and expository writing, according to U.S. News & World Report. In your literature classes, you will learn about literary theories and techniques of literary criticism. You should expect to read classic British and American literature, such as works by Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare, and be able to analyze these documents. Students who major in English literature should be prepared to take a foreign language (not English) as well as a variety of liberal arts courses to fulfill general education degree requirements.
Like education, English is a degree program in which students usually earn a high GPA, CBS News reported. To many critics, though, the good grades of English majors are only one of the factors that make the program seem easy. After all, if you’re a native English speaker, then you’ve already spent most of your life using the English language. You speak and write in English on a daily basis, often without even thinking about it. However, majoring in English in college is very different from having a casual conversation or writing an informal note or email to an acquaintance. Learning the complex rules of grammar and style can be challenging. Reading a lot of literature and literary analyses – and then writing your own analyses – takes up a lot of time. Writing essays, stories, poems and articles of your own requires a great deal of creativity and even bravery – especially when your spend much of your time studying and critiquing all that’s wrong with existing literary texts.
What Makes It Easy: High grades on average, little scientific study needed, years of experience speaking and writing English even before you start your college studies
The Hardest Part: A reading- and writing-intensive curriculum, reading and analyzing complex works of literature
Career Opportunities: Author, journalist, technical writer, editor, publishing house executive or assistant, public relations specialist, marketer, teacher or lawyer
4. Foreign Language
College is a great time to learn a new language, especially if you’re eager to study abroad. However, choosing a foreign language degree program as your college major lands your program of study on the easiest degrees list. In a foreign language program, you’ll take classes in composing in, translating and conversing in your new language. While you will, of course, memorize words and learn the grammar and style rules of a foreign language, you won’t just study how to conjugate verbs and decline nouns. Learning about the culture associated with the language is just as important as learning how to speak, read and write in a foreign language. In fact, while you may use the language that you learn only occasionally – when you interact with native speakers of that language or visit its country of origin – understanding different cultures is a skill that you can use in many different capacities. The most popular foreign languages that American college students choose to study include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Latin, Russian, Arabic and Ancient Greek, according to Forbes.
College students who major in a foreign language graduated with a high 3.34 average GPA, second only to education majors, according to CBS News. The Huffington Post, too, listed language as one of the easiest degree programs, noting that success relies heavily on mere memorization. However, while it may be easy to memorize key words and phrases, it takes much more time and effort to truly become fluent in a language. While some people do seem to take to picking up new languages naturally, it requires work and practice to become able to speak that language fluently – and to maintain those skills once you develop them. There’s no question that knowing more than one language has its benefits. In fact, Inside Higher Ed argued that studying a foreign language should be mandatory for all students, regardless of their selected program of study. However, enrollment in foreign language courses has dropped considerably in recent years. This suggests that students from other majors don’t think that it’s particularly easy to learn a new language, but rather that it’s easier to devote four years of study to learning a language than to learning complicated concepts in more specialized fields of study.
What Makes It Easy: Memorization, generalist focus
The Hardest Part: Achieving real fluency in speaking and writing in a non-native language
Career Opportunities: Translator or interpreter, customs officer, government intelligence agent, international business consultant, cultural officer, linguist or missionary or Peace Corps worker
Online bachelor’s degree programs in music equip students with the skills needed to compose, perform, study and critique music. Students take a variety of courses, from the history of music to music theory. They also take applied music courses or lessons, in which they learn to play one or more musical instruments or to sing. An online bachelor’s degree program in music may require students to participate in ensemble courses which require them to perform their music. Often, to be admitted into an online music degree program, you need past experience playing a musical instrument. You may have to submit a recording of your musical performance as part of your application materials. Students can often choose from concentrations such as performance, composition, music production, analytical music studies and the music industry. They may also choose one or more instruments to focus on in their applied music lessons, including piano, guitar, trumpet, violin, flute, trombone, clarinet and voice.
