The 10 Best College Majors for the Future

Nursing and data science top our list of the 10 best college majors for the future.

Updated October 3, 2023 · 3 Min Read

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

Getting a college degree can be expensive and time-consuming. One of the best ways to make sure your investment pays off is to keep the future in mind when picking your course of study. While some majors feel timeless, others may be more timely — and a smarter bet for landing a well-paying job after graduating.

We’ve picked ten of the best degrees for the future to help guide your choice. Find out which majors have the most promising career paths below.

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How We Chose

We looked at multiple data points to choose which majors made it onto our list, including job growth projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the current most popular college majors, and which college majors have seen increased demand over time from the National Center for Education Statistics.

1. Nursing

As the Baby Boom generation grows older, healthcare professions are the surest bet for an in-demand major. The BLS projects a whopping 45% growth rate for nurse practitioner openings between 2022 and 2032.

Getting a degree in nursing can set you up for a career as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthetist.

2. Data Science

In the age of Big Data, it’s not surprising that data science ranks high on our list. The BLS projects that data science will be the third fastest-growing occupation in the coming decade, with a staggering 35% growth rate.

Depending on the school, you may be able to pursue either a bachelor’s degree in data science or a computer science degree with a data science concentration.

3. Information Security

With more and more of our data going digital, it’s no wonder that the BLS projects a 32% growth rate for information security analysts in the next 10 years.

Majoring in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity or information security should set you up for a career as a security analyst, security engineer, or even an artificial intelligence specialist.

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4. Health Administration

The U.S. healthcare system is complicated. With a rapidly aging population needing more care than ever before, healthcare professionals well versed in the ins and outs of the medical system will also be in demand.

Medical and health services management positions are projected to grow 28% in the coming decade, according to the BLS.

5. Epidemiology

Epidemiology has been in the headlines ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many experts — like those at the Center for Global Development and Harvard Medical School, among others — say that we can anticipate more pandemics in the near future. The BLS also projects a 27% growth rate for epidemiologists over the next decade.

So, consider majoring in biology, public policy, or social science as an undergrad before applying to graduate programs in epidemiology.

6. Business

Far and away the most popular major, business has held its top spot for over 10 years and counting. Almost one-fifth of all bachelor’s degrees are awarded in this field, reports NCES.

With faster-than-average growth projected in the business and financial sectors in the coming decade, business is a popular choice for good reason.

7. Computer Science

Although the tech world saw some turbulence in 2023, demand for tech jobs is still higher than in many other industries, according to staffing experts. Plus, the BLS projects a 26% increase in jobs for software developers by 2032.

Studying computer science can set you up for roles in software development, web development, web design, and data analysis.

8. Biology

For undergrads who want to pursue a medical career, biology is a solid choice. A biology degree can set you up to apply for graduate school to become a physician, surgeon, or healthcare administrator.

Degrees related to the health professions have seen more growth in the past 10 years than any other major, according to NCES, and biological and biomedical science degrees have also been on the rise.

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9. Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

From digital healthcare records to wearable tech and biomedical devices, there’s no shortage of sensitive and complex biometric data in need of analysis.

This graduate major may be increasingly in demand with the convergence of big data and the expanding need for high-tech healthcare as the U.S. population ages.

10. Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering may be one of the best degrees for the future as we face increasing challenges from climate change.

As alternative energy infrastructure, sustainable building practices, and carbon capture technology take off, engineers with this specialty should find plenty of opportunities to apply their expertise.

Frequently Asked Questions About College Majors

What college majors pay the most?

Graduates who majored in engineering fields and computer science earn the highest salaries at the start of their careers, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Chemical engineers and computer engineers made the most, followed by computer science majors and aerospace engineers.

What is the happiest major?

According to a 2022 ZipRecruiter survey, people were happiest with their college major if they had majored in computer and information sciences, criminology, engineering, nursing, health, business administration, finance, or psychology.

What is the hardest major?

STEM degrees — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — are widely considered to be the most challenging majors, beating out the social sciences, liberal arts, and education. Engineering students spend the most time on school work, according to 2014 data from the National Survey for Student Engagement.

Are degrees losing their value?

Degrees may not hold as much value as they used to when you consider how much the cost of college has increased in recent decades and the lack of comparable wage growth. However, most college degrees still provide a positive return on investment, according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

What is the easiest degree to get?

Communications, business, and social services majors spent the least amount of time preparing for class, according to data from the 2014 National Survey for Student Engagement, indicating that those degrees may be easier to get.

Page last reviewed September 27. 2023. All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the BCR Rankings Team.

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