Business on top of popular college majors
Velouise Bell, left, an adviser in the University of Pittsburgh's MBA program, chats with business administration undergraduate Christina Whittaker outside the new financial analysis lab in Pitt's Katz Graduate School of Business. The $2.3-million lab simulates a trading room at a stock brokerage house with 60 computer stations, live stock tickers and news feeds.
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What's your major?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible answers to that question.
Students can choose from majors as common as business or as unusual as blacksmithing.
This report takes a look at popular majors -- business, education, nursing and liberal arts -- as well unusual ones. It also looks at vocational, career and technical options.
You'll find advice on how to choose a major and when to go to graduate school.
And you'll learn the majors completed in college by some locally and nationally notable people.
According to federal statistics, the most bachelor's degrees nationwide are conferred in the field of business, nearly twice as many as in the next closest field, social sciences and history. Education comes in third.
At the master's level, education ranks first, followed by business. At the doctoral level, education is first, followed by engineering; health professions and related clinical science; biological and biomedical science; and psychology.
The Princeton Review lists the 10 most popular college majors compiled from a survey of administrators at more than 1,300 colleges who named their schools' three most popular majors based on enrollment.
The Princeton Review ranks them this way:
• Business administration/management;
• Nursing, registered nurse training;
• Biology/biological sciences;
• English language and literature;
• Political science/government;
• Computer and information sciences.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review's vice president and publisher, noted some of those majors, such as business, have practical applications that make them attractive. Even in liberal arts majors, he said, students are aware of the applications.
Some of the top majors are professional programs, such as nursing and education. Others can be stepping stones to professional schools, such as biology as a prelude to medical school, he said.
Many students don't have a major when they start, or change it after they've started.
Not to worry.
"After a few years of taking some different types of study, they'll likely find something they're interested in," Mr. Franek said.
First Published October 14, 2008 12:00 am