With master’s degree programs becoming more popular in recent years, especially online degree programs, we became curious about regional trends—are prospective grad students in different parts of the country interested in different paths of study, on average?
We’ve set out to answer this question through a wide-ranging analysis of Google search trends; what follows is a full report of our findings.
We started with a list of more than 150 master’s degree focuses catalogued in the “Economic Value of College Majors,” a 2015 study by Georgetown University. We then narrowed that list to 17 degrees that had statistically significant national search volume (more than 2,000 searches per month, on average). That list, shown below, represents the most popularly searched master’s degrees in America.
Interestingly, when compared to what the Georgetown study establishes as the highest earning degrees in the US, four of the top five most searched don’t even make the top 25 in highest earnings. This indicates at least a modest separation between people’s interest in furthering their education and their interest in earning more money.
In terms of regional and state-level trends, we display our findings in the map below, which indicates for each state the most unusually popular degree that’s been searched over the past 12 months. To be clear, these do not represent the most popular degree searched in each state (that was, overwhelmingly, Master of Business Administration, across the board); instead, this is the result of comparing each individual state’s search volume to national averages, then determining upper range outliers.
In the list below, we list the top three most unusually popular degrees being searched in each state.
Using the Google AdWords platform we analyzed search volume trends for more than 150 master’s degree related terms, over the period of July 2018 to July 2019.
Once we established the 17 master’s degrees most commonly searched in the US, we gathered state-level search volume data and compared percentages of overall search that each term represents, against national percentages.