What your university subject choices say about your intelligence

Students studying science, engineering or maths are traditionally among the most academically able, data shows

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The Independent Online

If you chose to study science, engineering or maths, the chances are you're among the more academically able members of society, according to research.

Students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths consistently ranked top in aptitude tests over a period of nearly seven decades, the research showed.

No surprise, perhaps, that subjects traditionally considered among the hardest have attracted the most able students.

On the other hand, however, those studying education and agriculture consistently ranked as among the least able.

Assuming what people study at university reflects what they go on to do in later life, that presents some worrying conclusions about those in the teaching profession.

Writing on Quartz, Jonathan Wai, a researcher at Duke University in the US,who collected the data from across five different studies,said the results show the subjects and occupations the US has "consistently valued" over the years.

At least two of the studies use data from Project Talent, a seminal US study that surveyed more than 400,000 high schools in 1960 in a bid to create a register of national talent, while others use military testing data and Standard Assessment Tests, or SAT scores.

Wai's data also shows that in recent years, business studies has attracted increasingly able students.

Social sciences too, which includes anthropology and archaeology - among the "worst choice of college major in economic terms", according to Forbes - appear to have risen up the ranks over the years.

Of course, as Wai points out, the data is about averages not specific individuals - there are quite possibly brilliant individuals in all walks of life.