Top 25 Highest-Paying College Majors

July 29, 2015

11:00 am

As we approach the period at which college students begin (or continue) their higher education journeys, those of us who have already been through those transformative years are once again reminded of our misguided decisions to pursue that art history/creative writing/music/religious studies/[insert your creative type major here] major. To help guide college students towards (financial) success, Payscale recently released its 2014-2015 College Salary Report, which looked at more than 200 college majors and the corresponding early career and mid-career salaries of each. We went through all of them and grabbed the top 25 highest-paying college majors.

Looking through the rankings on the highest-paying college majors, one shouldn’t be too surprised that most fall within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) spectrum. Further, if you look at just the top ten undergraduate majors, nine of them are engineering – again, something that shouldn’t be surprising and is indeed something that’s been observed before. In today’s job market, we can attribute the successes of these specific majors to the fact that many STEM majors encourage the acquisition and development of today’s top job skills – from statistical analysis and data mining to mobile development.

What’s more interesting, though, is that some seemingly (financially) worthless majors actually fare pretty well in the rankings. Philosophy, for instance, ranks within the top quartile of the rankings, making it one of the highest-paying college majors (it even ranks well above accounting, at number 80). The rankings from Payscale also support the argument that not all STEM degrees are equal. For example, while a major like physics is considered one of the highest-paying college majors, majors like zoology and kinesiology rank in the bottom half of all college majors.

Check out the top 25 highest-paying college majors according to Payscale. To find out how the more than 200 college majors fare, check out the full rankings at Payscale.

25. Mathematics

Early Career Salary: $50,300

Mid-Career Salary: $92,900

24. Civil Engineering (CE)

Early Career Salary: $55,100

Mid-Career Salary: $93,400

23. Government

Early Career Salary: $45,100

Mid-Career Salary: $94,400

22. Management Information Systems (MIS)

Early Career Salary: $56,300

Mid-Career Salary: $95,500

21. Applied Mathematics

Early Career Salary: $54,300

Mid-Career Salary: $96,500

20. Industrial Engineering (IE)

Early Career Salary: $61,900

Mid-Career Salary:n$97,200

19. Economics

Early Career Salary: $51,400

Mid-Career Salary: $97,700

18. Business & Information Technology (IT)

Early Career Salary: $56,900

Mid-Career Salary: $99,100

17. Software Engineering

Early Career Salary: $61,700

Mid-Career Salary: $99,800

16. Computer Science (CS) & Mathematics

Early Career Salary: $63,200

Mid-Career Salary: $101,400

15. Mechanical Engineering (ME)

Early Career Salary: $62,100

Mid-Career Salary: $101,600

14. Statistics

Early Career Salary: $54,900

Mid-Career Salary: $103,100

13. Computer Science (CS)

Early Career Salary: $61,600

Mid-Career Salary: $103,600

12. Physics

Early Career Salary: $57,200

Mid-Career Salary: $105,100

11. Materials Science & Engineering

Early Career Salary: $64,000

Mid-Career Salary: $105,100

10. Electrical Engineering (EE)

Early Career Salary: $65,900

Mid-Career Salary: $107,900

9. Aerospace Engineering

Early Career Salary: $64,700

Mid-Career Salary: $107,900

8. Computer Engineering (CE)

Early Career Salary: $67,300

Mid-Career Salary: $108,600

7. Computer Sciences (CS) & Engineering

Early Career Salary: $66,700

Mid-Career Salary: $112,600

6. Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE)

Early Career Salary: $66,500

Mid-Career Salary: $113,000

5. Electronics & Communications Engineering

Early Career Salary: $64,100

Mid-Career Salary: $113,200

4. Chemical Engineering

Early Career Salary: $69,600

Mid-Career Salary: $116,700

3. Nuclear Engineering

Early Career Salary: $67,000

Mid-Career Salary: $118,800

2. Actuarial Mathematics

Early Career Salary: $60,800

Mid-Career Salary: $119,600

1. Petroleum Engineering

Early Career Salary: $102,300

Mid-Career Salary: $176,300

 

(H/T Business Insider)

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things.

Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in ‘Doctor Who’, Murakami, ‘The Mindy Project’, and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a “writer”. Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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