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We're Number 2!

Reports that the US Department of Education has ranked psychology as the second most popular undergraduate major. Problems being helped by psychology.

Psychology has received some bad press lately, but that hasn't scared awaycollege students shopping for a major. The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Education rank psychology as the second most popular undergraduate major, trailing only the perennial front-runner, business administration/management. More than 69,000 students picked up bachelor's degrees in psych during the 1993-94 academic year, a 70 percent increase since the mid-eighties. Psychology's latest growth spurt rivals that of the sixties and early seventies, when the number of psych majors increased nearly fivefold.

"Students feel psychology is talking about themselves," notes Virginia Andreoli Mathie, Ph.D., who heads the American Psychological Association's teaching division. "It's something that applies to their own lives."

In addition, the much-maligned TV talk shows may be giving psychology a boost on campus. Topics like "I'm 13 and Pregnant Again" or "My Father's Best Friend Raped Me" may make for trashy television, but they bring out students' nurturing instincts, reports Mathie. "They see psychology as a discipline that helps these kinds of problems."

It's also a discipline that continues to attract women. While psychology was a male-dominated department on campus as recently as 20 years ago, female students now outnumber guys by nearly a three-to-one ratio.

Rounding out the five most popular college majors: engineering, teacher education, and English/literature.