Which Majors are Most Likely to Lead to an Advanced Degree

Roughly one-third of bachelor’s program graduates will go on to earn a graduate degree. However, advanced credentials are more common in certain academic fields than others. Some majors are encouraged to earn a master’s degree or ph.D. in order to fulfill the necessary educational requirements of their profession and compete with other qualified candidates in the job market. For others, post-bachelor’s education may prove to be an unnecessary investment that forces students to incur more tuition debt without improving their standing in the current workforce.

‘The Economic Value of College Majors’ includes a comprehensive list of more than 130 specific majors ranked by the percentage of students who go on to earn an advanced degree. We’ve categorized each of these majors using the 15 major subgroups above and calculated an overall average for each subgroup. These findings are listed in the table below. Please note: some specific majors were counted for more than one major subgroup. For instance, ‘Geological and Geophysical Engineering’ was counted in both the Architecture/Engineering and Physical Sciences subgroups.

Percentage Students from each Major who go on to earn a Graduate Degree:

Business – 27%

Architecture & Engineering – 37.2%

Computers/Statistics/Mathematics – 35.2%

Education – 49%

Health – 42.2%

Psychology and Social Work – 39.8%

Social Sciences – 37.9%

Law & Public Policy – 37.4%

Arts – 32.6%

Industrial Arts/Consumer Services/Recreation – 22%

Humanities & Liberal Arts – 39.7%

Communications & Journalism – 36.7%

Physical Sciences – 49.2%

Agriculture & Natural Resources – 30.2%

Biology & Life Sciences – 46.8%

This information was included in a Guide published by BestColleges.com. The comprehensive guide uses measured student outcomes, job market statistics and other higher education results to explore the various benefits and consequences of the nation’s various popular undergraduate majors. Check it out here: The Student’s Guide to Choosing a Major