A major is a program of study.
The following are examples of the typical majors you might find at a comprehensive university. And you actually might find a lot more -- specialized and emerging majors -- so be sure to check your college's catalog or guide for a complete listing of majors, minors, and specialized degrees.
Business – Accounting, Advertising, Business Economics, E-commerce, Finance, Hospital and Health Care Administration, Hospitality Management, International Business, Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Real Estate
Computer Science – Database Management, Digital Arts, Networking, Programming, Software Development, Systems
Engineering – Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Petroleum Engineering
Humanities – Art, Communications, Counseling, Education, English, Foreign Languages (Italian, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, others), Literature, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Speech, Theatre
Music – Instrumental Performance, Music Education, Vocal Performance
Sciences – Astronomy, Astrophysics. Biology, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Earth Science, Forestry, Genetics, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Zoology
Social Sciences – American Studies, Economics, Geography, History, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
College Degree: An award conferred by a college, university, or some other educational institution as official recognition for the successful completion of an academic or vocational program.
Associate's degree: The standard degree awarded by two-year colleges and institutes that normally requires at least two but less than four years of full-time equivalent college work. The associate’s degree prepares graduates for the workforce or for progression toward a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree is the highest degree earned at a community college.
Bachelor's degree: The traditional degree given by American colleges and universities. It normally requires at least four years but not more than five years of full-time equivalent college-level work. The bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for entrance into the workforce or for progression toward a higher degree or certification.
Master's degree: A post-bachelor's degree program that requires completion of a program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of one academic year but not more than two academic years of work. The best known degrees are Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.), but there is a huge variety of others (in most industry fields). Some master’s degrees are designed to lead to an eventual doctoral degree. Many other master's candidates are in professional programs, preparing for a special kind of work, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Social Work (MSW), or the Master of Architecture (MArch). A Masters degree is the highest degree earned at a California State University.
Doctoral degree: The highest degree you can earn for graduate study. The doctoral degree classification includes such degrees as Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Public Health, Doctor of Nursing Science (D. NSc.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in any field (agronomy, arts, business, food technology, education, engineering, humanities, public administration, ophthalmology, radiology, sciences, etc.). Usually the doctoral degree is earned at the University of California system or in private universities.
Post-baccalaureate certificate: A focused and professionally oriented program of study that requires completion of additional credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. These programs are designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of master's degree programs. Examples include refresher courses or additional units of study in a specialty or subspecialty.
Post-master's certificate: A focused program of study that requires completion of additional credit hours beyond the master's degree but does not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. Examples include refresher courses or additional units of study in a specialty or subspecialty.
Professional degree: An earned degree in one of the following fields: chiropractic (DC, DCM), dentistry (DDS, DMD), medicine (MD), optometry (OD), osteopathic medicine (DO), pharmacy (Pharm.D), podiatry (PodD, DP, DPM); divinity/ministry (BD, MDiv), law (LLB, JD), rabbinical and Talmudic studies (MHL, Rav); or veterinary medicine (DVM).
Other Programs & Certifications
Certifications: A document that certifies that you have met a certain standard in educational degree, continuing education, experience, and testing. Certifications vary by type and industry. Many professions (such as account and teaching) require ongoing certification while many technical-vocational fields require certifications based on a set of core courses (and often not requiring a college degree).