With such an emphasis on getting a college education, it’s little wonder that getting at least a bachelor’s degree is taken for granted these days. Sure, you could study insect biology or flute performance, but most students will end up choosing majors that fall into common categories. We hate to break it to you: You are not a unique snowflake in a sea of otherwise similar students. Earning that college degree is still an accomplishment, but the competition can be fierce if you’re entering an already-saturated job field.
According to one Georgetown University study, it does pay to do your research. Following your passion to study philosophy is your prerogative, but the university’s analysis found there can be a huge disparity in pay between college majors. College graduates with the highest-paying majors, many of which are in the engineering and pharmaceutical fields, earn an average of $3.4 million more over their lifetimes than college graduates with some of the lowest-paying degrees, some of which include human services and education roles.
The researchers at Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau for a bulk of the report, which provides details on 137 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Interestingly, some of the most popular degrees are not the ones that make the most money. According to Georgetown’s rankings, the top 10 undergraduate degrees don’t include any of the top-paid positions available.
However, that’s not to say the most popular degrees always lead to a life of destitution or scraping by. You won’t win “most unique” in the college degree category, but some of these positions are so popular because there’s also a high demand. Many of the most common majors are still well paid — they just might be more competitive to get. Here are the 10 most ubiquitous college degrees.