Well-respected schools such as Yale University and Duke University offer music degrees, so how easy could they be? Music students tend to have high GPAs, according to CBS News. Between their good grades and the few science and mathematics requirements found in most music degree curricula, it’s not surprising that publications like CBS and The Huffington Post would single out the major as an easy one. Like other degree programs on the list, though, much of the belief that music is an easy major comes from the fact that it’s not a “practical” or “safe” degree, according to Forbes. There’s no widely available, straightforward job path for music majors, and aspiring musicians who go on to make a living as performers are few and far between. However, it takes a great deal of focus, discipline and perseverance to master the playing of an instrument. Majoring in music forces you to cultivate these traits if you want to be successful – which both builds character and prepares you for the workforce, no matter what job you end up getting.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: Developing skill in playing an instrument requires dedication and a great deal of practice
Career Opportunities: Professional musician, orchestra conductor, music composer or arranger, talent recruiter, music critic, DJ, concert promoter, music therapist or music teacher
In a religious studies degree program, you’ll study not only a variety of religions of the world, but also the theoretical framework of religions and approaches to understanding them. While religion might seem like an ideal major if you’re devout in your faith, you should know going into the program that you will need to have an open mind when it comes to studying belief systems other than your own. Most college students who major in religious studies will take courses that focus on all of the major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. You might also study emerging religious movements and the beliefs of smaller religious sects. Many religious studies degree programs also require students to develop a solid understanding of religious theory, religion and culture and religion and moral issues. You may study religions of certain geographical locations, such as Asia or the Americas, as well as the history of individual religions.
Religion rounds out the top five majors with the highest average GPAs, according to CBS News. It’s another degree program with a reputation for being impractical and unlikely to lead to a job, which is why The Huffington Post considers it one of the easiest degree programs. It’s certainly true that a religious studies degree program can seem somewhat fuzzy, especially when you’re pressed to explain how you will turn your education into a career. However, students in undergraduate religious studies degree programs often need to take high-level courses as part of their required curricula. Advanced seminars are common in religion degree programs, as are capstone courses that require students to complete an individual or small group project. Additionally, reading and interpreting scriptures and other religious texts, often written thousands of years ago, can be challenging. Often, students are asked to think critically about religion and modern moral issues, including racism and sexism.
What Makes It Easy: Lack of required courses in science or mathematics, less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: Overcoming personal biases about religious beliefs, thinking critically about historical and modern moral issues, understanding religious texts
Career Opportunities: Clergy, counselor, journalist, museum curator, lawyer, librarian, teacher, public policy analyst, volunteer coordinator or diplomat
Year after year, communication is a popular program of study both online and on campus. The versatile degree program allows students to build up their skills in public speaking, writing, research and critical thinking. Most communications and journalism degree programs require students to take courses in topics such as intercultural communication, organizational communication, public speaking, persuasion, media writing, research methods, digital media, media law and communication theory and ethics, according to U.S. News & World Report. A general communications major program of study is broad. However, students often have the opportunity to choose one or more concentrations or specializations, such as journalism, marketing, emerging media, advertising, public relations or business communications, according to U.S. News & World Report. By developing their communication skills through a breadth of media and communications courses but still concentrating on an in-demand subfield, communications majors are able to find a marketable balance of generalist and specialist skills.
Communications is another degree program that gets a reputation for being easy largely due to its generalist nature. Because communications students study a breadth of media and journalism topics, they aren’t delving into any one topic as deeply as, for example, a public relations major or a business major might. Most bachelor’s in communications degree programs don’t require any additional science or math courses beyond the school’s general education curriculum requirements. While hands-on experience in a field like communications is particularly valuable when it comes to finding a job, most online communications degree programs don’t require students to complete an internship to graduate, according to U.S. News & World Report. However, communications majors certainly face some challenges in their education. For one thing, they need to get used to intimidating situations such as public speaking obligations and starting off an assignment with a blank page – situations that even high-performing students in STEM majors often find anxiety-inducing. Also, the classes you take in a communications degree program depend on your concentration. You may have to learn the technical skills needed to design websites or the public relations strategies to manage high-pressure crisis situations.
