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.
Contemplating hundreds of possibilities may cause panic, but skimming six general categories helps winnow the list.
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
Digital arts* and other multimedia, including video game design
Drama, including acting, writing, stage design, costume design, prop production and theater management
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.
Biology, including marine, micro, molecular and neurobiology
Criminal science and forensics
Earth and space science
Food science, including nutrition science
Kinesiology, including sports medicine and exercise biology
Speech and hearing sciences and disorders
Viticulture and enology, a field that includes vineyard management
Aquatic and fishery sciences
Earth and space sciences, including astronomy and geology
Environmental studies and policy
Resource Management,including forestry and wildlife management
Oceanography and marine biology
Admission to business programs is typically competitive.
Accounting and informational systems
Engineering and Technology Majors
These are all highly competitive majors. Virtually every major on this list, except applied mathematical science, is impacted.
Applied mathematical sciences
Bioresource science and engineering
Civil and environmental engineering
Computer engineering and computer science
Technical communication, a field that includes tech writing
Materials science and 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.
Education, including early childhood and special education
Ethnic and gender studies
Foreign languages and literatures