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Harvard Majors

skoonbyskoonby 4 replies3 threads New Member
To alumnis, students, or anyone affiliated, what are some of the more popular (maybe successful) majors at Harvard? And why, do you think? I've been doing my research, but it's difficult to grasp the larger picture.

Also, how accessible are/were the opportunities for your given major?
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Replies to: Harvard Majors

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79097 replies703 threads Senior Member
    skoonby wrote: »
    To alumnis, students, or anyone affiliated, what are some of the more popular (maybe successful) majors at Harvard? And why, do you think?

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=harvard&s=all&id=166027#programs can tell you the number of graduates for each major in a recent class. "Econometrics and Quantitative Economics" (economics), "Social Sciences, General" (social studies), and computer science were the top three majors in that list.

    https://handbook.fas.harvard.edu/book/fields-concentration points you to the page for each major; at the bottom of each major's page is enrollment history over the years (appears to be the number in the major in December, which is larger than the number who graduate each year, since it can include students from multiple classes declared in the major).

    As for why, economics is a popular major at colleges where there is no business major, and may be favored by Harvard students aiming for finance or consulting jobs, and computer science has exploded in popularity everywhere over the last several years. Social studies is almost a design-your-own major within the range of social studies subjects.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    edited December 5
    Here's the university's own figures on bachelor's degrees awarded by major ("concentration") from the 2018-2019 academic year. It is more precise in Harvard terms than what appears on the NCES website: https://oir.harvard.edu/fact-book/degrees-awarded-summary

    The five most popular concentrations, in descending order, were Economics (by a huge margin, almost twice #2, and 13.5% of the class), Computer Science, Government (political science), Applied Math, and Psychology. It's also worth noting that Harvard has 5 or 6 separate concentrations that at other institutions would be considered tracks within a single Biology major. If you combined all of them, they would represent slightly more students than were Economics concentrators.

    edited December 5
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  • compmomcompmom 10931 replies78 threads Senior Member
    edited December 6
    What do you mean by "successful"? Are you referring to future income?

    Clearly, vocational goals are driving concentration choices, but it doesn't have to be that way. And unexpected career paths can result from being a little less certain at age 18.
    edited December 6
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