What Makes It Easy: Generalist focus, flexible curriculum, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, lack of mandatory hands-on work experiences
The Hardest Part: Overcoming fears of public speaking or criticism of writing, attaining technical or strategic skills that fit in your concentration subfield, a reading- and writing-intensive curriculum
Career Opportunities: Reporter, author, technical writer, editor, public relations specialist, advertising executive, marketing specialist or sales manager
8. General Business
Despite being among the easiest degrees (or perhaps because it’s an easier degree), business administration is a popular program of study. In fact, the major has been the single most popular bachelor’s degree since the 1980s, according the National Center for Education Statistics. The program is especially common among online students, accounting for more than a quarter of all online undergraduate students, according to U.S. News & World Report. In a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program, you will take courses in a variety of disciplines that equip you with an understanding of the foundations of business. You should expect to take classes such as accounting, economics, finance, business law and ethics, human resources, marketing and office administration. As a business major, you may have the opportunity to pursue a specialization or concentration such as accounting, marketing or supply chain management. However, as a BBA major pursuing an accounting or marketing concentration, your specialized curriculum probably will not have as much depth as it would if you majored in accounting or marketing. That’s because you’re spending more of your semester hours cultivating a broader array of business knowledge, while students in more specialized majors are digging more deeply into a single subject.
When it comes to business major options, the more general undergraduate programs of study tend to be seen as easier than their specialized counterparts. Specifically, math- and number-driven subjects such as accounting and finance may seem more challenging than a general business program of study. However, despite its broad focus and multidisciplinary curriculum, business administration degrees don’t suffer from the same bias that many other programs of study on this list do. Employers still consider this degree path “highly practical,” according to U.S. News & World Report. The graduate-level counterpart of the BBA, the Master of Business Administration (MBA), is even more sought-after, though some critics fear that the market is becoming oversaturated as more and more students earn their MBA degree. As things stand for undergraduate business administration students, the curriculum might not require as much advanced study of a single discipline as other majors would, but it can still be rigorous. Often, online business administration students must complete a mandatory research project, portfolio project, internship or other capstone experience, according to U.S. News & World Report.
What Makes It Easy: Generalist focus, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, a multidisciplinary curriculum
The Hardest Part: Amassing a solid understanding of a variety of business disciplines, completing a demanding capstone experience
Career Opportunities: Human resources manager, marketing manager, advertising manager, accountant, auditor or financial analyst
When you earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy online, you spend much of your time studying and analyzing knowledge and reality. You will explore questions such as the meaning of life and how we know the things we know. Students in an online philosophy degree program study both ancient and modern philosophical theories and approaches. They consider the moral, ethical, legal and political components of philosophical thought. To succeed in the study of philosophy, students need to be both logical and creative, thinking in ways that are at once rationally organized and outside-the-box. They should be prepared to do a great deal of reading and writing. Philosophy majors should enjoy debate, but they have to craft strong, compelling and research-backed arguments to prove their points. Though philosophy as a program of study is often the target of jokes, the curriculum makes it a “notoriously challenging major,” The Huffington Post reported.
Why, then, did this program of study find a spot on the list of easiest bachelor’s degrees? Philosophy can come across as an easy major, not because the workload itself is easy, but because it’s such as fuzzy field of study. In mathematics or the physical or life sciences, there are clear right and wrong answers. In the field of philosophy, things aren’t so clear-cut – leading critics to take the discipline less seriously than more straightforward subjects. Though it’s popular to argue that there aren’t any jobs for graduates with a philosophy degree, the research proves that this claim just isn’t true, according to The Washington Post. While there might not be many careers that specifically require students to have a degree in philosophy, there are plenty of roles in which the skills you learn in a philosophy degree program – such as logic and critical thinking – are valued. In fact, many undergraduate philosophy majors go on to earn graduate degrees, law degrees or medical degrees – and while doing so, they often outperform their peers who come from a different educational background, The Washington Post reported.
