The top paying majors in college are important to know if you’re a student wondering what to major in during school, and how your degree and college major will impact your entry-level job salary after college.
At Fairygodboss, we believe knowledge is power and we want to eliminate the gender wage gap. We’ve collected information from multiple salary reports (like Glassdoor, Payscale and other career resources) to compile a list of the top majors for those of you who want to get a high-paying job. To make it a more useful summary, we categorized each major by type so that you can jump straight to the areas of study you’re most interested in.
While money isn’t everything in your first job or career, consider these best paying majors if you’re wondering what to study in college in order to make sure you maximize your future earning potential as a student:
1. Petroleum Engineering
For those who earn a Bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, the career pay can be $102,300 to $176,300.
Five years after graduation, the median base salary for a college graduate with this degree is $68,438.
3. Mechanical Engineering
Similar to those who majored in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering graduates typically earn $85,880 in their jobs after working for five years.
4. Chemical Engineering
The median base salary of someone who studied chemical engineering is $73,185.
5. Industrial Engineering
Those who major in industrial engineering will typically make $59,468 after working for several years.
6. Civil Engineering
Civil engineers can earn upwards of $109,930.
After majoring in biomedical engineering and working for five years, you can earn a median salary of $52,814.
8. Systems Engineering
Those who earn a degree in systems engineering can earn $76,648 in their early career, growing to $121,000 in mid-career.
9. Nuclear Engineering
If you hold a Bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering, your career pays an average of $102,220.
10. Electronics & Communications Engineering
For those who study electronics and communications engineering, mid-career pay can be $115,000 while early-career pay is $68,000.
11. Aeronautical Engineering
Those holding bachelor’s degrees in aeronautical engineering can earn $63,000 in early career pay and $113,000 in mid-career.
12. Geological and Geophysical Engineering
Majoring in geological and geophysical engineering means you can make a median of $87,000 in salary according to pay data gathered by those in the workforce with that major between the ages of 25-59.
13. Mining and Mineral Engineering
Those who major in mining and mineral engineering and are between the ages of 25-59 in the workforce may find that they earn a median salary of $97,000.
Computing and Technology Majors
14. Computer Science
The median base salary for a post-college graduate is $70,000 after 5 years in the workforce. In mid-career, pay grows to $116,000.
15. Information Technology
For those who study information technology, after working for 5 years, you typically earn $64,008 annually.
16. Management Information Systems
For graduates with management information systems degrees, you can earn a median of $58,000 after five years in the workforce.
17. Computer Engineering
For those holding a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, career pay can be about $112,760.
Math and Math-Related Majors
Those studying statistics can earn a median salary of $60,000 after 5 years in the workforce.
The median base salary of someone who receives a mathematics degree after five years is $54,018.
20. Actuarial Science
The early career pay of those with a Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science can be $60,800 and growing to $119,000 in mid-career.
21. Applied Mathematics
If you have a degree in applied mathematics, your early career salary is $56,100 growing to $110,00 in mid-career.
Graduates with nursing degrees typically earn $68,450 after working for a few years.
23. Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Administration
Those who major in these pharmacy-related majors and are in the workforce between the ages of 25-59 earn a median salary of $113,000.
Finance and Business-Related Majors
Those studying finance can earn $54,900 five years after graduation.
After earning an accounting degree, the median base salary of those who’ve worked for five years is $52,000.
Economics majors can earn $52,000 after working for five years in the workforce.
Those studying business make a median of $47,850 after working for five years.
Marketing majors earn a median of $45,475 after 5 years of working.
29. Human Resources
You can expect to earn $45,000 after five years out of school if you studied human resources.
If you major in advertising, you can expect to see a salary of $45,000 after five years of working.
Those with a degree in communications can earn $44,190 within five years of graduating.
32. Public Relations
Majoring in public relations can mean you earn a $43,156 median salary after five years.
33. Sports Management
Getting a degree in sports management can yield median pay, after a few years, of $50,000.
34. Hospitality Management
Median base salaries for hospitality management majors are approximately $42,734 after five years of work.
35. Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administration is a field of study where graduates after five years can earn a median salary of $42,000.
Those who study physics can earn a median salary of $50,000 after working for 5 years. In mid-career, your salary grows to $111,000.
Majors in biotechnology have the potential to earn $50,000 after five years on the job.
38. Environmental Science
Those with degrees in environmental science can earn a median salary of $45,000 after five years.
Chemistry majors earn a median salary of $44,000 out of school after being in the workforce for five years.
If you get a degree in biochemistry, those in scientific, management and technical consulting services earn an average annual salary of $100,780, followed by biochemists in pharmaceutical manufacturing settings at $76,110.
After five years in the workforce, biology majors can expect to make a median of $41,250 per year in salary.
The median base salary of someone who gets a degree in architecture is $50,000 after five years of working.
43. Fashion Design
Fashion design majors earn a median of $50,000 after five years in the workforce.
44. Graphic Design
$45,846 is the median that those studying graphic design make, five years out of school.
45. Interior Design
Interior design majors can expect to earn $44,098 after 5 years out of school.
Social Science Majors
Those studying international relations can expect to earn $45,880 within 5 years of graduating.
47. Political Science
For all of you political science majors, after working for five years you can expect to make $45,000.
History majors can expect to earn a median of $45,000 after working for five years.
49. Social Science
If you graduate with a degree in social science, you can expect a median base salary of $45,000.
Education majors can earn $43,000 in median pay after five years in the workforce.
If you major in English, after five years of working, your median salary can be expected to be $45,000.
If you think journalism is for you, after working for five years, your expected median salary is $45,000.
Philosophy majors earn annual wages from about $37,000 to $83,000.
The median base salary of someone studying Spanish is $44,256 after five years in the workforce.
Music majors don’t fare too badly, despite the stereotypes. After five years of work, they can expect to earn $44,000.
56. Film Studies
Those who graduate with a degree in film will earn a median salary of $44,000 after five years of work experience.
Anthropology majors can expect to earn $43,000 after five years in the workforce.
58. Liberal Arts
For those of you studying liberal arts, the median base salary is $42,500 after five years of work.
Psychology majors can expect to earn $42,000 after five years of college.
Those studying sociology typically earn a median salary of $79,750.
61. Social Work
Those majoring in social work can expect to make $41,656 after five years in the workforce.
1. What is the highest paying degree to get?
The highest-paying degree is likely an engineering degree or a medical degree, though both require more schooling than other degrees.
2. Which major has the highest salary?
Engineering degrees boast high salaries. A Petroleum Engineer, for example, earns an average salary of $102,300 to $176,300, according to College Choice.
3. What college major is the hardest?
The college major that's the hardest is certainly subjective, but engineering and computer science degrees demand a lot of hard work and time.
Whatever you study, remember that these salary estimates are just that. You can always negotiate for more than the median.