Want to see what degrees are the most popular among students seeking postsecondary education? Below is a list of the 200 most popular degrees and certificates awarded between 2015 and 2016 per the most recent data published by the NCES. No differentiation is made between the varying degree levels, though minor degrees are not included. The list provides a quick idea as to which areas of study are commonly being pursued and which are believed to provide the most career choices upon completion. The data is taken from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Top College Majors List by Area of Study
To view the listing of college majors by area of study, we have meticulously compiled a list by learning clusters. In other words, you may be inclined to search for nursing degrees or criminal justice careers by category instead of by state or school size. Regardless of your current college search status, you can learn details about nearly 8,000 accredited colleges and nearly 1,500 college degrees with MatchCollege. To learn more about a particular college area of study, simply select the learning domain listed below to find an array of college degree pathways.
- Business & Finance
- Communication & Media
- Law & Criminal Justice
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Computers & Information Technology
- Engineering & Architecture
- Social Sciences
- Beauty & Hospitality Services
- Medicine & Allied Health
- Skilled Trades & Repair Services
- Administration & Social Services
- Nutrition and Wellness
- Physical & Life Sciences
- Arts & Design
- Animal & Agriculture Studies
12 Most Popular College Majors by Degree Type
The most popular college degrees conferred in the United States can be found visually below. Data was gathered from the NCES for their most recent reporting years to visually help college-bound students understand each degree cluster and its relative popularity. Degrees were ordered from highest to lowest for the current reporting year, the last year, and the prior year to provide you with degree trend patterns. A full list of the top 200 college majors are listed below the graph to provide you with the opportunity to delve into each college major.
College Major Quiz
To help you think deeply about your future academic & career options, we have assembled a few critical questions and resources to consider. Whether you are a high school senior, a working adult, or college student mapping out necessary employment skills for your career, we have the tools for you. Carefully think through the following questions about your potential college major:
What inspires you & motivates you in life? Invest the time to think about your interests, hobbies, and how you spend your free time. Combining these three factors may help illuminate an area of study or possible career track. You may be inspired by helping others in a healthcare field to running your own website to building homes. Remember, your goals are personal and must represent your priorities not someone else.
Have you researched college degrees in-depth? After creating a list of career options, dig into MatchCollege to find college majors that align with the skills needed to perform that career. You may be interested in traditional career paths like nursing, engineering, or law. Likewise, your interests and skills may lead you to niche fields of study such as robotics, cosmetology, or respiratory therapy.
Are you motivated to test drive courses online? If you are not sure which college major to pursue in school, you can take an online class for free. Portals worth considering include platforms such as EdX, Udacity, Coursera, Stanford University, Open Culture, Harvard University, and iversity. Jump into a course, commit to finishing it, and rate the content of the course compared to what you expected. If you love it, take another class; otherwise, you can simply move on to the next course.
Have you consulted family members and advisors? Asking school counselors, advisors, and family members for input is a great way to back-check your work to date. They will have a different perspective based on their experiences and gladly share ideas with you as you work towards a college major.
Do you understand the college admissions process? Spend quality time reading our college admissions guide to understand what it will take for you to get into college. Invest the time to learn the steps you need to take, the potential pitfalls, and how to increase your chances of admissions. Secondarily, you will want to read our guide on how to get into your top college choice. This advanced guide will help you navigate the college admissions process with greater efficiency.
How will you pay for college? There are dozens of guides to help you understand how to finance your college education. Some are quality sources to research like the U.S. Department of Education's FAFSA site while others are not helpful at all. Our award-winning guides for understanding financial aid, school rankings by financial aid, and how to maximize your college aid.
List of the Top 200 Most Popular Degrees & Programs
The table below lists the total degrees and certificates awarded from all accredited colleges and universities in the United State from 2015-2016. Simply click on the best degree program for you to learn more about career pathways, top ranked colleges, popular online degrees, admissions insights, average financial aid awards, employment trends, average income by profession, and much more.