While Penn offers nearly 90 majors at the undergraduate level, some are more attractive than others — at least on paper.
Wharton sophomore Victoria Sacchetti, who intends to concentrate in finance, was attracted to the program due to her interest in quantitative data.
“I love being able to analyze stocks and see how the market is impacted by different things such as politics,” she said.
She added that she thought the applicability of her field and the skill of finance professors in the Wharton School served to draw other students to the major.
College sophomore Julia Hines first became interested in economics during high school. Since arriving at Penn she said that she has grown to appreciate the versatility of the major.
“I think many people are attracted to econ because it is such a marketable and applicable major, and econ graduates have a wide range of career options,” she said.
Anne Duchene, an economics lecturer, also emphasized the marketability of an economics degree.
“[Economics] teaches how to analyze, understand and think critically. Employers know that, ” she said. “And that's why they express so much interest in economics majors — so students know that the job opportunities are everywhere, not only in bank and consulting, but also in non for profit, government, etc.”
Nursing, which may seem more like a degree, is in fact a major in Penn's School of Nursing, and one of the most popular ones. Other majors offered by the School of Nursing include nutrition, which is hosted in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, and Nursing and Health Care Management, which is offered as part of a dual-degree program with Wharton.
For Nursing sophomore Jessica Korducki, one of the most appealing aspects of the Nursing School is the accelerated style of the program. While many nursing programs in other schools require students to take foundational classes before applying to major in nursing, Penn allows you to take nursing courses even during freshman year.
Welcome back to school! Read our other stories on NSO including a map on where to hit the books once NSO is over and an investigation into what actually happens when students skip mandatory NSO events.
Wharton sophomore Rachel Trenne's said she intends to pursue a management concentration in Wharton because she appreciates the “big picture” aspect of businesses.
“Being able to learn about all the different elements of business and how they impact overall decisions and strategy is really interesting to me,” she said, adding that she thinks the management concentration is particularly appealing to qualitative thinkers.
For students in the College, biology is the most popular choice.
College sophomore Olivia Crocker said the biology major is particularly important for those, like herself, who are interested in scientific research. She works part time at a laboratory during the academic year and worked there full-time over the summer.
Biology professor Linda Robinson identified several other factors that contribute to the popularity of the major. These include “a widespread general interest and aptitude in science and math, fascination with the natural world [and] cool new discoveries," as well as "the perception that there may be a good job market for those trained in Biology, including the medical field," she said.
Crocker said the major is also particularly popular among pre-med students, though she's personally not interested in that path.
“I’m interested in cell biology because it is more related to the small-scale molecular interactions that form the basis of life, rather than more large scale, anatomical basis of life that I feel is more emphasized in the medical field," she said.