Top Majors at St. Cloud State


Recently, I was poking around the very-much-unseen website of the Office of Strategy, Planning and Effectiveness at SCSU and was surprised to see the 2012-13 enrollment numbers according to majors. Having been at St. Cloud State for almost half a decade now, I have always had the perception that the College of Liberal Arts and the Herberger Business School are the two largest academic units within the university in terms of total number of majors in the respective colleges.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Looking at the spreadsheets made available by the Office of Institutional Research – which provides general information about the University including admissions, student enrollment, course enrollment, major/program enrollment and awards conferred – I sorted out the top five (most-enrolled) majors at St. Cloud State University. [Note: these numbers reflect only the full year equivalent (FYE) enrollment for each college/school.]

5. Psychology (471.4)


Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior. Psychologists are interested in many different aspects of behavior, including thought, perception, feelings, learning, development, social interactions and disorders. The aim of psychology is to learn why we behave the way we do. See Department of Psychology website.

4. Communication Studies (483.1)

comm studies

The rhetorical tradition has long been considered central to a liberal education. People must communicate effectively to function well in education, business, politics, government, the community and the family. In addition to offering a variety of major and minor programs, the Communication Studies curriculum is open to all students and is designed to complement and integrate most programs of study. See Department of Communication Studies website.

3. English (611.8) – excl. ESL majors


Dedicated to the study and practice of the diverse uses of the English language in all its forms, the English Department devotes its energies and its teaching to English studies as understood in the richest sense, including: the heritage of literature written in English, the philosophy and practice of rhetoric and composition, creative writing, English education, linguistics, the methods and theories of teaching English as a second language (TESL), and, in general, the social, ethical, and psychological dimensions of language use. See Department of English website.

2. Mathematics (701) – excl. Statistics majors


Mathematics and statistics are fundamental to many areas of study and are an integral part of a university education. The department offers curriculum designed not only to enable students to pursue careers in mathematics or statistics, but also to better prepare students for careers in business, education, engineering, and the physical, life and social sciences. To participate in a technological society and a competitive global environment, graduates need a strong foundation in analytical thinking, data analysis, problem solving, and modeling. See Department of Mathematics and Statistics website.

1. Biology (712.8)


The Department of Biology offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various sub-disciplines of biology, in addition to preparing students for entry into professional degree programs such as medicine, dentistry and physical therapy. Talented faculty and staff, dedicated to teaching and learning by doing, provide an active learning environment for students that includes laboratory and field experiences, and independent research projects guided by faculty mentors, as part of the academic curriculum. See Department of Biology website.

See respective college’s/school’s full department FYE enrollment here (PDFs):

These information are made available to the public by SCSU Office of Institutional Research. It is important to note also that the actual number of students who declared their majors are drastically different from the FYE reports, possibility due to retention and graduate rates. For instance, the top two most-declared majors in Fall 2013 are Psychology (267) and Criminal Justice (250).

Just to give us a better sense of where SCSU stands in comparison with national statistics; the top majors in the U.S. (2013), according to U.S. News & World Reports, are: (Not-ranked)

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biometrics
  • Forensic Science
  • Computer Game Design
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science
  • Business Analytics
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Public Health
  • Robotics
  • Sustainability

So, what do you think? What is/was your major and why did you choose that major? Feel free to drop your two cents below!

The above commentaries are merely of my personal observations and do not reflect that of the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs at SCSU.

Cover image: 2010 Orientation Group by Neil Anderson.
Psychology cover: Ryan Peter
Communication studies cover:
English cover:
Mathematics cover:
Biology cover: Philippe Guillaume, Flickr

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