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Most popular college major the year you graduated college

  • Austin Community College // Flickr
    1/ Austin Community College // Flickr

    Most popular college major the year you graduated college

    As the world continues to change drastically each and every day, so do the goals and aspirations of young people figuring out their lives as they embark on their respective educational journeys. More technologically driven corporations are taking over the global economy and America's youth is following suit, as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors are more popular amongst college students than ever before. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of students enrolled in STEM majors at the undergraduate level or higher has risen 43%, indicating a shift away from humanities in favor of more empirical sciences. A look at the top areas of study over the past few decades speaks to the way in which cultural and economic shifts impact educational preferences.

    Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Stacker listed the five most popular college majors from every year between 1980 and 2016. Each major is listed, along with the total number of degrees earned in the field that year, as well as information on whether the number increased or decreased from the year prior.

    Read on to learn what the most popular major was the year you graduated from college.

    RELATED: Click here to find out which college majors make the least money.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr
    2/ U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr

    1980

    #1 major: Business (184,867 degrees)
    #2 major: Education (118,038 degrees)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (103,662 degrees)
    #4 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (63,920 degrees)
    #5 major: Engineering (58,402 degrees)

  • Kevin Dooley // Moneytalk News
    3/ Kevin Dooley // Moneytalk News

    1981

    #1 major: Business (198,983 degrees, +7.64%)
    #2 major: Education (108,074 degrees, -8.44%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (100,513 degrees, -3.04%)
    #4 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (63,649 degrees, -0.42%)
    #5 major: Engineering (63,287 degrees, +8.36%)

    Biggest mover: Computer and information sciences, +35.57%
    Biggest dropper: Education, -8.44%

  • Office of Naval Research // Wikimedia Commons
    4/ Office of Naval Research // Wikimedia Commons

    1982

    #1 major: Business (213,374 degrees, +7.23%)
    #2 major: Education (100,932 degrees, -6.61%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (99,705 degrees, -0.80%)
    #4 major: Engineering (67,021 degrees, +5.90%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (63,653 degrees, +0.01%)

    Biggest mover: Computer and information sciences, +34.03%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -18.13%

  • woodleywonderworks // Flickr
    5/ woodleywonderworks // Flickr

    1983

    #1 major: Business (226,627 degrees, +6.21%)
    #2 major: Education (97,895 degrees, -3.01%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (95,228 degrees, -4.49%)
    #4 major: Engineering (72,163 degrees, +7.67%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (64,685 degrees, +1.62%)

    Biggest mover: Legal professions and studies, +29.91%
    Biggest dropper: Transportation and materials moving, -18.69%

  • Xbxg32000 // Wikimedia Commons
    6/ Xbxg32000 // Wikimedia Commons

    1984

    #1 major: Business (229,478 degrees, +1.26%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (93,323 degrees, -2.00%)
    #3 major: Education (92,299 degrees, -5.72%)
    #4 major: Engineering (75,638 degrees, +4.82%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (64,288 degrees, -0.61%)

    Biggest mover: Computer and information sciences, +31.26%
    Biggest dropper: Public administration and social services, -12.79%

  • AlbertHerring // Wikimedia Commons
    7/ AlbertHerring // Wikimedia Commons

    1985

    #1 major: Business (232,636 degrees, +1.38%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (91,570 degrees, -1.88%)
    #3 major: Education (88,072 degrees, -4.58%)
    #4 major: Engineering (77,066 degrees, +1.89%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (64,422 degrees, +0.21%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +49.06%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -21.83%

  • Tungsten // Wikimedia Commons
    8/ Tungsten // Wikimedia Commons

    1986

    #1 major: Business (237,319 degrees, +2.01%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (93,840 degrees, +2.48%)
    #3 major: Education (87,114 degrees, -1.09%)
    #4 major: Engineering (76,225 degrees, -1.09%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (64,396 degrees, -0.04%)

    Biggest mover: Mathematics and statistics, +8.11%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -27.67%

  • iversity
    9/ iversity

    1987

    #1 major: Business (240,546 degrees, +1.36%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (96,342 degrees, +2.67%)
    #3 major: Education (86,936 degrees, -0.20%)
    #4 major: Engineering (73,747 degrees, -3.25%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (63,103 degrees, -2.01%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +13.75%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -12.26%