What Makes It Easy: A reputation for being less practical or career-focused in nature, open-ended questions
The Hardest Part: A reading- and writing- intensive curriculum, high standards for written arguments, a lack of clear-cut answers and solutions
Career Opportunities: Entrepreneur, business professional, lawyer, doctor, politician, writer, clergy or scientist
An online bachelor’s degree in sociology is a good choice if you’re interested in the workings of human society. As a sociology major, you’ll start out your online college education with an introduction to sociology course that covers the basic concepts and foundations of the discipline. Throughout your studies, you will take classes that look at sociology through the lenses of different relationships and social behaviors. Students commonly take courses such as sociology of the family, sociology of education, classic social theory, social change, social science research, sociological theory, men and masculinity, racial and ethnic relations, sociology of deviant behavior and drugs, alcohol and society, according to U.S. News & World Report. Sociology is often considered part of the liberal arts and sciences, so students may have to complete a great deal of general education requirements in the humanities, sciences and other fields of study. The end result of studying sociology is a well-rounded education that equips students with strong skills in critical thinking and analysis.
The social sciences often have a reputation for being less rigorous than physical and life sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology – and sociology is no exception. Though learning to do research is an important part of sociology, the research used in the social sciences tends to be more qualitative in nature than that used in hard sciences. As a result, the discipline may seem easier. The liberal arts focus of a sociology degree program also contributes to its reputation as an easy subject of study, especially to students in STEM majors who spend less time taking a well-rounded combination of general courses in the arts, sciences and humanities. However, some sociology programs can be demanding. Many online bachelor’s degrees in sociology require students to undertake a research project as a part of their senior seminar class, according to U.S. News & World Report. In this project, students do everything from designing the research project to gathering and interpreting their findings and presenting their conclusions.
What Makes It Easy: A qualitative aspect to research, a broad liberal arts focus on general education
The Hardest Part: Learning to design experiments and collect data for social science research
Career Opportunities: Sociologist, social worker, survey researcher, probation officer or administrative services manager
A writing degree is like an English degree, minus the focus on literature. Different writing degrees cover different material, so it’s important to pay attention to what the writing bachelor’s degree program at your desired school entails. Creative writing programs are common, and they often include coursework in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. In a creative writing course, students will generally study the techniques of high-quality writing and may read and analyze example texts. However, unlike a literature degree, the focus isn’t on literary analysis so much as it is on learning to apply the concepts of good writing to students’ own work. Often, a creative writing course requires students to come up with their own original written work. Students receive constructive criticism from instructors and classmates through workshops and finally use that feedback to improve their writing. It’s also possible to major in general writing or professional writing. These degree programs typically focus less on crafting artsy pieces like poems or novels and more on marketable writing skills that can help graduates land an agency content creation role or in-house marketing writing position with a company or develop the skills needed to make a decent living as a freelance writer.
Because many writing programs emphasize creative writing, it’s no surprise that critics – and envious students majoring in the hard sciences – tend to view the degree as an easy one. Generally speaking, there are no complicated equations in writing a poem, a memoir, a screenplay or a novel. Even the techniques of good writing are subjective. Strong writers understand and typically follow the rules of good writing, but even stronger writers can figure out when to break the rules to achieve the desired effect. Compared to more rigorous subjects of study, the freedom of earning a writing degree makes the major seem simple, especially since many writing programs offer students a lot of flexibility in their curricula. However, the reading, writing and revising that writing students have to do throughout their education is time-consuming. It can also be daunting to have to keep dreaming up original ideas and fleshing them out into a complete poem or story, especially when students know that their work will be picked apart in class.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, flexible curriculum, less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: A reading- and writing-intensive curriculum
Career Opportunities: Author, journalist, web content writer, technical writer, professional blogger, marketing or advertising content writer or editor
If you choose to study art as an undergraduate student in college, you will most likely graduate with either a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art degree. Different schools offer different types of art degree programs, and whether you’re going for a BFA or a BA in Art will affect the structure of your studies. BFA programs focus on creating art rather than studying it. As a result, students in a BFA program spend most of their time – as much as two-thirds of their studies – actually working on artistic pursuits in a studio setting. On the other hand, if you’re pursuing a BA in Art, you’re likely to spend much more time in traditional classroom settings, learning through lectures and class discussions. BFA degrees are usually offered in the visual and performing arts, such as ceramics, painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, illustration and printmaking. BA degrees are more frequently awarded in art history or design, though some schools offer BA programs in studio arts, as well.
