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Most common undergraduate fields of study

What are the most common fields of study for undergraduate students?


Postsecondary institutions within the United States,1 conferred 3.0 million undergraduate degrees in 2021–22.2 These included 1.0 million associate’s degrees and 2.0 million bachelor’s degrees. 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 overall and to students across racial/ethnic groups.

In 2021–22, postsecondary institutions conferred 1.0 million associate’s degrees. Seventy-nine percent of these degrees were concentrated in six fields of study:

The top three fields alone accounted for approximately two-thirds of associate’s degrees conferred and were the most common fields of study in which associate’s degrees were conferred to students in each racial/ethnic group and to U.S. nonresident7 students.

Postsecondary institutions conferred 2.0 million bachelor’s degrees in 2021–22. Of the 2.0 million bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2021–22, some 58 percent were concentrated in six fields of study:

Business and health and related programs were also the top two fields for which degrees were conferred to students in each racial/ethnic group in 2021–22. However, the top two fields of study for which degrees were conferred to U.S. nonresident students were business and engineering.

1 Data in this Fast Fact represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
2 For general technical notes related to data analysis, data interpretation, rounding, and other considerations, please refer to the Condition of Education Reader’s Guide.
3 Includes dental assisting; emergency medical technician; clinical/medical lab science; medical and other health assisting; nursing; and health sciences.
4 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.
5 Includes engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; construction trades; and mechanic and repair technologies/technicians.
6 Includes criminal justice and corrections; fire control and safety; homeland security and related protective services; and security science and technology.
7 In the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), racial/ethnic data were not collected for U.S. nonresident 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 30, 2024, from

Numbers in figure titles reflect original numeration from source Condition of Education indicators.

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