  • Teupdeg // Wikimedia Commons
    10/ Teupdeg // Wikimedia Commons

    1988

    #1 major: Business (243,021 degrees, +1.03%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (100,460 degrees, +4.27%)
    #3 major: Education (91,112 degrees, +4.80%)
    #4 major: Engineering (69,380 degrees, -5.92%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (60,644 degrees, -3.90%)

    Biggest mover: Transportation and materials moving, +19.89%
    Biggest dropper: Computer and information sciences, -12.80%

  • UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr
    11/ UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr

    1989

    #1 major: Business (246,399 degrees, +1.39%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (108,151 degrees, +7.66%)
    #3 major: Education (96,913 degrees, +6.37%)
    #4 major: Engineering (66,099 degrees, -4.73%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (59,005 degrees, -2.70%)

    Biggest mover: Legal professions and studies, +51.65%
    Biggest dropper: Computer and information sciences, -11.79%

  • UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr
    12/ UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr

    1990

    #1 major: Business (248,698 degrees, +0.93%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (118,083 degrees, +9.18%)
    #3 major: Education (105,112 degrees, +8.46%)
    #4 major: Engineering (63,609 degrees, -3.77%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (58,302 degrees, -1.19%)

    Biggest mover: Transportation and materials moving, +15.76%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -36.36%

  • velkr0 // Flickr
    13/ velkr0 // Flickr

    1991

    #1 major: Business (249,311 degrees, +0.25%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (125,107 degrees, +5.95%)
    #3 major: Education (110,807 degrees, +5.42%)
    #4 major: Engineering (61,531 degrees, -3.27%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (59,070 degrees, +1.32%)

    Biggest mover: Not classified by field of study, +388.68%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -12.88%

  • UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr
    14/ UC Davis College of Engineering // Flickr

    1992

    #1 major: Business (256,603 degrees, +2.92%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (133,974 degrees, +7.09%)
    #3 major: Education (108,006 degrees, -2.53%)
    #4 major: Psychology (63,513 degrees, +8.28%)
    #5 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (61,720 degrees, +4.49%)

    Biggest mover: Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, +95.74%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -49.31%

  • Moody College of Communication // Flickr
    15/ Moody College of Communication // Flickr

    1993

    #1 major: Business (256,842 degrees, +0.09%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (135,703 degrees, +1.29%)
    #3 major: Education (107,781 degrees, -0.21%)
    #4 major: Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics (67,089 degrees, +8.70%)
    #5 major: Psychology (66,728 degrees, +5.06%)

    Biggest mover: Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, +16.73%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -21.92%

  • Naval Surface Warriors // Flickr
    16/ Naval Surface Warriors // Flickr

    1994

    #1 major: Business (246,265 degrees, -4.12%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (133,680 degrees, -1.49%)
    #3 major: Education (107,440 degrees, -0.32%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (75,890 degrees, +13.12%)
    #5 major: Psychology (69,419 degrees, +4.03%)

    Biggest mover: Health professions and related programs, +402.58%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -99.48%

  • COD Newsroom // Flickr
    17/ COD Newsroom // Flickr

    1995

    #1 major: Business (233,895 degrees, -5.02%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (128,154 degrees, -4.13%)
    #3 major: Education (105,929 degrees, -1.41%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (81,596 degrees, +7.52%)
    #5 major: Psychology (72,233 degrees, +4.05%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +42.11%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -59.24%

  • Austin Community College // Flickr
    18/ Austin Community College // Flickr

    1996

    #1 major: Business (226,623 degrees, -3.11%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (126,479 degrees, -1.31%)
    #3 major: Education (105,384 degrees, -0.51%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (86,087 degrees, +5.50%)
    #5 major: Psychology (73,416 degrees, +1.64%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +1100.00%
    Biggest dropper: Military technologies and applied sciences, -74.07%

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr
    19/ U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr

    1997

    #1 major: Business (225,934 degrees, -0.30%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (124,891 degrees, -1.26%)
    #3 major: Education (105,116 degrees, -0.25%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (87,997 degrees, +2.22%)
    #5 major: Psychology (74,308 degrees, +1.21%)

    Biggest mover: Not classified by field of study, +176.54%
    Biggest dropper: Military technologies and applied sciences, -42.86%

