For years, business has been the most popular major in the U.S. According to data released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center last week, it still is. But the popularity of the degree, along with student enrollment in general, continues to slide. Enrollment fell by 1.4% from Spring 2018 data to this past Spring semester. Last spring (2018), the total enrollment for business majors was 1,575,286 compared to 1,553,871 this spring. In 2017, the number was 1,609,337, representing a 2.1% decrease from 2017 to 2018. The second-most popular major continues to be health professions, which had 1,062,991 students enrolled in Spring 2019 — a 1.1% drop from 1,074,613 in 2018.
While business took a slide, other majors saw greater decreases. Once considered one of the most popular majors, liberal arts and sciences enrollment plunged by 7.1%. For the first time in recent history, enrollment dipped below one million to 984,090 this past spring. Culinary and personal services, however, had the largest percentage decline, dropping by 16.7%. Since Spring 2017, the major has dropped from 21,551 students enrolled to 14,592 this spring.
In terms of greatest gains, computer and information science majors continue to grow in popularity, increasing 5.4% in enrollment over the past year. The jump from 423,315 enrolled students in 2018 to 446,180 this past year makes it the sixth-most popular college major, right behind engineering. Driven by the increasing market need for computer and tech-savvy graduates, computer and information sciences passed social sciences, education, and psychology this year. Interestingly, for the first time in the past three years, engineering became less popular, sliding by 1.3% from 568,243 students enrolled in 2018 to 560,973 this past spring.