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Top 10 College Majors: The Most Popular Career Paths for Undergrads

written by: Ashley Hansen•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 5/19/2011

For many individuals, choosing a major is even more difficult than choosing a college. To start you off, here are the top ten academic majors among college undergrads. Find out more about the most popular majors to see if any of them suit your interests.

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    Choosing a Major

    While some freshman know what they want to study coming into college, many students are overwhelmed by the extensive academic offerings at their school. It's a big decision, and it may take a semester or two to figure out which major is right for you. Wihle we can't tell you what major is right for you, we can tell you what has worked for others. The list below includes the top ten academic majors. These have been the most popular choices for a major among college students according to the Princeton Review.

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    Business Administration and Management

    This major is great for enthusiastic students who excel in math, communications, and work well in a group. It's also helpful to be outgoing and and a great problem-solver if you choose business administration as your major. Some of the typical coursework for this career path includes economics, marketing, communications, and finance. While the business world can be competitive, this major gives undergrads plenty of options, (join a successful corporation, become a consultant, start your own business, etc.) which has contributed to its popularity among the top ten academic majors.

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    Psychology

    Many college and university freshman are interested in the inner-workings of the human mind. For students talented in science who also have a lot of compassion for others, psychology can be a great way to use your skills to make a difference in the world. Psychology students often go on to grad school to study in a more specific area of the field such as school psychology or clinical psychology.

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    Nursing

    Like psychology, this major is great for those who ace their science courses and also want to help others. Nursing, however, also requires the ability to handle high-stress situations the sight of blood and medical procedures and the sadness of losing a patient. Graduates of a nursing degree program take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse upon graduation. From there, they can go on to work in the field or pursue a graduate education to become an advanced practical nurse.

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    Biology

    Biology is among the most popular majors for students on a pre-med track, which is likely the cause of its inclusion in the top ten academic majors. This popular field can include the study of humans, plants, animals, or the environment. Although it is popular for aspiring doctors, a biology degree can also lead to non-medical careers such as an ecologist or environmentalist.

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    Education

    Students who love working with kids may be attracted to the education major. While some may think teaching elementary subjects is easy, teaching actually takes a great deal of skill, patience, and hard work. Although they get summers off, teachers often work long hours during the school year. Educatio, majors may have to choose whether they want to teach elementary- or high school-level subjects, which influences both the coursework and practicum required for graduation.

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    English

    Bookworms the world over have chosen the English major for a number of reasons. For those who prefer writing research papers and essays over taking tests, English is an excellent choice. It allows students to read interesting and important works of literature while also improving their writing and research skills. Many English majors go on to careers in law, publishing, or journalism.

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    Economics

    As our economy fluctuates, we're fortunate to have economists around to decipher the reasons for our changing market. Many students find these financial problems fascinating, causing them to lean towards an major in economics. Some students interested in the financial aspect of business choose economics over the business administration major.

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    Communications

    Communications majors should, first and foremost, be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Many speeches and presentations are usually a part of the required curriculum for these students. Students who choose a communications major also get to study the evolution of how humans communicate with one another including verbal and non-verbal messages, technological developments like the telephone and the Internet, and commercial advertisements. Among the top ten academic majors, this major opens up more career options than most including human resources, advertising, public relations, and business.

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    Political Science

    Heated political debates aren't uncommon on college campuses. Regardless of party affiliations, political science is one of the top ten academic majors among college freshmen. Coursework in this major includes an intensive study of government and history as well as political philosophies, foreign policy, and current affairs. Debates may be a common element in many political science classrooms. Many students in this major go on to careers in law, journalism, or, of course, politics.

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    Computer and Information Science

    With technology changing every day, business owners are relying on specially trained individuals to handle the technological aspects of their company. Computer and information science majors may end up in a career as a information technology (IT) administrator at a business, or they may go on to do programming or gaming technology work. It's a great field for those who love numbers, are great problem-solvers, and have a natural talent for computers and technology.

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    Making a Choice

    When it comes time to decide your major, don't choose one simply because it's on the list of the top ten academic majors. While each of the majors listed here can lead to a variety of interesting careers, it may suit you better to choose a less common major. Consult with your academic advisor to find out what major might be the right one for you.

    Resources

    • The Princeton Review: http://www.princetonreview.com/college/top-ten-majors.aspx