The 10 Best-Paying College Majors

This is probably a little too late for those of you who will be graduating from college in the coming weeks, but might be quite helpful to anyone getting their high school diploma soon. A new study lists the 10 college majors that will net you the most income right away. And if you thought your thesis on Emily Dickinson was going to translate into paycheck poetry, you were mistaken.

In fact, not a single major that would be considered strictly liberal arts is on the list. Seven of the top spots are taken up by engineering gigs, with economics, physics and computer science filling the three remaining slots.

Of the 10 majors listed, Chemical Engineering has the biggest immediate payoff, with a starting median salary of $65,700/year. But it’s Aerospace Engineering that pays off better in the long run, with a median mid-career salary of $109K/year.

Economics, the least “scientific” major on the list (in that you don’t wear a lab coat), has the lowest starting median salary in the top 10, at $50,200/year. Meanwhile, among the top majors, Environmental Engineering has the lowest median mid-career salary — $94,500, still more than I’ll probably ever earn.

Here’s the whole list, in graph form:

Degrees Degrees
Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See full methodology for more.

Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary []