Popular Undergraduate Degree ProgramsIMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay, public domain.

When it comes to undergraduate degree programs, the number of students in each major is far from equal. Some bachelor’s degree programs are considerably more popular than others. Find out if your major is one of the most popular degree programs in the United States – and what that means for your educational and professional future.

The Most Awarded Undergraduate Degrees

Figuring out which undergraduate degree programs attract the most students doesn’t have to be a guessing game. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences keeps track of this and other data.

In recent years, business degrees accounted for more than 19 percent of all undergraduate degrees, according to the NCES. Another 10 percent of degrees were awarded in undergraduate majors related to the health professions. Social sciences and history made up nine percent of bachelor’s degrees. Six percent of all undergraduate degrees went to psychology majors. Biological and biomedical sciences accounted for an additional five percent of undergraduate degrees, as did the field of education. The United States has also seen an increase in the number of degrees earned in subjects like computer and information sciences, engineering, agriculture and natural resources, social services, law enforcement and math and statistics, the NCES reported.

What makes some academic majors more popular than others? Some fields of study are so versatile that they draw in students who have many different interests and career paths in mind. Psychology is one of these programs of study, and it remains consistently popular year after year. Most students who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology use their education in other fields beyond psychology.

Other degrees are popular because students perceive them as in-demand in the job market or as likely to lead to high-paying careers. Business, health professions and computer and information sciences are all examples of programs that are popular largely due to the career opportunities they offer. Students who choose these majors often consider the job outlook and median salary as important factors when deciding on a career path and the education necessary to make it happen.

Popular vs. Uncommon Majors

Which is better, studying a popular subject like business or health, or a rare one? The answer depends on what you want to do with your degree, and there is no right choice for every student. Popular majors are often popular for reasons. Many students find benefits in pursuing these fields of study, such as cultivating a flexible and adaptable set of skills or having the right career preparation to attain a prestigious, sought-after and lucrative job role.

On the other hand, the more popular a major is, the more likely it is that the job market for that major is oversaturated. By choosing one of the most popular programs of study, you run the risk of blending into a crowd of job candidates who all hold the same undergraduate degree. In this situation, a less popular – but still relevant degree – degree can help set you apart from the competition.

Ultimately, the popularity of any given major is just one of many factors to consider when choosing a degree program. More importantly, students need to think about their interests and career goals and which programs of study will best help them achieve their dreams. Whether your major is one of the most popular or one of the most unusual, you can make sure you receive a quality education by choosing one of the best degree programs for undergraduate students and taking advantage of all of the opportunities these programs offer.