What Is the Most Common Bachelor's Degree?

Jul 25, 2018

Multiple options are available for prospective students looking into earning a bachelors degree. Find out about the most common bachelor's degrees, the most popular majors, and the differences in fields of study between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science.

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  • 0:04 Most Common Bachelor's Degrees
  • 0:46 Program Differences
  • 1:23 Other Bachelor's…
  • 1:39 Popular Bachelor's…

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Most Common Bachelor's Degrees

When considering enrollment in a bachelor's degree program, it can be helpful to find out about the most common degree programs as well as the most popular majors. Although there are many types of bachelor's degrees available, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) are the most prevalent. Students earning a B.A. or a B.S. generally pursue a major in a specific field of study. These two degrees are awarded in a variety of majors, including business, biology, psychology, engineering, visual and performing arts, computer science, and education.

Program Differences

There is a fundamental difference between B.A. and B.S. programs. Bachelor of Arts programs are broad programs focusing on the arts and humanities. They tend to be more flexible as far as required coursework goes, meaning there are generally less major-related core courses required and more room for elective courses. On the other hand, Bachelor of Science programs are more specialized. They focus on technical fields and are more proof-oriented and analytical-based, usually requiring math and science courses and allowing for fewer electives.

Other Bachelor's Degree Options

Other less common bachelor's degrees generally provide more specific education in particular fields. These include a Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Popular Bachelor's Degree Majors

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) researches and publishes statistical data on a range of educational topics, including the most common bachelor's degrees awarded. Here is a chart with the bachelor's degree majors awarded according to the NCES. Approximately 1.87 million bachelor's degrees were awarded in the 2013-2014 academic year. Please note that the NCES does not differentiate between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs, only the major fields of study.

Major Degrees Awarded
Business 366,815
Social sciences and history 178,543
Health professions and related programs 163,440
Education 105,785
Psychology 108,986
Visual and performing arts 95,797
Biological and biomedical sciences 95,849
Communication, journalism, and related programs 83,770
Engineering 81,382
English language and literature/letters 53,767

The most popular degrees for bachelor's degree students are the B.A. and B.S., and students in these programs can choose from a variety of popular majors within these degree programs, such as business, health, or social science.

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