The Most Popular Majors For Women

Julia Novakovich  |

As students and young adults become more focused on and concerned about reaching financial independence, there has been a shift in popularity amongst majors. Concern about being able to find a job upon graduating is a greater concern than pursuing a passion. This is why we are seeing a shift from humanities to more occupational majors.

This shift to occupational majors is exhibited strongly in advanced degrees amongst women. Women outpace men in higher education for Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees. Here is a list of some of the most popular majors for women at all degree levels:

Business

It comes as no surprise that business happened to be among the most popular college majors. Just as much for women, as for men. Nearly 1 out of every 5 graduates received a business degree, with almost half of them earned by women.

Perhaps the biggest strength with business is that most of our financial literacy is based upon the elementary concepts taught here. Students can then decide from among marketing, management, finance, consulting and sales, etc. Each of these divisions, in turn, is rife with opportunities and offerings. Getting a business degree is a good investment as it makes you q qualified candidate when it comes time to enter the job market upon graduation.

Finance

Both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in finance have been growing in popularity amongst female students. A recent Global Gender Gap Report, prepared by the World Economic Forum identifies female talent as underutilized in the finance industry. Research also has shown that female representation tapers down with professional ascendancy. For example, women only make up about 15% of all executive positions, even though their representation is almost 46% in the financial services industry as a whole.

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Within this context, an advanced program in finance may be a particularly good choice. A Master’s in finance program could be a demonstration of commitment to professional advancement. Experts opined that the gender disparity here should be seen as an opportunity. Having an advanced degree in finance makes you a valuable asset to an organization; you’ll have management and leadership skills, as well as advanced knowledge about finance that can prove beneficial to any organization. Having this skill set is important if you want to pursue any upper-level management or C-level positions within an organization.

Nursing

Women still tend to dominate soft majors. Nursing appeals to the innate social responsibility of people, a characteristic often attributed to women. Nursing majors were the most popular for a number of years. A degree in nursing allows women to cater to the healthcare needs of America's rapidly aging population.

Then there is the factor of demand. Rapidly advancing baby boomers have contributed to sky-high hourly pay scales, together with competitive perks and privileges. Some of these perks and privileges include choosing to take overtime valued at $100+ an hour, getting free tuition for their children, free daycare, etc. This holds particular promise for women as they consider starting their own families.

Many degrees in nursing also prepare for interdependent practice. This allows nursing graduates to realize their true professional worth in an industry dominated by doctors. Indeed, a sense of self-determination, deep-seated respect for the community, and compassion for the nuances in culture – all go into making nursing an appealing option.

Psychology

This is another area with a lot of appeal for women given the opportunities. Women tend to view themselves as more empathetic than men and that has been cited as one of the reasons behind their gravitation toward psychology. While in the 70s, a mere 30% of all PhD's awarded in psychology went to women, that number had more than doubled to 70% in 2008.

Another part of the appeal is career opportunities in fields that are related to psychology. These include law, teaching, federal government positions, military, and social work.

Education

Education is yet another promising field. Being a strong educator often requires being empathetic and caring, two characteristics commonly found amongst women. Additionally, many women are naturally drawn towards careers in teaching. To pursue becoming a teacher, a degree in education is often the first step. However, it should be noted that getting a degree in education alone is not enough. You must also be able to connect with and quickly build a rapport with young children and teenagers to be successful.

A degree in education opens to door to many different types of career opportunities including those related to educational policy, psychology, pedagogy, curriculum development, planning educational technology, special education, and social justice.

Gender Disparity Holds Opportunity

When it comes to their careers today, women exhibit a trend quite similar to men; they’re consciously looking for financial independence, prominently featuring in movements such as the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). This has them looking at traditional male bastions where gender disparity actually holds opportunity: business and finance. Nothing wrong with pursuing the American dream and making a little bit of money on the side.

DISCLOSURE: No financial interests


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

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