Choosing a major is difficult. There are so many different options to choose from, and it can be hard to know which one is the right fit for you. Plus, you want to pick a renowned program that will make looking for a job a breeze after graduation.
UCLA was founded in 1919 and is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The school offers a wide range of undergraduate majors, from business to engineering to humanities.
If you’re looking for the best majors at UCLA, you’ve come to the right place. Picking any of the majors will give you a strong knowledge foundation, as well as a degree that will make finding a job very easy.
In this article, we will discuss some of the top programs at UCLA and what you need to know about them. Whether you’re interested in business, science, or humanities, there is something for everyone at UCLA.
What Makes a Major Valuable?
Before we dive into the best majors at UCLA, it’s important to understand what makes a major valuable. There are many different factors that go into determining the value of a degree, including:
- The prestige of the school—Big names carry way more weight for prospective employers. Luckily for you, UCLA was ranked number 1 among public universities and 19th among all universities in 2018.
- The number of jobs available in the field—Not all majors have an equal amount of job opportunities. Ideally, you want a major that is in high demand.
- The average salary for people with that degree—This can vary widely depending on the major, but also location. Naturally, money is only one of the things that matter in life, so don’t let this be the only thing you consider when making your decision.
- Exclusivity—How many people have the degree? Is the competition stiff? This has to be balanced with the job market. If there are few job openings for an obscure major then it might not be the best choice.
- The skills you learn in the program—Some majors teach you marketable skills that are in high demand, while others do not. Skills are what get you jobs, not titles.
When looking at these factors, it’s easy to see why business and engineering degrees are so popular. They have high prestige, a lot of job opportunities, and high salaries. However, this is not to say that other majors at UCLA aren’t valuable. The humanities programs are incredibly well-rounded and teach students important skills like critical thinking and analysis.
You can succeed in life even without a degree that is directly correlated with your job. Early life education is important, but it’s your skills and unique traits that separate you from other candidates.
7 Best Majors At UCLA
Now that we know how to measure the value of a degree, let’s take a look at some of the best majors at UCLA.
These all satisfy the above requirements. Once you graduate, you’ll easily find a job that pays well.
Business degrees are some of the most popular in the country and for good reason. They offer students a strong foundation in business and management principles, which makes them very marketable. In addition, business degrees usually have high salaries associated with them.
If you’re interested in a business degree, UCLA offers a few different options. You can study business administration, which gives you a broad overview of the field. Or, if you want to specialize in a particular area, you can choose from concentrations like:
- Accounting—This degree will teach you how to keep track of a company’s finances and prepare financial statements.
- Finance—This concentration will teach you how to manage a company’s money, make investments, and understand financial markets.
- Marketing—In this concentration, you’ll learn how to create and execute marketing plans, as well as measure their effectiveness.
- Management—This concentration will teach you how to manage people and resources in order to achieve organizational goals.
Common jobs for business graduates include: accountant, financial analyst, marketing manager, and human resources manager.
Engineering degrees are also very popular and offer students a wealth of job opportunities. Engineering is the process of designing and building things, so it covers a wide range of fields. This makes engineers some of the most in-demand graduates in the country.
At UCLA, you can study:
- Civil and environmental engineering—This focuses on designing and building infrastructure like roads, bridges, and dams.
- Computer engineering—This teaches you how to design and build computer systems.
- Electrical engineering—This covers the design and operation of electrical systems like power grids and motors.
- Industrial engineering—This is the process of optimizing factory processes to make them more efficient.
- Materials science and engineering—This explores the properties and applications of materials like metals, plastics, and ceramics.
- Biomolecular engineering—This is a relatively new field that combines engineering with biology. It focuses on creating new technologies and products from biological materials.
- Mechanical and aerospace engineering—This is the traditional engineering field that teaches you how to design and build machines and planes.
3. Political Science and Government
Governments encompass a wide range of activities, from the provision of public goods and services to the regulation of business. As a result, political science degrees are in high demand.
There will always be a bigger need of PolSci experts to deal with all branches of the governments, since they are always looking to expand their power.
But also, the last few months taught us how important international relations and diplomacy are.
At UCLA, you can study:
- American politics—This explores the politics of the United States.
- Comparative politics—This looks at how different political systems work.
