Artsy Majors, Science Fields, and More

Choose a college major by type

Students taking notes in class
••• Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Choosing a college major was difficult enough back when there was only a handful from which to choose. These days, there are hundreds of majors, including some in very new and intriguing areas. Let's just say, no one was majoring in informatics or viticulture or exercise studies, for that matter, back in the mid-20th century.

Fortunately, all these college majors fall into six types. So scan this all-in-one list, or go to this subdivided list, which offers a little more depth, and share it with your college kid. Contemplating hundreds of possibilities may cause panic, but skimming six general categories helps winnow the list.

Arts-Related Majors

Contrary to popular opinion and operatic plots, art majors do not risk starvation(although that's certainly one of several misconceptions about college majors). These majors represent a variety of deeply creative and artistic pursuits, each with many specialties. The asterisks below denote traditionally competitive majors, which may be difficult to get into on some campuses or may require auditions, portfolios or recommendations. So if your college kid is interested in one, he should check requirements early.

  • Architectural design*, including architecture and landscape architecture
  • Art* and its many sub-specialties, including graphic design
  • Art history
  • Cinematography*
  • Comparative literature
  • Dance*
  • Design
  • Digital arts* and other multimedia, including video game design
  • Drama, including acting, writing, stage design, costume design, prop production and theater management
  • Film studies
  • Music*, including performance, composition, history, ethnomusicology, music education and recording technology

Science and Math-Related Majors

Over the last 30 years, the sciences have exploded into an extravagant array of possibilities. Some, such as bioengineering, can be very competitive to get into. Most of these have stringent GPA and prerequisite coursework requirements. Pre-med students typically choose a major from this list, although statistically, music students stand a better chance of acceptance at med school.​

  • Applied math
  • Agricultural science
  • Animal science
  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry*
  • Bioengineering*
  • Biology, including marine, micro, molecular and neurobiology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Criminal science and forensics
  • Earth and space science
  • Entomology
  • Food science, including nutrition science
  • Genetics
  • Geology
  • Kinesiology, including sports medicine and exercise biology
  • Mathematics
  • Medical technology
  • Nursing*
  • Oceanography
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Speech and hearing sciences and disorders
  • Statistics
  • Viticulture and enology, a field that includes vineyard management

    Environment-Related Majors

    • Aquatic and fishery sciences
    • Atmospheric sciences
    • Biology
    • Ecology
    • Earth and space sciences, including astronomy and geology
    • Environmental studies and policy
    • Environmental Science
    • Resource Management, including forestry and wildlife management
    • Oceanography and marine biology

    Business-Related Majors

    Admission to business programs is typically competitive.

    • Accounting and informational systems
    • Business administration
    • Construction management
    • Economics
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • Health informatics
    • Industrial engineering
    • Informatics
    • International business
    • Management
    • Marketing

    Engineering and Technology Majors

    These are all highly competitive majors. Virtually every major on this list, except applied mathematical science, is impacted.

    • Aeronautics and Astronautics, the design, testing and production of aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft
    • Applied mathematical sciences
    • Bioengineering
    • Bioresource science and engineering
    • Chemical engineering
    • Civil and environmental engineering
    • Computer engineering and computer science
    • Electrical engineering
    • Technical communication, a field that includes tech writing
    • Materials science and engineering
    • Mechanical engineering

    Literature, Language, and Social Science Majors

    Just as most premed (pre-dent and pre-pharm) students choose from the sciences list, pre-law students tend to select majors from this list. Asterisks denote more competitive majors.

    • Anthropology
    • Classics
    • City planning*
    • Comparative literature
    • Communication*
    • Criminology
    • Education, including early childhood and special education
    • Economics*
    • English
    • Environmental studies
    • Ethnic and gender studies
    • Foreign language and literature
    • Geography
    • History
    • Informatics
    • International studies
    • Library science
    • Linguistics
    • Philosophy
    • Political science
    • Psychology
    • Religious studies
    • Rhetoric
    • Social justice
    • Social welfare
    • Sociology