  • Austin Community College // Flickr
    20/ Austin Community College // Flickr

    1998

    #1 major: Business (232,079 degrees, +2.72%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (125,040 degrees, +0.12%)
    #3 major: Education (105,833 degrees, +0.68%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (86,843 degrees, -1.31%)
    #5 major: Psychology (74,107 degrees, -0.27%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +173.68%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -71.73%

  • Seattle City Council // Flickr
    21/ Seattle City Council // Flickr

    1999

    #1 major: Business (240,947 degrees, +3.82%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (124,658 degrees, -0.31%)
    #3 major: Education (107,086 degrees, +1.18%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (85,214 degrees, -1.88%)
    #5 major: Psychology (73,636 degrees, -0.64%)

    Biggest mover: Communications technologies, +22.55%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -99.64%

  • Sebastiaan ter Burg // Flickr
    22/ Sebastiaan ter Burg // Flickr

    2000

    #1 major: Business (256,070 degrees, +6.28%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (127,101 degrees, +1.96%)
    #3 major: Education (108,034 degrees, +0.89%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (80,863 degrees, -5.11%)
    #5 major: Psychology (74,194 degrees, +0.76%)

    Biggest mover: Not classified by field of study, +47860.00%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -23.26%

  • Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design // Wikimedia Commons
    23/ Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design // Wikimedia Commons

    2001

    #1 major: Business (263,515 degrees, +2.91%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (128,036 degrees, +0.74%)
    #3 major: Education (105,458 degrees, -2.38%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (75,933 degrees, -6.10%)
    #5 major: Psychology (73,645 degrees, -0.74%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +200.00%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -67.35%

  • Charliepatterson // Wikicommons
    24/ Charliepatterson // Wikicommons

    2002

    #1 major: Business (278,217 degrees, +5.58%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (132,874 degrees, +3.78%)
    #3 major: Education (106,295 degrees, +0.79%)
    #4 major: Psychology (76,775 degrees, +4.25%)
    #5 major: Health professions and related programs (72,887 degrees, -4.01%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +51.61%
    Biggest dropper: Military technologies and applied sciences, -85.71%

  • Max Pixel
    25/ Max Pixel

    2003

    #1 major: Business (293,545 degrees, +5.51%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (143,218 degrees, +7.78%)
    #3 major: Education (105,790 degrees, -0.48%)
    #4 major: Psychology (78,613 degrees, +2.39%)
    #5 major: Visual and performing arts (71,474 degrees, +7.04%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +100.00%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -100.00%

  • COD Newsroom // Flickr
    26/ COD Newsroom // Flickr

    2004

    #1 major: Business (307,149 degrees, +4.63%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (150,357 degrees, +4.98%)
    #3 major: Education (106,278 degrees, +0.46%)
    #4 major: Psychology (82,098 degrees, +4.43%)
    #5 major: Visual and performing arts (77,181 degrees, +7.98%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +66.67%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -27.27%

  • ILRI // Flickr
    27/ ILRI // Flickr

    2005

    #1 major: Business (311,574 degrees, +1.44%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (156,892 degrees, +4.35%)
    #3 major: Education (105,451 degrees, -0.78%)
    #4 major: Psychology (85,614 degrees, +4.28%)
    #5 major: Visual and performing arts (80,955 degrees, +4.89%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +300.00%
    Biggest dropper: Computer and information sciences, -9.04%

  • Max Pixel
    28/ Max Pixel

    2006

    #1 major: Business (318,042 degrees, +2.08%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (161,485 degrees, +2.93%)
    #3 major: Education (107,238 degrees, +1.69%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (91,973 degrees, +13.99%)
    #5 major: Psychology (88,134 degrees, +7.35%)

    Biggest mover: Communications technologies, +18.15%
    Biggest dropper: Military technologies and applied sciences, -17.50%

  • NASA
    29/ NASA

    2007

    #1 major: Business (327,531 degrees, +2.98%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (164,183 degrees, +1.67%)
    #3 major: Education (105,641 degrees, -1.49%)
    #4 major: Health professions and related programs (101,810 degrees, +10.70%)
    #5 major: Psychology (90,039 degrees, +2.16%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +409.09%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -58.18%

