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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.

Major-Specific Scholarships

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.

Some Examples:

  • Accounting Scholarships
  • Some people think math is boring, but you know otherwise. Not only do you love numbers, but you know how to profit from this love by majoring in accounting. Accounting is an excellent career path for the intelligent and detail-oriented student.

  • Anthropology Scholarships
  • As an anthropology major, you will study the origins of humankind, how our humble beginnings shaped us into the people we are today and what the future could possibly bring based on the past. Classes in history, biology and archaeology are typically required in addition to the departmental classes on culture and language.

  • Biology Scholarships
  • Biology is a popular major among college students — and not just those with visions of crisp white lab coats dancing in their heads. Whether or not you plan to acquire an M.D., you have plenty of options as a biology student: Your employment options include working in aquariums, schools, hospitals, parks, zoos, laboratories and more.

  • Business Scholarships
  • Business Management and Administration was reported to be among the most popular college majors with students today. It makes sense: Not only is business a profitable major, but business majors also have more options than almost anyone else as far as future employment prospects are concerned. If you're not settled on a career, it's probably a better choice than, let's say, history, philosophy or art.

  • Communications Scholarships
  • Students who major in a subject within the college of communications or those who directly major in communications can enter an interesting array of fields. They can find careers in journalism, photography, radio announcing, advertising, publishing, graphic design and more.

  • Computer Science Scholarships
  • If you dream in binary, count electric sheep, can’t sleep without the hum of at least a dozen cooling fans and regularly grapple with the urge to overclock everything in sight, computer science might be the right major for you.

  • English Scholarships
  • It's not completely unusual for someone who wants to continue their education after high school to major in English, but that’s entirely understandable. English is a popular major for a reason: You get to read interesting novels for homework, impress future interviewers with flashy vocabulary and improve your writing skills.

  • History Scholarships
  • The skill sets a history major acquires are applicable to an array of fields because generally studying history isn’t designed as a preparation for a particular profession. Rarely do history majors become historians; instead, most become teachers, writers, politicians, lawyers, researchers and enjoy fulfillment in a multitude of other fields.

  • Math Scholarships
  • While the first impulse of your friends and family may be to ask, “A math major? What on earth are you going to do with that?,” a mathematics degree is actually highly useful and versatile. You can literally be anything from a high school teacher to an actuary to a CIA cryptographer with a degree in math.

  • Nursing Scholarships
  • Nurses are in high demand and practical students are getting the hint. Attending college for nursing can pay off big time: According to government records, registered nursing is projected to be the second most popular new profession for students across the nation (as well as for those who bring their experience from abroad).

  • Psychology Scholarships
  • Psychology has endured for decades as an extremely popular major. It’s easy to see why: People are fascinating and the chance to earn a degree that allows you to both study human behavior and help those in need is tough to pass up. Psychology majors also have many career options; whether you choose to pursue graduate work or to go straight into a career, a psychology degree can help you along the way.

  • Social Work Scholarships
  • Want to make a difference in the world? Majoring in social work, counseling or human development and family studies is a huge step in the right direction – in your career and in the lives of the people that need your help.

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