16 Science Majors (and Related Careers) to Consider

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Considering a science degree? Learn how to choose one of the science majors for a bachelor's degree that suits your personal and professional goals.

[Featured image] A woman working on her science degree studies in a university library.

Build a broad base of knowledge to draw from across a wide variety of subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, medicine, engineering, computing, and many others, when you major in science. Depending on which subject you choose, you could end up working in areas like health care, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, food production, environmental protection, energy, manufacturing, IT, education, law, finance, marketing, management, and more.

Common science majors

While the exact list of available science majors will typically vary from one university to the next, you’re likely to find some common majors at most four-year universities. Some of the most common science majors include:  

  • Agriculture: Study of growing crops and raising livestock 

  • Astronomy:  Study of celestial objects and the physical universe 

  • Biology: Study of life 

  • Biochemistry: Study of chemistry as it relates to living organisms

  • Biophysics: Study of physics as it relates to biological phenomena

  • Cellular biology: Study of cells 

  • Chemistry: Study of matter

  • Earth science: Study of the planet Earth  

  • Ecology: Study of the relationship between organisms and their environments

  • Genetics: Study of genes and heredity in living organisms

  • Kinesiology: Study of human movement

  • Meteorology: Study of the atmosphere and weather forecasting

  • Microbiology: Study of microscopic organisms 

  • Physical science: Study of nonliving materials  

  • Physics: Study of matter and its motion and behavior 

  • Zoology: Study of animals  

Read more: What Is a STEM Degree? And What Can You Do With One?What types of jobs can I get with a science major? 

Majoring in science can open you up to hundreds of careers across all industries. Here are some of the most common science majors [1] and the types of jobs you could pursue with a degree in the field:  

*All salary data represents median salaries in the United States according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 2022) unless otherwise noted.

Biology

As a biology major, your career options extend beyond becoming a biologist or going to medical school to be a doctor. While those are certainly possible, you have other options with a bachelor’s degree in biology, including:  

  • Medical manager: $104,280

  • Food scientist: $68,830

  • High school teacher: $62,870

  • Forensic science technician: $60,590  

  • Clinical laboratory technician: $54,180

  • Health educator: $48,140

  • Biological technician: $46,340

Kinesiology and exercise science

If you’re interested in a career where you get to help people reach their potential or improve their quality of life, a degree in kinesiology and exercise science could be a good fit. As you learn more about the movement of the human body, you’ll build a foundation for careers like:

  • Health services manager: $104,280

  • Exercise physiologist: $50,280

  • Physical therapist assistant: $49,970

  • Athletic trainer: $49,860 

  • Health education specialist: $48,140

  • Recreational therapist: $47,710

  • Massage therapist: $43,620 

Chemistry 

We’re surrounded by matter, so studying chemistry quite literally opens up a world of possibilities for career options, both inside and outside of a lab environment. Careers you might pursue as a chemistry major include:  

  • Chemical engineer: $108,540

  • Toxicologist: $91,510

  • Chemist: $80,680

  • Brewmaster: $79,198 (average base pay, Glassdoor)

  • Chemical technician: $49,820  

  • Environmental science and protection technician: $46,850

Earth science  

These days, as more and more focus shifts to the environment, you may find that one of these potential careers for earth science majors interests you: 

  • Atmospheric scientist: $99,740  

  • Geoscientist: $93,580

  • Environmental engineer: $92,120

  • Hydrologists $84,040 

  • Environmental scientist: $73,230

  • Seismologist: $66,911 

  • Conservation scientist: $64,010 

Read more:5 Jobs That Help Fight Climate Change

Outlook for jobs in science 

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that careers in life, physical, and social science will grow at a rate of 8 percent between 2020 and 2030 [2]. Careers in biomedical research and environmental protection are expected to be in high demand.  

Health care jobs, which often require a science degree, will also likely be in high demand, according to the BLS. It's expected that the United States will add 2.6 million new health care positions between 2020 and 2030, more than any other industry.  [3

Next steps 

Considering a degree in science? Take a course from a top university to experience firsthand if it’s a good fit. Once you sign up for Coursera, you can explore more than 5,000 courses, many of which are free to audit. Here are a few popular free courses to get you started:

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Article sources

1. National Center for Education Statistics. “Bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions,   https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_318.30.asp.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations,   https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/home.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Healthcare Occupations,   https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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