Creating great art certainly isn’t easy. However, earning an art degree can seem like a stress-free endeavor compared to negotiating the complexities of advanced mathematics and scientific theories. Arts degrees also have a reputation for being impractical as career preparation and for not being very marketable – and the research unfortunately backs up that impression. Only about 10 percent of graduates from art degree programs end up making a living working in the arts, according to The Atlantic. On top of the unreliability of arts degrees for actual employment, the reality of majoring in art is a lot less glamorous than the perception. To truly excel in creating great visual art, you need more than natural ability and a creative flair. You need the discipline to develop the technical skills in painting, drawing, sculpting or whatever media in which you work so that the art you create by hand matches the vision you develop in your mind.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: Perfecting artistic techniques, overcoming fear of criticism
Career Opportunities: Fine artist, craft artist, illustrator, animator, photographer, printmaker, graphic designer or art director
If you’re interested in learning about other cultures, anthropology is a major that might interest you. Anthropology is the study of cultures and civilizations and how they develop. Students in an online bachelor’s degree program in anthropology usually take variety of courses in biological anthropology, social anthropology, linguistics and archeology. They learn about the fundamental concepts of studying anthropology as well as the fieldwork and methods used in anthropology and archeology data collection. Anthropology students at the undergraduate level may also study related subjects, including world religions, a foreign language, geography, sociology, social science research methods and language and culture. While online students in a bachelor’s degree program in anthropology take a diverse collection of anthropology courses, they may also choose to specialize in a subfield of anthropology that interests them. For example, you might study biological anthropology, physical anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropological archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology or history of anthropological thought.
Anthropology’s focus on humanity and culture and the qualitative nature of research in the field may lead people who study or work in the hard sciences to think of the social science as an easy field of study. The perception that there aren’t many jobs for anthropologists adds to this belief. It’s true that anthropology isn’t seeing the kind of rapid career growth found in industries such as healthcare and technology. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job opportunities for anthropologists and archeologists to increase by just four percent over 10 years, which is slower than the average rate of growth for all occupations. However, to say that there are no jobs out there for anthropologists is just not true. Anthropologists find work in research laboratories, academic anthropology departments, corporations, government entities, police departments, museums, schools, environmental organizations and nonprofit community centers, the American Anthropological Association reported.
What Makes It Easy: Focus on culture and humanity, qualitative research methods, reputation for being less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: Studying the biological and physical components of human society development, learning the methods needed to do fieldwork
Career Opportunities: Anthropologist, historic preservationist, cultural resource manager, human rights advocate, urban planner or lawyer
14. Business Leadership and Management
Some aspiring business professionals choose neither a general business administration degree nor a degree in a specialized field like accounting or finance. Instead, they choose to study a program such as organizational leadership. In a bachelor’s degree program in organizational leadership, you would study the communication, motivation and conflict management techniques required to manage a business or organization successfully, as well as appropriate behavior and ethics for a leader. Courses such as principles of management, introduction to leadership, organizational behavior, communication strategies for leaders, work attitudes and motivation, collective decision-making and leadership and change, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students in an online bachelor’s degree program in organizational leadership might also have the opportunity to specialize in a subfield such as marketing, career and technical education, training and development or human resources management. By the time students graduate from a bachelor’s degree program in organizational leadership, they should understand how to plan, lead and make sound decisions on behalf of their company or organization.
