The 10 Most In-Demand Majors | BestColleges (2023)

  • Students should consider their interests and employment prospects when selecting a major.
  • Students can choose in-demand college majors in healthcare, like nursing.
  • Computer science, engineering, and IT are some of the most in-demand majors in STEM.

Although many students choose majors that align with their interests and academic passions, most students also enroll in postsecondary programs with employment prospects in mind.

When choosing a major, learners should take into account the demand and salary potential of corresponding careers and internships, as well as the courses they'll need to take to earn their degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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This list details some of the most popular and lucrative college majors in demand.

1. Engineering

Engineering professionals use principles of physics and mathematics to design buildings, vehicles, electronics, and other structures. In addition to technical knowledge, these individuals also possess excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Engineers can pursue a variety of specializations. Chemical engineers, for example, use their knowledge of chemistry to develop products like fuels and pharmaceuticals, while civil engineers design buildings and physical structures like dams and bridges.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $119,560 in May 2020. During that same period, the median salary for biomedical engineers was $92,620 per year.

2. Business

A broad field, business teaches students how to operate and grow business ventures through courses in business communications, risk management, and macroeconomics. Students can refine their studies through concentrations like entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, and management.

An academic background in business can prepare graduates for an array of lucrative careers. According to the BLS, in May 2020 marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $141,490, financial analysts earned a median salary of $83,660, and top executives earned a median salary of $107,680.

3. Nursing

Nursing is one of the most in-demand majors in the healthcare field. Nurses administer medical care and assist during various procedures. They typically complete foundational courses like pathophysiology, microbiology, and human anatomy. They may also complete fieldwork hours to gain clinical experience.

According to the BLS, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $75,330 in May 2020. Individuals who pursue a master's degree in advanced practice nursing can become nurse practitioners. These professionals earned a higher median salary of $117,670 in May 2020.

The BLS projects that the number of roles for nurse practitioners will grow 45% between 2020 and 2030, far surpassing the average growth rate of 8% across all professions during that same period.

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4. Hospitality

Hospitality managers oversee the operations of hotels, event spaces, and dining facilities. They often navigate high-pressure scenarios and must facilitate a collaborative environment, delegating work to individuals in service-oriented roles.

In May 2020, hospitality managers earned a median salary of $56,670 per year, while food service managers earned a median salary of $56,590, according to the BLS.

These professionals must have exceptional organization, leadership, and problem-solving abilities. While pursuing a hospitality degree, students may take courses in revenue management, risk management, and hospitality and tourism marketing.

5. Education

The BLS projects that by 2030, there will be 1,603,900 elementary school teachers and 1,077,000 secondary school teachers in the United States. As of May 2020, high school teachers earned a median salary of $62,870 per year, and elementary school teachers earned $60,660 annually.

Individuals pursuing a degree in education usually take foundational courses in child development and classroom management. Students also normally develop hands-on experience through student teaching. They often specialize in areas like special education or elementary education.

Individuals hoping to teach older students might train to teach specific subjects like history or science.

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6. Computer Science

Students in this fast-growing discipline can focus their academic and career goals on areas like cybersecurity, information systems management, and software development. Learners may build an academic understanding through courses in cryptography and data mining.

Many computer science professionals earn a comfortable living. Computer programmers, for example, earned a median annual salary of $89,190 in May 2020, according to the BLS. Software developers earned a higher median salary of $110,140.

Demand for computer science professionals is projected to grow as technologies become more pervasive. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects that jobs for software developers will grow 22%.

7. Architecture

Architects work closely with engineers and construction personnel to design public buildings, residences, and other structures. They may take courses in architectural theory, materials and design, and structures and computation. Architecture majors may be able to select concentrations like sustainability, urban works, or furniture design.

Architects may also specialize in landscape, commercial, residential, or industrial architecture. According to the BLS, architects earned a median annual salary of $82,320 in May 2020. Those employed by government agencies earned a median salary of $97,960.

8. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmacists administer appropriate medications and monitor dosages to achieve optimal health outcomes. Often a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences is a precursor to a doctor of pharmacy. At the undergraduate level, students pursuing this role must take courses in biochemistry, human anatomy, and organic chemistry.

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According to the BLS, pharmacists earned a median annual salary of $128,710 in May 2020. Payscale reports clinical pharmacists earned an average of $119,650 per year in January 2022.

Those with a degree in pharmaceutical sciences may also pursue careers in areas like veterinary pharmacy, pharmaceutical research, and drug development.

9. Information Technology

A degree in information technology can prepare graduates for careers in systems management and technical communication. These individuals might specialize in data analytics in which professionals deduce usable information from raw data. They can also concentrate in cybersecurity, IT management, or the organization of IT staff, budgets, and projects.

The BLS projects that the number of IT occupations will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, accounting for 667,600 new jobs. IT professionals earned a median annual income of $91,250 in May 2020.

Network and computer systems administrators earned a median of $84,810 per year, while information security analysts earned a median of $103,590 during the same period.

10. Construction Management

People with strong leadership and organizational skills may consider pursuing construction management. Generally speaking, construction managers oversee budgets, supervise workers, plan project timelines, and correspond with subcontractors and other specialists.

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Students in construction may take courses in construction materials and methods, cost estimating and bidding, and construction accounting and finance.

According to the BLS, construction managers earned a median salary of $97,180 per year in May 2020. Graduates with a degree in this field may also work as building inspectors and cost estimators.

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