Here’s how much you can expect to make with your college major

Here’s how much you can expect to make with your college major
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With college commencement season in full bloom, many graduates are looking forward to earning the big bucks in the real world.

A new report from Georgetown University researchers indicates that when it comes to pay, those with degrees earn almost twice as much as those with high school diplomas on average, but majors matter quite a bit when it comes to how much you can expect to earn.

Popular college majors (4-year degree) and their median salaries, from highest to lowest

Here’s a sampling of some of the most popular majors and their salaries (2016 figures) from the report, courtesy of its College Major Earnings Tool:

Architecture & Engineering

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $85K

Computers, Statistics & Mathematics

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $80K


Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $67K


Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $66K

Physical Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $66K

Social Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $62K

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $57K

Biology & Life Sciences

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $57K

Communications & Journalism

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $57K

Law & Public Policy

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $56K

Humanities & Liberal Arts

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $53K

Industrial Arts, Consumer Services & Recreation

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $53K


Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $50K

Psychology & Social Work

Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $47K


Bachelor’s Degree median earnings: $46K

A little more about the report

The report, “Five Rules of the College & Career Game” from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) shows that the number of occupations with unique educational requirements tripled to more than 800 from 1985 to 2010. Meanwhile, programs of study more than quintuple from 410 to 2,260.

“The variety of college programs today is a Tower of Babel,” Anthony P. Carnevale, lead author of the report and director of the Georgetown Center, said in a press release. “We need to help students decipher their options in the first major investment in the journey from youth dependency to independent adulthood.”

According to the findings, college grads with a bachelor’s degree earned $62,000 on average, nearly twice that of workers with just a high school diploma. And those with a graduate degree make $80,000 a year, on average.

The findings show graduate degree salaries as well as other types. Among the surprises include the fact that while more education usually adds to your paycheck, less can be worth more as well. “Twenty-eight percent of associate’s degree holders, and many workers with one-year certificates, earn more than the average BA holder. Some bachelor’s degrees holders earn more than the average worker with a graduate degree,” the report says.

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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