What is a College Major?

An academic major is a subject in which a student concentrates or specializes in while aiming for a college degree. Let us discuss more about college majors in this article.

Updated by Sreelekha R K on 3rd March 2020

An academic major is a subject in which a student concentrates or specializes in while aiming for a college degree.

A college major is considered to be the concentration of study. The subject will be usually chosen by students themselves based on their area of interest. Habitually, half or one-third of the courses you take in the college will be in the major or related to it.

In a few colleges, you can even: 

  • Major in 2 subjects.

  • Create your own major.

  • Have major and minor both (a concentration that requires fewer courses than major).


When to Decide?

  • If it is a four-year degree college, you do not have to pick your major until the sophomore year. It gives you an enormous amount of time to try different subjects and analyze whether you are interested in that specific subject. It is an opportunity to use the trial and error method. But the error here is a lack of interest. Some majors like areas of engineering are an exception to this. You will have to commit to the subject so that you will have enough time to take all the required courses. 

  • If it is a two-year degree college, you will probably have to choose your major at the starting of the college itself as this program is much shorter compared to a four-year degree program.


How to Evaluate and Decide a Major?

Selecting your major based on areas of interest is like stepping stone to the successful completion of your degree. So to start with, take courses which interests and appeals to you. You might even switch your majors more than once or twice so as to explore your interests and to a better understanding of your capability. It is normal for most of the students to change their major at least once.

The subject studied in college will be related to professions and any further education. But, it doesn't mean that you are not supposed to try and get into other fields of interest. It is better to make a checklist to analyze which major is best for you when you are confused between two or three of them. Criteria for evaluating is given below:

  • Name of the major

  • Cost to degree

  • Time to degree

  • Certification

  • Difficulty level (technical)

  • Earnings

  • Verbal and written skills required

  • Language

  • Expected start and end date

  • Analytical skills

  • Preferred university/institution

  • Travel facility

  • Internship

  • Scholarship availability

  • The acceptable score for transfer (if at all you want to transfer)

  • Working atmosphere

  • Balance in study

If you are planning to join law school, med school or grad school in your future, you should probably know that some of the colleges offer pre-professional advising programs such as Prelaw or Premed. These programs are not considered as a major, hence it is a must that you should select a major of your wish. But it will be easy for you to choose any topic as major. As long as you are an eligible candidate for a grad school-based course requirements, it really doesn't matter what you major in.


TOP 20 RANKED MAJORS BASED ON POPULARITY

RANK MAJOR 
1 Business and management
2 Nursing
3 Psychology
4 Biology
5 Engineering
6 Education
7 Finance and Accounting
8 Criminal Justice
9 Communication
10 Anthropology and Sociology
11 Computer Science
12 English
13 Economics
14 History
15 Political Science
16 Physical Therapy
17 Health Profession
18 Art
19 Math
20 Foreign Language