Similar to a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, a degree in business leadership and management is less specialized than other business degree programs. It doesn’t require a strong focus on numbers, like finance and accounting programs of study would, which adds to the major’s reputation as an easy one. Students also take a great deal of general education classes in the arts, sciences, humanities and mathematics, which makes the program somewhat similar to a liberal arts degree. However, the leadership skills that students develop while studying management strategies are often perceived as more valuable and marketable than those cultivated through other so-called easy degree programs. Prospective employers like to see proof that job candidates have skills in planning, making wise decisions, diplomatically negotiating solutions to conflicts and, of course, managing projects and people. Certainly a student’s personality is one factor that affects how easy this major really is. For natural leaders, the skills you acquire in this degree program might come easily, but for students who are shy, introverted or lack confidence, studying leadership can require doing things outside your comfort zone.
What Makes It Easy: Generalized studies, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, may fit well into natural abilities
The Hardest Part: Overcoming fears and anxieties about leadership
Career Opportunities: Sales manager, administrative services manager, human resources manager, management analyst, consultant, training and development specialist or human resources specialist
If you’re curious why people make the buying decisions that they do, a degree in marketing could be for you. Marketing is a business discipline that focuses on the study of consumer behavior. Students take a number of classes in general business, marketing principles and applications and data. Combining these studies allows students to develop a thorough understanding of what drives consumers to make purchases and how they can get consumers to take a desired action – such as buying a company’s product. Prospective marketing students should expect to take courses such as marketing research, consumer behavior, sales, advertising, strategic marketing, marketing management, accounting, economics and business law, according to U.S. News & World Report. Marketing students can round out their skills by choosing relevant electives such as social media marketing strategy, public relations, e-commerce and entrepreneurship.
Do core classes that require students to dream up commercial scripts and ad campaigns translate to an easy major? In many ways, marketing’s reputation as an easy degree may be unfair. While most people associate the field of marketing with creative and fun projects like developing advertising materials and sales pitches, it also has an important data-driven side. Students who pursue an online bachelor’s degree in marketing need to take data courses in finance, analytics, market research, statistics and search engine optimization, according to U.S. News & World Report. Otherwise, they would have no way to evaluate the success of their marketing campaigns or to target a specific audience of consumers in their marketing messages. While the research students do in a marketing degree program may seem less rigorous or serious than that in, say, a biology or physics program, it still requires attention to detail and strong analytical and critical thinking skills.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required science courses, general business focus
The Hardest Part: Data research courses that require strong math and analytical skills
Career Opportunities: Marketing manager, marketing specialist, advertising manager, sales manager, public relations specialist, market research analyst or advertising sales agent
16. Health Science
Health sciences is a program of study that introduces students to the undergraduate-level concepts and skills they need to non-clinical roles in the healthcare industry. Courses such as human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, gerontology and long-term care, medical pharmacology, health care law, health information systems, management and leadership in healthcare and legal and ethical considerations in healthcare are common in health science degree programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Often, students who earn their bachelor’s degree in health sciences online will be asked to choose an academic concentration that they will focus on during their studies. Public health, healthcare administration and aging studies are among the most popular health science concentrations, according to U.S. News & World Report. If you want to work in the growing healthcare industry but don’t feel drawn to direct patient care roles such as doctor or nurse, then a health science career might be a wise choice for you.
One thing you may have noticed is that the hard sciences – subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics – are missing from this list. The complex equations, extensive laboratory work and challenging job duties make these majors too tough to land among the easiest degrees. You might expect the same of other programs in science and healthcare fields. However, an online bachelor’s degree in health science is an exception. These programs are broader in scope than many science degree programs. Unlike nursing or physician assistant programs, health science degree programs are often non-clinical in nature. You won’t have to spend hundreds of hours gaining hands-on experience caring for patients. Most bachelor’s in health science degree programs require students to complete a sizable general education requirement, taking a variety of courses in the humanities, arts, sciences and math. While some health science majors do go on to attain healthcare roles that involve direct patient care, many instead work in health education or administration – which adds to the perception that a health sciences degree program is easy.
