What are the most popular majors for undergraduate students?
Postsecondary institutions within the United States1 conferred 3.1 million undergraduate degrees in 2020–21. These included 1.0 million associate’s degrees and 2.1 million bachelor’s degrees. The majority of both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees were conferred to female students. At both levels, business and health professions and related programs were among the top three most common fields of study in which degrees were conferred to students in each racial/ethnic group.
In 2020–21, postsecondary institutions conferred 1.0 million associate’s degrees. More than three-quarters of these degrees (79 percent) were concentrated in six fields of study:
The top three fields alone accounted for two-thirds of associate’s degrees conferred and were the most common fields of study in which degrees were conferred in 2020–21 to students in each racial/ethnic group and to U.S. nonresident4 students.
Postsecondary institutions conferred 2.1 million bachelor’s degrees in 2020–21. More than half (58 percent) were concentrated in these six fields of study:
Of these six fields of study, the top two fields were also the most common fields for which degrees were conferred to students in each racial/ethnic group in 2020–21. The top two fields of study for which degrees were conferred to U.S. nonresident students, however, were business and engineering.
1 Data in this Fast Fact represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
2 Personal and culinary services have been added to the definition of “business” for associate’s degree data in order to be consistent with the definition of “business” for bachelor’s degree data. Thus, for all data in this Fast Fact, “business” is defined as business, management, marketing, and related support services, as well as culinary, entertainment, and personal services.
3 Includes engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; construction trades; and mechanic and repair technologies/technicians.
4 In the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), racial/ethnic data were not collected for U.S. nonresident students (previously known as nonresident alien students), and their data were compiled as a separate group.
SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2023). Undergraduate Degree Fields. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 16, 2023, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cta/undergrad-degree-fields.
Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.
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