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Popular College Degrees and Programs

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 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).

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.
Rank Program Name Awarded
#1Nursing502,306
#2Liberal Arts358,565
#3Business Administration345,420
#4General Studies126,381
#5Psychology125,892
#6Biology87,831
#7Communications81,088
#8Accounting77,713
#9Medical Assistant60,317
#10Social Work56,371
#11Cosmetology52,002
#12Mechanical Engineering47,168
#13Finance46,730
#14Computer Science46,581
#15Criminal Justice45,720
#16Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)45,607
#17Advertising and Marketing45,339
#18Welding45,129
#19Nursing Assistant43,162
#20Political Science40,521
#21Bookkeeping40,438
#22English40,214
#23Elementary Education39,239
#24Auto Mechanic35,890
#25Law34,720
#26Sociology34,466
#27Educational Leadership and Administration31,569
#28Sports Management31,338
#29Early Childhood Education30,859
#30Kinesiology And Exercise Science30,575
#31Electrical Engineering30,531
#32Economics30,457
#33Education30,423
#34EMT & Paramedic28,855
#35History28,827
#36Law and Justice Administration27,832
#37Math26,934
#38Healthcare Administration26,485
#39Information Technology26,109
#40Esthetician23,657
#41Civil Engineering21,159
#42Chemistry20,389
#43Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC)19,885
#44Special Education19,775
#45Public Health19,757
#46Medicine19,720
#47Social Science19,377
#48Counseling Psychology19,208
#49Curriculum and Instruction18,739
#50Electrician17,517
#51Information Science17,466
#52Dental Assistant17,412
#53Public Administration17,301
#54Bus and Truck Driver17,020
#55Human Resources16,954
#56Pharmacy15,993
#57Family Practice Nurse15,522
#58Chemical Engineering14,118
#59Sports Medicine14,088
#60Computer Networking14,020
#61Human Services13,629
#62International Relations13,047
#63Physical Therapy12,865
#64Journalism12,648
#65Organizational Leadership12,490
#66Physics12,401
#67Culinary Arts12,204
#68Guidance Counselor12,140
#69Information Systems12,121
#70Biomedical Engineering11,888
#71Massage Therapy11,727
#72Fine Arts and Studio Arts11,372
#73Music11,113
#74Drama and Theatre Arts11,109
#75Ultrasound Technician11,092
#76Radiology Technician10,782
#77Computer Aided Design (CAD)10,694
#78Management Science10,654
#79Anthropology10,564
#80Physician Assistant10,193
#81Nail Technician10,042
#82Paralegal9,952
#83Biochemistry9,741
#84Family Studies9,681
#85Engineering9,631
#86Diesel Mechanic9,504
#87Industrial Engineering9,400
#88Veterinary Assistant9,272
#89Criminology9,248
#90International Business9,167
#91Biomedical Science9,141
#92Occupational Therapy9,138
#93Secondary Education9,118
#94Nursing Administration9,069
#95Logistics and Supply Chain Management9,068
#96Medical Insurance Coding8,933
#97Medical Executive Assistant8,765
#98Health Information and Medical Records Technology8,662
#99Environmental Science8,635
#100Administrative Assistant8,617
#101Physical Education8,569
#102Graphic Design8,494
#103Pharmacy Technician8,341
#104Dental Hygienist8,337
#105Fire Science8,180
#106Spanish Language and Literature8,083
#107Phlebotomy8,031
#108Neuroscience7,972
#109Cinematography And Film7,964
#110Surgical Technologist7,956
#111Computer Programming7,919
#112Industrial Mechanics7,712
#113Audiology and Speech Pathology7,709
#114Multimedia7,684
#115Physical Therapist Assistant7,650
#116Medical Insurance Biller7,619
#117Entrepreneurship7,615
#118Philosophy7,551
#119Molecular Biology7,408
#120Geology7,359
#121International and Global Studies7,321
#122Audio and Video Production7,298
#123Ministry7,140
#124Respiratory Therapy7,131
#125Animal Science7,037
#126Statistics6,811
#127Osteopathy6,700
#128Software Engineering6,692
#129Reading Teacher and Literacy Specialist6,528
#130Dentistry6,403
#131Mental Health Counseling6,368
#132Creative Writing6,363
#133Theology6,189
#134Architecture6,125
#135Organizational and Nonprofit Management6,086
#136Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling6,071
#137Aircraft Mechanic6,033
#138Web Design5,566
#139Interior Design5,503
#140Public Relations5,474
#141Operations Management5,431
#142Design and Visual Communications5,385
#143ESL5,353
#144Industrial Technology5,352
#145Medical Office Assistant5,305
#146Manufacturing Engineering Technician5,300
#147Athletic Training5,283
#148Clinical Psychology5,283
#149Real Estate5,265
#150Engineering Management5,259
#151Public Policy5,189
#152Auto Body5,142
#153Animation5,136
#154Geography5,040
#155Office Management and Supervision5,000
#156Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)4,986
#157Baking And Pastry4,964
#158Nutrition4,759
#159Nursing Science4,704
#160Hospital and Healthcare Facility Management4,618
#161Exercise Physiology4,286
#162Child Care4,268
#163Machinist4,244
#164Child Development4,147
#165Medical Lab Technician4,137
#166Talmudic Studies4,126
#167Carpentry4,066
#168Risk Management and Insurance4,066
#169Aviation4,057
#170Fashion Merchandising4,036
#171Higher Education Administration3,967
#172Fire Prevention3,854
#173Commercial and Advertising Art3,825
#174Medical Office Management3,769
#175Corrections Officer3,742
#176Dietetics3,739
#177Organizational Behavior Studies3,675
#178Medical Technology3,663
#179Construction Management3,656
#180Behavioral Science3,649
#181Forensic Psychology3,596
#182Parks and Recreation Management3,574
#183Biotechnology3,567
#184Forensic Science3,530
#185Materials Engineering3,526
#186Optometry3,494
#187Art History3,487
#188Systems Engineering3,481
#189Agriculture3,464
#190Religious Studies3,433
#191Sales Manager3,388
#192Project Management3,338
#193Fashion Design3,322
#194Nutrition3,320
#195Marriage and Family Therapy3,308
#196Veterinary Medicine3,297
#197Financial Planning3,192
#198Middle School Teacher3,188
#199School Psychology3,118
#200Christian Counseling3,024

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 Medicine & Allied Health
Education Skilled Trades & Repair Services
Communication & Media Psychology
Law & Criminal Justice Administration & Social Services
Liberal Arts and Humanities Nutrition and Wellness
Computers & Information Technology Physical & Life Sciences
Engineering & Architecture Arts & Design
Social Sciences Animal & Agriculture Studies
Beauty & Hospitality Services

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.

Graph of the Top College Degrees

Most Popular College Degrees Conferred in the United States

Source: IPEDS, ONet, BLS, and US Census

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