The Least Popular College Majors

The Least Popular College Majors

Learn which college majors are the least popular and why.

As an undergraduate, one of the most important decisions you'll make is choosing your area of study. The least popular college majors may be unpopular for many reasons: they might lead to few employment opportunities or low-paying jobs or they may simply not be offered at many colleges.

Unpopular majors may not be bad per se, but the fact that only a limited number of students pursue them might mean that funding and other resources aren’t as readily available.

While you should make your major choice based on your own personal interests and aspirations, knowing the least popular college majors may help you decide between the subjects that interest you.

Least Popular College Majors: Obscure Majors?

At most four-year universities, the school of humanities/liberal arts has the most students. In many cases, especially at larger colleges, certain majors are too focused and/or obscure to attract a broad range of students. Majors like Folklore and Mythology, dead languages like Latin, and alternative health fields like Music Therapy don't typically attract the common student.

In such fields, the prospects of finding a job after college will be much more difficult than the most common majors like business.

Least Popular Major: Low Employment Rates and Low Salaries?

Students may also avoid college majors because of relatively low job prospects and salaries after graduation. According to a study conducted by Payscale, Inc., a company that compiles information on average salaries, majors such as Horticulture, Dietetics, and Theology have some of the lowest starting salaries and offer minimal increases in the ensuing years.

While money isn’t everything, you do want to make sure you are making enough to live comfortably when you enter the professional world.

Can Unpopular College Majors Lead to High Pay?

Some majors do not have a large number of graduates, yet they offer little competition in the job market while at the same time providing some of the highest starting salaries among young professionals. A survey conducted by Georgetown University concluded that Naval Architecture, Metallurgical Engineering and Mining are among the least popular but highest-paying fields after college.

Architecture and Engineering are areas that yield a high volume of graduates, but students can increase their job prospects and starting salaries by looking into certain fields within these professions that offer hidden opportunities.

Least Popular College Majors: Tips and Tactics

  • If you are worried that an unpopular major will not provide you with ample employment opportunities after graduation, consider a minor or double major in the subject.
  • Talk to professors about your post-graduation options with a specific degree. They will be honest and let you know upfront what to expect regarding opportunities and pay.
  • A master’s degree or PhD can make your resume more attractive, and you may able to command a higher salary. This is not the case in all professions, so research how a graduate degree affects your specific profession before committing to grad school.


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