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Artsy Majors, Science Fields & More

Choose a college major by type

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Artsy Majors, Science Fields & More iStock Photo

Choosing a college major was difficult enough back when there were 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, arts 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 sciences
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 languages and literatures
Geography
History
Informatics
International studies
Library science
Linguistics
Philosophy
Political science
Psychology
Religious studies
Rhetoric
Social justice
Social welfare
Sociology

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