How Many Different College Majors Are There?

A college major is the main area of study pursued by an undergraduate student at a college or university. Although the number of available majors varies among colleges and universities, overall, there are hundreds to choose from. If you're thinking of what you'd like to major in, read on to discover some options.

What Is an Academic Major?

A college major concentrates on a specific academic discipline and dictates what type of bachelor's degree you'll earn. Degree programs are broken down into general education requirements and core major course sequences with set numbers of electives.

According to the Princeton Review, the top ten college majors are business administration and management, psychology, nursing, biology, education, English, economics, communications, political science and computer science (www.princetonreview.com).

What Is an Academic Minor?

Academic minors are sequences of core classes similar to majors, but they consist of a short series of related classes that can often be completed in 1-2 semesters. Although you must select a major to complete a bachelor's degree program, a minor typically is optional, allowing you to specialize in a subfield or to otherwise complement your major. For example, a business major might add a marketing minor, or a teaching major might add a minor in Spanish. Students sometimes need permission from an adviser or department head to pursue a minor.

Choosing the Right College Major

Choosing a college major can be a difficult experience for a college freshman. Advisers often suggest pursuing a line of education that matches your interests and academic strengths; however, you usually aren't required to declare a major until the second semester of your sophomore year.

The first year of study is instead dedicated to general education courses from various disciplines, which could help you identify your strengths and interests - critical steps in deciding on a major. During the first two years of undeclared study, you can easily change your focus and explore various topics through elective courses. The last two years of study are then focused on core courses and electives in your major area of study.

Popular Schools