- International relations—This covers topics like diplomacy, war, and terrorism.
- Political theory—This examines the philosophical foundations of political thought.
- Public policy—This looks at how governments make decisions about things like healthcare, education, and the environment.
Sociology is a misunderstood field by the general populace. They often wonder what kind of job you can do with a sociology degree, and sort of for good reason. It’s hard to understand a sociologist’s range of skills if you don’t know the field.
But, in short, a sociology degree gives you a strong foundation in the social sciences. You learn about things like social theory, research methods, and statistics. This makes sociologists versatile employees who can work in a variety of fields.
At UCLA, you can study these fields of sociology:
- Criminology—This looks at why people commit crimes and how societies deal with crime.
- Gender studies—This explores the social construction of gender and its effects on society.
- Industrial sociology—This examines how work and industry are organized.
- Medical sociology—This looks at the social aspects of health and illness.
- Race and ethnicity studies—This looks at how race and ethnicity are constructed and experienced in society.
- Sociology of education—This examines how schools operate as social institutions.
Common jobs for sociology graduates include market research consultants, guidance counselors, and people who work in human resources (HR) departments.
5. Computer Science
Computer science is one of the most popular majors in the country, and for good reason. With a computer science degree, you can practically do anything.
You can become a software engineer and design and build computer applications. You can become a systems administrator and manage computer networks. You can become a web developer and create websites. The possibilities are endless.
At UCLA, you can study these fields of computer science:
- Artificial intelligence—This explores how computers can be made to act like humans. It is the current hottest trend in tech, so a degree here would really propel your career forward.
- Computer graphics—This covers the design and rendering of digital images. This is important for creating video games, movies, and other visual media.
- Cybersecurity—This teaches you how to protect computer systems from hackers and other online threats. This is another field that is going to explode in the near future.
- Data science—This is the study of data in all its forms. It includes things like data mining, machine learning, and big data analysis.
- Software engineering—This teaches you how to design, build, and test software applications.
- Web development—This teaches you how to create websites and web applications.
Editor’s note: this is one of the more open-ended degrees, because if you get good at coding in one language, say for cybersecurity, learning another language to get into software development is going to be a breeze.
Economics is the study of how people use scarce resources to produce goods and services. It is a social science that applies mathematical methods to the study of human behavior.
That’s why it’s also called praxeology, literally the “theory of human action.”
At UCLA, you can study these fields of economics:
- Economic theory—This examines the principles that govern economic activity.
- Econometrics—This uses mathematical methods to analyze economic data.
- Environmental economics—This looks at how economic activity affects the environment.
- Finance—This covers the study of financial markets and institutions.
- International economics—This looks at the global economy and how different countries interact with each other.
- Labor economics—This looks at how labor is used to produce goods and services.
- Macroeconomics—This examines the overall performance of an economy.
- Microeconomics—This examines the behavior of individual economic agents.
Common jobs for economics graduates include financial analysts, market research analysts, and business economists.
Psychology is the study of human behavior. It is a social science that applies scientific methods to the study of mental processes and behavior.
Psychology is a field that’s garnered a lot of interest in recent times, thanks to the spreading awareness of mental health issues.
At UCLA, you can study these fields of psychology:
- Clinical psychology—This is the study of mental health and behavior disorders.
- Cognitive psychology—This is the study of how people think, learn, and remember.
- Developmental psychology—This is the study of how people change over the course of their lives.
- Industrial-organizational psychology—This is the study of how people work together in organizations.
- Personality psychology—This is the study of individual differences in behavior.
- Social psychology—This is the study of how people interact with each other.
Common jobs for psychology graduates include market research analysts, human resources (HR) managers, and guidance counselors.
There are many excellent major choices at UCLA. With so many to pick from, it’s only a matter of finding the one that’s right for you. Do your research, and find the major that will allow you to explore your interests and set you on the path to a successful future.
Whatever you decide to study, be sure to work hard and put your all into it. The sky’s the limit with the right degree from UCLA. Obviously, you should pick a major that works best with your interests. For example, if you absolutely loathe computers, a computer science degree would be a terrible choice.
Don’t just pick a major because it sounds cool or because everyone else is doing it. Make a mental note of your strengths, weaknesses, and interests, and you’ll make the right choice for you.