  • Cdbrice00 // Wikicommons
    30/ Cdbrice00 // Wikicommons

    2008

    #1 major: Business (335,254 degrees, +2.36%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (167,363 degrees, +1.94%)
    #3 major: Health professions and related programs (111,478 degrees, +9.50%)
    #4 major: Education (102,582 degrees, -2.90%)
    #5 major: Psychology (92,587 degrees, +2.83%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +43.48%
    Biggest dropper: Military technologies and applied sciences, -76.79%

  • Irina.stelea // Wikicommons
    31/ Irina.stelea // Wikicommons

    2009

    #1 major: Business (348,056 degrees, +3.82%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (168,517 degrees, +0.69%)
    #3 major: Health professions and related programs (120,420 degrees, +8.02%)
    #4 major: Education (101,716 degrees, -0.84%)
    #5 major: Psychology (94,273 degrees, +1.82%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +41.03%
    Biggest dropper: Not classified by field of study, -100.00%

  • U.S. Department of Defense
    32/ U.S. Department of Defense

    2010

    #1 major: Business (358,119 degrees, +2.89%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (172,782 degrees, +2.53%)
    #3 major: Health professions and related programs (129,623 degrees, +7.64%)
    #4 major: Education (101,287 degrees, -0.42%)
    #5 major: Psychology (97,215 degrees, +3.12%)

    Biggest mover: Library science, +8.97%
    Biggest dropper: Communications technologies, -6.24%

  • U.S. Department of State // Flickr
    33/ U.S. Department of State // Flickr

    2011

    #1 major: Business (365,133 degrees, +1.96%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (177,169 degrees, +2.54%)
    #3 major: Health professions and related programs (143,463 degrees, +10.68%)
    #4 major: Education (104,008 degrees, +2.69%)
    #5 major: Psychology (100,906 degrees, +3.80%)

    Biggest mover: Precision production, +48.28%
    Biggest dropper: Architecture and related services, -2.19%

  • Public Domain
    34/ Public Domain

    2012

    #1 major: Business (367,235 degrees, +0.58%)
    #2 major: Social sciences and history (178,534 degrees, +0.77%)
    #3 major: Health professions and related programs (163,675 degrees, +14.09%)
    #4 major: Psychology (109,099 degrees, +8.12%)
    #5 major: Education (105,656 degrees, +1.58%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +34.38%
    Biggest dropper: Precision production, -13.95%

  • U.S. Air Force Photo
    35/ U.S. Air Force Photo

    2013

    #1 major: Business (360,887 degrees, -1.73%)
    #2 major: Health professions and related programs (181,149 degrees, +10.68%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (177,767 degrees, -0.43%)
    #4 major: Psychology (114,446 degrees, +4.90%)
    #5 major: Education (104,698 degrees, -0.91%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +22.09%
    Biggest dropper: Transportation and materials moving, -4.41%

  • HBS1908 // Wikicommons
    36/ HBS1908 // Wikicommons

    2014

    #1 major: Business (358,079 degrees, -0.78%)
    #2 major: Health professions and related programs (198,770 degrees, +9.73%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (173,096 degrees, -2.63%)
    #4 major: Psychology (117,298 degrees, +2.49%)
    #5 major: Biological and biomedical sciences (104,633 degrees, +4.22%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +76.19%
    Biggest dropper: Area, ethnic, cultural, gender, and group studies, -6.50%

  • Max Pixel
    37/ Max Pixel

    2015

    #1 major: Business (363,741 degrees, +1.58%)
    #2 major: Health professions and related programs (216,228 degrees, +8.78%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (166,971 degrees, -3.54%)
    #4 major: Psychology (117,573 degrees, +0.23%)
    #5 major: Biological and biomedical sciences (109,904 degrees, +5.04%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +49.19%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -22.05%

  • U.S. Department of Defense
    38/ U.S. Department of Defense

    2016

    #1 major: Business (371,694 degrees, +2.19%)
    #2 major: Health professions and related programs (228,896 degrees, +5.86%)
    #3 major: Social sciences and history (161,230 degrees, -3.44%)
    #4 major: Psychology (117,440 degrees, -0.11%)
    #5 major: Biological and biomedical sciences (113,749 degrees, +3.50%)

    Biggest mover: Military technologies and applied sciences, +29.71%
    Biggest dropper: Library science, -14.14%

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