Scholarships by Major
Your college major can determine a lot of things in your life. The classes you take in college can shape your perspective on and approach to a variety of situations, the people you meet in those classes can shape your social world, and all of these experiences combined can determine your career prospects. Your intended area of study can also play a big role in the financial aid available to you.
There are a number of state and federal grant and loan forgiveness programs targeted at specific college majors. The most common areas of study for such programs are education, healthcare, and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Students pursuing degrees in these areas may find substantial financial aid opportunities to offset the costs of their education. Engineering and computer science are also lines of work with some of the highest-paying jobs and best job prospects, adding further incentive for students to pursue these very challenging majors.
However, if your passion doesn’t lie in education, healthcare, or science and technology, there are still ample reasons to pursue your chosen major, as well as sources of college funding to assist you. Students in any number of majors will find a variety of scholarship opportunities that play to their academic strengths and the knowledge and abilities they gain while pursuing their area of study.
Scholarships by Interest Area
Most scholarship providers are looking for specific things when they give out awards. These criteria can range from excellent writing to original thinking to great research skills to demonstrated commitment to service. The characteristics sought by specific scholarships may also align themselves well with particular majors. English, journalism, and philosophy majors may find themselves excelling at essay scholarships, as their writing-intensive coursework and demanding reading assignments prepare them uniquely for the task. Competitions that ask for original artwork or designs are likely to draw art students, fashion majors, and design majors who have experience and interest in creating something new. Students most familiar with the rigors of scientific research and engineering projects will shine at competitions that emphasize those skills, even if they are open to students of all academic backgrounds.
Some scholarship awards will also be limited to students pursuing a particular major or one of a small group of majors. In addition to the state and federal aid programs for specific majors, colleges and independent scholarship providers also award scholarships by major.
Departments on college campuses often have received donations from alumni to establish scholarship funds for students pursuing a particular major. These awards are often fairly small but since you’re only competing with other students at your college for funding, they may be fairly easy to get. Departments, such as business schools, whose graduates can expect to go on to earn enough money to make sizeable donations to their alma mater will likely have the most major-specific scholarship opportunities, though even fields that typically produce relatively low-wage workers may have funds available. Your college advisor, your college’s financial aid office, or your department’s main office or website will likely have information on scholarships available for students pursuing your intended major.
National organizations also offer scholarships by major. Professional organizations or companies affiliated with majors with high earnings potential likely have money to spare for future members of their profession. Majors that prepare students to serve “high-need” areas, fields where a shortage of workers is anticipated, such as nursing and education, may also have a variety of scholarship opportunities available as various groups attempt to entice students into these fields. Companies and organizations interested in promoting diversity may also do so through major-specific scholarship awards. Women or minorities entering fields where they are still underrepresented are likely to also see a wide variety of scholarships meant specifically for them.
Your major is only part of who you are as a student, though. The listings of scholarships by major you’ll find in this section can get you started on funding your education, but they don’t represent the full range of financial aid available to you. In order to find more scholarships that cater to students with your background and interests, complete a profile and a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com.