What Makes It Easy: Broad subject of study, few required laboratory science and mathematics courses, non-clinical focus
The Hardest Part: Learning important medical concepts such as medical terminology, pharmacology and anatomy and physiology
Career Opportunities: Health educator or medical and health services manager
17. Graphic Design
If you enjoy art but want a degree that will be a little bit more marketable, you might consider graphic design. Graphic design is the application of art and design principles to make aesthetically appealing business and marketing materials, such as websites, product packaging and advertising campaigns. In an undergraduate graphic design degree program, students take classes such as history of graphic design, art history, concept development, color theory, drawing, design principles, typography, corporate branding and advanced digital lab, according to U.S. News & World Report. Digital courses, like digital illustration and web design, are particularly important for today’s graphic designers as technology continues to evolve rapidly. In many bachelor’s degree programs in graphic design, prospective students must submit samples of their art in order to be accepted into the program. Once they start their graphic arts education, students will do a lot of hands-on design work and will compile their best work into a professional portfolio that showcases their design skills, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Graphic design can seem like an easy degree program for many of the same reasons that an art degree has earned that reputation. People see the creative and fun side of a graphic design major’s curriculum, like their experiments with colors and fonts. They notice that students in undergraduate graphic design programs don’t have to take many high-level science and mathematics courses. What outsiders don’t see is how much time, dedication and work it takes to perfect your art and design skills both by hand and using computer software. While having a natural eye for design and starting off with above-average artistic abilities can certainly help graphic design majors do well, it takes more than that to fully develop your skills and build a portfolio that will land you consistent work from paying clients. Graphic design is a lot more strategic than many people – especially people outside the discipline – realize.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required courses in science or mathematics
The Hardest Part: Perfecting artistic techniques, overcoming fear of criticism, learning the strategy behind successful design
Career Opportunities: Graphic designer, art director or creative director
18. Political Science
Political science is the study of the government and politics. In an online bachelor’s degree program in political science, students will take classes such as introduction to political science, comparative politics, economics, policymaking, the American government, the American legal process, Congress and the presidency, American political theory and American foreign policy, according to U.S. News & World Report. While students enrolled in a political science degree program based in the United States will focus their studies mainly on American politics, they will also learn about international relations, foreign policy and governments of different nations and regions of the world. While online undergraduate political science students will need to commit important facts to memory, developing critical thinking, research and writing skills is a top goal in these programs. These versatile skills can help students apply the political theory they have learned to real-world situations. To cultivate these skills, students should expect their curriculum to be research-heavy and writing-intensive, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Why would a degree like political science have a reputation for being easy? The major may have the word “science” in the title, but it has more in common with the liberal arts than with advanced mathematics and science degree programs. Even the American Political Science Association identifies political science as a liberal arts major and a social science. While a political science curriculum may require students to learn all about the complexities of how governments operate and how political theory works in practice, it places just as much emphasis on growing skills such as writing, communication and data analysis. However, don’t let this major’s social science classification trick you. Political science students may not engage in the same type of research that chemistry and physics students do, but they still spend a great deal of time learning to analyze and understand data. The research- and writing-intensive nature of their curriculum makes their coursework time-consuming and demanding in its own way.
