There are over 170 different fields of study tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau in which undergraduate students can earn a degree. Despite the wide range of academic subjects offered at colleges and universities, over half of the 75 million American adults with a bachelor’s degree majored in one of just 15 fields of study.
Majors such as business, nursing, teaching, accounting, and biology are each among the most popular with undergraduates — and with good reason. Degrees in these fields prepare students for careers in essential industries like health care, education, and retail, where job opportunities are available in cities and towns across the country. Here is a look at the college majors with the lowest unemployment.
Of course, just as these industries are practically ubiquitous, many others are specific to certain parts of the country. This is often a reflection of a key industry that might be far less common in other parts of the country. In many cases, this is attributable to the presence of natural resources, like oil or mineral deposits, or geographic features, like a coastline. As a result, workers with degrees in less popular or more specialized subjects are often concentrated only in certain areas.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the most concentrated degree in Maryland relative to the U.S. as a whole is information sciences. Adults in the state are about three times more likely to have a degree in the field than the typical American adult. An estimated 0.62% of adults in the state have an information sciences degree compared to 0.20% of adults nationwide.
Just as demand for workers with this specific degree appears to be higher than average in the state, compensation is also higher than average. Adults with an information sciences degree in Maryland earn an average of $87,740 per year compared to the average income among all Americans with the degree of $83,968. It is important to note that average annual earnings include all adults with the degree, even those who are working part-time or not working.
All data in this story is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample. College majors are ranked within each state according to their location quotient — the percentage of adults 25 and older within a state with a certain bachelor’s degree relative to the percentage of adults with the same degree nationwide. The college major or field of study with the highest location quotient is considered the most unique college degree in every state.
State Most uniquely popular degree Adults in state with degree (%) Adults nationwide with degree (%) Alabama Counseling psychology 0.36 0.12 Alaska Petroleum engineering 0.84 0.06 Arizona Astronomy and astrophysics 0.06 0.02 Arkansas Mathematics and computer science 0.11 0.03 California Cognitive science and biopsychology 0.11 0.03 Colorado Geological and geophysical engineering 0.06 0.02 Connecticut Clinical psychology 0.23 0.05 Delaware Interdisciplinary social sciences 0.85 0.17 Florida Oceanography 0.09 0.03 Georgia Early childhood education 1.18 0.41 Hawaii Oceanography 0.32 0.03 Idaho Mining and mineral engineering 0.24 0.03 Illinois Court reporting 0.05 0.01 Indiana Public policy 0.33 0.07 Iowa Agriculture production and management 1.43 0.19 Kansas Agricultural economics 0.48 0.08 Kentucky Nuclear, industrial radiology, and biological technologies 0.10 0.02 Louisiana Petroleum engineering 0.41 0.06 Maine Naval architecture and marine engineering 0.40 0.04 Maryland Information sciences 0.62 0.20 Massachusetts Naval architecture and marine engineering 0.11 0.04 Michigan Mechanical engineering related technologies 0.20 0.06 Minnesota Soil science 0.07 0.01 Mississippi Oceanography 0.17 0.03 Missouri Social psychology 0.08 0.02 Montana Soil science 0.24 0.01 Nebraska Atmospheric sciences and meteorology 0.34 0.05 Nevada Geological and geophysical engineering 0.12 0.02 New Hampshire Mathematics and computer science 0.19 0.03 New Jersey Naval architecture and marine engineering 0.07 0.04 New Mexico Military technologies 0.05 0.01 New York Art history and criticism 0.50 0.22 North Carolina Atmospheric sciences and meteorology 0.10 0.05 North Dakota Agricultural economics 0.98 0.08 Ohio Teacher education: multiple levels 0.64 0.23 Oklahoma Military technologies 0.07 0.01 Oregon Geological and geophysical engineering 0.07 0.02 Pennsylvania Architectural engineering 0.10 0.04 Rhode Island Electrical, mechanical, and precision technologies and production 0.13 0.03 South Carolina Materials engineering and materials science 0.16 0.06 South Dakota Soil science 0.12 0.01 Tennessee Nuclear engineering 0.08 0.03 Texas Petroleum engineering 0.34 0.06 Utah Court reporting 0.08 0.01 Vermont Geological and geophysical engineering 0.19 0.02 Virginia Military technologies 0.04 0.01 Washington Naval architecture and marine engineering 0.10 0.04 West Virginia Mining and mineral engineering 0.27 0.03 Wisconsin Soil science 0.08 0.01 Wyoming Mining and mineral engineering 0.41 0.03