Most Popular Fields of Study, Since 1970

The National Center for Education Statistics maintains a variety of metrics related to various levels of schooling. Poking around, I wondered what the kids these days are learning and how it might be different from decades past, which led me to the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred by field of study, going back to 1970. I ranked them over time.

I’m surprised by the big rises for law enforcement and firefighting, along with parks and recreation. I didn’t even know there were majors in the latter field of study, but I guess that shows what I know.

I was also surprised that library science ranked so low, because I had classmates in the field when I was in graduate school. But again, this is based on bachelor’s degrees. Based on additional data, it looks like there aren’t a whole lot of undergraduate programs for library science, and it’s more common for students to pursue master’s or doctorates in the field.

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