What Makes It Easy: The broad skills-based focus of a liberal arts program of study
The Hardest Part: Learning to analyze data and understand complicated political theory, a research- and writing-intensive curriculum
Career Opportunities: Journalist, policy analyst, legislative analyst, government program analyst, campaign manager, intelligence officer, foreign service officer, lawyer or politician
19. Social Science
Social science is the broad study of human behavior and human society. While many online and traditional schools offer majors that fit within the category of social sciences – such as anthropology, sociology or political science – some institutions offer a general major in social science. Courses in a general social science bachelor’s degree program might include introduction to social sciences, introduction to statistics, research methods in the social sciences, introduction to anthropology, introduction to sociology, introduction to psychology and diversity awareness. Even in a general social sciences program, students might have the opportunity to choose a degree focus such as anthropology, sociology, psychology or gerontology. Often, social science majors also complete a number of general education courses, which provides them with a comprehensive education in a breadth of different topics. Many social science degree programs allow students the freedom to choose many elective courses to complete the credits required to graduate.
Like political science, social science is often viewed as less rigorous than studies in the physical or life sciences. Research is certainly an important part of studying the social sciences, but it’s also more qualitative in nature and incorporates fewer complex equations. The broad focus of a social science program and its emphasis on developing critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills may make the degree program seem easy, at least compared to degree programs that require students to retain vast sums of technical knowledge. It’s no wonder that STEM students whose schedules are jam-packed with advanced laboratory science and mathematics courses envy the wealth of electives found in many social science degree programs. The major also has a reputation for being less career-focused than other programs of study. Majoring on political science can prepare students for dozens of possible careers, according to Portland State University, but that career preparation is mainly through cultivating versatile soft skills rather than focusing on the technical knowledge needed for any one career path.
What Makes It Easy: Flexible curriculum, generalist focus, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, less practical or career-focused in nature
The Hardest Part: Learning social science research methods, thoroughly developing analytical and communication skills
Career Opportunities: Teacher, social worker, manager, counselor, social service manager, fundraiser, sociologist, psychologist, analyst, administrator, urban planner, probation officer, lawyer, survey researcher or social scientist
20. Interior Design
Interior designers strategically and purposefully make changes to an indoor space to improve not just the aesthetics of the room or building, but also its functionality. To learn how to succeed in work in interior design, students need to take a variety of courses. Classes such as fundamentals of design, history of design, programming and space planning, materials and sources, residential design, introduction to sustainable design, history of interiors and architecture, restaurant and retail design, office design, color perception and application, lighting and architectural detailing are common, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students also need to take hands-on courses to develop their skills in drawing, drafting, 3-D design and computer-aided design. While it’s important for students to learn the concepts and theory of design, it’s also important for them to learn how to apply those concepts. Even online programs in interior design often require students to complete an in-person internship in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. At some schools, interior design students can choose a specialization or concentration such as commercial interior design, historic preservation or sustainable design, according to U.S. News & World Report.
For outsiders whose studies are far more focused on advanced technology, mathematics or scientific principles, a degree program that involves entire courses devoted to the study of color theory or lighting fixtures may seem easy. However, developing the design skills needed to succeed in the competitive field of interior design takes both natural ability and a great deal of dedication. Students need to refine their drawing and computer design skills, and that can only be done through a great deal of practice. Despite the popular image of interior designers as the decorators that pick out wallpaper and throw pillows, it’s worth noting that many states actually require interior decorators to have a license, according to U.S. News & World Report. Aspiring interior designers need to make sure their degree program is accredited, earn a passing score on a professional exam and complete two years of supervised interior design experience to attain their license, the BLS reported. Learn more about whether you need a degree to be an interior decorator.
What Makes It Easy: Creative and fun, lack of required courses in science or mathematics, easy-sounding courses
The Hardest Part: Perfecting design skills through practice, completing an internship, attaining a license to work in the field
Career Opportunities: Assistant interior designer, junior interior designer, senior interior designer or interior design director
Editor’s Note: Just because a degree program has a reputation for being easy doesn’t mean that it won’t challenge you or that you can attain your degree and start your career without putting in a great deal of effort. Even if you choose a seemingly easy degree program that fits well with your natural talents, you still need to be willing to put in the work in order to succeed in your studies and your future career.
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