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Most Common Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded by Schools

Higher Education Articles April 1, 2015

Many bachelor’s degrees are available, but Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees are the most common. These degrees are available through majors that range from visual and performing arts to psychology to business.

Common Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded

Schools award many bachelor’s degrees. Students have a choice of degrees ranging from Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) to Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) to Bachelor of Marine Science. The most common degrees awarded are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

A major in a particular field of study is available to students earning a B.S. or a B.A. Computer science, education, engineering, business, psychology, and biology are among the many majors offered by schools.

Differences Between Programs

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs differ in fundamental ways. As there are fewer majors and more electives courses, coursework in B.A. programs is easier to tailor to suit the student’s interests. By contrast, there are more technically-focused and proof-oriented courses in B.S. programs; these require more science and math courses, and consequently, schools allow fewer electives.

List of the Top Ten Bachelor’s Degree Majors Ordered by Number of Degrees Awarded

The most common bachelor’s degrees awarded have been identified by the National Center for Education Statistics based on research and publication of statistical data on an array of topic areas related to education. The chart below displays the top ten bachelor’s degree majors given by schools as listed by the NCES.

During the 2008 – 2009 academic year, schools awarded around 1.6 million bachelor’s degrees. (Note: the list only differentiates between the major fields of study and not between B.S. and B.A. programs.)

Major Degrees Awarded
Business 347,985
History and social sciences 168,500
Health professions and related clinical sciences 120,488
Education 101,708
Psychology 94,271
Performing and visual arts 89,140
Biomedical and biological sciences 80,756
Journalism, communication, and related programs 78,009
Engineering 69,133
English language and literature or letters 55,462

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  • More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.
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