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Choosing a major field of study can be a difficult decision, and today’s college students are encouraged to weigh several factors before choosing an area of focus for a four-year degree program. Important major considerations include overall program cost, salary expectations, employment rates for employees in the field and advanced degree opportunities.

Ultimately, students must decide which field will offer the best return-on-investment, or ROI, for their postsecondary education.

This comprehensive guide uses measured student outcomes, job market statistics and other higher education data to explore the various benefits and drawbacks of the nation’s most popular undergraduate major subjects. Our goal is to provide a helpful resource for students who are unsure about which major is the best choice for them financially, professionally and personally.


Changing Majors

According to a recent report from the University of La Verne, roughly half of all college freshmen enter college undecided about their major. Additionally, as many as 70% will change their major at least once during the course of their four-year degree program; the majority of these students change their major at least three times.

Many students worry that changing their major will delay graduation and, as a result, significantly increase their overall tuition costs. However, a study at Western Kentucky University found that shifting major fields had a “minimal impact” on planned graduation times. Furthermore, the data showed that full-time students who changed majors at least once reported higher graduation rates than those who remained in the same field for their entire bachelor’s program.


Most Popular Majors

Students typically tend to their major based on career-related factors on job availability employment rates in their proposed field. The following table lists the most popular majors among today’s college graduates; the data was originally published in a report from Georgetown University titled, ‘The Economic Value of College Majors.’

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