The 10 least stressful college majors can lead to some of the highest-paying jobs

With the demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors on the rise, many experts are scratching their heads over why more students dont pursue degrees in these fields.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 52 percent of adults say the main reason young people don't pursue STEM degrees is because they think these subjects are too difficult.

However, it turns out that studying STEM can not only help you find a job that pays well, but also help you have a relaxing college experience. A new study from Indiana University indicates that students who choose to pursue majors in these fields may have more fun in college.

According to the annual National Survey of Student Engagement, software engineering, computer science and astronomy majors enjoy the least stressful college experience, and spend the most time relaxing and socializing, including hanging out with friends, playing video games and going online.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Despite their reputation as intense and time-consuming fields of study, STEM majors reported having some of the most down time.

One reason these students may feel so laid back is their strong likelihood of finding well-paid, high-quality jobs upon graduation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineers earn an annual $102,280, computer scientists earn $111,840 and astronomers earn $114,870 a year.

Across fields, STEM majors consistently have some of the highest rates of employment and the highest incomes.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Another possible explanation for these surprising results is that software engineering and computer science majors may spend more time on the computer than those in other majors, which was considered relaxation time in the survey.

On the other hand, majors with the least amount of free time — like nursing, education and social work — often have required practicums, labs and volunteer hours, which limit students' down time.

Check out the list of the 10 college majors with the most free time:

10. Physics

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.72

9. Materials Engineering

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.76

8. Zoology

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.76

7. Marketing

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.78

6. Economics

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.82

5. Public Relations and Advertising

Hours of relaxation per week: 12.93

4. Computer Engineering and Tech

Hours of relaxation per week: 13.08

3. Astronomy

Hours of relaxation per week: 13.08

2. Computer Science

Hours of relaxation per week: 13.7

1. Software Engineering

Hours of relaxation per week: 13.84

This is an update of a story that appeared previously.

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