Why business is the most popular undergraduate major

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Whether you’re thinking of heading to campus or enrolling in an online degree program, this list of most-awarded bachelor’s degrees could help you plan your college education. If you’re headed off to college soon, now’s the time to think about concentration programs within the most popular major, and a look at how college students’ choice of majors has changed over the years.

Over the last 40 years, the college major numbers have changed greatly. For example, in 1970-1971, when 49 percent of high school graduates moved on to higher education, 839,730 bachelor degrees were awarded in the U.S. Of those, 176,307 were in education, 155,324 in social sciences and history, 115,396 in business and 63,914 in English literature. Judging by these numbers, we can guess that in the 1970s, college was still seen primarily as a place for enriching “liberal arts” learning, not necessarily career preparation.

Contrast this with the last year for which statistics are available, 2006-2007. About 69 percent of high school students move on to post-secondary education. In 2006-2007, 1,524,000 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, and of those degrees, nearly one third — 328,000 — were in business. After business, the fields of study rounding out the most popular majors for bachelor’s degree students were:

* History and social sciences (164,183)

* Education (105,641)

* Health sciences (101,810)

* Psychology (90,039)

The numbers here tell us that more people feel college is a necessity if they want to pursue a professional career — especially in business.

Why business is the most popular major

The National Center for Education Statistics compiles data about schools at all levels, and when it says that business degrees are the most popular, it’s really lumping together several different majors. In addition to business administration degree programs, the NCES’s category includes finance, marketing and accounting. All these majors teach skills that are important to businesses.

If you want to gain a basic understanding of these topics, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration is probably your best bet. Most universities will also let you choose a concentration, which allows you to take in specialized study in addition to the broad foundation offered by a business administration degree. Common concentrations include topics like finance and accounting, marketing, or specialized industry study, such as healthcare management.

Pursue your degree online

As more employers expect candidates for jobs to hold a degree, more people are returning to school, and more of them are going online. In 2008-2009, a Sloane Foundation survey reports, more than 25 percent of all college students took at least one course entirely via online distance learning. And online learning is effective, too. A Department of Education study found that, on average, students who took courses online performed slightly better than students educated in the classroom only.

Many universities offering online courses have placed programs in their most popular majors — including business degree programs — online. Web-based learning brings you the opportunity to step into the classroom wherever you have Internet access.

Information in this article was provided by American InterContinental University Online. Contact AIU Online today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program. (AIU Online does not guarantee employment or salary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent